Maggie also
If you find yourself unsure

...find in your memory a child.
Stop for a minute to explore
what that child feels about the subject.
Then let the child say it loud and certain
again and again
beaming and glaring
until it's done.

Maggie also
Found Object

I could rave about the pre-shunk soft wool sweater.
I would speak quite publicly about it if you knew me any better.
Instead tho, I wish I knew the name
of this young dame.
I'd sing about the hottie,
an outspoken young stranger complaining 'bout her body.

Shame is something she brought to free clothes
(in five or ten minutes as these things goes)
I wanted to help her to see
She carries the grace of Alicia Keys.
I wanted to say whatever is weighing down your bum
is no reason to get size extra large considering you are medium.

I hope you get to continue your college
and find friends who tell you "flaunt it"
I hope you have self knowledge
and stop letting shame taunt it.
Your 80's funk should make you proud of thee.
And never shrink or cower in this "clothing ministry."

Maggie also
Laundry Day in Tennessee

"Gotta love those McDowell Street people. All of those people still hanging out their clothes." Someone said one day. When asked about actual names, there drew a blank.

Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Maggie also
February Suntan

dapple on my neck
sun kissed nose.

I spend a day
in the sun
outside in February.

Digging bulbs
planting stolen

No crime as noble
as spending
in the sun.

Maggie also
Going to Free Clothes!!

The devout among us call it by the name on its door - the Clothing Ministry, while the rest of us just refer to the warehouse of free clothing in Bristol VA as the "free clothes."

Regardless of what we call it, I have decided to go there this morning for my fashion needs. It's been at least six months since the last time I went there. I can't wait. I will post about my finds.

I am down to my literal last dollar this month since I paid a 400 dollar enrollment fee for my Graduate school. I read once that most people in the middle class today don't have an extra 400 dollars for a rare or unexpected occurrence like a dental problem or a car break down. Somehow I magically am able to live extremely below the poverty level, yet I can pay the fee. Magic!

The money disappears one way or the other. Personally I like choosing education.

As my beloved sister pointed out the other day, there have been lots of essays lately about how people are throwing away money to get higher degrees nowadays. My sister says she always thought the more education and travel you can get seems to enrich the life.

Up until a couple days ago I was chatting pretty heavily with a man in India who ended up wanting me to convince my siblings to give him money. That was my limit. So now I am not chatting with him anymore.

I went to my Cali brother about that relationship. My brother reminded me of something. He didn't know it. But all of this, these days have reminded me of something.

Family matters a lot to me. The reason has always been vague as "we share histories" or "they don't ditch me when it gets tough."

I have been with this stomach bug lately, lost 7 pounds in 4 days, regained 2 finally when my body remembered to be resilient.

I have had people in the world try to worm their way into my family's intelligence, through me, the obvious weak link. A family got so close to me I almost thought they were family. But they threatened my Tennessee brother and repeatedly asked me what he did for a living like their lives depended on knowing.

I drew the line then, again, knowing that family is important to me.

My mother is stretching her income for me so I can go to grad school. We live together and our beans and rice are bought together. She says I am "earning my kombucha" but I am not sure. Yesterday I help a lot in the garden. We salvage the bulbs from an abandoned house. Noble seeds.

Sometimes distance helps a part of the family. I remember when my Dad went to DC the first time and we had to start catching up on the phone. It also meant making a high school me talk. That was incredible. Still to this day my father is a sounding board for me.

No family actually matters more than "a lot." If I had a crappy family, that would be one thing, but I don't.

I lucked out on family.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Perfect packing snow
Snow fun

I've been waiting and waiting for the perfect packing snow all winter. Finally, it fell!

So I borrowed the neighbor kids for sledding, snow-man (and -dog) building, and (their top choice) ornamental snow-cupcake creating. Despite being slightly derailed by a snowball fight, fun was had by all for the cheap price of a carrot (for a snow man) and a brownie (for the kid whose nose was hit by a snowball).

If spring absolutely must come, I'm now ready. I wouldn't mind another few white-outs in the interim though....

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Big red truck 2018
Ford F 150 1997 red.

We finally found a good used truck on Craig's list that was not too far away.

It's a 1997 Ford F-150 with 122k miles.

Big thanks to our neighbor Tony for helping to evaluate the road worthiness and to test out the 4 wheel drive. It was his idea to counter offer 2500. It has a little surface rust and the AC stopped working but has some new parts along with new tires.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
First Ohio maple syrup
Maple syrup

We picked just the right time to tap the sugar maple just outside our back door. Twenty-four hours later, the two-gallon bucket was nearly full!

When tapping in Virginia, I couldn't taste any sweetness in our maple sap, but here the sugars are more condensed and are evident even in liquid straight from the tree. After boiling down a gallon and a half of sap, we ended up with half a cup of quality maple syrup. Just in time for Mark's weekend pancakes!

futures of distributions

Seems Debian is talking about why they are unable to package whole categories of modern software, such as anything using npm. It's good they're having a conversation about that, and I want to give a broader perspective.

Lars Wirzenius's blog post about it explains the problem well from the Debian perspective. In short: The granularity at which software is built has fundamentally changed. It's now typical for hundreds of small libraries to be used by any application, often pegged to specific versions. Language-specific tools manage all the resulting complexity automatically, but distributions can't muster the manpower to package a fraction of this stuff.

Lars lists some ideas for incremental improvements, but the space within which a Linux distribution exists has changed, and that calls not for incremental changes, but for a fundamental rethink from the ground up. Whether Debian is capable of making such fundamental changes at this point in its lifecycle is up to its developers to decide.

Perhaps other distributions are dealing with the problem better? One way to evaluate this is to look at how a given programming language community feels about a distribution's handling of their libraries. Do they generally see the distribution as a road block that must be worked around, or is the distribution a useful part of their workflow? Do they want their stuff included in the distribution, or does that seem like a lot of pointless bother?

I can only speak about the Haskell community. While there are some exceptions, it generally is not interested in Debian containing Haskell packages, and indeed system-wide installations of Haskell packages can be an active problem for development. This is despite Debian having done a much better job at packaging a lot of Haskell libraries than it has at say, npm libraries. Debian still only packages one version of anything, and there is lag and complex process involved, and so friction with the Haskell community.

On the other hand, there is a distribution that the Haskell community broadly does like, and that's Nix. A subset of the Haskell community uses Nix to manage and deploy Haskell software, and there's generally a good impression of it. Nix seems to be doing something right, that Debian is not doing.

It seems that Nix also has pretty good support for working with npm packages, including ingesting a whole dependency chain into the package manager with a single command, and thousands of npm libraries included in the distribution I don't know how the npm community feels about Nix, but my guess is they like it better than Debian.

Nix is a radical rethink of the distribution model. And it's jettisoned a lot of things that Debian does, like manually packaging software, or extreme license vetting. It's interesting that Guix, which uses the same technologies as Nix, but seems in many ways more Debian-like with its care about licensing etc, has also been unable to manage npm packaging. This suggests to me that at least some of the things that Nix has jettisoned need to be jettisoned in order to succeed in the new distribution space.

But. Nix is not really exploding in popularity from what I can see. It seems to have settled into a niche of its own, and is perhaps expanding here and there, but not rapidly. It's insignificant compared with things like Docker, that also radically rethink the distribution model.

We could easily end up with some nightmare of lithification, as described by Robert "r0ml" Lefkowitz in his talk. Endlessly copied and compacted layers of code, contained or in the cloud. Programmer-archeologists right out of a Vinge SF novel.

r0ml suggests that we assume that's where things are going (or indeed where they already are outside little hermetic worlds like Debian), and focus on solving technical problems, like deployment of modifications of cloud apps, that prevent users from exercising software freedoms.

In a way, r0ml's ideas are what led me to thinking about extending Scuttlebutt with Annah, and indeed if you squint at that right, it's an idea for a radically different kind of distribution.

Well, that's all I have. No answers of course.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
In search of high quality potting soil
White's Mill

It can be so tricky to buy potting soil off the shelf. All of the bags are covered with pretty printing...with no truth windows to show off the quality of the product inside.

The brands you can get at the big-box stores are notoriously hit or miss in quality. So I was thrilled to find high quality garden amendments of all types at White's Mill on the other side of town.

High quality potting soil

I splurged on small bags of two different brands to get an idea of their quality before making a larger commitment. At home, I pulled out a handful of each and was quite pleased with the texture and moisture level of both Fox Farm and Happy Frog. (I was even more pleased to discover that White's Mill's prices are less than half of what's listed on Amazon.)

Potting soil comparison

Here's a closeup view of the two soils side by side. Pretty similar! I potted up four lettuce seedlings into each type of soil and will report back if I see a difference in growth. But, at the moment, I'm guessing it would be hard to go wrong with either product.

Maggie also
Ant Tree

May your relationships be sustainable

and symbiotic.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Minisplit review: Three months in
Energy usage

"Is it too early in the year to post a review on your minisplit? What would you do different if you could have a do-over. Still on the fence on whether to buy one for this summer." --- Phillip

Well, we definitely can't report on the air-conditioning aspects yet, but I can give you a rundown on our minisplit's ability to keep our trailer warm. The really short version --- it works well until exterior temperatures get down into the single digits, but it's pretty pricey to operate.

The image at the top of this post shows three months of energy usage from last winter (a slightly warmer climate, but not by much, heating primarily with a wood stove) and this winter (in which the minisplit went into operation partway through the first month on the graph). The lower energy usage for the third month of this year is because I had so much sticker shock at a $300 electric bill that I kept the interior temperature around 58 to 60 most of the time during January.

Minisplit icingOther than energy usage, I only have a few things to report about the minisplit. Mostly it just runs --- yay! We're extremely glad we mounted it on the wall rather than on a pad on the ground because the defrost function creates huge icicles below it during frigid weather. (The photo here is only the barest edge of what happened later in the month, which I thought I'd photographed but apparently hadn't.) I'm not sure how even a well-drained, ground-mounted unit could keep going in the face of so much ice.

The thermostat on our particular unit is pretty terrible. The colder it gets outside, the less realistic the temperature we set on the unit is (as measured by a thermometer placed only a few feet away from the remote, which is where the minisplit measures air temperature). The settings also only go down to 62, which is a shame --- I'd really like a spot between that and off to use at night.

In terms of sound --- the minisplit is remarkably quiet. Now and then when ice is building up on the blade, you'll hear it more than usual for a few minutes. But, usually, it's a very dull hum from inside the trailer --- non-noticeable.

In the end, we're very glad we have an easy, moderately efficient electric option, but all electric heat sources are still energy- and money-intensive. We're looking forward to installing our wood stove before next winter, at which point I suspect we'll move to using the minisplit about half as much as we currently do.

Maggie also
Open Letter to King University

King University is indoctrinating students into hateful, anti-Muslim bigoted propaganda.
This morning I went up to enjoy a public concert of one of my favorite musicians. It was in the chapel, and guests were invited across the quad to share coffee with this amazing musician. At that point I was utterly thankful for the free concert. But then I noticed this. It flashed on the screen, so swiftly, I barely had time to read it let alone take it in.
A seed of hate was planted in the story of this nation in 2001. President George W. Bush pronounced that terrorists had attacked our nation with the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the "crash" in Pittsburgh. Many stories exist about the events of September 11th. It could have been a government plot. It could have been so many things. The majority on the plane were from Saudi Arabia, but it seemed a good reason for Bush to incite war with "jihad" and "Islamic" terrorism. We know that the twin towers didn’t blow up because of Islam. Saying that it is the fault of Islam is bigotry, just like it is bigotry to blame all Christians for KKK lynchings.

The word terrorism makes me scratch my head. I found on wikipedia that "Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror, or fear, to achieve a financial, political, religious or ideological aim."

Is King University, in indoctrinating young students to believe it is right to hate and fear Muslims, in fact the terrorism in the equation that we Bristolians should watch out for?

Of course not everyone reading this lives in Bristol Tennessee/Virginia. But we all seem familiar with the United States military. According to Friends Committee on National Legislation, the US puts 37.5% of its 2015 budget into current & past wars. US provoked and funded wars are the main major terrorism of our world today, just as it was in 2001 when Bush brigaded us into sweet beautiful innocent Afghanistan that had before than never known of terrorism. How long did it take before the propaganda was changed regarding "weapons of mass destruction"? Oh, our terrorist military leaders waited a while on that, until there was a new country to blame. And the United States is still causing terrorism (war) in Afghanistan.

What does this have to do with King University? My readers can ask Don Hudson that. His email address is

I don't have to ask Don myself. I know the well trained art of reading between the lines.

Maggie also
On Being Pastors in what we all do

In the rain
you can see
the flattened feathers
of vultures.

Sometimes bent
like the handles
of umbrellas
didn't work enough.

Today I see
a favorite musician
so near my home
it is a treasure.

These little free
wonders of being
here and now
of being who I am.

Today the big truck
of a neighbor
puts on his breaks
too late.

Thank goodness
I am on the sidewalk
walking back
from that concert.

It can be amazing
how mood can
shift from elation
to busted in one assault.

For me it was not the truck
but something
I read
on religion.

Walk careful tho.
Trucks are flying along
putting breaks on late
to make a macho point.

You may
lift voice
only so loud
against them.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Burr Oak State Park
Ice lichen

I haven't been regaling our blog readers with the fun activities we've taken advantage of recently, which doesn't mean we haven't been enjoying ourselves. Every Sunday, Mark and I are hitting each other with swords at fencing class. We visited (and learned about) the local Grange last week. And, on Saturday, Jenn met me at Burr Oak State Park for their annual winter hike event.

Rock formation

I was astonished by the turnout --- literally hundreds of people spread across four hikes. Jenn and I chose the five-miler and hung back so I could snag photos of beauties along the trail.

Honeycomb mushroom

We also got to talk to one of the Buckeye Trail Association volunteers while we walked. He's been experimenting with growing things on reclaimed strip mine land for the last seven years and I'm hoping to tease a guest post out of him on the subject. So stay tuned!

Maggie also
Ode to the Fearful

Don't be afraid of the city, little girl.
Keep running around with your shirt off forever.
Men and urban places can swallow their shame.
Never stop being brave.

Maggie also

Lock the doors.
Put barriers around your moats and moat your fences.
Draw the bridge and withdraw into deep numbness.

But your heart withers that way.
So maybe just leave the roof open for my helicopter.

Maggie also

Missing Melissa.
Wondering who else misses hearing from the sad poet.

Knowing there must be so many people.
Missing Melissa.

Listening to sounds that all humans make.
Come so beautiful, Emmylou meeting silence.

That is like her poetry.
Miss Melissa.

Maggie also

When I learned you were where you should not be.
When I heard you saying racist things against a people.
I knew it was ignorance.
But I am tired.
I am tired of your racism and double standards.
I am tired of your talking more than you listen.
I am tired of the disrespect and begging for patience.
So I draw a boundary.
Incompetent you might call my kind.
I see you looking in some mirror talking to yourself.

Maggie also

If you ever get asked again,
say "yes".

As if questions are black raspberries
hidden on the other side of thorns.

Pray to stay
unscathed yet.

Poked or unpunctured
keep saying "yes" next time.

Maggie also

Protect your little sisters well.

Every hillside could scrape knees.

Every puddle could drown her.

There she goes again.

Setting herself on fire

to warm someone.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
How to unfreeze a WISP antenna
Rime on a WISP antenna.

Turns out the rime is robust enough to block the signal on our WISP antenna.

After a full day and night of no internet I dreamed up a space heater on a 10 foot conduit pole.

It only needed a small section to melt before the signal came back.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Seed germination test in flats
Seed starting

Lettuce seedlingBefore the seed order comes the seed test to determine whether older packets still contain intact propagules. I ran some germination tests the usual way, but I went ahead and put herbs, kale, and lettuce in a flat for their trial.

I figured these guys could be set out starting about a month from now under quick hoops --- not so long to nurture tender seedlings indoors.

Sure enough, the lettuce passed with flying colors (72% germination --- not bad for uncontrolled conditions in a flat) and were potted up into little plastic cups five days after the test began. I'm still waiting on the slower sprouters --- they get one more week to attempt germination before I order replacements through the mail.

Maggie also
The Meanest People

I wrote this ages ago, when June was three.

The Meanest People

I live for the children

The meanest people

They grate off my skin

With a vegetable scraper

Drink my blood, one cup

I'm dead

Then they lock me in a cage

Of irony and blood and life

Maggie also
If you could be anywhere?

Today the world will open for you like a vessel parting water. Where will you go, where would you go, if you could be anywhere? What would you do if you could do anything.

Who would you accompany? Where is your heart?

Maggie also

I have met minds and felt graced by their magnificence.

I have met skin and seen bodies and felt the kinship of touching.

But today a homeless man touched me in a place where I needed memory.

My heart.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Pine rime

I love snow and ice and winter...and this move north has given me lots of each to apreciate.

Honey locust rime

This week, it's an up-close-and-personal invitation to dance amid rime.

Ice-coated pine needles

On the downside, rime coats our antenna and takes down the internet. So please excuse us if you can't call or email until the sun comes back out!

Maggie also
OM Love Poem

The sound of a little dog nibbling,

a cat rubbing her scent glands under her chin

up against some laundry box.

After those but before the school bus motor roar

there is nothing.

In that second of silence I remember snows.

Walking through a foot of snow

in fifth grade

to my Odyssey of the Mind team. OM

The outdoor elation of snow.

No school, the thrill of going into the empty school

on a white day.

Our adults had collected us like a snow person assembly

they turned their backs for a second

and there we were gazing out at the hushed blanketed school yard.

They tried tempting us into work ethic with hot chocolate and marshmallows.

We threw the little balls at each other.

We were the good kids.

They let us back out into the cold.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 484 special remote protocol extensions

The external special remote protocol had extensibility built into it for messages git-annex sends, but not for messages that the remote sends back to git-annex. To fix this asymmetry, I've added a new EXTENSIONS to the protocol, which can be used to find out about what new protocol extensions are supported.

There was the possibility that adding that might break some external special remote that hardcoded the intial protocol messages. So, I checked all of them that I know of, and all were ok, except for older versions of datalad, which we were able to deal with. If you have your own external special remote implementation, now would be a good time to check it.

Maggie also
Wise Words

Someone I care about told me to let go yesterday and I took the words deeply. I drank them like water. I breathed them as air. And now I am growing anew - letting go of any thoughts and conflicts that would have been barriers to keep me from where I go.

Maggie also

The wise man says I am a collection of my five best friends.
I change the subject.
I am sitting in his office
The bearded Ed
My eyes dart across the bookshelves

I don't know why eyes nest in books found
I guess they would constantly twitch
If they could not settle

Later this morning I wonder again who my five friends are
I run through friends in my mind like treasures
I have so many close and beloved friends
I even have sisters and brothers I think of the same

There is an irony that I don't know who they are
My mind flips the pages
My eyes find the text

Maggie also
Butterflies are Hope

butterflies are hope! poems might be closer to reality than reality the words butterflies are hope is pure truth

they live in my stomach

Maggie also
Butterfly Wing

Hope ribbon
I find your heart broken on the forest floor
little insect had flung her arms so high
I guess they broke when she reached heaven.
I too had lost my hopes.
I had seen heartbreak and known it well
But held tight to the thread at the end of my ribbon
And with all my strength I stitched that lego lace back together
With all my might I climbed so high again
In the forest sunshine
where I found you broken butterfly.
I know you will learn to float again.
I have faith.
Maybe I believe in evolution above.
I know you will soar somehow.
So I walk on re-homing your hope.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Deer eating honey locust pods
Deer eating honey locust pod

Our new core homestead is very rich in honey locusts. Despite the fact that our septic crew cleared several away while moving the trailer in, just as many big trees are left, and I suspect autumn will continue to see the ground covered in these big pods for the foreseeable future.

Books tell me that livestock and even Native Americans relished the sweet pod insides. And yet, they sat untouched on our ground through November and December and January.

It took a February snow to prove that
somebody finds them tasty. Sunday morning, a herd of deer moved through, carefully picking pod after pod off the ground. I guess the wildlife were just saving honey locusts for a midwinter treat.

Maggie also
Motivational Talk for Children

I was hanging out with Megan and Erek and their children today, getting ready to play another game of chess with Gabel. Megan found a piece of Gabel's homework on the floor and was explaining to Gabel why he might have been more effective if he had used the word "but" instead of "so" in something he had written for school.

Megan asked me if I agreed with her assessment of the homework, and I just basically nodded. There was a whirlwind of UNO and toddlers too, so I didn't get the presence of mind to mention my deeper opinion. Funny thing is though I actually do have a kind of story to tell on the subject.

Gabel seemed more interested in chess and after school activities and just obligingly answered the question. It reminds me of any people studying, really, even college.

When I started in college, though, I had a different kind of promise to myself. I decided to trick the system and actually enjoy answering the homework questions. Basically it worked.

I committed myself to writing all of my essays with genuine passion for the subject, and though I got burnt out at the end, and didn't have passion for a couple things, the goal was mostly a success.

Finding passion in homework is pretty easy when you have an open mind. I know someone like Gabel has the capacity for it, and so I wish I had told him that instead of shrugging.

Maggie also
We are only Dreaming

I don't know why I have been having incredible dreams each morning about 5 AM, before my 6 o'clock waking, but it might be because I started taking my medicines in the morning at 6:05, not 10PM or so at night before sleeping. I mention that because humans are physiological beings, and medications alter our state. So where I had been at the lowest dose of medicine just before 10PM, now I am at the lowest amount of medicine in me just before I wake, in that time of sleep when my dreams are so wild and real.

In the dreams I have been meeting and knowing people I have not met and do not know in this world. Maybe this sends shivers down your spine, but me? It makes me so happy. There are connections, good beautiful meaningful connections in this world where I go. I am glad that the world is out there. Maybe that is where my soul mate has been keeping. And maybe the space and time will arrange themselves so that we can find one another here on Earth. All of these wonderful, interesting, unique, distinct people with whom I have been enjoying time in the early mornings before waking.


I've created a new program, with a silly name, that solves a silly problem with devicetree overlays. Seem that, alhough there's patches to fully support overlays, including loading them on the fly into a running system, it's not in the mainline kernel, and nobody seems to know if/when it will get mainlined.

So easy-peasy-devicetree-squeezy is a hack to make it easy to do device tree overlay type things already. This program makes it easy peasy to squeeze together the devicetree for your board with whatever additions you need. It's pre-deprecated on release; as soon as device tree overlay support lands, there will be no further need for it, probably.

It doesn't actually use overlays, instead it arranges to include the kernel's devicetree file for your board together with whatever additions you need. The only real downside of this approach is that the kernel source tarball is needed. Benefits include being able to refer to any labels you need from the kernel's devicetree files, and being able to #include and use symbols like GPIO_ACTIVE_HIGH from the kernel headers.

It supports integrating into a Debian system so that the devicetree will be updated, with your additions, whenever the kernel is upgraded.

Source is in a git repository at
See the README for details.

If someone wants to package this up and include it in Debian, it's a simple shell script, so it should take about 10 minutes.

example use

Earlier I wrote about cubietruck temperature sensor setup, and the difficulty I had with modifying the device tree for that. With easy-peasy-devicetree-squeezy, I only have to create a file /etc/easy-peasy-devicetree-squeezy/my.dts that contains this:

    /* Device tree addition enabling onewire sensors
     * on CubieTruck GPIO pin PG8 */
    #include <dt-bindings/gpio/gpio.h>

    / {
            onewire_device {
                    compatible = "w1-gpio";
                    gpios = <&pio 6 8 GPIO_ACTIVE_HIGH>; /* PG8 */
                    pinctrl-names = "default";
                    pinctrl-0 = <&my_w1_pin>;

    &pio {
            my_w1_pin: my_w1_pin@0 {
                    allwinner,pins = "PG8";
                    allwinner,function = "gpio_in";

Then run "sudo easy-peasy-devicetree-squeezy --debian sun7i-a20-cubietruck"

Today's work was sponsored by Trenton Cronholm on Patreon.

Maggie also
The Crossover

The truth about me is, I applied to Children's program on a whim after already having submitted to the adult program. I always kinda wondered if I could be a Children's book creator - but I wondered it in the back of my mind. It sounds unflattering or conceited, but the application process took about an hour because I just used old stuff I had saved.

In between my acceptance a year ago and now, I have started painting and writing a lot more geared towards children. I started off thinking something along the lines of "If there is a chance I am going into that program I'd better actually do this!" So I started painting more and adding more painting in my life partially because I had an acceptance strangely and quite accidentally into a great and notable, beautiful, honorable, university.

So there was this imaginary line of distinction where my artwork and some writing began being generated because of inspiration not pressure to go forward with a MFA degree of higher learning. Eventually my self motivation would become like a freight train, as it is with poetry writing, which always was intended for adults.

This morning I woke up and started looking back at some of my vast files of poems, 37 of which have been published. Line by line I went through about 50 poems and put them in 2 piles: children likable, and not. So mentally, I am starting to do this work of the children's program, even though initially I had intended to be in the Creative Writing program.

So this is the month I submitted 400 dollars to Hollins University.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Call for chicken articles

Smartphone websiteHave you been looking for a platform? If so, you're in luck.

We've just revamped our Avian Aqua Miser website to be an information clearinghouse and are seeking guest bloggers to share their poultry-related insights there.

Why might you want to blog with us? We haven't been making regular posts on Avian Aqua Miser for two years, but the site still hosts about 10,000 visitors per month. Now that Avian Aqua Miser is mobile friendly and will be seeing a lot more new content, I expect our viewership to soar.

"That sounds like fun!" you might be thinking. "How do I sign up?"

Just email with:

  • A sample guest post based on these guidelines (but chicken-related, please!)
  • A paragraph about why you'd like to blog with us
  • How often do you plan to make a post?
  • Do you know how to use Wordpress?

We're only going to choose a few guest bloggers because we want to keep the quality high, so please don't be distressed if your application doesn't make the cut. And, if you're not interested in guest posting but are interested in chickens, I hope you'll check out the new site as it gradually comes back from the dead.

Maggie also

above our sunny stratosphere

ice cycles, falls a little heavier, and lifts up again

surrounded by azure sky a quality we've never known

Maggie also
Fate in Hands

Asked me why I love the river.
I've shivered in it's bank.
I have known a giving river.
I've seen it when it shrank.

I've slipped into a whirl pool
that brought me right back
to the same place I started
skiing on my back.

The river is the place
where I go for answers.
That much I know.
I find myself in it, my boat I row.

The Clinch is what makes this county
the Holston is what makes that state
you might think the mountains were first
I'm certain they came late.

Old mountains Appalachia
nooks unexplored every corner
the beauty of fire
the entropy of order.

Asked me why I love the river.
River laughed at the question.
I am the eternal abundant source she said.
I am the question and answer in one.

Maggie also

there's a beauty and purpose to html

like the uncapitalization of bell

that hooks you when you read my code

so perfectly invisible as if written on the wind it blowed

Maggie also
The Shape of Fire

Nouns line up as frozen water falling down a mountain.

Landscapes collecting in my mind like poems.

Old shadows finally leaving that tied dog we passed.

When the bed went up in flames I missed the moment.

But I caught outer skin of it creasing like a wound.

Then the people started dancing out, so it was ok.

Maggie also
Come to the Land of Idunno

I go to the land of entropy.

Flames engulfing voices

crisp sticks snapping between us.

By the river turquoise

we see the heron in the field waiting

to take in more sun.

In these counties

hopes soar and sail

bringing me back home.

Maggie also
Eclipse Swimmer

How is painting? Painting is a liberation of emotions. When I paint a little thing it can come out loud, vibrant. A dot can capture these feelings. So when I stippled a swimmer, a couple entries back, I got asked by my brother to paint something for his wall.

So I was working on this yesterday and Mom comes in and tells me something about how "stipple swimmer was so inspired." I am working on a deadline to give this painting to my brother, and I hear in my Mom's words that she isn't sure about this half done painting as stipple swimmer. So I paint in a yellow bikini (no longer pictured) and give up for a while.

Big paintings are hard work! They can completely drain my emotions and energy in general.

Eventually I paint over the yellow bikini with white and continue the attempt.

Not sure if I could do large scale paintings every day though I am thinking they burn more calories and are a better work out.

Note - Unfinished?

improving powertop autotuning

I'm wondering about improving powertop's auto-tuning. Currently the situation is that, if you want to tune your laptop's power consumption, you can run powertop and turn on all the tunables and try it for a while to see if anything breaks. The breakage might be something subtle.

Then after a while you reboot and your laptop is using too much power again until you remember to run powertop again. This happens a half dozen or so times. You then automate running powertop --auto-tune or individual tuning commands on boot, probably using instructions you find in the Arch wiki.

Everyone has to do this separately, which is a lot of duplicated and rather technical effort for users, while developers are left with a lot of work to manually collect information, like Hans de Goede is doing now for enabling PSR by default.

To improve this, powertop could come with a service file to start it on boot, read a config file, and apply tunings if enabled.

There could be a simple GUI to configure it, where the user can report when it's causing a problem. In case the problem prevents booting, there would need to be a boot option that disables the autotuning too.

When the user reports a problem, the GUI could optionally walk them through a bisection to find the problematic tuning, which would probably take only 4 or so steps.

Information could be uploaded, anonymously to a hardware tunings database. Developers could then use that to find and whitelist safe tunings. Powertop could also query that to avoid tunings that are known to cause problems on the laptop.

I don't know if this is a new idea, but if it's not been tried before, it seems worth working on.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Store seeds like a pro
Seed saving box

While sorting seeds in preparation for our spring seed order, I remembered some pointers from the recent seed-saving workshop that I'd forgotten to share here. Dr. Brian Pace from Ohio State University showed off his seed-storage box and method, which are subtly better than my own.

Inside his box, Dr. Pace adds a healthy helping of Drierite beneath a metal stand to suck up moisture in the air without directly impacting the seeds themselves. Meanwhile, he uses a simple formula to see if the spot where he's storing his seeds is effective:

Relative humidity (%) + Temperature (F) < 100

In other words, if you live in the humid south and your storage spot hovers around 60% humidity, you need to lower the temperature to around 40 in order to keep seeds fresh.

While you're at it, don't forget to keep an eye on average seed longevity. No matter how fancy your seed-storage arrangement, it's not going to keep the lightweights --- corn, onions, parsley, peppers --- for more than two years. Good luck and have fun as you put those first dormant embryos into the ground!

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Signal strength
New antenna monting.

I installed an amplified outdoor HDTV antenna recently and it was easy to set up.

It has a motor rotor that allows you to turn the antenna from a remote control. The extra mounting bracket and pole are designed to be installed on the side of a building.

The amplifier box has two outputs so you can hook up an FM radio.

It gives a strong signal. I haven't tried TV over the air since back before the days of digital and was surprised to find out the local PBS station has 3 channels.

Maggie also
How to Rise Successful without Over-stressing

I watched a TED lecture I was drawn to a couple nights ago, Julie Lithcott-Hains spoke eloquently in her talk "How to Raise Successful Kids -- without Over-parenting." So I am not raising kids, but my reaction comes in terms of self rearing and continuing to improve in adulthood.

Lithcott-Hains emphasized self efficacy and chores in terms of better goals than what many parents are aspiring for. I guess this speaks to the basic fact that routine maintenance does something good for a person, whether that routine is walking dogs, doing dishes, swimming, or writing in a journal, or whatever.

You see I think I need to work on my self efficacy or ability to deal with prospective situations. Some areas I glow others I could grow. I have strengths in some places; in others not so much. And I notice that when I am "not doing anything worthwhile" those are the times I neglect my chores.

So with future plans on my horizon, these are the times to focus the hardest on the quotidian aspects of life. Swimming has always been empowering for me, in more than just the swimming moment. So I am happy to say I have started a new routine of swimming just a fourth a mile per day, but doing that much.

If I am getting this right, my progress has looked like the following. Day one I swam just thinking about doing the task at hand. It also was an intensely crowded day at the pool, so I drank a cup of water that the person sharing the lane lodged in my throat and kept going, which said something. Day two I was aware of the locker room, and little details in social interactions. Day three, I had to lap in the small pool because the big one was over-occupied. I thought a lot about how small 9 laps is in terms of a work out, and momentarily doubted the usefulness. Day four, I began mentally listing reasons to change my small routine, but then caught myself and corrected the questioning with steadfast reasons to do the little thing every day. That I not burn out. That I therefore am certain to mingle in society once a day, no less. That I exercise buoyant in greatness's beautiful hydrostatic pressure. That by the end of the year I will swim 90 miles if I can keep to this little goal. That it is a goal I am keeping to. That I decided.

Speaking of which, it is time for laundry, and now it is written.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Last piece of skirting metal
Trailer skirting

The last piece of skirting metal went up far faster than the first did. On a few pieces --- like this one --- we chose to cut the metal in a straight line along the bottom rather than dealing with irregularites of the ground since cutting across the metal ridges is very tricky. We'll backfill dirt up against any gaps later to finish creating my planting beds, which will make current irregularities disappear.

Underpinning door

Next up is doors. We left gaps for four of them and Mark's got the first one all framed up. The top in this image will be a vent which is still bubbling to life within his imagination, so stay tuned to see how it turns out!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Village agriculture in Senegal
Senegal garden

In a complete turnaround from the high-tech nature of the subjects I've been posting about recently, Mark and I recently attended a talk about traditional farming in the subtropical region of southern Senegal (western Africa). Charlene Hopkins spent 28 months there as part of the Peace Corps prior to her current graduate studies at Ohio University, and she regaled us with information about everything from hippo puke to hand watering.

Senegal economy

Charlene started with the big picture. In Senegal, 90% of employed people work in agricultural jobs...although most people are instead unemployed subsistence farmers. She lived among the latter, gardening in villages so poor even creating latrines was a major expense.

There, farmers work hard from June until October growing and harvesting both row crops (primarily cotton, corn, sorghum, rice, and peanuts) and vegetables (like okra, tomatoes, and peppers). But most of the food they grow is sold to buy the imported rice that keeps villagers alive during the dry season, so well-rounded nutrition is difficult to achieve.

Senegal community garden

Although I doubt most of us will choose to follow in the Senegalese's laborious footsteps, there are lessons to be gleaned from subsistence cultures. Livestock in Senegal are free ranged and vegetable gardens are fenced to cut down on the use of supplies. Beds are bite-sized --- typically 2 feet by 8 feet --- to expedite hand weeding and watering. And gardens are small too, reaching up to an acre in size for row crops but staying much smaller for vegetable gardens.

(The image above is a community garden fenced with the help of the Peace Corps to expand vegetable growing area for the village.)


In addition to fencing, the Peace Corps is helping villagers add more trees to their edible landscapes. But it sounds like the locals already depended on trees to some extent.

Mangos have long been favorites since the large trees provide shade during scorching afternoons while also bearing fruit for home use and to sell. Meanwhile, the process of pepineering --- starting seeds in soil-filled bags in nurseries --- is helping increase diversity into cashews, bananas, avocadoes, pineapples, and some native fruits you've likely never heard of.

Senegal food forest

Despite the beauty of the slides, though, I have to admit my biggest takeaway was gratitude. Sometimes I take our society's bounty for granted, but I can honestly say I've never had to choose between vegetables now and rice later. If you feel similarly and have some cash to spare, you can donate to the Peace Corps online. I'm sure villages like the one Charlene visited will appreciate the support!

Maggie also
When the Words don't Come

When I went to college, I was over medicated.

Everyone else had writers block, as we were getting educated.

Not me, I had stream of creation.

Well lately I've been released of that, a humbling vindication.

All of my schooling in visual arts, happened in pre secondary.

So I took back up painting, but critics can be quite contrary.

It's like when I started in poetry, misspelling but you got what I was saying.

I'm a creative genius, but my smarty pants are never staying.

It's like that old adage about giving up, that just goes "give up, you suck."

And to top it I started writing for kids, and nothing rhymes with suck.

So children and kittens, I have a decree and I want you to listen.

When words don't come, think of me and how morning dew glistens.

There's nothing wrong with giving up, but I say keep on trying.

It's hard to switch careers, the competition's vying.

If you become an artist and suddenly there's nothing to say.

Be thankful for your mental health, and then go out to play.

In the course of playing, and pumping up your blood.

The words that were not staying, will run and grow like spuds.

Maybe you miss your crazy ideas, well reckon they still are in deep.

There are other ways to dredge up ideas, and promises to keep.

Maggie also
The Swimmer Stipple

I am reading the whole of "A Room of One's Own" which apparently I never read before. What a beautiful piece of Bloomsbury and early feminism!

Maggie also
Harnessing My Super Powers

My sister Anna responded to my blog about cognitive detriments. She wrote she "wanted to let you know that cognitive issues tend to run hand-in-hand with stress for me. The "Hess memory" only gets really bad if I'm worried/tired/etc. So it's not necessarily a linear path --- cognitive inclines can happen as well as declines." It reminded me that I am the same person who is also a lot more capable than a lot of people too, in addition to being more incapable at times.

The more I think about it, if there was something I could do that brought out my capabilities more, that would be the main goal of my life. But then I realized that swimming already is something that I have done that boosts my capacities when I do it. For whatever reason, swimming is what I need to harness my super powers. So I'm resolving to start swimming as much as I can.

Tho, I am not conclusive that the "Hess memory" is just Hesses. It might be the human condition.

Maggie also
Parable of the Month

An low income lesbian African American, trans-gender woman comes to a fork in the road high at the top of a hill.

There is a white light ahead to the right and she sees it clearly, her chances for prosperity will improve quickly if she can make it past the lurking gangs of CEO rapists. Past the CEO rapist, there is one successful well educated woman like her, someone who is trans and lesbian and African American. But unlike those conditions that are static, she sees a potential for changing the income variable if she takes that road.

To the left is a green light and a taller mountain. A top the tall mountain stand the Kings and Queens of the land. Over to the left of all of them she can barely make out one formerly poor, lesbian African American, trans-gender woman, standing solid so not to be knocked off her hard earned throne.

Like all women in this land who are trans, the Queen woman wears a giant T over her shoulders and down her backbone. Only one throne could even fit the T letter.

How many gangsters would she need to fight just to have some peace? The cost of peace for this woman on the hill was more than most of us can imagine.

I know because I wrote her thinking of myself. And that is the reason I only feel right sending her back home before the night.

Maggie also
Rethinking Retail Arbitrage

I am not certain I can do retail arbitrage. It seems to be something that you have to invest a long period of time in to make any money on at all. For example, the revenue you earn does not come to you until after the first or second month. The videos I watched were misleading and did not mention that but I am glad I kept researching into it. So there is a good chance I will not do retail arbitrage unless if I decide to commit at least a year to it to see if it is worthwhile.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Appalachian quinoa
The rise of quinoa

Have you ever tried growing quinoa? I have. My first experiment was so abysmally unsuccessful that I never took another stab at it.

Apparently, I'm not the only one. Despite a worldwide interest in the high-protein grain over the last decade, the vast majority of the crop is still grown in the Andes. Quinoa is simply a finicky species that can't handle high humidity, high temperatures, or even very mild frosts. So that box of seeds you see in the grocery store has an 80% chance of having traveled all the way from South America.

Dr. Paul Patton

Enter Paul Patton, professor of arhaeobotany at Ohio University. Dr. Patton got interested in one of the so-called Lost Crops that Native Americans grew in our area before corn traveled from Mexico and took over local diets. It turns out that Chenopodium berlandieri is in the same genus as quinoa and would likely be easy to grow in our region...if any cultivated seeds still existed.

Nutrition of Native American crops

Appalachian quinoa (as I've decided to dub Chenopodium berlandieri), is even more nutritious than its South American counterpart. And the species can still be found as a weed throughout our area...although the plants along riverbanks and in farmer's fields have reverted back to their thick-hulled, small-seeded wild type.

Luckily, Dr. Patton isn't daunted. He's started a breeding program using the local wild type plus a bit of cross-breeding with a Mesoamerican variety in the search for a more edible variety suitable to cultivation. So far, he's three generations in and is seeing some success. So maybe within a decade Appalachian quinoa will once again grace Ohio fields?

Maggie also
Evil Sister

Evil sister

mumbled a brother

in his fever

a hundred miles away

the evilest sister

counted pennies

but she could not count that high.

If you had to rate your sisters

in terms of evilness

how would you count us

how would we rate?

Maggie also
A Picture


Video of Steele Creek in January

barescape picture

wild geese mirroring children's laughs.

Mom puts up a video of Jane Fonda and Amy Goodman for me to watch while she walks the dog.

I love Jane and Amy like distant family, but I am so tired of politics that this talk about activism initially rubs me wrong. Lately I notice myself not wanting to think about what is going on in the world. But I watch to the end of it, I learn a lot. And though this is a phase in my life when I prefer painting to news, it feels worthwhile to watch this Democracy Now episode.

Maggie also
Since my only social interactions are paid health workers...

I have been continuing my work writing Hojoki.

Life is complicated. This time, research found me in the area clinic...

It is funny how things all tie together. I went to the library today to return some books for Mom. Since I was there, I went to look for a children's book I once read but they must have culled from the shelves. There is a book about Issa the Japanese poet that I once loved, but it is not "Cool Melons Turn to Frogs" which seems to have replaced it on most shelves. The book I remember was rougher, older, and thicker. It had poems but it was published prior to 1998, and I just can't seem to find it anywhere. It is like a figment of my imagination.

Anyway, I clearly didn't get it. So I went to poke in the book store there with the faint idea of "maybe something good will come of me poking in here." Something was going on with me, that is not much of a change, it was like I am becoming fainter and fainter in terms of being awake, tuned in, focused, and alert. But maybe my mental parts are just on auto pilot. I poked through the maps, but found nothing. Then I found myself in front of sale children's books, and there was this one that laughed to me. It was The Funny Little Woman a book "retold by" Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent. It was one I think I have brushed through before, maybe just as an adult. But the story is about a Japanese woman and her hut. For many reasons it could be very useful to have this book, I thought to myself, then saw the price. One dollar and fifty cents! A steal, usually, I guess, but there was just a small pile of change in my purse, and it actually is all I have. I started reading the book and fumbled. Then I started counting the change and fumbled. I read the first page and found it familiar, but my brain wasn't 100% there. I think that children's books remind me of how mentally together I am because I might have first seen the book when I was younger, or much younger, or at varying times though my history when I was much younger. It took me 4 attempts to count the change in my pocket, which was 13 cents short.

So I, with my privilege and strong sense of entitlement, though I never am perfectly aware, took the book, and asked the librarian if she might consider selling me the book for what I had. She did and I was grateful. I have donated money to the library and will do it again. I hope. I walked on.

As I walked to my car I began thinking more about my neurodeficits. I guess like most matters of the mind, this is not something people always talk about publicly and openly. In a brief summary, I think I have had a lot of cognitive declines all gradually over the past 15 to 17 years. Because of the gradual nature of the decline I never have asked anyone about it, meaning a doctor, though I have mentioned it once or twice in a list of problems.

Anyway. I suddenly don't feel like explaining everything that happened when I went to the walk in clinic, here, now. But that is the story of how children's book research can possibly make a person feel they must go to the doctor.

Maggie also
Let Impermanence Win!

I guess I am juggling. I have been researching a new way to earn money, and if I succeed at this method, it will be solvent enough that I won't likely want to spend time transcribing for my mentor. I love it in small doses, and maybe I would do my current transcription part time gig as a volunteer project, if I do succeed with my entrepreneurial venture. :)

Basically what I am talking about in terms of earning is "retail arbitrage" a somewhat surprisingly and simple concept that I learned about, also entirely legal, but decidedly un-purpose-driven. Except for the purpose of self empowerment, mobility, and to me that is a valid purpose for me right now.

I am hopeful it will work, and confident as I can be, but I haven't started yet, and am waiting until Feb.

(In short it really is just buying cheap clearance items and reselling them on Amazon.)

Meanwhile, the world moves on. Meanwhile, I continue to be me and to be creative sometimes and to be boring as a wall other times. And that's just life.


Thinking about myself as unstuck in terms of economic situation is something that could change my life if I can make this work. So I am hoping hard!

I just have been so poor for so long, and I did quit trying to make money mostly, for the past bit - in terms of a whole income. And I was relying on disability, and I am. In fact I will continue being able to supplement my life with the modest disability income until I am earning quite a lot monthly.

So that is good.

But yes, being able to envision fiscal freedom opens something for me.

I woke up at like 4:45 with anticipation. I want to buy Mom's house someday. I want to travel more than I have. There is this floating fact that people who have lived in 5 or more international cultures are increased in their likelihood of being original minds. It always intrigued me. I know I am original, but the constraints I have been counting as my normal for too long, have reduced me. I have spent time doing things that I did not want to do. I have felt trapped in a place.

Nothing has really changed but the fact that I am now certain I can be my own manager/boss/ person and make a solvent enough living to not have to rely on other people for what I need.

By 6:15 AM I took out an Atlas and started a list of countries I would like to visit and countries I probably am ruling out. It had a maybe list too. It was fun and empowering.

I want to chose my own adventure!

I want to be able to help my Mom in terms of finances the way she always was there for me with a home too.

So I am letting myself dream. I am letting myself make a goal and a plan and hopefully to make the dream a reality.

Everybody should have the right to this feeling.

Everyone should be able to feel they are capable of pulling themselves out of a place that is not fulfilling.

For a month of my life, I lived in the town of Appalachia Virginia. I spent a lot of time then and thereafter wondering what could be done to help poor people whose communities used to depend on coal money, a kind of money called script, that really was given to coal workers to buy things in company stores. It was the most cyclical of poverties and it was immoral that the coal companies did what they did. (Of course I did not live in the era of actual script. But the idea of company generated poverty was everywhere.)

I had no idea of a way to stimulate the economy in Appalachia Virginia. I wanted to help, but I just was a kid with a few college credits, and no clue!

I thought getting the college degree would plant the clue into my mind, but it didn't. Getting the college degree showed me how hard it is to stick to a goal.

The thing is, I wasn't sure if that was even the goal I needed.

The thing about life goals is they are hard to get at age 20 or 25 and maybe the goal at 25 is different from 35 or 75. Well, that is clearly true.

Also, in 2000 me having a goal to be a writer one day meant one thing. In 2010 it meant another thing. It means something different now.

Impermanence is the key I guess to everything; we must let go of the idea of control, yet mean what we do.

It is hard to make decisions, but I feel good about what I am doing now.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Hacking hybrids

Dr. Art TreseWhile Mary Nally's talk was a wake-up call about what the law tells us we can and can't do regarding seeds, Ohio University professor Art Trese's contribution to last weekend's workshop involved what he calls "hacking hybrids" --- tweaking store-bought seeds to create even better varieties for your own personal use or even to sell.

Having fallen in love with a few hybrid varieties that stopped being available over the years, I can definitely see the appeal of hacking those hybrids. But before you get too excited, here are some hybrids you shouldn't bother trying to hack: onions, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, and in some cases broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.

Why steer cleer of those vegetables? Hybrids of the species listed above are created by choosing mother plants that are naturally unable to create viable pollen, and that trait is passed down through the mother's line mitochondrially. In case you slept through biology class, the upshot is --- for the types of vegetables listed in the previous paragraph, even raising plants all the way to maturity won't result in any seeds.

Hybridizing tomatoes

You're likely to have better luck with your hybrid-hacking efforts  if you stick to tomatoes, peppers, and cucurbits, though, since hybrids of these species are still made in the old-fashioned way (shown above). Of course, the offspring of a hybrid will be a mish-mash of variability. But you can breed together the plants with traits you like the most and keep doing that for seven generations. At that point, you've generally come up with an open-pollinated variety that will breed true from those saved seeds.

And can you sell that new variety on the open market? You sure can! While it's not kosher to sell a hybrid's offspring, after the second generation you officially have something new and legally salable. So feel free to de-hybridize lunchbox peppers and put their seven-times-great-grandchildren on the open market. I know I'd buy a set!

Maggie also
Going into the Valley to Harvest Dollars

Come to the valley the valley of dough lift up your head and let ego go

Money is easy to keep and to grow Come to the valley the valley of dough.

Let me present to you an idea I have been researching on youtube and blogs! Though it is very value free - in other words, very un-sustainable and not motivated by particular mission statement... in a way it sounds like an independent plan to take charge of one's livelihood and life. Just plain capitalism, and not even my own idea, sure. But I think it works!

It's not my original idea. It is this thing called retail arbitrage. I am considering making money buying cheap at Target and Walmart, or anywhere with a clearance shelf and goods of any kind, preferably light weight (shipping) and reselling for more at Amazon. If you follow the rules - and there are some - then it is totally legal, and can double money. Breaking rules, is just like if you are to not file necessary taxes, or if you buy/sell a list of patent items that are not allowed, like I think I phones(?) or if you list items as "new" where the items are actually to be listed as "used."

I want to do it next month. (Mom thinks I am crazy. Other friends think it sounds kinda nimrod or "un-me".) I tell myself too often that I should work in the field I believe in or use my creativity and get paid for it. What about the fact I need some money and that's that?

So I am creative. Maybe it takes talent to get into Masters of Fine Arts programs or to paint some things I do, or write and publish poems, but these things aren't mutually exclusive. I can still earn my income from capitalism. :)

So it is a thought I present to the world, and I welcome feedback, if kind. I also am looking for comrades in retail arbitrage. Either distance or local. Not that we would go in together but that we would give one another ears or moral support.

I will let you know what happens.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Keeping water from freezing without electricity
Using salt water to keep water from freezing.

A low tech way of keeping water from freezing for livestock is to boil a lot of salt into water bottles and place those bottles at the bottom of a container.

Pour water over top of the bottles keeping them submerged.

My Mom tried this recently and reports it works at very low temperatures.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
The history of seed legislation
Mary Nally

Nowadays, the politics of seeds mostly has to do with GMO and patented varieties. But the modern pendulum swing is just the latest in a long line of American haggling over propagules, as Mary Nally explained in the Community Food Initiative's Seed to Sustainability Workshop this past weekend.

U.S. patent office free seeds

In fact, in the mid 1800s, the US Patent Office devoted 30% of their budget to giving away free seeds. Over a million packets were distributed to American gardeners before the nation's budding seed companies stepped in.

"How are we supposed to make a buck if the government is undercutting us at every turn?" seed companies complained. By the end of the century, free seeds were (mostly) a thing of the past.

Seed companies pie chart

Fast forward ahead to the early twenty-first century, when three companies controlled 72% of world seed sales. Various types of patents now prevent you from selling patented varieties or (in the case of utility patents based on patented DNA) even saving seeds for your own use. In fact, the Community Food Initiatives staff were surprised to learn that seed swapping --- that staple of backyard gardeners in which no money changes hands --- is technically against Ohio law in many instances.

So what's a gardener to do? Mary Nally's advice is to work on changing that law. The Recomended Uniform State Seed Law (RUSSL for short) is a third-party ethical model that allows seed swaps, seed libraries, and seed banks while still protecting the economic system that makes the production of new varieties viable. Several states have already replaced outdated legislation with RUSSL-based standards. Perhaps Ohio will be next?

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Snow sale on Homegrown Humus
Snow shadows

Layer upon layer of snow fell last week, then we dipped into another deep freeze. Rather than turn our fingers to icicles, Mark and I spent most of the week inside, him unpacking and me catching up on items that had been hanging around at the bottom of my to-do list for many, many moons.

After I hit my usual word counts, I decided to try out the new technology that makes it easy to sell ebooks directly through our website rather than letting Amazon take their cut. Want to be a guinea pig to see whether the system is streamlined enough for prime time? You can save a buck on Homegrown Humus during the testing period using the button below:

Homegrown Humus
Ebook (epub and mobi)
103 pages
(Check your email after buying for a Bookfunnel link)

Homegrown Humus is one of my favorite ebooks, full of tips on growing soil fertility for the price of a handful of seeds. You can read the reviews on Amazon...or just give it a try using the buttom above.

Don't dilly dally, though. I plan to raise the price at the end of the week. Enjoy!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Ecuadorian seed saving
Food for thought series

One of the best things about living so close to a university is the free events we can access by simply feeding a parking meter. Professor Theresa Moran expanded our horizons with the movie Bugs --- all about edible insects --- last fall. And she started 2018 off with a bang by bringing in a duo of Ecuadorian researchers to regale us with information about seed-saving in the equatorial mountains.

Ecuadorian crops

Rommel Montúfar and Michael Ayala created a vivid image of small to mid-sized mountain communities in which conventional crops are pushing many traditional varieties out. Farmers (most of whom were in their sixties, subsisted primarily on farming, and tended 2.5 acres of ground or less) reported that their grandparents grew, on average, 83 types of crops in their gardens. The current generation, in contrast, grows about seven.

Why the change in focus? Farmers reported that locally saved seeds produced plants that were tastier, hardier...but less pretty, less productive, and less easy to sell to a national or international market. It's hard to stick to the old ways when new ways bring in immediate cash.

Types of Ecuadorian crops

Which isn't to say the outlook was all doom and gloom. There is still a strong culture of seed saving and sharing in Ecuador, the latter of which includes both swapping and simply giving seeds away. For example, an Ecuadorian farmer never goes to visit a neighbor empty-handed. Instead, she brings a basket full of the very best she has (often including seeds)...then is sent home with that same basket full of the very best her neighbors have to offer.

(I'm not using the term "she" to be politically correct here. About 60% of the farmers involved the duo's study were women.)

Traditional crop resurgence

There are also a few traditional crops that are gaining national and international importance, thus giving farmers a reason to plant them on a larger scale. You've most likely heard of quinoa (even though this seed was nearly unknown outside its traditional stronghold a few decades ago), blue agave is gaining wide appeal when fermented into tequila, and rocoto peppers are apparently the hot (pun intended) new pepper of choice.

My favorite part of the talk, though, was none of this. Instead, I feasted my eyes on images of fruits and vegetables I've never seen before. What a treat to enjoy an Ecuadorian breeze on a frigid Ohio day!


List of feeds:

  • Anna: last checked (50 posts)
  • Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect: last checked (4275 posts)
  • Joey: last checked (170 posts)
  • Joey devblog: last checked (127 posts)
  • Jay: last checked (50 posts)
  • Errol: last checked (53 posts)
  • Maggie: last checked (35 posts)
  • Maggie too: last checked (57 posts)
  • Maggie also: last checked (48 posts)
  • Tomoko: last checked (77 posts)
  • Jerry: last checked (28 posts)
  • Dani: last checked (22 posts)
  • Richard: last checked (16 posts)