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Category Archives: Howard County

Tidbit Tuesday

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Where I run off in all directions and have no single thing to say in a post.

There were 75 pounds of vegetables collected today for the food bank. A lighter day for squash, and the tomatoes aren’t ready yet.

I was up at the Conservancy gardens this morning, “basking” in the 70something degree temperatures with about the same amount of humidity. I hadn’t been there since Saturday, which was fairy house building day.

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This is what 118 people look like before they headed off into the woods.

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Creativity, a great time, and lots of pictures for this year’s album.

Now, on to the next events, and the continuous harvest of my garden.

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The bulk of the five dozen little tomatoes I harvested. Fifty supersweet 100s and 10 sungold. Mixed with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, basil, chopped onion and banana pepper, and a touch of sugar. Roasted at 250 degrees for a couple of hours. Destined to be frozen and used as one of my recipes in my presentation next month on preserving food.

Then, there were the onions.

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I had to harvest a number of them today, as they were getting mushy at the top. We had 1.5 inches of rain in the rain gauge at the garden (in a 36 hour period). It is driving us nuts, splitting tomatoes and washing away my mounded soil over the onions, leeks and shallots.

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Some of those onions, along with new red potatoes and bacon from England Acres, roasted along with the tomatoes. There will be a very nice salad made from this.

As for zucchini, I did make that lemon blueberry zucchini bread. Thanks to the Lean Green Bean.

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I did substitute, as usual. Used all AP flour. Upped the sugar to about 4/10ths of a cup. It tastes wonderful.

There is more shredded zucchini sitting in the fridge so that tomorrow I can make zucchini fritters and freeze them. Another project for that preserving food program scheduled in late August.

I have been a busy bee today. Time to head off and watch the All Star Game.

Taking the Buy Local Challenge

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For the third year in a row. The MD Buy Local Challenge. Dates are July 19-27.

This year I almost forgot about it until I received the reminder email. Since most of our food is local or regional, we already eat at least one item every day that comes from our Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA, our Friends and Farms basket, a local market or farm, or my garden.

If you wanted to join in, it is easy to do. You don’t even have to cook. Buy some fruit.

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Peaches and blueberries are definitely in season. Or how about watermelon, or cantaloupe? Blackberries?

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Seriously. Take a trip to Larriland and pick fruit, maybe take home some tomatoes.

Hit the farmers market in Ellicott City Sunday. Some Breezy Willow eggs. Cheese from Shepherd’s Manor. Meat from Orchard Breeze.

The list goes on. If you want sungold tomatoes, check out Love Dove at the Miller Library or HoCo General Hospital market.

Or, any of the Howard County markets. And, don’t forget wine counts too. Black Ankle maybe> Or Elk Run? Or Big Cork?

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Are you in?


260 Pounds

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That’s how much food from the Food Bank garden plot we donated the past two weeks. July is my month to “manage” the collection of food from the food bank plot and other garden plots designated by their “owners” for delivery to the Howard County Food Bank.

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At our Conservancy community garden site, we have roughly 800 square feet designated for food bank growing. As well as a 250 square foot annex. And, many gardeners ask us to harvest and share their bounty when they are away on vacation. Or, they drop off bags of veggies the morning we collect.

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We fill wheelbarrows full of fresh vegetables every week.

And sometimes that squash thing gets out of control.

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This was July 1st’s harvest of squash. That day they counted 117 pounds of food. Mostly greens, cabbage, squash, beets and carrots. Tuesday this week I drove over in my Jeep piled full of vegetables, totaling 143 pounds. This week we had our first tomatoes, Plus, being a holiday week for many, we had donations from a large number of community garden members.

We harvested garlic Tuesday. But, it needs to cure before we donate. A couple dozen heads of garlic went home with a fellow gardener to be cured in their garage.

Gardens are like that. Some years you can be overrun with something you planted, and others you lose plants to pests or the weather.

It is nice to see that we provide fresh ripe vegetables to the place we call home.


Field Day Wrap Up

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2014 is history. W1AW/3 aka W3AO is finishing their week as the Maryland holder of the national license, for the centennial celebration.

Maybe my husband will be home for a few days. He is off for the final day at one of the club member’s homes, operating those last hours.

As for Field Day, it was another one of those amazing weekends. I did miss a few things with my earlier posts. Like forgetting we had wires strung for more than two bands. And, that one of our operators was on RTTY with more than one transmitter and computer in front of him. Talk about multi-tasking.

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There’s even a diagram out there that shows how the set up achieves the necessary number of antennas for their operations within the 1000 ft. radius circle.

We had over 800 contacts on the GOTA station. Including some made by Courtney Watson, a county council member who is running for the position of county executive. Courtney can add to her resume that she was “W3AO” for a short time on Saturday.

The head of the Country Office of Emergency Management, Ryan Miller, came to visit, as well. The office really appreciates the assistance of the Columbia Amateur Radio Association (CARA) for emergency support, and always comes out to see our operations.

The CARA welcome team was leading people around the site all weekend. This weekend we had three times the number of visitors, and at one point, had a line waiting to operate the GOTA station. Actually, maybe more than one point, but one time I was in the tent and there were four people watching Rich, KE3Q, who was explaining what we do and how we do it.

I always come away from this weekend exhausted but exhilarated. We were there Sunday until about 6PM, doing the tear down and clean up.

Now, back to my garden and my canning and my cooking. Until next year when we get together for another one.

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Yes, OM, that’s Two Eight Alpha

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Only fellow hams will get the significance of the title. Fellow Field Day participants know it means twenty eight transmitters using auxiliary power. W3AO has done this a number of years and this year, operating “portable” as W1AW, continued the tradition of putting as many people on the air as there are ways to transmit.

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There were fourteen HF stations in the main tent, and the GetOnTheAir(GOTA) station, too. Two of the fourteen were RTTY. The rest, CW and phone on 10,15,20,40,80 and 160 meters.

The antennas.

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For HF, a mix of yagis and beams in two roughly parallel lines spanning the fields. Layout was made to eliminate interference. There were wire antennas for 80 and 160 meters.

VHF had their towers set up around their operating tent.

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As for those satellite guys.

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They contacted the Space Station early the first day. Rarer these days, since the current residents aren’t as active on the air as the former Canadian astronaut was.

We had lots of visitors both days, and lots of interest, including a remake for the ten year anniversary of the LAST BIG FIELD DAY, by ARVN.

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We also get quite a bit of interest in how well we feed our operators. After all, we enjoy spoiling them.

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One of the Saturday lunch platters.

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The sloppy joes.

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The fruit, cookies and brownies.

Many, many people contribute. Here’s a partial list.

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Yes, W3LPL brings two miles of coax. And, quite a few of his “spare” antennas.

KE3Q brings one dozen “rocket launchers” on a trailer. We have computers at every station. These guys are simply amazing. If you have a disaster in your area, you just need to call on them to help with communications. These two clubs can set up towers, crank up the generators, set up comm stations and be ready to assist.

And, we have lots of fun during field day. Even if they are all a bit competitive. Hi Hi.

More tomorrow. When KD4D gets enough sleep to give us the total contacts.

W1AW/3 aka W3AO

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It’s Field Day weekend. The weekend each year that my husband joins about 100 fellow club amateur radio operators, friends and family at a local school field to exercise their radio operating skills in remote, or portable, or emergency conditions. You all know the phrase, practice makes perfect. So, once a year the USA and Canada conduct this weekend event. Putting radio stations on the air all over the two countries.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). For Field Day the Columbia Amateur Radio Association and the Potomac Valley Radio Club get to use the national organization’s call sign W1AW portable 3. We in MD are in the “3” region of the country. The headquarters is located in New England, the “1” region. Since we are licensed to use their call sign for a week of the centennial, we will be using it for Field Day.

Instead of our usual club call sign. W3AO. I did a series last year on our Field Day. W3AO is extremely organized, competitive, yet one of the nicest groups of people you could ever meet.

Today about 30-40 of us were out there setting up the towers, antennas, laying coaxial cable, and getting ready for tomorrow.

A few fun pictures of set up day.

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Generator. Check. Air Conditioner. Check. Say What? Air conditioner? Yes, when you bring all the generators and have built them for us, you do get to bring your own portable unit to keep the VHF tent THE PLACE TO BE when it’s 90 plus degrees out there.

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Working on the power to the main tent.

Then there’s our solar unit, to get those points.

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We also have the satellite tent being set up with all their equipment right outside their tent flap.

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They were on the air late this afternoon using our club call to be sure everything was set up. The rest of the radios and computers will be set up tomorrow.

This was a really great group. All eleven bases of the AB-577s, the crank up towers, were in place in less than two hours.

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Being level is important.

Coaxial cable was all in place before six pm today. We spent less than 10 hours out there today. Tomorrow it’s just a few more hours of radios, computers, power up and check out, before beginning on the air at 2 pm local time.

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How many miles of cable do we use? Answer tomorrow.

As for all the planning, a small group does so much of it. This picture is one of my favorites from today.

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K3RA, Rol, who gets us all organized, with his XYL, Audrey, who is in charge of feeding us all. After all, we know an army marches on its stomach. Along with Jim, N3KTV, seen above unrolling cable, they keep us focused and busy getting prepared.

Time to shut this down and sleep before the fun begins. Come visit us at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School tomorrow. We may put you on the air, as W3AO. I think I will operate our Get On The Air (GOTA) station. After all, W3AO holds all sorts of records, and this year the GOTA station is using that call sign, while the rest of the club uses W1AW/3.

The New Blogs in Town

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Howard County has been blessed with some really interesting writers, particularly when it comes to food. Using hocoblogs and HowChow as my go-to sources and my morning coffee accompaniment, I get what is happening in and around the area. And find new things to cook. And to blog about.

Like my latest finds in the food world.

Three Beans on a String. A fellow LFFC CSAer who loves to cook and takes amazing photographs. I met Elizabeth at Petit Louis Bistro, at a hocoblogs party there. I regularly read her posts and envy her photography skills. Her food looks great. I bet it tastes that good also.

The Unmanly Chef. Love the name. Jessie from hocoblogs sent me a link. HowChow had him guest post today. I see from that post we are both customers of Friends and Farms. And, I have to get my hands on these skewers, highlighted in his kabob post. I also need to try the egg in my kofta.

The Bare Midriff. Yes, Elizabeth’s blog isn’t new, just new on my regular reading list, that I just updated. I have been reading her blog for a while, but haven’t written about it. We met at the Gadsby event, another hocoblogs get together.

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Next month we have an event planned at Secolari, my favorite place for olive oil, seasoned salts, vinegars, and of course, that awesome Pappardalle’s pasta. More on the event later.


Now, it’s nice to see more company on the food blogs column of hocoblogs. Bon Appetit!



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