Notions

Lemon Harvesting Still Underway

Third Harvest Yield — About 150 Lemons — click to enlarge

Here it is almost late January and we’re still getting lemons off of our Lisbon Tree. Damsel and I picked those shown above a couple of days ago and scores more remain to be picked. We will probably get to the remaining fruit early next week.

We have had this tree since about the middle of 2010, and each year, the tree seems to have more yield than the years prior. The first crop consisted of about 40 lemons while this year we’re at an unknown number since we asked our landscape crew to help themselves — they took what I’m sure amounts to two hundred or more. This year, the tree had a truly overwhelming crop. In addition the landscape crew’s haul, we have picked lemons since mid December three times now.

We will finish the job sometime next week and will be pruning back the tree at the same time. The lemons will be distributed as usual to friends, neighbors, charities and our own Limoncello production. According the sales flyers, lemon prices are “on sale” at $0.50 each. Our lemons are slightly larger than those we see in the produce section of the Supermarket. Believe it or not, we do not put any fertilizer or anything in the “orchard” other than daily watering via timed irrigation.

Solar Ephemeris Back On-Line

Solar Ephemeris from the Wandering Minstrel Sidebar — March 24, 2018

Remember the Solar Ephemeris sidebar widget from the old Wandering Minstrel blog theme? The widget gave daily information about the sun cycle: you know, daybreak, sunrise, sunset and so forth. Well, I have it back on-line in the form of a sidebar link to a dedicated page that has the old widget code embedded in it.

I had some problems with making it work with the newer versions of the PHP server-side software that the ISP uses. There were some minor, but show-stopping changes to the software that killed the Ephemeris code that ran on the old Minstrel site. I spent a couple of hours debugging the code yesterday and now have the prototype running again in the “Solar Ephemeris” page. Click on the link or select the page from the sidebar. Disclaimer: it’s still a work in progress and is subject to formatting changes.

One of these days, I might start on an interactive widget where users can put in their own geographical coordinates to see the sun’s daily times for their location.

Ringing in the New Year …

… and ringing out the old. So long 2022 – It’s been — weird.

But not all was bad in 2022 — we’re in good health and have been this year save for a major scare when Damsel got a mass report on this year’s mammogram — fortunately, the results of a biopsy (not fun) was benign calcification. My checkups with the urologist, the ophthalmologist, the nephrologist and dermatologist were business as usual with no complications.

Over the last few weeks, we did a first cut at the 2022 taxes and no surprises. It looks like we’ll be getting a small refund. We also calculated the 2023 Required Minimum distribution for the IRA — the new RMD will be down due to dramatic market loss in the IRA in 2022. That, and the Social Security cost of living adjustment is far less than might be necessary to offset Biden’s disastrous economy. It will be tight, but we’re going to be OK.

Over the last two years, we have seen relentless attacks on our God-given rights as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment. New gun control has been enacted thanks to the Marxist Democrats and a few spineless RINOs. The NYSRPA v Bruen decision by the Supreme Court of the US is a help but states and courts are still ignoring it – be ready to fight in ’23.

So that’s it for our New Year’s message. We’re wishing you good health and providence from The Almighty in the coming year. God Bless!

119th Anniversary of Powered Flight

December 17, 2022 — 119 years ago, Orville and Wilbur Wright accomplished the feat that mankind had dreamed about for millennia; to lift off the surface of the earth and to return safely after being aloft for nearly a full minute during one of the first of their flights on this day in 1903.

What I hadn’t realized is that the headwind during the first flights was 27 MPH resulting in a ground speed of less than 7 MPH and a much shorter flight in terms of distance.

From NPS:

December 17, 1903
Three days later [after their first attempt], they were ready for the second attempt. The 27-mph wind was harder than they would have liked, since their predicted cruising speed was only 30-35 mph. The headwind would slow their groundspeed to a crawl, but they proceeded anyway. With a sheet, they signaled the volunteers from the nearby lifesaving station that they were about to try again. Now it was Orville’s turn.

Remembering Wilbur’s experience, he positioned himself and tested the controls. The stick that moved the horizontal elevator controlled climb and descent. The cradle that he swung with his hips warped the wings and swung the vertical tails, which in combination turned the machine. A lever controlled the gas flow and airspeed recorder. The controls were simple and few, but Orville knew it would take all his finesse to handle the new and heavier aircraft.

At 10:35, he released the restraining wire. The flyer moved down the rail as Wilbur steadied the wings. Just as Orville left the ground, John Daniels from the lifesaving station snapped the shutter on a preset camera, capturing the historic image of the airborne aircraft with Wilbur running alongside. Again, the flyer was unruly, pitching up and down as Orville overcompensated with the controls. But he kept it aloft until it hit the sand about 120 feet from the rail. Into the 27-mph wind, the groundspeed had been 6.8 mph, for a total airspeed of 34 mph. The brothers took turns flying three more times that day, getting a feel for the controls and increasing their distance with each flight. Wilbur’s second flight – the fourth and last of the day – was an impressive 852 feet in 59 seconds.

This was the real thing, transcending the powered hops and glides others had achieved. The Wright machine had flown. But it would not fly again; after the last flight it was caught by a gust of wind, rolled over, and damaged beyond easy repair. With their flying season over, the Wrights sent their father a matter-of-fact telegram reporting the modest numbers behind their epochal achievement.

Native American Heritage Day

Actually, all of November (since 1990) is Native American Heritage Month and the day after Thanksgiving is the specific day declared as a holiday in recognition of that heritage. I bring this up since although I am 99.7% of European ancestry, there is a 0.3% trace of “Indigenous American” and “Broadly East Asian” in my DNA report. This ratio of trace ancestry is corroborated by the segment of my Ancestry tree shown below.

Fourth through Sixth Level Great Grandparents

This tree segment shows my 4th Great Grandfather J. S. Conaway, his parents and grandparents. My Native American Ancestor is simply shown as “Choctaw Wife” and I have not been able to find any more information about her other than what is shown. Mathematically, that works out to be that I am likely 1/256th Native American. To be recognized as a Choctaw Tribal Member, however, I would have to have at least one Great-Grandparent that was a full-blooded Choctaw. I’m not even close.

If the 1/256th ratio is true, then I have four times the Native heritage than does Senator Elizabeth Warren, so-called “Fauxcahontas,” who misrepresented herself as being of sufficient Native ancestry when applying for special college enrollment perks while being only 1/1024th Native American.

Damsel also has DNA results showing her Native American Ancestry, but we have as yet to trace her lineage in as much detail as my family tree. One of her sisters has that detail, but we can’t directly access it yet. We do know that one of her Great-Great Grandmothers was at least part Native American.

So, even though it is in greater vogue to call this day “Black Friday,” We reach out to our Native American cousins and wish them all a Happy Native American Heritage Day.

Lemon Harvest Coming Soon

The Lemon Tree with HUNDREDS of Lemons needing to be picked

Our Lemon tree (which is a “Lisbon” lemon variety) is nearing that time of year when we need to start harvesting the fruit. This year, the lemon crop appears to be much larger than in previous years (we have had this tree since 2012) and we may have to invest several days harvesting an estimated one thousand lemons. Last year, we filled the wheelbarrow twice with an estimated total of 600 lemons. There are many more than that on the tree now.

As we begin the lemon picking, we will be doing the usual thing with them, that is, giving them away to neighbors, the food bank, the senior center and anyone else that we can convince to take a bag home. Of course, we will reserve some for our annual Limoncello production.

We still have a little time before any frosty weather happens; the forecast for Thanksgiving week should be highs in the low 70’s and lows well above freezing. That’s still cool enough to layer up on the clothing, but will be OK for this variety of frost-tolerant lemons for the time being.

Our plan for Thanksgiving dinner is going to be similar to the past couple of years when we had a Keto-friendly menu featuring some of Damsel’s homemade goodies. We’re looking forward to the dinner, but more on that in a later post.