May garden progress

In the past month, the butternut squash plants have grown and are practically taking over the bed. I’ve actually had to trim them back a bit because it was starting to send stems out of the bed and into the lawn.

There are also a number of butternut squashes growing now!

Some latecomers to the bed are these plants, which I think are the jalapenos I planted. They’re in about the same area I threw some jalapeno seeds into the ground at any rate. I had given up on them every sprouting until I saw these sprout up a couple weeks ago. I’ll see in a while what they turn out to be.

The potato plants got off to a good start, but they’re looking pretty sad these days. One of the things I learned is that potatoes like acidic soil, so I think that could be part of the problem. I might pull the plug on the potato experiment and let the butternut squash take over the bed.

Sad looking potato plants

One of the blueberry bushes had a bunch of these small aphid-like bugs and egg sacs on one of the branches. I don’t know what they are, but they were interesting to watch. I ended up cutting the branch off and tossing it out.

Small red and black aphid-like bugs and egg sacs on a bush

Lots of blackberry clusters on the blackberry bush. I think it’ll be another week or two before they’re ready for harvesting. The one early bird blackberry I harvested was pretty tasty.

A few clusters of developing blackberries

Hurricane season 2024

Fresh off the presses is the National Hurricane Center‘s forecast for the 2024 hurricane seasion.

NOAA National Weather Service forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center predict above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin this year. NOAA’s outlook for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, which spans from June 1 to November 30, predicts an 85% chance of an above-normal season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season and a 5% chance of a below-normal season.

NOAA is forecasting a range of 17 to 25 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, 8 to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 4 to 7 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). Forecasters have a 70% confidence in these ranges.

Interestingly enough, there haven’t been any early pre-season storms this year like there have been the last few years. Coincidentally enough though, there is an area to watch in the middle of the Caribbean from early this morning, between Cuba and Haiti. Doesn’t look like it will amount to anything though.

1. Southwestern Atlantic:
A large area of cloudiness and showers over the southwestern 
Atlantic is associated with a surface trough.  An area of low 
pressure is expected to form within this system a few hundred miles 
north of Hispaniola in the next day or so.  Environmental conditions 
are not expected to be conducive, however, some slight tropical or 
subtropical development is possible while the low moves 
northeastward through the weekend. 
* Formation chance through 48 hours...low...10 percent.
* Formation chance through 7 days...low...10 percent.

Email subscribers

The small handful of email subscribers to this blog might have noticed the lack of email notifications of new posts for the last little while.

I had been running into some weird blog posting issues that I thought might have been due to the Jetpack plugin, so I removed it a while back. The blog posting issues seemed to go away, so I went along on my merry way.

I’d forgotten that email subscriptions were handled by Jetpack until someone asked recently. I’ve reinstalled the Jetpack plugin, and hopefully won’t run into those weird problems I had with it before.

April garden progress

The potatoes are continuing to grow and expand, although one of them seems to have lost a couple stems worth of leaves for some reason. Overall it seems like they’re doing pretty well though.

The butternut squash plants have grown quite a bit and have a bunch more leaves now compared to the two little leaves they had a few weeks ago. Some of them seem to have sprouted a lot more leaves than the others.

One of the raspberry plants got really bushy and practically exploded with leaves. No flowers or proto-fruits yet, but it’s really be growing like gangbusters and sending out runners through its half of the bed.

Wildly growing raspberry plant

The blueberry and blackberry plants, on the other hand, have flowers and berries all over them. I think in a month or two, there will be lots of blueberries to sample.

Meanwhile, on the nectarine tree, some of flower blossoms have turned into these little things that look like might become fruits. There was one on the tree last year, but it disappeared and I think it got knocked off during a storm or something.

Seeing the third Saturn V

There are only three Saturn V rockets left in the world. One is at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at the Kennedy Space Center. That one I’ve seen a few times. I never get tired of seeing the Saturn V there.

Another one is at Space Center Houston, which I got to visit a few years ago. There I learned that there were only three left in the world. Since this was the second Saturn V I’d seen, I thought to myself “Well, now I have to see all of them.”

The third, and final Saturn V I got to see is in the Saturn V Hall at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. Outside the Davidson Center where the Saturn V is located is an equally impressive but slightly smaller mockup of the Saturn V. Makes the building easy to find if you’re exploring the Space and Rocket Center.

Saturn V mockup outside the Davidson Center at the US Space and Rocket Center

After going inside the building and up the stairs, you’re greeted with the massive business end of the Saturn V rocket once you turn the corner to enter the exhibit hall.

The base of the Saturn V with the huge F1 rocket engines
The flamy end of the Saturn V rocket

In addition to the Saturn V overhead, there are lots of displays and exhibits telling the history of rocket development and the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.

View from the tip of the Saturn V rocket
Pointy end of the Saturn V rocket

The Saturn V never ceases to amaze me. I don’t think I’d ever get tired of seeing one.

The US Space and Rocket Center is a great place to visit. There’s lots to see and do there. The Rocket Park (like Kennedy’s Rocket Garden) was having a lot of work being done, but it’s still a fun area to wander around. Check out the Saturn IB and a mockup of part of Skylab (made from pieces that were used for training in the Neutral Bouyancy Simulator) on display in the Rocket Park. Walk around the Shuttle Park where you’ll find a mockup of a Space Shuttle with the external tank and boosters when we were there. Highly recommend going to the US Space and Rocket Center if you’re in the area (or even if you aren’t).

Oh, and bring a banana to leave for Miss Baker and Big George.

Next quest: See all the Space Shuttles. on display I’ve already seen the Shuttle Atlantis at KSC. Three more to go.