Monthly Archives: June 2010

>The Fence

What an exciting day. The T-posts finally arrived at Slegg so I picked up those and a few rolls of plastic fencing as my first order of business today. We started banging away shortly after 10am. Despite the soil being full of stones, the T-posts went in pretty easily. A few got sidetracked and had to be bent back to make them plumb. I built a wide gate out of 2″X2″ that I’m not particularly proud of; well, not until I finish reinforcing it so it doesn’t wobble. It’s hung on a T-post supported by another T-post 10′ away. It’s ok for the short term but it too is kinda hokey. I was planning to build a tomato trellis using T-posts but now I’m wondering whether they will be strong enough.

The 7′ black plastic polypropylene fence went up really quickly and easily but whether it actually keeps deer out is the question. At 7′, deer can jump over or through it but probably won’t unless they’re spooked. This is more likely to happen if we leave the gate open and then try to get it out too aggressively. High tensile page wire would have been the preferred option except that we don’t know how long we’ll be on this land. If we get kicked off or leave voluntarily, we’ll be able to take everything down even easier than it went up. Page wire would have been more costly up front, more time and harder to take down and re-use.

While I was finishing up the fence, P planted our 40 tomato starts, about half of which came from Haliburton (thanks Marty, Elmarie and Dale). They’re all completely mixed up so when a tomato appears ripe, we will pick it and see how it tastes. We also planted a bunch of campari tomatoes that I started from seed which are probably my favourite supermarket frankenhybrid. I read on the internet (so I assume it’s true) that, despite it being a crazy trademarked license-only hybrid, it will produce fruit much like its parent fruit. We’ll see.

Next on deck: squash. The starts we got from Hali have tons of flowers and even some fruit but are starting to seriously wilt in their 3″ pots. I may delay the tomato trellis until after the squash are in.

>10 on Planning

In 1994 I was a budding air traffic control student – or DRIFT* – at the Transport Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, Ontario. In 6 weeks, you were brought from a person who could name only three manufacturers of aircraft, in my case Boeing, Airbus and Cessna, to a person who could “control” a bunch of simulated aircraft at the surprisingly busy fictitious “March” Airport which was always cloudy and needing IFR control. To separate the wheat from the chaff, a series of 4 evaluations or “E-vals” were used. To pass an eval, you had to make sure you didn’t have too many “sep losses” or losses of a minimum measure of separation (altitude, distance, time). But you could also lose a lot of points by simply not planning for an expeditious and orderly flow of traffic. If this wasn’t included, a student could conceivably restrict all airplanes from entering the airspace and refuse departure clearance from flights wanting to depart the airport; safe, yes but you can already hear the phone ringing with irate dispatchers. You got -10 points for a sep loss and up to -10 points for each instance of lack of planning. At the time, whenever we goofed outside of class due to a failure to predict some consequence, we would say “10 on planning”.

And so it is that I have given myself a 10 on planning. I am waiting for 10′ steel T-posts which I will use to construct a deer fence and tomato trellis. I had planned to use 10′ lengths of electrical metal tubing in an electric fence setup but the plastic insulators I bought were too small to fit on the tubes. Bigger insulators were a lot more expensive and would have to be ordered in from the US. As well, everybody I talked to figured T-post and plastic mesh would be better than electric. The local guys, Slegg Lumber, are great because their prices are the same as their Vancouver Island locations and their T-posts were a lot cheaper than anyone else on Salt Spring or Saanich. But they only had 7 in stock. The rest were supposed to come Wednesday but they didn’t and now I’m looking at Monday at the earliest. There wouldn’t be any huge rush to put in the fence except that we’ve got a bunch of tomato and squash plants in 3″ pots that are beginning to set fruit. It’s time to let them spread their roots. Had I prototyped the electric fence option a little earlier, I would have come to Plan B earlier and I wouldn’t be fretting about this.

Lesson learned?


* Dirty Rotten Insignificant F*&king Trainee, used by licensed controllers in referring to future colleagues … or to future disgruntled wash-outs