Paul’s annual report

September 1, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

For those fellow backyard gardeners that remember the beginning of the growing season where I stressed about bears, squirrels, pestilence, and poachers, I have good news.

Our harvest has been over the top good.

While last year Mr. Bear took for himself our peaches and broke our trees in the process, this year I solved the problem by installing an electric fence around our tiny little 4-tree orchard. That fence, plus a bumper crop year of wild apples available to all the wildlife that wants them have kept the bears out of our prized peaches.

In fact, we had so many peaches our grandson, Henry set up a sidewalk stand selling 2 peaches for $1. He made himself $40.

And tomatoes? OMG. This has been the finest year for McGowan Organics.

Just look at this beast of a tomato that will within a few minutes be consumed as a single meal for me and Terri: tomato, basil, mozzarella, balsamic, olive oil.

I think we died and went to heaven.

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90 comments on “Paul’s annual report”

  1. Is that yellow thing a tomato? I was thinking that it’s a great colour for a speaker.

    Paul’s post is about growing things, and the FR-30 has been growing on me. After a little reflection, I think it’s tremendous.

    On the other hand, the house villain CtA has been muttering on about the expense (who gives a s**t? They look great and what’s 25 grand?), what else you could spend the money on (give it to starving Ethiopians), his new Neuman KH-310 speakers and and measurements.

    I think his comments simply illustrate that we are all different, but some of us (I suspect most of us) like a thing of beauty because we are aesthetes and live in a world that is more than merely functional.

    If someone left a brand new a pair of Neuman KH-310 in my music room, I would throw them out the window if my wife had not yet attacked them with a claw-hammer. She’s like that with things that offend the eye. Form and function, milk and honey, …

    Paul talked last week about getting some bookshelves for first reflections. You can get bookshelves from IKEA, infinitely prettier than Neumann speakers, but still ugly, and they will hold books. My left-side first reflections will be absorbed by bookshelves that cost almost as much as my speakers from Utah, which no doubt offend will CtA because of their cost and beauty. But, hey, it’s my money, and I give a bit to Ethiopians.

    Paul and his team, working with their industrial designer Myles Hammond, have come up with a speaker that is striking and I have no doubt will be very attractive to many, and they will buy them online, without measurements, without even reading Mr Kremer’s gushing review. They will be delighted and so will their other half.

    There will be a few folk with their stethoscopes or whatever they use to measure and test speakers, moaning and groaning, mostly to an audience of one.

    The FR-30 may even become available in Colorado Tomato Yellow.

    1. I’m surprised an Englishman doesn’t read well and uses curse words. There’s always one hooligan.
      Those Kh-310 are in my office and they sound terrific. The appearance is appropriately bland, uninteresting. I don’t have to look at them. Just listen when I’m working.
      Beauty is local.
      My point with money is different. As I said, Paul’s speakers are industrial pretty but they are already old. They are inert and dumb. Modern speakers adjust to the room and don’t require many boxes in front of you to inflate your ego. This is why I mentioned Kii and D&D.
      Paul’s speakers are targeted to an old audience. His decision, his business analysis.
      Some people like 911s, others like Teslas. I prefer Taycan.
      Don’t be so angry.

  2. No garden or fruit trees at this apartment building where I currently reside. However, I have the album Eat A Peach by the Allman Brothers Band on SACD.

  3. First, a bit late, thanks JosephLG for the link of the FR30 photo.
    If only PSA would realize how good they will sound and look in my room. They probably would send a pair to my house for free (the black version, please).
    And how do we judge a speaker, generally speaking. Well, some stupid folks, like me for instance, just listen and don’t care too much about measurements.
    For others, like OMG (our measurement guy) listening is not the most important thing. We are different.
    On topic : is that yellow/orange thing a tomato…? You could have fooled me.
    I can only hope mr. and mrs. McGowan will be among us tomorrow after having eaten this “thing” from another world. But reading the last sentence… 🙁

      1. Hmmm, glitch in the system. Initially I got a duplicate post message even though nothing showed up on my screen. I backed out, cleared activity, and did a hard reboot. Now two similar, but non-identical replies show up. Oh well (part 2), the Dept. of Redundancy Dept. will doubtless approve.

  4. Yesterday we were all electrified by the FR30 news. Today we learned the bears are too.
    And we all know (watch Discovery Channel folks) ) they have acute hearing (twice as sensitive as humans),
    so if these furry but grumpy animals are happy, they (the speakers) must be pretty darn good.

    1. jb4,
      I suspect that there are a few ‘furry but (&) grumpy animals’
      who comment & reply on this site.
      Should we assume that they will also have acute hearing?

          1. Except for what was on my head I am not that hairy. Some of the guys I played high school football with looked like baby gorillas by the time they were 16 years old. 😮

        1. They are the questions to ask to figure out what kind of cyclist he/she is.
          They are not parts, they are choices.
          It is like asking an “audiophile” tubes or transistors, vinyl or digital….

  5. Paul,
    Photographs of the crossover(s) & schematic drawings (at least 2 different angles) of the internal
    (“Chris went bananas”) cabinet bracing for the FR-30’s would be very desirable…asap

    1. FR,
      Such photographs and drawings would be fascinating, I’d love to see it as well, but could be considered ‘in commercial confidence’ or as Paul may see it, ‘too much information’. 😉

      1. Eventually the CCP will order a pair of FR-30’s.
        Then they will strip them down & copy them using less
        costly parts & sell them for US$5,000 a pair; it’s inevitable.

        1. “There is nothing that a man can make that another man cannot make a little bit cheaper and a little bit [or a lot] worse. Those who care only about price are that man’s legitimate prey.” — source not remembered

  6. “Photographs of the crossover(s) & schematic drawings (at least 2 different angles)…”
    We all long for that.
    After all, a picture is worth a thousand listening sessions.

    1. I saw on a short documentary that African farmers are placing bee hives along the perimeter of their fields to keep hungry elephants away. Apparently the elephants really dislike the sounds of their buzzing and stay away. Plus, with some training and care, the farmers can harvest the honey to supplement their income.

  7. Paul, you may have the tomatoes sorted, but I worry about the mozzarella. Is it that nasty stuff in vacuum packs? I can recommend a trip to the Baroness Bellelli at Tenuta Seliano. It’s next to the Paestum temples in Campania, the mozzarella centre of the world. Not far from Colorado. About an hour south of Naples, hence probably why mozzarella is favoured for pizza. Anyway, the family estate is lovely, they have about 600 buffalo, olive groves, train horses and a pool. She is a famous cook and runs courses at various times of the year. There seemed to be a million ways to prepare mozzarella, but my favourite was at breakfast about 2 or 3 hours after the milk left the buffalo. It has the look and consistency of a lightly poached egg. The next step would be to acquire a herd of buffalo.

    1. A few times I flew from Naples to Milan after my work ended there. The first time I was surprised at all the Milanese carrying little boxes with them to the airplane until I found out they were carrying that day’s mozzarella.
      There are some glorious places in Milan that will serve same day mozzarella too. Not many tourists eat there. Just the extremely dressed Milanese.

      1. Production of many food products are regulated around Europe, as is mozzarella production with buffalo milk in Campania and two or three neighbouring regions in southern Italy. Elsewhere it is made with cow or goat milk.

        I can see Paul as a foodie-tourist in Europe. It’s a great way to plan a trip. We even managed such a trip in western Spain in 2018.

        I have no recollection of eating well in the USA, other than a Mexican-type place in Cameron, Arizona. Otherwise, I think the highlight was The Cheesecake Factory in SF. Hot exactly haute cuisine, but fun. I’m not surprised Paul home-grows. Probably keeps him alive given what else is on offer.

        1. That is such an arrogant and condescending attitude! Maybe you did not know where to eat.
          I have been to El Bulli in Spain and many of the star studded Michelin restaurants in Europe (and some even in the UK too). And some French Michelin’s were over the top in style but not in “content” (food taste). My tongue and mouth was my measuring device here.
          The Bulli experience was unique. I went with a friend of mine who is friends of the chef and was taken to the kitchen for private drinks before being seated. When we left, they gave me an autographed copy of one the books.
          A great restaurant is a great restaurant.
          If you think a Cheesecake Factory is a great place in America, then you have poor friends over the other side of the ocean.
          Why are you so angry today?

          1. We are not foodies who tick off “star studded” Michelin restaurants. The joy of France and Italy is that is is difficult to have a bad meal and quite easy to have a really good one. My wife does the research, my tip is to check in to a good hotel and then go to the concierge and ask where he would take his wife for dinner. That has worked many times. My wife also has the unerring ability to charm tables at impossible restaurants without a reservation, for example Amazonico in Madrid on a Saturday evening.

            Our idea of food-related tourism, such as Agriturismo like Tenuta Seliano (it has a lot of American visitors for the cookery school), which are very popular and often very cheap because they are in the countryside, is to stay in a restaurant/hotel in lovely places. My favourite in Spain, which was not cheap, was Atrio in Caceres, which is architecturally stunning, in the most beautiful old town miles from anywhere, has 14 rooms (we stayed 3 days), an astonishing chef and restaurant and not a celebrity in sight (except the chef).

            On holiday last week we were in a hotel that recently lost its chef and on the third night we were having take-away fish and chips (it was excellent). Not to be defeated, my wife got us a table at The Three Chimneys, where you normally have to book 2 months ahead. It’s well worth a visit.

            1. We are clearly not into hoarding Michelin stars. We do prefer traveling through the villages of Italy, and somehow less frequently, France. We do find the food there in general amazing.
              One of my nephews from Sydney is actually a chef. He worked in Petrus in London and now in some fancy restaurant in Sydney. He is a great cook. He is a foodie!
              My point was not about foodie. My point was that ti is not fair to paint all American food based on your experience. You can have good and bad food everywhere. Just look at Venice. It is hard to have good non tourist food there. And the average American diet doesn’t help much, but you can eat well almost everywhere. But as your wife does with you, you have to be a little careful how and who you ask in a place you don’t know.

          2. ‘CtA’,
            You didn’t use science to measure
            the taste of the food at these eateries??
            I find that very hard to believe.

            “arrogant & condescending” you say?
            Are you looking in your mirror again while you type your drivel?

              1. “CtA has been working hard at being cordial”?
                I beg to differ.
                However, I will respect your request & leave him &
                his arrogant & conceited ways alone from now on.
                Cheers ✌

  8. Nice Tomatoes (brandywines ?) and peaches (white flesh or yellow flesh ? ) Paul. Growing and harvesting your own fruit and veggies can be pretty therapeutic and rewarding….

    Nice looking speakers also. Bumper crop year 😉

    You got one over the bears this year. 🙂 Remember they never give up…

      1. Does Terri know you were fondling her tomatoes? ✌️ 🙂
        Nice looking variety. How’s the taste?
        I’m overwhelmed with a plum variety from Greece. But they freeze well and make a great base for sauce.

  9. While those beautiful Peaches are still firm, cut them in vertical slices and drizzle them with a bit of minimum 6 year old Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar. (Don’t even bother trying this without authentic Balsamic Vinegar), It won’t be worth you time. This is one of the best desserts that you will ever eat and it can’t get any simpler. I use Nectarines but Peaches should be very close in taste. In Italy fresh Strawberries are used but I adapted this classic desert and I think my twist of a fruit swap tastes far better. Anyone can do an A/B comparison without test gear and measurements. After all, we have five senses not just sound.

    Now I got the impetus to hit the local Farms in my area to prepare some authentic Gazpacho for dinner. It would probably go great with some of Paul’s famous Sourdough Bread 🙂

      1. The Italians make a stronger alcohol called Grappa and some folk make it at home because it uses Grain Alcohol.

        My friend made a giant fish bowl of Grappa with Apricots floating inside and they macerated for four months. Then they use a small ladle to take out enough to pour a small glass for you. Incredible!

        Please do not use cheap imitation Balsamic which is made from caramelized Sugar and Vinegar. It’s never going to taste the same.

        1. I’m familiar with grappa, balsamic vinegar much less so. I mostly use vinegar for cooking, either white (all the life distilled out of it) or apple cider varieties but I’m going to see what’s available locally and do a bit of research. Thanks for the tip!

          Edit: Apricots n alcohol sound like a concoction I could grow to love!

          1. The real stuff is expensive and can get incredibly expensive the older it’s barrel age. You could get a small bottle of six year aged for around $20.00 but you use very, very little and you can adjust as you go. Worse comes to worse spend $4-$5 and buy the imitation Balsamic at a supermarket or Italian grocery and if you like the taste you can always become an aficionado.

            Another thing the Italians do is take down a shot glass of real Balsamic Vinegar.

              1. Boy would I love to. My goal in life is to meet Massimo Bottura and eat at his newest restaurant which is rated as the best restaurant in the world. This is the second time that he has won this award for two different restaurants.

  10. I love the smell of Peaches in the morning, reminds me of victory . . . . . …. . . .

    Lightning never strikes twice…

    But my electric fence bearly worked .. . .

    There’s something I love about electric fences

    But I can’t put my finger on it

  11. That’s a great looking tomato Paul! I’m glad you had a good growing season. Your method of tomato consumption sounds good but I can’t help thinking what a great single slice BLT that’d make!

  12. Paul,
    We live in the canyons of the SM mountains. The temperatures these last years in the long summer have become unbearable. Even though we are just a few miles from the ocean, and at 600 ft elevation, the temperature during the day easily gets above 110F. Many of our vegetables have suffered from sun/heat burn.
    Also, since the Woolsey fire caused the emigration of coyotes, we have too many other vegan creatures around. Racoons, squirrels and giant field rats eating everything. The drought has also made them desperate for green food. Our tomatoes, peppers, peaches, apples, etc., have all suffered from unintended feeding of them. We still managed to eat beets, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupes, watermelon, three types of potatoes, and lots of herbs grown at home. Unfortunately, very few peaches survived. Lots of apples for compotes and pies.
    The life of a gardener is tough. My missus watches Monty Don every Saturday to get inspiration. Have you seen him?

    1. CtA, I am sorry about your terrible climate situation in the west. The current situation here in the east is that we are waiting to see if Ida brings us our entire normal September rainfall in a matter of hours. We just had Henri dump record rainfall ten days ago. The stark contrast between record drought and wildfires versus record rainfall and flooding makes it clear that nature still rules over mankind.

      1. The last year I spent in New Jersey, I got 10 days of hell due to some storm that caused lots of loss of power. Trees down everywhere. And it was cold. Fortunately, we had gas and my neighbor let me use a little of his power from the generator to run the furnace.
        Here the combination of heat, drought and still impact of the fire of three years ago makes everything worse. I forgot to mention the invasion of “rabbits” as well. Ugly monsters that eat anything green and whose poo kills the leftover grass. Almost went second amendment on them.
        Wet in the East, burning in the West. What world are we leaving to our children?

        1. Could it be that ‘Mother Nature’ has had enough of
          us f#@king up the planet for the sake of our comfort,
          convenience & our ferocious quest for more money?

          Surely not.

  13. I remember my childhood when during part of the year we grew and harvested our own vegetables: corn, green beans, okra, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, strawberries. We had an apple tree that I would climb and eat the apples around me until I was sick. I would raid the neighbor’s peach tree like an unwanted bear. In blackberry season we would go out on country roads and pick blackberries and redberries that grew over the fences on the sides of the roads. Mom canned (Bell jarred) whatever we could not eat or give away. Sometimes when we were tired of ripe tomatoes she would serve us fried green tomatoes–which is nothing more than not-yet-ripened tomatoes covered with corn meal seasoned with salt and pepper and pan-fried in vegetable oil. Fried okra and fried onions were prepared similarly. As you might conclude, I grew up in the South (USA) where fried foods were common, and we washed everything down with sweet tea. Mom baked biscuits made from scratch every morning. In those days we never heard of mozzarella and olive oil. Chinese food was also an unknown. Other than spaghetti, the closest we came to Italian was Chef Boyardee’s box pizza kit, and we thought Chun King’s frozen boil-in-a-bag chow mein was real Chinese food.

  14. ‘Good fences make good neighbors’ or maybe just angry bears…

    My wife and I are looking forward to finally (almost 3 years in the making) to moving into our new home mid Oct (Clark), yet the builder chuckled when my wife said she wanted to plant some veggies and such…

    guessing you don’t have a dog?

    btw Paul, if I haven’t mentioned before, I really have enjoyed viewing your videos and reading your posts, and have learned a thing or two along the way- thanks

    1. Congrats on the new home! Tell your wife there are some good ways to keep the critters out of her garden in addition to Paul’s electric fence-though that is without a doubt the best for larger things. Most animals have an extremely sensitive sense of smell so use that against them. One I’ve used to good effect is shavings from a bar of Irish Spring (any smelly brand will probably work as well) soap spaced every 4 or 5 feet all the way around the garden. Some say moth balls work though I haven’t tried them. Some of the shall we say “more woodsy” gardeners advocate human urine. I’ve no wish to test that one but it would probably work. Your builders suggestion of a dog is a pretty good one, sometimes. The last outside dog we had didn’t care what came on the property as long as it wasn’t a cat. I doubt anything short of a greenhouse is going to work 100% of the time. Again, congratulations on your new home and tell your wife I said “Happy gardening”.

      1. Thanks for the suggestions!

        My dog thinks she is a yard dog; chasing down the squirrels. Unfortunately, the only ones she’s caught up to are the ‘squirrels with a white stripe’

        I’ve have to give that one suggestion ‘a go’…

  15. Nothing like fresh tomatoes added to my grandma’s famous spaghetti sauce. I make the Italian sauce and meatballs to die for. My grandmothers recipe from the old country. I make it great without the meat too for the vegetarians.

      1. I’m working on it Paul. I know it’s possible because Burger King makes the Impossible Whopper possible. I have not tried that veggie burger yet but I will one of these days. Paul have you tried the Impossible Whopper?

  16. Isn’t it the idea to taste like meat without actually being meat? For meat lovers who want to cut out the animal meat without losing the taste. I suppose there’s an argument to be made for either side depending on whether you want it to taste like meat or more like a vegetable. I have not tried the Impossible Whopper or the Beyond Burger but I will do the taste test soon on both.

    1. Yes, it is the idea for the companies that make these. As many people know, the environmental impacts on animal production are huge: fresh water, feed, methane, etc. In fact, animal production for meat is on par with automobiles as an abuser of the environment. In any case, the holy grail to these manufacturers and many environmentalists would be to make meat from plants and to do so in such a way as to be acceptable to meat eaters. This would help save the planet. Animals are a very inefficient source of food.

      For vegetrians like me I have no interest in eating meat regardless of how it is made.

  17. I am going way out on a limb here to talk about something people to not want to talk about or even here about. It seems that almost everyday I here someone say this is what we need to do to help save the planet. I am now going to talk about what really needs to be done to save the planet.

    Because there have been comparisons made between today’s pandemic and the “Spanish” flu pandemic of 1918 – 1919 I researched that pandemic. One of the things I learned was that 100 years ago ( give or take a few years ) the world population was estimated to be 1.5 billion people. Today world population is estimated to be 7.5 billion people or five times what is was 100 years ago. Now, a noticeable portion of that increase was due to people like Paul and I – Baby Boomers. If you take out the BB effect, world population is growing at about 1 billion people every thirteen years.

    Various estimates by various experts put the sustainable population of the world at 4.5 billion ( conservative ) to 9 billion people ( optimistic ). What is clear to me ( a retired scientist ) is that all of the major problems we have ( food supply, clean water supply, energy supply, pollution, deforestation, and perhaps even climate change ) would be less sever if we had 20% fewer people. So how are we going to peacefully stop population growth.

    So here is some local good news. The US birth rate per couple is 1.7. That means that without immigration ( legal or otherwise ) the US base population is shrinking. So where is the world population growing the most. Here is link to the world population over time by regions. You can see for yourself where the growth is. You need to scroll down about one quarter of the way down to see the graph of population growth by region from 1820 to 2019.

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