Wednesday, March 20, 2013

#travel2013 - Baton Rouge

#travel2013 is going well so far!  My second trip of the year was to Baton Rouge (with an overnight stop in Meridian MS - I'd never been to Mississippi, so it counts!) with friends for their engagement party.  This is going to be another photo post, so I hope you enjoy the captions :)

View 2013 travel in a larger map
If you can handle a 9 hour car ride with a smile, your marriage is off to a good start!
I think it's really cool to see where your friends grew up.
At the engagement party.
My first crawfish boil!
Chicken, 2 kinds of sausage, spices, and the veggies you see here.

I love this picture, and I think I might put it in my kitchen.
It was SO good!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

garden to do list

March is halfway over, but this is my to do list for the month. It's mostly for me, but if you're in Chattanooga and wanting to do some work outside, this gives you and idea of the types of things that are helpful.

• Pick up sticks. I live in the woods, so this is a pretty big task. (Completed 3/18/13)
• Burn Sticks. I love a good bonfire. (Completed 3/18/13)
• Trim ivy off the trees in the woods. Now is a time to do this, before it gets snakey.
• Check the areas I cleared ivy from last year, and any boarders it would creep in on. (completed 3/25/13)
• Pull ivy further away from the garage. I have a TON of ivy, and a large lot, so I tackle one new space each year. (Completed 4/6/13)
• Plan the veggie garden.(Completed 3/25/13)
• Fertilize the day lilies, & rhododendron.
• If there's time, start pulling grass from the side yard. This is a place I want to be just moss....I am not a fan of mowing the yard in the summer, so I'm letting Mother Nature do her thing here.

It's too early to start planting or mulching, so just general upkeep and maintenance type work is what I'm trying to do. Now's a good time to start weeding before things get out of control.

Hope you're enjoying the wonderful weather!!

Editors Note:  This post will be updated with completion dates as I go along.

Friday, March 15, 2013

march bloom day 2013

Hey everybody!  It's the 15th of the month, which mean's it Garden Blogger's Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens.  This is the only 'link party' I tend to do on a regular basis, and it's because I think it's cool to see what's blooming all over the world.  It's open to everyone, so you don't have to be a garden-only blogger to participate.  Even if you're not a blogger, its neat just to check out the links and read some cool blogs.  For me it's been a great way to meet new bloggers.  When you're done here, check it out.

So here's a little bit about me & my yard before I start showing you pictures.   First off I'm in Chattanooga, TN which is now Zone 7a. (map & how to find your zone) A little over a year ago I moved into my great grandmother's cottage house.  To make a long story short the yard had been neglected for the past 20 or so years.  When I moved in my strategy was to document what survived the neglect & when it bloomed, figure out what my growing conditions were, and come up with a plan for this year.  Other than some general maintenance, and I stuck to the plan and I'm looking forward to working outside this spring!

And here's what's blooming in my yard today!

The best surprise last year were the spring bulbs.  They're back again, but not quite with the same gusto since it's been so cold. I have Daffodiles and hyacinths blooming right now.

My grandmother calls these little plants "Blue-Its."  They carpeted my yard last spring, and the first ones just showed up this week!

The vinca minor is in full bloom right now, and I LOVE having the purple flowers in my yard and beside my driveway.  It looks so cool at the base of the trees, and mixed in with the monkey grass.   I was worried that when I cleared the ivy from my side yard that I took too much of the vinca with it, but enough survived that there is a pretty cool effect with the moss & the purple vinca.

All of this is pretty, but what is really thriving right now are the Christmas Roses (hellebore).
The first planting I did this fall when I hit my year mark were hellebore in my rock garden.  These came from my parent's house, and they are happier than I have ever seen them.  Apparently a little mushroom compost goes a long way!

I had to use my phone's front facing camera for this shot.

I had hellbores scattered around the yard last year that never bloomed.  I fertilized some of them, and lo & behold, they're blooming this year.

This Rhodadendron only had one flower last year.  It's been fertalized and mulched, and had some new growth last fall.  I'm not sure yet if this is a bud forming, or more new growth.  But either way it's pretty and means I've been doing something right!

The weather is still cold here, so there is not much else blooming.  I looked at my post from last year, and we're definitely behind.  The trees are only just starting to bud, the tulips are weeks away from blooming, and the spider warts & hostas haven't shown up yet. Oh well, it gives me something to look forward too.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a walk through my yard!  I know these garden posts may not interest a lot of you, but they're helpful to me, and I hope it gives you an idea of the kinds of things you can grow in your yard if you so desire.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

a Gig is a Gig no matter how you use it

Yesterday I ran across this article on Google Fiber from Slate Magazine on Digg.   The gist of the article is that a Google Fiber is cool and all, but people aren't really using the Gig.

A gig is power...literally.

Farhad Manjoo was nice enough to talk to me on twitter last night.  I think he really wanted to know how we use a Gig in Chattanooga, and I don't think know I didn't do a good job of explaining how we are using fiber, because as open as he was, he didn't seem to get it.

I think the point he was trying to make is that a Gig isn't useful enough for me to pay for, or we don't use it to it's fullest potential.  Well yeah, I don't run a business, and honestly I don't even have Netflix. But that doesn't mean I don't use a Gig, or that it's not important in my day to day life.

How I use the Gig

I rely on the Gig, every day.  Every person who uses EPB for their power is connected to the Gig network. Chattanooga's Fiber is the foundation of our smart grid that redirects power to minimize power outages.  Problems are now detected instantaneously.  This triggers a chain of events that includes calculating new power distribution paths, identifying which smart switches are effected, and pushing out the necessary changes to the switches in the smart grid.  This all happens in about the time it takes you to blink twice.

Think about that. Blink two times fast.  Now think about the fact that my house has not gone longer than that without power in the 2 years since I moved back in Chattanooga.  It's pretty awesome. If you're not impressed, know that since I've been back, we've had 2 different tornado carrying storms.  One of which was widespread and deadly.  Think about how much data the 600 square mile smart grid had to upload and download during those storms.  We used the Gig to its full potential, and I was directly affected.

You can call me weird, you won't be the first, but it's incredibly cool to experience a power outage now.  The power doesn't flicker.  It goes off, then almost immediately comes back on.  You don't panic the moment the lights go out. If the lights stay out, the problem is close and legit.  Be impressed.  This is a bigger deal than I can put into words.

See, the Gig actually translates to power in Chattanooga.  On a fundamental level, its all just getting electrons to move.  We're using fiber to move power, which moves data, to move power.  That's a LOT more useful that Netflix.

How other people in Chattanooga use the Gig

We (not me specifically, bc as I said, I don't even have Netflix) also use fiber in the way Mr. Manjoo was looking for in Kansas City...and then some.  Our Gig is a symmetrical Gig, meaning we can upload information as fast as we can download it.  This is crazy important when you think on a server center type scale. Not being the hold up in the exchange of large scale data is extremely valuable.

Companies like Baynan have moved to Chattanooga to help facilitate the exchange of large amounts of data, in their case, between research institutions.

We're also the place to test products of the future.  We're not going to be the only city with these capabilities for long, and testing here now means faster rollout down the road. Events like Gig Tank are encouraging this phase of development

How I think the Gig is going to change things 

It's funny how what is old is often new again.  Think about batteries, and battery backup.  Batteries require physical space to store energy, and as such, most of us don't think about a battery backup for our computers if the power goes out.  When you reduce the majority of power outages to seconds rather than minutes or hours, a battery backup suddenly makes more sense again.  I'm sure server centers have something like this to cover the time before a generator kicks on, but think about how this idea becomes marketable to the general population.  Auto Save is good, but we all know it's not *that* good. There's potential for a new product that is directly dependent on the power of a Gig.

Other things that are talked about a lot in Chattanooga are real time computations and collaborations.  Everything from moving medical imagery, to disaster relief and alerts.

There are a lot of ways to use a Gig, and for me, today, the way I use it everyday is power.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chattanooga Whiskey Update

I knew a long time ago that I would never work in government.  Everything just moves way to slow.  But it does move.  This is my third post on Chattanooga Whiskey, what it tastes like, and the process they're going through in order to actually make the product in Chattanooga.

Chattanooga Whiskey knew when they started this process that it would be a challenge, and one by one they seem to be jumping over each hurdle.

  • The first hurdle was making a good whiskey.  Check.  
  • The second hurdle was bringing it to market and seeing if there was a demand.  Check.  
  • The third hurdle was getting the Hamilton County community & government on board with allowing a distillery here.  Check.  
  • The fourth hurdle was getting a House Bill 102 through the TN House State Government Subcommittee.  CHECK.

The next step is a full committee vote, and to be honest, I don't know how many more votes are necessary after that before Chattanooga Whiskey can actually start making & aging whiskey here in Chattanooga.  What I do know is Chattanooga Whiskey has cleared each hurdle in stride, and I think they are on their way to making whiskey in Chattanooga and opening the doors for others to do the same.


Friday, March 1, 2013

(Re)Discover Chattanooga - Chat'O Brasserie

To understand this review, you need to know a little about me.  I'm 31, single, and I'm settling into living in my first house.  Reading in between the lines, what I'm really trying to say is that I'm a single income family with some grown-up type expenses.  Also, I'm an honest person, and so are my reviews.  With all of that out of the way, lets talk about Chat'O.

First the good things.

I love the layout and the atmosphere.  It's classy, relaxing, and I've never felt rushed in any of my meals.  It's formal, but I've never felt out of place in my version of night-out clothes (I'm a jeans & a cute top kind of girl).  I've been a few times, once for drinks, once for dinner, and once that ended up more tapas style.  The wine selection is great.  There's variety, and a standard for quality that you would never get at a more run of the mill restaurant.

The bad things.

It's expensive. The food is good, but it's not great.  There is a lot of diversity build into in the menu, and I can tell they spend a lot of time putting it together.  I've had some things that were amazing, and some things that didn't impress me as much. (Every piece of duck I have eaten fell in the amazing category btw.) Unfortunately, there are other upscale restaurants in Chattanooga that I know I'll love anything that comes out of the kitchen.  Alleia being at the top of my list.

How I like to do Chat'O

My favorite way to do Chat'O is tapas style.  I like to take advantage of the first come, first serve, section of the restaurant near the bar.  There are bistro tables for 4, and a long booth that can accommodate larger or smaller groups.  The wine is great, and there is a nice selection of small and medium plates that can be shared.  I am perfectly happy with a glass of wine and the meat & cheese plate.  You can add a salad, or any other the other appetizers, and it's a great way to catch up with friends over a meal without breaking the bank.  If you're thrifty keep an eye out for coupons, they're not opposed to putting them out there.

Chato Brasserie
200 Manufacturers Road ~ Chattanooga TN 37405
(423) 305-1352 (reservations preferred)
website ~ Facebook

Mon - Thu: 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm,  
Fri - Sat: 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm, 
Sun: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Chato Brasserie on Urbanspoon
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