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Wednesday 29 October 2008

Vista - a true Halloween story

The old computer started giving up the ghost a few months ago, and the problems kept getting worse and worse. This last month, I broke down and decided that it was time for a replacement. I shopped around a little for a gently used machine, but didn't find anything that I wanted to hold onto for the next several years. So I started watching the Sunday ads. About a month ago, a local store was offering a basic back-to-school computer that would do what I needed for a very reasonable price. So I went over and came back with a box.

I used to think that those John Hodgman commercials where he plays the PC to the young guy's Mac were just dumb. Now I know that they are not only smart, but accurate. When it looked like Vista wasn't going to support a lot of software and hardware that I had accumulated over the years, I thought, 'No problem; I'll just install XP". I'm here to tell you that Vista does not go gently into that recycle bin. It took me a full two days to get it off the hard drive. And when I installed XP, I found that the manufacturer of my new computer had made no provisions for supporting anything but Vista. My new computer would now drive the monitor, the keyboard, the mouse, and that's it. No sound, no CD, no DVD, no USB, no nothing.

So Vista went back on, and I've been carefully moving what I can from the old computer to the new one. Tonight it looks like I may have gotten my blogging software transferred (if you're reading this, you'll know I was successful).

For the most part, it hasn't been too bad. I've had to replace some the of branded stuff I was running with open source software, which has kept the dollar cost of conversion down, but I still have to take the time to learn the new program. Vista is an OK operating system, I guess, as long as you've never had a computer before.

Categories: News from Louisville

Saturday 04 October 2008

Pilgrimage to Joe Huber's

Today we made one of the required fall trips for people in this area - a visit to Joe Huber's Family Farm and Winery. When we got there, we hopped aboard a tractor-pulled trailer out to a green bean field to pick green beans. I learned a lot about green beans this morning. The plants grow low to the ground, which is not convenient for me. When you pull back the leaves, you will see two kinds of green beans - the young, tender, and delicious green beans, and the old, tough, and less flavorful green beans. Since the only green beans I've ever seen in the grocery store have been the latter type, I wonder where all the good beans go. Well, today at least some of them ended up going home with us in our cooler. They are so good when you eat them the day they are picked, just like the produce from our tiny back yard garden.

But there's a downside to all this eating of fresh local foods that we have been enjoying this summer, and it's that summer is very soon coming to an end. And fresh local foods will no longer be available. I fear I'm going to get cranky and whiny when I have to go back to eating canned and frozen foods.

Anyway, you're not reading this to hear about my problems. Back to Huber's. Old Huber came to Indiana from the Old Country before our Civil War and started an apple orchard in Starlight, Indiana. The Huber family has maintained the farm for over 150 years, expanding it into beans, pumpkins, a restaurant, a winery, bakery, cheese shop, and a big fall festival. (It was 1967 before they discovered that city dwellers were dumb enough to come pick their own beans, saving the Hubers significant expense.) They also make fudge and dip caramel apples right before your eyes. After we got our green beans, buckeyes (another midwestern delight - they are made of chocolate and sweetened peanut butter, then shaped to resemble the nut of the buckeye tree), and fresh caramel apple, we headed to the restaurant for what's called "country cooking". Nothing fancy, but satisfying (the portions, as in any other restaurant, would easily feed two or three people). It must be noted that the service was extremely slow. Then it was over to the winery for a tasting. All their wines are grown and made right there and they are quite generous at the tastings. If you plan on visiting for a tasting, I'd recommend that you either have a driver, or plan on sitting down and eating something for a while after the tasting, if you don't want to end up like the guys in "Sideways". They have a little bistro area where you can do this, and it was filled with patrons in a, let us say, convivial mood. We got some Indiana cheese, and finally went to the bakery and I got me a rhubarb pie. Not strawberry-rhubarb. Rhubarb. I don't think you can get those anywhere else than Indiana.


After we left Huber's, we went down the road to Stumler's Orchard, where they were having a festival with u-pick apples and pumpkins, several vendors of stuff, an antique gasoline engine meet (that was really cool!), a kiddie tractor pull, a band, an RC airplane fly-in, and helicopter rides. It was all fun, although I wasn't too sure about the wisdom of having helicopter rides and an RC airplane in adjacent airspaces. But the kiddie tractor pull was one of those Why Didn't I Think of That? moments. Apparently they've been around for at least ten years, but this is the first one I've seen. The kid sits on a pedal tractor, just like any other pedal tractor, and it's hooked up to a sled that is a miniature version of those used in real tractor pulls and appears to work on exactly the same principle. The kids are classed by their weight, and pedal like crazy. It's really a hoot.

Categories: News from Louisville