The Canadian Organic Growers Ottawa Chapter hosted the Eco Farm Day 2012 Conference in Cornwall this weekend (Feb 25, 2012).
We drove up to Cornwall (normally a 90-100 minute trip, this one took over 3 hours). The winter storm was quite bad and there were over 20 vehicles in the ditch from Brockville to Cornwall. We took it nice and slow, sometimes hitting 40kph on the 401 highway, but made it through OK.
The conference started Saturday morning with a keynote speaker:
Steve Beauchesne of Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.
The company story was very inspirational to the point that we started searching their distribution list for a local supplier… and we found a good dozen! Check out their beer and the company itself. An awesome ethical business model!
There were four streams of talks throughout the day, so Kim & I split up to cover more of them. A local food lunch was provided, delicious as always… but without descriptions. They really need to describe some of these dishes!
The trade show room was also very good. We had plenty of opportunity to stop and talk to all of the organizations there… plus a small sample from Beaus as well!
The drive home went MUCH better, except for the large mountain of snow at the end of the driveway… had to park on the road and walk in!
A great conference all in all. This was our 3rd time there and the diversity of talks was great.
Archive for February, 2012
The Canadian Organic Growers Ottawa Chapter hosted the Eco Farm Day 2012 Conference in Cornwall this weekend (Feb 25, 2012).
Last night, Saturday Feberuary 25th, 2012 we got home late, could not drive into the driveway due to the too high snowplow created ridge and had to stop outside on the road. On the walk in, we actually looked up and saw beautiful clear skies and the conjunction in the southwest.
After a quick run up and down the driveway clearing it, putting the van away, the camera and tripod came out to take a bunch of images of this Moon, Venus and Jupiter conjunction. This particular image was the best of the series, 0.5 second exposure on the Canon Powershot A540 and a tripod.
The moon is 2.8 degrees away from Venus.
Monday evening 2012 February 20, it was not too cold, it was clear, and we were not too sick from colds and flu. So outside we go to find Venus low in the southeast and Jupiter a little higher up, over the house.
This is a 2 second exposure at f2.6 and a 5.8mm FL from the little canon powershot A540 on a tripod. It is always nicer, or at least makes a better photo for human interest, to have some foreground objects in the frame. In this case it was late enough in the evening to get some of our trees in the shot and a little bit of the house roof.
A little later that evening, Kim spotted a slow moving light in the north moving west to east so we swung the camera around for a 15 second exposure and caught the International Space Station going by. It tends to got by for a few weeks at a time, with one or two really good overhead passes, which tend to be the brightest as well.
Brian Burt of Burt’s Greenhouses on propogating sweet potatos from cuttings and
Ken Allan, author of Sweet Potatoes for the Home Gardener dishes up the dirt on how to grow these babies successfully.
Refreshments and lots of fellow gardeners to hang out with.
Updated: As it turns out we could not make this event due to weather. Still undecided about if we will be growing these this summer and if so, how many.
Saturday was a good day .. not only did we get to see a nice aurora, we also came across this sun column near sunset on 2012 feb 18th.
“These phenomena associated with the sun are not particularly rare, but they are quite difficult to capture on film as they are not normally very prominent. There are usually caused by sunlight being refracted up into the atmosphere by layers of small ice particles just before or just after sunset. “
Unannounced, unpredicted aurora made an appearance on Saturday night, 2012 February 18th. We were on our way home and noticed actuall bright pillars in the north. By the time we had made it home, found the camera and tripod and got outside, this is the best shot we got.
The clouds were moving in, the aurora were diminishing and pretty soon petered out.
Also, the nimh AA batteries were dying off so we were determined to try out some of the new lithium AA batteries. Found a 4pack For $12 , charged them up and will try them out tonight.
The allsky laptop computer had a drive failure Friday around midnight. Since then we’ve been running drive diagnostics and repair attempts until just this morning it is back up and running again… just in time for nice dark skies near new moon. Too late for the aurora we had Saturday early evening though.
In this image you can see the two 24vdc dome heaters, the 12vdc circulation fan, the camera lens, the internal mask to hide local lighting and the dark fabric to reduce dome internal reflections.
The laptop is now 8 years old (circa 2004) and its 40gb drive is nearing end of life to be sure. So, time to start looking for a smaller, less power hungry netbook to replace it with.
L&A HortSoc (code for Lennox and Addington Horticultural Society) met last night (Wednesday February 15th, 2012) at the new location, the Napanee FireHall Training Room.
We set up the room similar to last month, with a table up front in the middle for the president and guest speaker, another over to the left to handle the membership coordinator and secretary, and one over to the right for handouts and information.
The table at the back was set up for snacks and treats.
We also heated up the room last night as some folks were a little cold in January.
Our scheduled speakers could not make it so the President, Hildegard, stepped in and talked about succulent plants.
19 people were in attendance.
It was announced that the Annual Plant Sale would be held at the Market behind Napanee Town Hall on Saturday May 26th, 2012. This will be held in conjunction with the regular biweekly Farmers Market at this site.
Sisters of Providence Heirloom Seed Sanctuary Workshop
Sat. Feb. 18, 1-4pm – Seed Saving Basics
All are welcome, refreshments included, no fees but donations are welcome.
Heirloom Seed Sanctuary Barn, 1200 Princess St in Kingston
The Kingston Astronomy Outreach Network (KAON) held an open house/public observing session last night at the Queen’s University Ellis Hall Observatory.
It’s always a good night when you are on your way home with a glow … We had fun last night and that is what keeps us coming back month after month.
At the KAON session there were approx 60 people at the lecture (07:35-08:30) and another 10 up on the deck for a grand total of 70 folks.
Out on the deck were two grad students, and nathalie up in the dome.
Susan Kim and Hank had other scopes out and I did a lot of Walmart style greeting at the deck entrance along with Paul and Rose-Marie who stuck around to chat people up. It was cold! but not cold?
-13 or -15 but little wind for a change and once you acclimatized it was not bad at all.
We had the fitzgerald out, the 20cm mainstay telescope. Last night was a three planet night. Venus low in the west, Jupiter high overhead, and Mars was up high enough to clear the fence by 20:30pm. Had we thought to look a little earlier, we would have caught Uranus as well, now about 2 degrees away from Venus (already! remember it was only 20 minutes away on Thursday night).
We passed out a lot of the new RASC moon gazer guides as well as other moon related material that we have generated in the past.
For the first time in simply ages! we had time and weather and temperature and no clouds all at the same time.. enough to go outside and take a quick peak around the skies.
Venus was in the southwest with Uranus less than 1/2 degree away from it. We spotted it quickly in the 20cm dobsonian telescope.
Jupiter was high up in the south with Callisto off to one side and Io, Europa and Ganymede on the other side.
Mars and the Moon would be rising together in another hour or so but it was cold and windy and we packed it in as it was getting to be a late dinner.
We also worked on the LX200 and the new netbook computer connected to it.
The old computer blew a hard drive that we could not replace so it has been out of service for the last two months.
Software was installed for the Meade autostar suite from the LPI camera disk.
Time to move up to the DSI camera. Ran the install software from the DSI camera, installed the huge GSC catalog, the dotnet framework and then the camera drivers. it removed the lpi drivers first then installed the dsi drivers. It completed, rebooted and restarted. We hooked the DSI camera in, had to install the serial-usb adapter software as well and presto! Up came autostar suite. We confingured the usb-serial adpater for com2, told autostar suite com2 and connected to the telescope. Yay
Then we asked it for the DSI imager.. It is hard to tell if the (used) camera works or not. There was a lot of noise that moved around in the live view. We tried various exposures, no change, no image. Maybe it was broken?
Replaced the DSI with the old LPI and lost connection to the telescope as well.
Rebooted the computer, got telescope connection back but only errors and no live images when bringing up the lpi imaging software. Bummer. Venus is now almost behind the house.
Remove the LPI put in the DSI and try again. Now there are a bunch of errors and no live image. Arrg.
turn it all off, pack it up, go inside and have a hot drink.
Maybe try again inside with the cameras.
From what I could tell, using the meade autostar suite v3.18 that came with the DSI camera, we should be able to control the telescope AND run either of the cameras.
So I have a new machine at work to setup. It came with windows 7 on a 1tb drive. We ordered another smaller drive (250gb) to have the operating system on and use the 1tb drive as a large data drive. In the past I routinely connect both dries in the same box, boot from linux fedora live cdrom, go into a terminal and run the command
dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb
Which routinely clones bit for bit the first drive to the second drive.
Now for the fun part. In the past this has almost always been going from a smaller drive to a larger drive. After the successful copy, I would remove the small drive, boot into Gparted cdrom and manually resize non-destructively the partition to fill the entire drive.. or at least make larger.
For the first time I am going the other way.. larger to smaller drive.
Trying it out of the box failed with a “not enough room” error.
I noted that windows 7 can non-destructively resize itself under certain conditions so I booted into the 1tb drive windows 7, told it to shrink itself down to 200gb and it did in a minute or so. There were two other partitions on the drive, a small 100mb boot partition? and a larger recovery partition at the other end.
Ran the dd command thinking that it would only copy the existing partitions and no the new, large empty space created by the shinking partition in the middle. and in about 5 hours it was done without errors.
removed the 1tb leaving the 250gb drive in place, boot and it does start up and windows does start to work… then fails, reboots into its repair options and we cannot get any further, as the repair options to do not work either. I suspect they are looking to a spot farther up the old large drive in the partition table.
oh well.. that idea did not work. reformat from scratch and reinstall!
1. ORGANIC VEGETABLE GROWING WORKSHOP by Janette Haase
Explore how one can transform one’s diet to one that is local and seasonal without moving to the country. An efficient and productive backyard garden, a simple cold storage area and a commitment to cooking what is local can send you well on your way.
When: Thursday, February 16th, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Where: Sydenham or Kingston (TBA)
Cost: $60 (plus HST) includes a copy of my book, From Seed to Table
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 613-376-9849
2. SEED BASICS WORKSHOP by Cate Henderson
The first in the series “Saving Seeds for Sustainability”. All welcome Saturday, February 18, 1-4pm
Heirloom Seed Sanctuary Barn, behind the Motherhouse at 1200 Princess St. Kingston 613-544-4525 x 124
3. Grow a Row
Here at Loving Spoonful we are in the planning stages for another Grow a Row campaign.
What is Grow a Row? The purpose of Grow a Row is to encourage growers (both full-time farmers and backyard or community gardeners) to grow an extra row of food for the express purpose of donation to emergency meal programs.
What does the campaign involve? Loving Spoonful staff and our volunteer Grow a Row Committee collect donated food at the Downtown Farmers Market from June-October, deliver food to 18 agencies that feed their clients, maintain the Acorn donation garden, and preserve surplus produce in our community kitchen workbees. The campaign starts off in May with a seedling sale and launch party and wraps up in late October with a harvest party and fall cleanup event at the Oak Street Community Garden.
Why is Grow a Row important? Food costs are on the rise. In 2011 the price of fresh produce rose 16% from 2010 prices – making the purchase of healthy fresh food beyond the means of many Kingstonians. Grow a Row makes more fresh produce available for low-income members of our community. Last year we collected over 7000 lbs of fresh produce through the Grow a Row campaign! By preserving some of the donated produce that comes in during peak growing times – think tomatoes in September – we are able to extend the amount of fresh local food available to meal programs beyond the growing season.
How can you get involved? There are many ways to participate in the Grow a Row campaign, and we encourage you to engage in the way(s) that suits you best.
For the green thumbs:
Plant an extra row or container in your garden and donate the produce. Register your garden at any point and then drop off food at the Downtown Farmers Market Tues & Thurs from 2-4:30 or Sat from 11-4:30 and join the total
Help maintain the Acorn donation garden at Oak Street Community Garden, or help maintain the donation plot at the Community Garden where you have a plot
Champion Grow a Row in your workplace by joining the Workplace Challenge – prizes for the workplaces with the highest levels of donation and participation per employee!
For the non-gardeners:
Consider purchasing a Community Shared Agriculture share or produce from market vendors for donation to Grow a Row
Volunteer to collect food at the Downtown Farmers Market and/or deliver donated produce to meal programs
Lend your expertise to help with publicity, fundraising, outreach and event planning
Please help make the 2012 Grow a Row Campaign our biggest and best yet!!
For more information about Grow a Row or to get involved please contact info[at]lovingspoonful[dot]org or call 613-546-4291 ext. 1871.