Something a Little Bigger Than a Microblog

George is curled up on a pillow at the table I normally work at when I work from home. He's taking his nap, and he might be there for hours. He'll probably be there most of the time I'll be in the office this afternoon.

I've usually been working half-days at home. This morning in a meeting George was in my lap and attacking my hand, while I spoke to something I was working on. I'm actually decent at that by now. Of course, he wanted some more food and to play, so when I was done talking I fed him and ran him around.

I can't imagine working from home without a cat. Or any pet, or even another human. It's easy to get sucked into what you do, and having a distraction of some sort is key here and there.

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We have a week or so of summer left here in the Northern Hemisphere, but it might as well be fall. It's cooler out now at night, so much so that I'm not sure I need the air conditioner in my bedroom anymore. I'm going to wait to put it away just in case, of course, but I think we're done with that part of the year.

It's still plenty green out, even though some leaves are starting to fall. The plants look nice, and I actually have a pumpkin starting to grow. They've been this late in the past, I'm not sure why. I suspect I need to be a little more on top of the watering and fertilizing. Still, I may actually get one later in the fall, probably not in time for Halloween.

Days are shorter, but still a decent length. There have been some nice clouds too, but still a good amount of sun. The solar panels in my mini off-grid power system still get enough power for to run my laptop during the day – more than enough in fact. As we get into winter I'll have to go easier on it, just because as I live on-grid there's not much need to stress the battery. I'll use power if it's sunny, but otherwise try to keep the battery topped off. Power outages do happen, and it's nice to be ready.

I need to look at the furnace. It should be fine, but it's good to do a trial heat run before it really gets cold, just in case it's got any big problems.

There might be some maintenance I try to have done before fall. Definitely some wood work that would be good to get out of the way.

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I wanted to throw together some sort of system to automatically water plants, or at least to let me control the watering remotely. I never completed it, but there are solenoid valves available, and Raspberry Pis and similar single board computers have GPIO you can use for that sort of thing. I've got some of the parts, and will put it together one of these days.

Right now, I go outside and turn the hose on for a sprinkler in my garden. I've got a setup nearly complete with some black plastic pipe that runs to some key areas, which will reduce the need for a garden hose. It's a step in the right direction. But I'd like to be able to log in to something from anywhere in the world, and turn the sprinkler on for fifteen minutes.

I'll add it to the list of projects. It is kind of important, considering that I'm trying to actually grow things in my garden other than weeds, and I'm occasionally out of town. Plus, honestly, it's kind of a neat project.

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It's hot outside. I think it said abut 88 degrees F in my car. It's clear out (no wildfire smoke), and the sun is out in full force.

I like summertime, and it's nice to have this much daylight. But the heat is not my favorite part of it all. Yes, I like that it warms up, and I like that it makes swimming more fun (and possible). But the heat itself is tough for me.

Luckily, there's air conditioning, and pools at various opportune moments. So I manage.

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It's raining pretty hard right now. Not a big storm – yet, but a good, solid rain. We did get a pretty violent thunderstorm over the weekend.

Rain is nice. Hopefully I won't have to water the plants for a little while. It's also cooling things off.

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I don't post my amateur radio call sign online much, and I don't plan to here. But I will mention that I've participated a little bit in Field Day, a contest put on by the ARRL. I haven't participated much, and have raked up maybe 10 contacts so far. I normally like to take it easy, and today I was fighting quite a bit of QRM, the source of which I couldn't track down.

Contesting is a neat part of the hobby, but the spirit of Field Day is about setting up a station to service some sort of disaster or urgent need to provide communication. And a lot of clubs and individuals rise to this occasion, either operating from home, or setting up at some location. Seeing this sort of infrastructure just pop up is kind of neat.

You can say that there's no need for amateur radio in this day and age. Indeed, if you just want to chat with someone, there are much better ways to do it. Email is easy, as are cell phones. But not only is there something neat about talking to someone else just over the air, perhaps in another state or country, with no other infrastructure, but it's also a great way to learn about radio. You can build your own gear if you want, or experiment with propagation. Basically, it's radio spectrum set aside to mess around with. The rest is up to you.

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Once in a while, I end up in New England. Usually it's for vacation, but sometimes for other reasons. I used to leave relatively close to it, although I'm not too far where I'm at now.

I'm visiting Connecticut, and it's pretty nice here. Preview trips to NE are usually to the ocean, and I'm inland now. But it still has a New England feel to it, which is nice. It helps that it's summer, too, although the bugs were kind of bad.

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It is extremely smokey here on the east coast. It kind of looks like how it does when it's just cloudy, like when rain is blowing in, but there's more of a, well, tan tint to it? It smells too. Not really nice the way a camp fire does, but kind of imposing.

This happened couple years ago when there were more wildfires in California – it just blows across the country. This will blow over, but it's concerning. I don't remember this much from when I was younger, and I'm fearing this is a new normal.

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I'm keeping my fingers crossed for my garden this year. It's getting warmer, though the nights are still cool, and I've got several tomato plants in the ground. I'm trying to stay ahead of watering and weeding.

There are peppers too, sweet Hungarian (aka banana) ones. I have some seeds for hotter Hungarian peppers as well which I need to plant and will probably start indoors. Peppers like it warmer before they germinate, it seems.

I've tried pumpkins in the past, with varying success. There's a woodchuck in my yard, which makes it difficult. I have a fenced-in area for the other vegetables, and a couple pumpkin vines growing there, but the space makes it difficult. There's a fenced-in square the previous owners of my house built to contain their dogs, and I did bury some pumpkin seeds in the remains of a rotting tree stump, so we'll see how that goes.

I also have some onion seeds sprouting, which need to go into the ground. And a couple cloves of garlic I planted, as well as a couple potatoes that sprouted. Hopefully I get something fresh.

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I've found myself moving around for work. That is, the last couple moves I did were for work, although before that it was for college. It was usually about picking a company, and then deciding I could deal with the area it was in, and then moving there. This has worked out okay, but now that I've been in the workforce for over a decade it kind of makes me think.

In a way, I don't mind this. It's been a way to get me to go to a new area, which I like. I haven't moved to any place terribly far from where I grew up, yet, but I'm decidedly away from home. And a new job is a new adventure, a way to get someplace else.

On the other hand, it's worth thinking about whereabouts I would actually want to end up. And that, I'm not sure of. Not specifically, at least. So I guess right now I just go where the work is.

I'm not solidly planning on going anywhere, but I can see opportunities on the horizon. And despite trying to look on the bright side of moving around for work, it would be nice for that not to be the only thing you relocate for.

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