In our yard in Oakland California, we have a section that was a sodded lawn when we moved in, but with the drought we stopped watering it. It’s now is a mixture of Oxalis pes-caprae (invasive clover), some “normal” grass, and a few other weeds. We’d like it to be more lawn-like without using that much water, California native, but still something we can walk on. After doing research and posting to the California Native Plant Society on Facebook, here are the options that I’ve found, in no particular order:
Carex pansa or C. praegracilis. These are bunchgrasses. Bunchgrasses normally would be too, well, bunch-y to walk on, but these two species tend to fall over and create a wavy effect. There seems to be some marketing confusion with these two, with a lot of what is sold as C. pansa is actually C. praegracilis. A downside is that it does not produce a lot of seeds so you have to buy plugs; I haven’t found a clear mail-order source.
Festuca rubra, Red Fescue. This is a more “normal” fescue grass, but slower growing and lower maintenance. Needs cooler weather. Description by UC and seeds by Larner.
Lippia repens aka Phyla nodiflora. Multiple recommendations for this one from Cal Native FB group. More of a groundcover than a grass, but can be walked on and sounds very tough. There are more than one article indicating that it is difficult to control and can easily spread beyond where you want it.
UC Verde Buffalograss. This is a patented strain of Buchloe dactyloides developed by UC Davis/Riverside for “hot dry climates . . . uses up to 75% less water than a traditional fescue lawn . . . intended for full sun locations and elevations below 2000 feet.” That quote is from Takao nursery in Fresno which is selling it by mail, has clear pricing and detailed instructions. There’s also non-patented B. dactyloides. Takao says “UC Verde has a finer texture, later dormancy and earlier emergence and it is also a nearly seedless variety” as compared to the non-patent version. It is native to the Western US but not California.
Agrostis pallens or “seashore bentgrass” or “dune bentgrass”. West Coast Turf says it is for cooler temperaturs and “withstands light foot traffic. It requires half the water of customary turf and half the mowing and maintenance. It can be mowed or be left to flop.” In many pictures it looks a little spiky to be something to comfortably walk on, although in this LA times story there is a more inviting photo and a landscaping company says “This is our No. 1 selling native grass.” A commenter from FB says “Works well as lawn, but will brown out at base if you let grow it too high and thick. But it is so nice to sleep in on a sunny day. Works well as a mown lawn if you follow the maintenance instructions.”
Delta BlueGrass Co. has a good selection of native grasses as sod. Although I want seed, not sod, I consider it a vote of confidence for certain species that people are growing it in large quantities. Their “Native Bentgrass” is Agrostis pallens, “Delta Grassland Mix” is drought-tolerant native mix of Red Fescue, Deschampsia elongata, and Koeleria macrantha. “Native Mow Free” is a fescue combo that is mostly native but they make no claims about lower water use for it. Larner has seeds of all the Delta Grassland mix: here’s D. elongata and K. macrantha.
I work from home, and I wanted to have a standing desk. I also wanted to be able to share the room with my wife, and I didn’t really need a large desk to set lots of papers on. I just needed a keyboard, and a monitor, and maybe a place to set a few things.
So I got this ergotron desk. Or I guess it’s not really even a desk, it’s just a thing to hold the monitor and keyboard. After spending six months of it I can confidently say that it is working well.
My one complaint to Ergotron was just in their mounting directions for taller people; I think I would have mounted it a few inches lower. In the directions it said if you’re taller that you should raise it a few inches beyond their standard recommended height. But I think the recommended height (I can’t number what it is right now) was correct even though I’m 6’1″. The CPU holder is also not meant to hold a laptop, but I put in a book as a spacer and it works fine.
I ended up getting a drafting chair. initially that was because I mounted too high. But I might have gotten it anyway, it is nice to be sitting up higher so that I don’t have to raise and lower the screen as much when switching between sitting and standing.
The shelving and the self watering pots are all by IKEA.
As I was heading out on an errand yesterday, my 1996 Subaru Outback’s handbrake button broke apart. Part of the button I lost — and the remainder didn’t have enough threading to put back on. That button is not a thing once can buy on the internet anywhere, so I fixed it by gluing in new threading.
I made an open source quiz/flashcard application for learning German vocabulary. You can see it here on the Play Store, or download it from F-Droid.
The word list is decent, but could use improvement. You can get a read-only version of it from this Google Sheet. If you want to change one or two words, it is probably easiest to email me those changes. If you want to do more, great! The app could use more useful sections and groupings of words, either using the existing word-set or adding more of your own. You may want to email me so I know what you are doing, just to coordinate if more than one person is working on it at once.
The word list was created by Neil at http://germanvocab.com and is based on Jörg Tiedemann, 2012, Parallel Data, Tools and Interfaces in OPUS. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2012).
** Update 5/22: it turns out that there is a bike nav sign at this intersection heading south, but it is set back about 200 feet from the intersection, so it is not very visible. Consider moving it closer to the intersection. JMM**
This is a request to Oakland Public Works to put in a bike nav sign on E 21St Street for southbound bike traffic, indicating that there is a bike route going uphill on 21st Ave. I frequently blow past that turn because it is unmarked. This is, as far as I can tell, the main bike-route way to get from downtown to the Dimond district, so I would imagine it would say “Dimond 1.6 mi”. You probably want to also label continuing south on E 21st St, although I’m not sure what the “destination” would be going that way (Foothill Blvd? San Leandro?). Video below at the intersection describing the issue further.
This is a curation of white and ambient noise, all from freesound except for the first one made by the open source Android app Chroma Doze. Citations and credits below the break — some have creative commons limitations, please check the freesound citation.
If you are a strong student and want to attend a liberal arts school, Eckerd has some amazing scholarships and really offers about the same academic experience as more prestigious schools. Check out the Academic Achievement Scholarships. I got the equivalent of one of those in 1994-1999 (they let me stay on for one more semester to round out a double major), and graduated essentially debt-free. I also had a lot of fun, tried a bunch of stuff, and got a cool job right afterward (and eventually went to a top 10 law school).
I’ve always enjoyed the Bay Trail, on several occasions riding SF to Berkeley or the reverse. This weekend I rode from approximately Fruitvale BART to Hayward BART, going through MLK regional shoreline, Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline, and Hayward Regional Shoreline, and I brought my camera. When I’d ridden the trail before I’d often stopped to read the informational signs about birds, and I was surprised that I was able to photograph pretty much all the common birds I’d read about, plus several more. And a bat ray.
I recently did my first recording for LibriVox, which is a site where volunteers read public domain works. I wanted to contribute to a short science fiction collection, and it was challenging to find a work that hadn’t been read already — not because there aren’t any, but because it involves looking through lists of stories on Project Gutenberg, then and searching for each one in the LibriVox catalog. “This is what computers are for,” I thought. So over the last week or so, I created a mashup site of the two catalogs, so that one can search the Project Gutenberg site and show what LibriVox recordings exist already, plus estimated reading time: http://xenotropic.net/gutenovox/. It works pretty well, but there are a few limitations.
My Kindle 3 started freezing a few minutes after I booting up. This started after I ran the battery down completely; but the battery appeared to charge fine, and swapping batteries did not fix it. Following the advice of this blog post from SiliconFish, I ordered a couple of broken-screen Kindles from ebay ($10 including shipping for the paid).
Swapping the motherboards is pretty easy. Pull the back off gently. You can do this without any tools, just bend a corner, gently and gradually, until the back pops out at that corner. Then peel the back out, again gently and gradually, and all the clip-points will pop out. Remove the two screws holding in the battery and remove the battery. Continue reading Swapping Kindle Keyboard (Kindle 3) Motherboards or Screen Assembly→