Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Live Wires

When I called Aaron, he was balanced on scaffolding, but he must have had some sort of sixth sense that this was a CALL FOR HELP! So, he answered the phone, and the conversation went like this:
“I’m going to tell you what I’ve just done and you tell me if it’s safe to turn on my electricity.”
“Oh Jeez.”
“Well, you know, I don’t know much about electrical wiring, so I have some questions.”
“Don’t touch it.”
“Already did.”
I then explained, in great detail, what I had just done with the wires hanging from the ceiling of the soon-to-be walk-in cooler. These conversations are difficult when one participant doesn’t know any of the correct terminology and everything spoken of becomes a “Thingy”. But, finally, it was determined that I had done everything correctly and turning on my power was safe. My number one evidence that I correctly capped off the wires is that my computer is not solar powered and when I began typing this entry I did not get electrocuted.

All of this dangling wire business relates to my continuing efforts to turn a strange, hidden room in the corner of my garage into a walk-in cooler. I’m done. Well, other than that hole in the wall (see photo below) is still a hole in the wall. You see, the air conditioning unit that came with this house won’t work with UN Guy’s AC gizmo ( As a result, I found myself calling every hardware store and big box chain store in my area for a suitable air conditioner. Incidentally, it was literally 3 degrees outside when I was making these calls. The four local hardware stores near me explained that at this time of the year they sell heaters but if I call back in the spring they will have air conditioners. The countless big box stores questioned me six times to make sure they heard correctly, were exasperated and told me to go online. As it is, they don’t even sell them online in January.

Progress was made, though, in insulating the little room, and I’ll just have to be patient until spring, unless someone has an 8000 btu LG window air conditioning unit they want to sell me.

Deer Fence and Other Updates

Yesterday I was grateful to be doing something a lot more fun than hanging insulation. All of the snow had melted, the sun was out, and I didn’t have to work my day job—at the nuclear plant—so I had the opportunity to hang the deer fence on all those posts I scrounged around for and bolted together and almost got shot over (see previous entry). Yesterday, with the sun shining, I put up more than half of it and the whole time I was aware that there was nothing I would rather be doing.

The fence is 7.5 feet tall and made of a durable black plastic mesh. It’s going to go around most of the five acres. Deer can jump 12 feet, but they’ll usually only do that if they’re being chased by something, so 7.5 ft. should work most of the time. They can also bash into it and knock it down. Basically, I hope to keep out about 93% of the deer out.

Not only is putting up the fence the kind of task where you can actually see the accomplishment, but every step I make towards turning this place into the small farm I’ve been envisioning is exhilarating. It’s not that I want to quit my day job—feeding nuclear rods into the reactor—but I think starting a small organic farm will be a great compliment to my work in the nuclear industry. I actually think I’ve convinced NOFA, the organic certification organizing for the northeast, that plutonium 6623, which is a by-product of my job, can be a certified organic fertilizer, which is great because I have a garage full of it and the heat it gives off is making the neighbors suspicious since I never have snow on the roof. I can’t wait to work it into the soil!

In final and further news: I’m hopefully going to make my seed order this week. It’s an act of faith to do that…an assumption that everything’s going to fall in place enough that I’ll get to plant the seeds, let alone the even bigger act of faith, that they’ll grow. But I’m a believer, despite my anxiety about whether my field will dry out enough to till it, and whether the tiller will work well enough to actually loosen the soil. But these are all just passing worries. It’ll work out if I have to dry the dirt by wicking moisture with a loofa sponge and loosening it with a pitchfork. Besides, growing food is nothing if not humbling. So, what have I got to fear? If the tiller breaks and the field floods and I plant the wrong kind of lettuce and I accidentally step on it once it starts to grow, I’ll still grow from the experience. And... there’s always more seeds to plant.

I’ll take a picture of the bags of seeds when they get here.