My Latest Obsession

In my second summer of gardening, I'm thoroughly enjoying it. This year, in addition to tomatoes and peppers. Ted also gave me some beans, watermelon and pumpkin. And I also had zucchini. The pumpkin was weird. The vine grew like crazy all over the back of my house, but then died for some reason. I ended up getting one pumpkin, about the size of a 16" softball. It was green when I picked it, but as it's been sitting on my counter, it's turning more orange. I picked one small watermelon and there are a couple more still growing. I haven't yet cut it open to see how it looks or how it tastes. The tomatoes have been reliable. I planted some miniature red peppers and I like eating those the best. There are a lot of green ones out there now, so I think they tend to come a little later in the season than the tomatoes. I got a few good size zucchini. However, after I picked them, the plants seemed to die. Since I think I planted them too close together, I ended up pulling them out last month.

Now however, I'm thinking about what's next. I had a bunch of lettuce plants in one of my boxes. After it got hot, I noticed that the lettuce tasted pretty bitter. So I was mainly letting them grow to get the seeds, which I ended up not harvesting. Oh well. But in their place, I planted some green onions. They went in the ground on Labor Day. Yes, that seems pretty late for planting, but I feel like we're getting longer growing seasons now. The past winter wasn't really that bad and this summer didn't get blazingly hot. Of course, this is just my own judgement. I haven't consulted any tables of temps in Chicago. But it seems like climate change is starting to affect things. With the hurricanes this year and crazy high temperatures in San Francisco, I think we've reached a tipping point. So, if our winters aren't as cold, perhaps we'll have a longer growing season. Again, I haven't quantified any of this, but I'm planting now because I feel like it's a good idea. Today, I also moved some pea plants and lettuce outside. We'll see if those take.

So, my latest obsession is to try to garden year round. Now I don't think that we won't get any snow, but I feel that it might be workable for growing. I need to build a greenhouse of some sort. I tried a cold frame last year, but that didn't really work with my simple box and plastic window on top. I think if I were to use two pieces of glass (my own double-pane window) and perhaps put some thermal mass inside the greenhouse to collect the heat during the day and distribute it at night...I may be able to grow stuff year round. I've been spending most of the afternoon looking stuff up to see how I might do this. And it's another crazy idea, that I totally would like to try.

Merge Three Files into One Using Command Line

I have three pdf files that I want to merge into a single file. But I don't want the three files to be on three separate pages. I want one big page with the three files all there.

First, get the sizes of my files:

$ identify PusherDisc32017.pdf 
PusherDisc32017.pdf PDF 1224x792 1224x792+0+0 16-bit sRGB 58413B 0.000u 0:00.000
$ identify PressBlockShort32017.pdf 
PressBlockShort32017.pdf PDF 1224x792 1224x792+0+0 16-bit sRGB 51523B 0.010u 0:00.000
$ identify LongPressBlock32117.pdf 
LongPressBlock32117.pdf PDF 1224x792 1224x792+0+0 16-bit sRGB 49860B 0.000u 0:00.000

So I want my final image to be 1224 x (3x792) or 1224 x 2376. Now make an empty image that size. I'm using a white background.

convert -size 1224x2376 canvas:white hold.png

Now, one at a time, merge the files together:

$ composite PusherDisc32017.pdf hold.png out1.png
$ composite PressBlockShort32017.pdf -gravity center out1.png  out2.png
$ composite  LongPressBlock32117.pdf -gravity south  out2.png  out3.png

Now my file out3.png has what I want.