Working in information technology at a hospital system means sooner or later you get to pull an all-nighter, and tonight is the night. Our company has a big go-live planned for this evening, so I’m here for the duration. Even though I’m in management, when an especially large or important system comes up I’m there.
Our hospital has done a number of these in the nearly 20 years I have been here. We’ve learned a lot in that time, figuring how to not only survive these all-nighters, but how to make them fun, too. The facility where we are this time has the best cafeteria in the company, so the food has been good. I’ve got a bag of Starbucks so my Espresso Roast coffee is awesome (say it in falsetto: “awesome!”), and the nurses in our department have made a fine art out of providing go-live snacks! I have 3 hours until go-live, so the phone bank is quiet while the systems analysts and consultants finish the processing required. It will be a long night, but fun. My department does a good job of managing large projects and we are working with the best and brightest of our users, so we aren’t expecting a lot of issues. We shall see!
I started my garden this week, at least the seeds. Starting seeds indoors is more trouble than just buying the plants ready to put in the ground, but if you do any volume of gardening it’s the cheapest way to go. I received my Burpee seed order Monday, so the next two nights I left the TV off and got my seeds started. This year I have two varieties of tomato (a “Napa Grape” hybrid and a “Salsa” hybrid) along with a super-mild jalepeno variety, a regular (hot!) jalepeno, bell peppers, basil, and some zinias (flowers). The basil and zinias are an idea I wanted to try after fighting tomato worms (hornworms) last year. If you mix in either basil or zinias in your garden with your veggies, it makes the area less inviting for the moths that lay the hornworm eggs…or so I’m told!
I have lots more gardening to do, too. After breakfast this AM I got out my tiller and began turning the earth outside to prep my plots for the “cool weather” produce. I’m going to try some lettuce, leaf spinach, potatoes, onions, and broccoli. That will take me 45-60 days down the road, which should be about the time my seeds are all ready, so after I harvest some of the above I’ll plant the seedlings I started. I’m also adding some more area in my side yard, so with some more tiller time I hope to get strawberries and blueberries going. I’m also going to start some cucumber and squash. It should be a great garden!
Next project: rain barrels. My dad has had rain barrels attached to his roof’s gutter downspouts for years, so I’m going to give that a go this season, too. We have a couple of businesses in our county that sell food barrels for cheap: each barrel can be had for less than $20. Add to that a few more dollars for the hardware and tubing required, and you can set up a chain of 4-8 barrels per downspout to collect rain water for not too much money. Our part of the country often has extended periods of the summer with little or no rain, so during previous years I used tap water and a hose to keep the garden going. By late summer those “cheap” vegetables have become high-dollar! I’ve considered having a well drilled on my property, but my best guestimate is that it would cost close to $3,000 to get it drilled, capped, and a pump in place, so I don’t really consider that to be economical. The rain barrels, however, can be added for less than $100 a string. The way my house’s roof is laid out I think I can put three strings in place, and I would spend at least $250 to water all summer, so I think it’s worth it.
Well, the all-nighter is starting to get busy, so it’s time to wrap it up. I hope to post some pics of the seed-starting party in a few days. Happy gardening!