mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Turkey traffic
Turkey Mating season courtship dance.

We get a fair amount of turkey traffic patrolling our garden area.

I wonder if the Ozark turkey trap would work if we got really hungry?

Good thing we have the big garden fence next on the list of things to do.

We learned at the recent Maker Space tour that their Tool Library has one of those motorized Earth augers for digging deep post holes which I think we'll experiment with and see if it's good enough for the dirt we are dealing with.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 497 rethinking the android port

I've long been unsatisfied with the amount of effort needed to maintain the Android port in its current state, the hacky cross-compiler toolchain needs days of wasted work to update, and is constantly out of date and breaking in one way or other. This sucks up any time I might spare to actually improve the Android port.

So, it was quite a surprise yesterday when I downloaded the git-annex standalone Linux tarball into the Termux Android shell and unpacked it, and it more or less worked!

The result, after a few minor fixes, works just as well as the git-annex Android app, and probably better. Even the webapp works well, and with the Termux:Boot app, it can even autostart the assistant on boot as a daemon. If you want to give it a try, see install on Android in Termux.

So, I am leaning toward deprecating the android port for this, removing 14 thousand lines of patches and android-specific code. Not going to do it just yet, but I feel a weight lifting...

Today's work was sponsored by Jake Vosloo on Patreon.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
The Last Honey Hunter
The Last Honeyhunter

While I enjoyed the Farmsteaders movie that Mark posted about, my favorite viewing from the recent film festival was The Last Honey Hunter. I went into it expecting a documentary and instead got a visual yet symphony-like experience, as if I'd actually been in Nepal climbing massively high cliffs in search of taboo and at the same time medicinal honey (an overdose of which can easily kill you).

The film is just over half an hour long, and if you get a chance I highly recommend indulging in the experience.

Maggie also
Think Global, Vote Local

Sullivan County, Tennessee

“Think Global, Act Local.” It is much more than a bumper sticker, it is a methodology for making the world better, much like Gandhi's “Be the change.” These little axioms exist for a reason. It is beneficial that they lodge so easily in the minds of idealistic youths as they are ideas worth having and thinking and mulling over.

Lately I have been increasingly opposed to seeing the world through a black and white lens. Most things and people have something good and something bad about them. I used to be more extremely focused on doing the right thing until the Puritanism approach about killed me with guilt for things that really don’t matter. I still vote though. I think sometimes the most powerful act can be just to vote local, and very few people vote in local elections, so you have more impact than you might think.

This time around, I am voting for a list of Republicans. Most people who know me know I loved Bernie Sanders when he ran, though not many know me intimately enough to know I harbor no self hatred for the fact Trump got in. Anyway, I mention Bernie, so you will know I am pro-environment, pro-working person, in favor of local policies that help poor people with property tax relief, and will always vote against gun toting kinds.

So here is the ballot I have decided on. There are no Democrats in contention this time, so why should Democrats kill their own votes? Democrats need to vote Republican in certain situations, as do people who identify as Green and Libertarian.

Don’t lose your local vote! Vote Venable, Whitaker, Ramsey, Austin, Forgety, Jacobs, Bilgari, Hutton, Akard.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
The secret life of box turtles
Chatting turtles

Did you know that box turtles are sociable? They sometimes hang out together without any apparent mating or territorial maneuvering going on.

Turtle ranges

Did you know that female box turtles have much larger home ranges than males do? (Up to 50 acres vs. 7 acres or less.) This may be because the females sometimes travel long distances pretty fast when the time comes to lay their eggs. Take a look at that long, skinny red polygon above as an example of beeline-to-the-nest-site behavior.

A male box turtle, on the other hand, might spend his entire summer under the same blackberry bush subsisting on fallen fruit, worms, and bugs. Perhaps this is why male turtles have lower levels of stress hormones in their blood than females do?

Box Turtle hunting dogs

Marcel Weigand discovered all this and more with the help of both human and canine field assistants who found, tagged, then revisited several test subjects over the course of last year. She shared her findings at the Athens Public Library Saturday and, impressively, one of four teenage neighbors willingly sat through the entire hour.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Roll out nest tray one year update
Roll out nest tray one year update.

It's been about a year since our first experiment with a roll out nest tray.

One thing I would do differently would be to mount the tray so the angle could be adjusted depending on how the chicken tractor was sitting on uneven ground.

It might be better suited for chicken coops that remain stationary all day.

I really like the idea of keeping eggs clean with the help of gravity and will continue to pursue this concept if we ever decide to get chickens again.

my haskell controlled offgrid fridge

I'm preparing for a fridge upgrade, away from the tiny propane fridge to a chest freezer conversion. My home computer will be monitoring the fridge temperature and the state of my offgrid energy system, and turning the fridge on and off using a relay and the inverter control board I built earlier.

This kind of automation is a perfect fit for Functional Reactive Programming (FRP) since it's all about time-varying behaviors and events being combined together.

Of course, I want the control code to be as robust as possible, well tested, and easy to modify without making mistakes. Pure functional Haskell code.

There are many Haskell libraries for FRP, and I have not looked at most of them in any detail. I settled on reactive-banana because it has a good reputation and amazing testimonials.

"In the programming-language world, one rule of survival is simple: dance or die. This library makes dancing easy." – Simon Banana Jones

But, it's mostly used for GUI programming, or maybe some musical live-coding. There were no libraries for using reactive-banana for the more staid task of home automation, or anything like that. Also, using it involves a whole lot of IO code, so not great for testing.

So I built reactive-banana-automation on top of it to address my needs. I think it's a pretty good library, although I don't have a deep enough grokking of FRP to say that for sure.

Anyway, it's plenty flexible for my fridge automation needs, and I also wrote a motion-controlled light automation with it to make sure it could be used for something else (and to partly tackle the problem of using real-world time events when the underlying FRP library uses its own notion of time).

The code for my fridge is a work in progress since the fridge has not arrived yet, and because the question of in which situations an offgrid fridge should optimally run and not run is really rather complicated.

Here's a simpler example, for a non-offgrid fridge.

fridge :: Automation Sensors Actuators
fridge sensors actuators = do
        -- Create a Behavior that reflects the most recently reported
        -- temperature of the fridge.
        btemperature <- sensedBehavior (fridgeTemperature sensors)
        -- Calculate when the fridge should turn on and off.
        let bpowerchange = calcpowerchange <$> btemperature
        onBehaviorChangeMaybe bpowerchange (actuators . FridgePower)
        calcpowerchange (Sensed temp)
                | temp `belowRange` allowedtemp = Just PowerOff
                | temp `aboveRange` allowedtemp = Just PowerOn
                | otherwise = Nothing
        calcpowerchange SensorUnavailable = Nothing
        allowedtemp = Range 1 4

And here the code is being tested in a reproducible fashion:

> runner <- observeAutomation fridge mkSensors
> runner $ \sensors -> fridgeTemperature sensors =: 6
[FridgePower PowerOn]
> runner $ \sensors -> fridgeTemperature sensors =: 3
> runner $ \sensors -> fridgeTemperature sensors =: 0.5
[FridgePower PowerOff]

BTW, building a 400 line library and writing reams of control code for a fridge that has not been installed yet is what we Haskell programmers call "laziness".

Maggie also
An Enthusiasm for

Lately I have been rekindling and cultivating an enthusiasm for My experience with couchsurfing is that it is the antithesis of airbnb. I had an amazingly bad experience at my one airbnb site. Well, it wasn't that bad. It could have been much worse. I was in Costa Rica so it really was a worthwhile bad experience. The host depended on tourists for his whole income and seemed super burnt out on us. I reviewed him highly though I found him horrible because I felt sorry for him and because I had sat on a flimsy chair in my room and it had broken and I hadn't tried anything to mend the situation. So I was in the wrong. But he responded with a terrible one star review siting the chair, which really should have been sturdier! It was the only chair and I didn't feel comfortable using the main part of his house, though it was on limits, because he was irate and rude the whole time!!! (This is not you average Tico or Costa Rican native. They mostly are incredibly kind, polite, and friendly!) I feel bad that he was spread so thin and I did break the chair and not offer to repair or refund for it. And I feel sorry for that.

Anyway, go back in time even more. My first and only time I ever stayed on a formally couchsurfing hook up was entirely different. It was my first time visiting Berea College where I got my degree. I thought it would be a neat thing to stay there the first time as a couchsurfer, and noticed that Erin Finsel happened to have the SENS (sustainability) house up for possible couchsurfers. I was treated with so much love and respect on that trip, welcomed into her group of friends almost at once, and that same strand of friends ended up being my own friends in school. It was incredible.

Those are memories though. In reality I was like a deer in the headlights looking at all these new things and people with bewilderment and over-stimulation. By then I knew that is how I respond to new circumstances. But it was a challenge.

I have always thought of robins as a totem animal and on that trip, I saw a dead one in the SENS parking lot. Robin is also a middle name, one of my two names in the middle. It penetrated my heart so deeply to see the dead robin, but I was glad to be in the company of people who seemed to "get" the deep kinship with the Earth. They probably got it more than I do to be honest.

So having the comfort of a good night's sleep allowed me the ability to have a good stay in Berea, Kentucky, and that visit ultimately transformed my life because graduating college was the best thing I have done so far.

I remember eating breakfast at BCand T. My favorite biscuit with egg and cheese and sausage. I am positive it was Paul Scott who served me that biscuit. Probably one of my first other Berea friendships.

The people I find on couchsurfing are more of a niche of people that I am likely to like. They open their homes with generosity wanting nothing but comrades, even knowing chairs might break. It is the generosity in the interaction that makes me write this plug for couchsurfing. Plus I really love the niche of people it draws. If you haven't looked into it, I hope you will consider adding an account there. It can be a great way to travel or to feel the life of the big world from the safeness of your home.

Maggie also
How to Love (?) Self, Others, Generally

Wren was the one who put the bee in my bonnet to love that which hurts me, even if it is a component of my own mind that seems to rest in hardness, find sanctuary in suffering.

Thing is, that brings something up for me. I tend to be specific and want definitions of terms. Well what is it to love? I ask.

I mean how do you love? I suppose we do what comes natural to us. For me, children and babies are the easiest people to love in the world. So cradle the self hatred in your arms as you would a child and you will be loving the hatred. True. But what are other ways to love?

Thinking can be loving. Like my mother is notorious for caring about suffering of others in terms of national and international news. It drives me crazy, because I am in a nonjudgement phase. I am in a phase that doesn't want to see black or white, and to instead just see gray shades.

Love can be looking out for others, their emotions, and in turn, looking in for yourself.

It is an interesting question that I am just beginning to think over.

I swam my third mile this week, well three consecutive days. I swam the third one moments ago, hair still wet.

I would love comments from authorities on love, people who don't know how to love, or professional trainers, or any combination of those.

Maggie also
Responding to The Process @

Wren suggested a website for me:

I am eating The Process website piece by piece like the beginning of a candy addiction for a young child who has never before had sugar or chocolate, but gets them both together this Easter season.

So I am savoring it very slowly and have just read the first bit, but I am coming back to often, to read another sentence or section. Amazing!

The most interesting thing I ever read was also about demons. I think it was in a book by Tara Brach but I never relocated it.

I once had this vivid dream that there was a demon standing over my head, a gnarly little black man. I screamed and my Mom actually came in, turned on the light and woke me up, and the man was not there.

I then eventually would read this thing about how in some other ethnic tradition we all have four demons who watch over us and protect us. I loved the turn in that, thinking that my little black man might have been fending off enemies.

I love incorporating The Process in these thoughts I have on demons.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Planting Purple Passion asparagus
Planting asparagus

Rose Nell gave us five Purple Passion asparagus roots to join the 25 Jersey Knight we ordered online. The latter is what grew so wonderfully for us in Virginia, so we'll be very curious to see if this new purple variety is as tasty and productive.

Only after we both ordered and received our roots online did we drop by White's Mill...and find the exact same varieties available there for a lower price before we even factored in shipping. I guess I need to start checking out our local establishments before placing perennial orders from now on!

Maggie also
Day 2, Mile 2

I wrote one of the best things I have ever written in my head while swimming a mile this morning. When I emerged, I got to put it down on paper, though it always comes out in varied form from "the original". It will hopefully be my 3rd part in the Hoodwinked Vignettes series to come out in Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. The second airs in September and the first is here: I love that my fiction is coming out in chapter series, like Charles Dickens did in the publication of some of his works. And it is one of the most fun things I have ever written. Actually, writing it is making me want to read fiction, which I used to do a lot more than I do now. Writing can be a gateway drug to "high"er literacy. (How's that for some 420 punnery?)

Anyway, in the water I began a strange realization. I have spent a long time studying the impermanence of one country dirt road near a waterfall, and in those reflections, I see my own changing person, the individual evolution of who I am. But strangely, I had not done much thinking around the idea that others are changing every second too. I knew it was true, naturally, but I never really delved into it as a concept.

I am not going to be able to put all of my thoughts on this in this entry, but as I lapped, I saw not only the lanes change in terms of who was swimming, but I think I saw a young boy sitting on a bench grow a half an inch while a large man in the center lap lane lost four pounds! Then in an instant, it wasn't me who saw it, it was a part of us, we were all unified in our fleeting nature. The voice of one laughed itself into oblivion. There was no more "I" just the collective "we".

Maggie also
the brain functions differently in the environment of water

Anna said she tries to walk until her brain goes still. She asked me a really good question about whether my mile swim was comparable to a 45 minute walk. I know there are all kinds of quantitative measurements that can be made from calories burned to heart beat per minute over time. But qualitatively, the land leaves something to be desired. In the water, the mind becomes another animal entirely. Maybe I become a fish brain, but that is all right with me. Yes, more stillness enters as the swim continues. But the slowing of thoughts comes immediately for me, because of variables like less oxygen and the fact I am surrounded by depth. Some argue that the thoughts are not slower but more clear. I think they are slow and clear too.

A lot of people are not fish people. When I went to Berea, I realized that many people don't even know how to swim, because it was a requirement to swim the length of the pool there before graduating, and many people were intimidated by it. Swimming is a privilege to know how to do yet it seems the most natural activity a person can possibly achieve. I hope today's enthusiasm carries over into many upcoming miles.

Maggie also
Settle in and Settle

I have been enjoying Alix Generous, an outspoken woman with Aspergers, and advocate for neurodiversity, science, and unique minds. She has an incredible sense of humor and I split a gut laughing at her TED talk. I went to her website and found other videos and have been taking them one by one, slowly. As I watch, I am certain I too am on the Autism spectrum. It is interesting because I know that many women especially are misdiagnosed with another mental illness, like bipolar, when they possibly just have Aspergers. I think in my case I probably do have a dual diagnosis, because medications have worked for me, or at least they keep me from the worst of the suffering.

But I am still feeling the disabling nature of mental illness. I live in a world where I push myself to be like others, and that often means I pursue something outside of myself, like trying to go to graduate school or wanting to do something that I can tell others I have done, like taking a surfing workshop in San Diego. The thing is, I really am just barely getting along/by much of the time. I am just holding my head above water. These attempts "out" or at proving myself are really self defeating. Looking into intentional communities in Missouri, planning to intern with my friend in her homestead in the Ozarks, no matter how noble the cause, my plans are too much. I am best if I just "am disabled" and stay in Bristol. The best thing I can do for me is to swim every day at the YMCA, do my chores religiously, be sure and walk the dogs each day, and relax on the front porch as a meditative ritual.

If I stretch my pennies, I almost can make it work out with the pennies that I stretch. The disability check is not much, but all of these pursuits that I conventionally have been trying for to try to be more worthy are making me less happy. I am the same person no matter what I do. I could climb Kilimanjaro but I would still be me. I could not climb anything and I would once again be the same person I was when I started. Proving myself, living up to a standard I have in my mind of success based on able bodied people I know is not worth my time.

I can write. I write. I can meditate. I mediate. I can swim. I swim. I can do silly art that rare kind people adore. I do art. I also can do art that sits in a folder and collects dust. I do.

This that I am telling you is what I need to tell myself. You are the kind of person who draws that out of someone, so you should be proud. I am going to write a version of this and post it all over my house, in front of my computer where I often "surf" plane tickets and get away plans.

I'll put one on my mirror too. Here is the whole point. We don't escape here. If we dig our heals into what and who we are, into where we are, if we settle in and sometimes just settle, we stop fighting and peace wins. If peace wins in us than we do become the joyful person we really wanted in the first place.

Maggie also
Swimming Uphill

In common waters we come, kicking and spitting through waves we will always share. I like the way the couple in the lane next to me swims. They pass through the pool with a quick grace. He leads in the start of their routine, she follows swiftly catching up measured lengths. My glasses off, I am wondering who she is, who he is, who they are. I probably don't know in the first place. I saw a lifeguard I have spoken to, but other than a few people, I pass inconspicuous so far. The intention was to do water aquatics but I arrived a half hour early wanting to escape conversation at home. Maybe today is not the day to socialize, I decide after lap 9, a turning point for my swim routine as it has been this year. As the guards change places, and my acquaintance goes to teach the next class, I part the waters with a clear commitment to swim 36 laps, my first consecutive mile this year.

I had chosen to do a shorter routine before. I had aimed at about 9 laps per swim, just enough to get some buoyancy, to pump a little blood, and have done something good for me. But now I realize I have been bored with that plan. It was a hope to get me to the pool but the joy of the swim was frankly falling asleep. My blood wasn't pumping much at all after 9 laps, which was why I wasn't swimming often enough either. My hope today becomes to push my limits and challenge myself with swimming again, that itself I hope to be the lure that calls me back to the pool, which happens to be my favorite place to be, so it shouldn't be so difficult.

A note on bathing suits. Some people might wonder, I am a heavy lady, is it the suiting up that keeps me from swimming. The answer has always been no. I am a heavy lady, and a bit of a naturist. I am glad to get my clothes off and put on the scant article that shows most of my flesh. It's just my nature. The issue is motivation and temperament. Sometimes I think about the pool a bit too much. Water goes in my nose and I think, ah yes, what a unique mix of semen, excrement, detritus, snot, and spit. You get the picture. But this pool is the hallowed place. This pool is where we all come together and become just human. This disabled woman swims beside the doctor and nobody knows or cares. Lapping along, nobody even thinks about the barriers that separate us. We all are trying to do something, our own goal, our own triumph, our mile or 9 laps, or hour - whatever.

I start thinking about my mile in terms of a familiar walk, the dog walk I like to do in the morning with Tobin and Brazen. I am swimming along, visualizing the walk I take through the cemetery and my back yard. I'll inform you, the swim is much slower than the walk. I can't speak for everyone, but it take me an hour at least to swim the mile. It's been a while, and I am slowing down as I imagine myself walking up the hill of the cemetery. I see the same birds in my mind's eye who circled this morning, near the two pine trees just past the catalpa tree. I rejoice all over again when Brazen pees and poops, as indoor dog parents like to let our animals do their thing. In my mind, I pass the time reading grave stones I recall from this morning. I know each passing leaf and the feel of the gravel under my feet. Then of course, I open my goggles, rinse out the scummy coating, and also feel the wonderful water, and see the world that actually surrounds me.

I will try the water aquatics class another day. Today I am pumped just to move my legs and arms, and do my own thing for an hour in this pool. In the dressing room, I talk to a woman who works with a disabled, mobility challenged woman in a wheelchair. She is glad to have a job that forces her into the pool each day. I don't work, I am disabled too. I should think of this time as something I need to do, as if it were my job, just as this woman does. Health is everything.

Maggie also
Water Aquatics

This morning, after a period of waking "aspergers self diagnosis", I mentioned to my Mom that I wish I had a social group like her book group where there was a common interest whether or not we saw eye to eye on everything.

I apparently had drunk too much coffee, because I don't recall her response, and only remember my retort to it.

I decided to try to join a water aquatics class in the mornings at the YMCA here in town.

I am thinking if I can keep with it, and go at least once a week, but hopefully 5 times, it could be the open door and way into healthiness that I need.

So I am stoked to say I am giving it a try this morning! Wish me luck!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Potting up the nightshades
Tomato seedlings

Monday was potting-up day for the nightshade family. Tomatoes, of course...

Baby pepper plants

...our favorite lunchbox peppers...

Eggplant seedling

...and even a few eggplants. I'm not sure I'll be able to prevent flea beetle depredations organically (the reason I usually skip this crop), but I saw a guy selling heirloom seeds at the farmer's market and couldn't resist.

Double decker seed starting station

Aaaand now we need a fourth shop light.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Redbud winter coverup
Covering up the spring garden

I looked back through the blog and found that I seldom mentioned Redbud Winter in the past. I'm not sure whether that's because I was planting at a more reasonable time back in Virginia or whether we just tended to get cold spells a week or so later (at which point it becomes Dogwood Winter).

Strawberry flower
Whether this is the new Ohio normal or just a fluke, though, we had lots to cover up before the current cold spell hit. Broccoli and peas and lettuce of various ages. Newly transplanted parsley and thyme. And the first few strawberry flowers just beginning to bloom. Here's hoping it doesn't get cold enough to nip the flowers through the row cover!
Maggie also
Pen Pal for Hire

Evolution to a Deeper Meaning Apr 16 at 9:16am What is the source of all human suffering? Attachment maybe. What is the reason for life? Connection or beauty maybe.

In my latest effort, I am combining these deeply dug themes simply by sending art enclosed letters to whomever pays for basic postage (or more is acceptable.)

When you pay one dollar for instance, I will send you not only a meaning rich piece of writing. I will send you an original sketch such as this one above.

I know a lot about suffering, and the human condition, and I would love to receive return mail from anyone around the world.

I know a dollar is a lot for some Americans and 5 dollars is an incredible lot of postage for some international citizens. But I promise to make this worth your while.

If you know me, I am no longer using facebook, as so many of us have left there. Whether you know me or not, it is a worthwhile idea to evolve to deeper meaning through postal mail exchange. Isn't it? 1 Like

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Farmsteaders the documentary
Farmsteaders Documentary.

We watched a sweet and beautiful documentary about a local cheese making family Sunday at the 2018 Athens International Film Festival.

Farmsteaders is a unique glimpse into a small cheese making operation over the course of 5 years.

The cinematography is stellar and you really get drawn into the joy and struggles of what it takes to get the cheese made and sold.

Maggie also

My art is so unique. :)

Maggie also
Loving Thin Skin Heals

I think one of the reasons my last post, a repost of Wren of MountainJewel steemit blog, means so much to me and my current condition is I have given her idea time for it to incubate. This idea Wren has, that we should love our difficult emotions came to me first when I lived with Wren in 2009. In 2009 Wren was spreading the same kind of philosophy, but it didn't penetrate entirely then. I was and maybe always will be thin skinned, vulnerable, volatile, and having a hard time living with Wren in a new environment of The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center in Highlands, North Carolina. So I took her ideas abrasively. They were too loud and in my face, her LOVE concept! It was all capital letters. I wish I could say I came back to her idea somehow, before watching it on a Dtube video from her blog but I cannot. It took between 2009 and 2017 for me to say that is a darned awesome spiritual path for you to take, Wren. Wren was the girl at the Mountain whose ice cream I ate, Hagan Dass. And boy did that propel a fight. We both were fierce and had big ideas - I have hardly ever met anyone with the kind of energy she has. In fact I would add she is one of these rare people who never had to take psychological medication for a rambunctious nature I would say excels my wild side. I guess she is fortunate not to have lived this life I know with the diagnosis and medicine. But I do think Wren has her emotional struggles like all of us do. Well I saw her just January on Homestead Rescue living in a mildew ridden yurt in the Ozarks. So I guess what I am getting at is if she doesn't have her breakdowns she would be a super hero. But what she was saying on the video is, love the anxiety. Love the fear. Love the sorrow. Love the sadness. Honor and welcome the negative emotions in to your heart with love. Sure it ironically means they tend to turn around more quickly, when you do that. Also you are accepting and acknowledging parts of yourself that are necessary indicators. Also, it is just who you are right then so you should not deny that. Unless if denial is what you are working on loving.

So I have been thinking of this all day and now it is noon and I am having a real awakening to the way to deal with moments when the words of others get under our skin. This is something that happens for me a lot, and why I self identify as thin skinned, though who knows, maybe this will be my turning point on that.

I love my Mother. She is probably my best friend. I love being around her. But I do get jealous of relationships of others with her. I don't want to be her one and only person in the world by any means. I want her to love and be around all kinds of people, but I get thin skinned with her because there is no avoiding hearing her talk on the phone and it often gets under my skin what she often says. Those are the facts. But just today I started loving my thin skin, and it started to heal. I started realizing in a bold way that a lot of my problem with Mom is that she retells shared experiences in ways that leave me out or talk about what I really was quite sure did not happen. Now I am just thinking everyone does this. I do this. We all see the world in our own way. And that is how we talk about the world. I used to worry that my Mom regrets me because when she talked about what happened, big highlights with a few people, including me, she frequently avoids mentioning me or brags about everyone else, neglecting me. But by gum, I am a big girl, and I am learning to love that worry. I am nurturing the worry and recognizing it as a real true thing that has bothered me. But then almost instantly, I realize also that I don't need to worry about it. We all see the world in our own special way, and Mom sees it through her lens. I could guess around the reason for her speech all day, but the real good idea is I wonder what I can be like if I get a little thicker skin, like a callous for playing an instrument.

I am looking forward to a new confidence.

Maggie also

This is a repost of a friend of mine, Wren, who I knew at the Mountain. I adore what she says here about painful emotions, so much, that I just had to put it down again.

Maggie also
Want Art?

Joey integrated my art into his home. see picture

I would love to mail anyone else some art. Just comment and I'll get your postal address. While supplies last.

Maggie also
Yesterday Evicted Depression

Poor depression, moving in with someone else, someone else paying its utility bill. Yesterday left so many beautiful images in me. My inner imagery is generally sketchy and gray scales. But there is a more tactile part of me that carries a more colorful imagery. I still feel the mud as it splattered high on my leg and the cold water of the creek as I crossed it. And there are calls of birds that I recall keenly, one sound as we entered the cars at the very end, three "ya's" like a very emphatic blue heron.

By the way, I have migrated off of facebook. Maybe the world is changing in a terrific backpedal, where blogs are more important than that machine of intentional terror (see story on facebook's implications in Burma violence.)

I have decided that while the stream of thought is flowing freely in writing form, I should keep the spigot on, no matter if it seems meaningful or not.

I am feeling grateful this morning for the inquiry my family always placed on wild things. I hear birds out my window, and I know I hear a pileated woodpecker and a chicken. Before I heard geese certainly. There is a chattering of birds I am not familiar with but I would be delighted to learn their names. I wonder about people who just coexist with our bird friends, or try to ignore them, or curse their morning songs. I would hope those people get a chance to learn about them individually as I have started to.

So I am glad for Anna, the sibling with the farm who is a bird expert and knowledgeable on most wild things. She gave our family compost before most people understood why. And her farm, the one in Virginia that's still for sale, helped me to a better place yesterday. So I am grateful.

But really how it must be to hear a woodpecker laugh and not want to know the type. Of course, my brother Joey is inclined to call all green vegetation "plants" without any distinction. So maybe it is not a family thing.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Is it worth planting a lettuce root from the grocery store?
Hydroponic lettuce in soil
Do you ever get an urge to plant the remnants of vegetables from the grocery store? Many of them will grow...although it might not be worth your while to nurture them into producing a second crop.

Lettuce head with rootsI'd read about folks planting carrot tops and other detritus from their salad-making, but hadn't been buying enough grocery-store produce to even consider giving it a try. But when the lettuce head at the left ended up in our kitchen this winter with a big mass of roots still attached, I couldn't resist the urge to set it out in the garden.

I planted that lettuce under a quick hoop in the middle of February...and it sat there for weeks doing nothing at all. The photo at the top of this post shows the plant's current state nearly two months later. It's finally almost large enough to pick a few leaves from...although, for the sake of comparison, leaf lettuce direct-seeded on the same date is nearly as big:

Direct-seeded lettuce

What's with that lettuce root growing so slowly? I suspect that February lettuce from Krogers is hydroponic produce grown at the perfect temperature and nutrient levels. In the wild weather of an Ohio garden, hot-house varieties are going to lose the sprint to harvest to my hardy Black-seeded Simpson every time.

Maggie also
Maybe someone can fix the darkness?

Under this mud
deep in the Earth
a core keeps some apple seed
and in me.

Mom says Ruth Sheriff wrote better at night with strange little snacks like these to keep her stoked. Our refrigerator harbors abundant cabbage, kale, and raddichio. I chose the raddichio feeling sorry for the head, left behind by time, almost forgotten. Peel off the outer layers until it stops being miserable, then I find some perky parts. Cut up the innards. Sizzle the olive oil. Drop in the red plant, add the salt. First time I cooked with raddichio, this same head, left something to be desired. A food best cooked, I left out that part. My slap dash cooking style reflects my inspiration. I am blessed when I find people who appreciate it, my art, my writing. Well, my writing is a bit more measured sometimes, not always. Everything is an exertion of exuberance. Let's say that is the currency of life. Cooking an evening mini meal might take 44 exuberance rupees. They can multiply and grow. They can come depleted. The exact same activity, cooking, can rob you or grow your exuberance rupees. The first time I prepared raddichio, I put it in a salad, then picked it out of the salad. Reading helps. Reading about ingredients that are new to us. So tonight, Mom was right, something in this chicory raddichio amplified my inspiration. These are the facts. As bitter as it tasted, it has the same effects as coffee. Some hippies don't know the difference, but it is this cabbage like Italian plant that has the spike, not the little blue late summer flowers.

For a while my writing was zapped. I wondered why, but I figured it was depression. Probably true. Writing is just like cooking. A poem could take 31 exuberance rupees, but it can just make you more inclined to write. Or it can make you want to stick your head under a pillow and hide from words and letters. Sketching and painting, I guess that will be 41 and 53 rupees respectively. The thing about the money of inspiration, of life, it is so elastic. So few are maybe aware of the currency in the first place perhaps because when you think about the same thing having either negative or positive effects for no good reason explainable, none of it makes much sense. Ruth Sheriff was this incredible journalist friend of my mother's. Probably worth iconizing and I have this incredible belt she wore. So I can put it on when I write at night when my mind turns on with ideas spurred by some cabbage looking vegetable. My head has been doing little sketches for a long time. My head has a way of raining when it rains and droughts are available as anything, but more related to my mental wellness than anything else. I guess things are looking up. This is my breakthrough. Let it rain!

The way forward through darkness is often more darkness. The light doesn't turn on when you realize it would be nice to have a light. Sometimes that moment might be realizing gratitude is the key. But that realization is not enough. You must wake thinking this I am grateful for this life. You must think these thoughts even when there is just a flicker of truth in any of it. Or maybe it just hurts. You convince the pain away. You convince the truth to ignite in beauty. You bend and shift the truth. The truth becomes your friend. You hold its little hand and walk together up the sunny shore.

So this is what has been happening in more plot heavy terms. I officially decided no grad school this year. I am thinking I just will never go. The costs seem crazy for the fact I am not much of a work person. I mean my work lately has been relaxing as hard as I can. I really believe in relaxing. I am reading an Audio book to learn more about it as a science. My peers wear themselves thin with their work, but I have a real disability and I should have the right to enjoy its peace. So I attempt to live as essentially as possible and end up living over my means the beginning of each paycheck, like many. I think it would be nice to stretch the disability check a little more, a goal worthy, though I am not beating myself up because it really is not much.

Can someone fix the darkness?
I don't know.
You wait through it.
Then in the darkest moment, it dawns.

Maggie also
A Treck thru the Aligator Swamp

If I had known the photographs taken on this day would be overexposed, I would have taken more care at sketching. I usually don't say much about my ratty little sketches, but that one guy in the foreground is Joey working on the rose bush and that is his head poking up over the table on porch of the single wide, looking kind of like a skull cake.

Still I thought someone might like looking them over. Maybe someone can fix the darkness?

Getting outdoors so much today was vital therapy for me. It helped that I went into the mud pretty deep. The biological benefit of dirt exposure is well documented.

Anna and Mark are still selling their farm. If you act quick you could get a working organic strawberry crop in front of the weeds season.

Maggie also
Finding a good Surf

Sand scuff spraying, board wax melting off in an Equator tide. "Surf" marred by internet, yet on Netflix I find The Endless Summer. Commas connecting sentence fragments, long stretches riding a cress. Hilarious documentary narrator making up facts. Cape St. Francis, South Africa worth long dune exploration. Somewhere in all these surf movies, Fish People, Resurface, I realize. I want to ride on top a wave! I always would hang out just past the crest. There I sang to the dolphins, and sometimes they returned. Swimming long hours in the ocean. But I looked disdainfully at boards, they impeded my style. Maybe I would have gone without the suit.
All the accessories bummed my bum. I finally am really getting the point of surfing. Even the crash has a purpose.
So I am hatching a dream to someday stand on a board and catch a perfect wave. This summer at Ocracoke I hope to start with body surfing. I've been building my own buoyancy, a flotation device of sorts. Won't you come?

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Athens Ohio Maker Space Saw Stop
Saw Stop close up at the Maker Space in Athens Ohio.

We got to see a sneak preview of the new Athens Ohio Maker Space.

The wood shop has most of the big wood working tools.

A punch card is what we will start with where you pay per visit compared to 70 dollars a month for more serious Makers.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 496 move numcopies safety revisited

After talking it over in move violates numcopies, we found a nicer compromise for git annex move. Rather than strictly enforcing numcopies, it avoids making any bad situations worse. For example, when there's only one copy of a file, it can be moved even if numcopies is higher. But, when numcopies is 2 and the source and destination repos have a copy, move will not drop from the source repo, since that would make it worse.

Implemented that today. While doing so I got bit by the inverted Ord instance for TrustLevel, so spent a while cleaning that up.

Today's work was sponsored by Jake Vosloo on Patreon.

rstidyman (Richard)
My hardware stores made an ass out of me.

Buyer beware. Who has the best price on 2″ swivel caster wheels.  I don’t even know why I bother but when you are semi-retired, you can afford the time to obsess over these minute details.

Never ASSumeYou know what happens when you assume.  You make an “ass” out of “u” and “me”.  I assumed incorrectly that Harbor Freight had the cheapest anything.  In my hot pursuit for some 2 inch swivel caster wheels to make carts for my shop, I went their first.  I was so wrong.  In fact their casters were more expensive, and even the cheaper lighter duty ones were more expensive.  Lots of cheap foreign made tools though of questionable quality.  To their credit, they said they price match.  Usually too much trouble for consumers to check prices and they know that.  They assume you will assume since you walked in the store already.

caster swivel 2 inch harbor freight

So I head over to the nearby TSC, the Tractor Supply store, you know, for life out there.  Ouch…their casters were the most expensive.

caster 2 inch swivel from tractor supply

Then, off to Lowe’s.  I prefer Lowes over Home Depot, as they have not bee in the news so much lately for misguided statements fy founding fathers.  Now we are getting somewhere.  Second least expensive.  At lest Lowe’s offers a 5% discount if you use their credit card.

caster swivel inch lowes

Finally, Home Depot, least favorite, but unfortunately, they had the best price with the best quality. they are a few miles closer to home and it seems, or at least I assume, their prices are competitive with Lowes, and may even price match when they don’t.  If you have read this far, I worry about you.  And assume you are as weird as I am.

caster home depot 2in swivel

First of two carts.  Two down and more to go.

cart with casters.jpg

assume donkeys


Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Did I set out my spring crops too early?
Broccoli flat

With the spring garden, I plant by feel rather than by spreadsheet. So when the weather turned warm and wet for a week at the end of March, I set out a lot of things that likely shouldn't really have been planted then. Of course, then last week's cold spell hit (mid twenties and a couple of inches of snow), which left me scurrying to cover everything up and hope my babies would survive.

Broccoli comparison

Now's the moment of truth --- did I make a mistake? On the broccoli front, I probably would have been better off waiting. None of the outside plants were damaged badly enough to need to be replaced when I gave them a once-over yesterday, but they were also significantly smaller than the ones still in a flat inside. I set out another couple of beds with reserved plants and will be curious to see which planting date leads to the earliest and best heads.

Transplanted lettuce

On the other hand, lettuce, thyme, parsley, and peas also transplanted on March 27 passed the cold-weather test with flying colors (although the row-cover fabric I had over them until this week certainly helped).

Peas and lettuce

And how about the direct-seeded vegetables? They look pleased as punch now that their row cover is off and they're once again exposed to full sun. Soon we'll be rolling in lettuce and peas!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
International dance
Eagle dance

Last week was a multicultural week on the campus of Ohio University. Even though the events were mostly for students, I insinuated myself into a couple anyway.


The International Street Fair didn't require insinuation --- it's an open-to-the-public event in which you can try your hand at Chinese writing, sample delicious ethnic foods, and even watch and participate in a few dances. Can you find me in this rousing rendition of the Arabic dabke? (Thanks for snapping the shot, Jen!)

Native American dancers

Even more visually stimulating was the Native American Dance and Song Workshop, which was really just for students, faculty, and staff. They let me in, though, and I loved the drum beat, which we were told is meant to mimic the beating of the heart.

Okay, I'll admit it, there's nothing homesteading-related about this post. Except...don't forget to spend time expanding your horizons and feeding your mind as well as your belly!

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Watching truck rust
Ford F-150 rusted panel.

Our 1997 truck has quickly become a valuable part of our homesteading team.

I took this picture to document the worst section of rust.

Eventually I should try something that might help slow the rust from spreading but I guess I'm curious at what rate the hole will get bigger and if I'm okay putting it off for another year or so.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 495 move numcopies safety

New version released today with adb special remote, http connection caching, improved progress displays, annex.retry, and other changes.

I've been rethinking git annex move in the context of numcopies checking. Thanks to a user posting git-annex move does not appear to respect numcopies. Of course, move is known not to do that, but it's useful to get a perspective that this is susprising behavior and not wanted by that user, and poorly documented besides.

So, I added git annex move --safe which does honor numcopies, so it only does a copy when there are not enough copies to move.

I'm leaning toward making that the default behavior, and needing git annex move --unsafe to get the current behavior of moving without a net. Of course, lots of us probably use move and like the current behavior, and such a change can break workflows and scripts. There might be a transition period where move warns when run without --safe or --unsafe. Feedback welcomed on the bug report move violates numcopies.

Maggie also
March for Our Lives Revisited

This is just one sketcher's attempt to honor the great activists speaking out against gun violence, many of them young and personally impacted. It is a horribly incomplete first edition of an attempt, leaves out many important figure heads. Really I just drew until I got tired one day.

These may be reused. Artist credit Maggie Hess.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Six months later
Six months later

I can hardly believe we've been here six months! On the one hand, it feels like we arrived yesterday; on the other hand, it feels like we've been here forever. And, as the pictures prove, we have made a fair amount of progress over the last six months.

Fall to spring

First the property went from a bare tract of land to a liveable homestead complete with trailer, water, septic, and electricity.

Proto garden

Next comes the garden. We've laid out a bunch of beds and planted several. (The confusing bits in the foreground are where I laid down kill mulches then realized those areas were going to be asparagus and had to dig them right back up.)

Finger rock

And, most importantly, we've met an astonishing number of talented and interesting people, like the aspiring videographer, cupcake baker, and truck driver who helped me take the "after" photos in this series.

AIMS inverter control via GPIO ports

I recently upgraded my inverter to a AIMS 1500 watt pure sine inverter (PWRI150024S). This is a decent inverter for the price, I hope. It seems reasonably efficient under load compared to other inverters. But when it's fully idle, it still consumes 4 watts of power.

That's almost as much power as my laptop, and while 96 watt-hours per day may not sound like a lot of power, some days in winter, 100 watt-hours is my entire budget for the day. Adding more batteries just to power an idle inverter would be the normal solution, probably. Instead, I want to have my house computer turn it off when it's not being used.

Which comes to the other problem with this inverter, since the power control is not a throw switch, but a button you have to press and hold for a second. And looking inside the inverter, this was not easily hacked to add a relay to control it.

The inverter has a RJ22 control port. AIMS also does not seem to document what the pins do, so I reverse engineered them.

Since the power is toggled, it's important that the computer be able to check if the inverter is currently running, to reliably get to the desired on/off state.

I designed (well, mostly cargo-culted) a circuit that uses 4n35 optoisolators to safely interface the AIMS with my cubietruck's GPIO ports, letting it turn the inverter on and off, and also check if it's currently running. Built this board, which is the first PCB I've designed and built myself.

The full schematic and haskell code to control the inverter are in the git repository My design notebook for this build is available in secure scuttlebutt along with power consumption measurements.

It works!

joey@darkstar:~>ssh house inverter status
joey@darkstar:~>ssh house inverter on
joey@darkstar:~>ssh house inverter status
Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Ohio spring ephemerals
Rock shelter

I finally found the spring flower motherlode in the region --- the aptly named Rockhouse Trail at Sells Park. South-facing, mature forest, full of limestone, and quite damp adds up to the perfect habitat for early spring ephemerals.

White Trout Lily

I'm enjoying the fact that a new stomping grounds means new species to ID and enjoy. For example, the trout lilies here are white rather than yellow. (The yellows should live here too --- I'll keep my eyes open.)

Small white flower with fuzzy basal rosette

Cardamine douglassiiEven less familiar were the rock-loving Early Saxifrage above and the damp-loving Limestone Bittercress to the left. Given the ubiquitousness of the latter species on one of my other favorite trails, though, I suspect this will become a new spring favorite.

Rue anemone

Of course, my old friends are nearby too. Toothworts and spring beauties by the bucketload, hepatica nearly done already, and --- once I peered a little closer --- I even found a couple of bloodroot and rue anemones. Phew! Wouldn't want to miss out on the flowers I grew up with even as I add new ones to my mental roadmap of spring!

Maggie also
Sweet's Eats

In the beginning, Wendy worked at Sweet’s Eats, a greasy Tennessee diner at the corner of Main and Pennsylvania. Before she started managing the restaurant her Mom ran it, when the big ice cream cone stood above the other signs, attracting customers. Before her Mom ran the diner, her grandmother ran the diner. Wendy knew when she graduated high school that she could do anything with her life. Her grades were better than average, and until she got hooked on pills, she probably could have done anything. She thought she could be a writer then. She thought or maybe an actress or a singer or a doctor. Then one evening at the end of high school, her sister took her out to a club and a man drugged her drink which she had left unwatched for a minute.

That was years ago when that fateful night got her hooked in a shameful spiral of pills, ultimately leaving her homeless and living in a car that wasn’t really even hers. It was the mental hospital where she started finding herself again. First off, it was the first place where she was off addictive substances since the drugging. Second, she started meeting people and seeing herself in others. She needed her alone time, but Wendy was a people person through and through. Her human environment made the mental water she was swimming in, and the hospital was an improvement over the streets. There were some genuine, generous people on the streets, she would tell you, but the hospital was chock full of empathetic individuals.

So she got out of the hospital, heartbroken because she had hit rock bottom, but resilient, because she had survived. She had a plan, which she had run by the case worker for approval. Wendy was going to knock on her mother’s door and ask for a job at the cafe. She never thought her Mom would retire that night and leave her the whole business. Wendy was 27 years old. She remember ten years ago, the end of high school, clearer than many of the years in between. It was a time for her of bitter sweet regrets, but a buoyancy of spirit that lifted up her customers. In the cafe, she spoke openly about her experiences on the street, and most of the customers came in because of that fact, and the hand scooped ice cream tradition she carried from her mother. Wendy was blind to the fact that she herself was lifting up many in the community. Little old Episcopalian couples would come in, who never would admit aloud that their child had a mental illness, and listen to her stories. They’d slowly nibble their mint chip, savoring her words of hope and faith and resilience. To her customers, Wendy brought the diner this almost edible flavor of courage. She was just a chubby young lady, who dressed in scanty shorts and too much make up, with a tendency to talk with every person who walked in. If they didn’t bare their soul to her, she talked about her experiences. Hearing about her time in the hospital and living in the car might seem like a rugged conversation piece for a place where children also came, but the adults brought their kids their for good life lessons, and occasional extra gravy.

Once a month some local artists decided to put together an open mic night. One night there were only about four customers, so Wendy got up and read her piece. “So that is how I ended up in a psych ward. I spent a whole entire month there suffering alone.”

In walked a fancy dressed young man with a long mustache. He set down a drum at the end of the stage, and caught Wendy’s gaze. For a long time she continued, just looking at him.

“Someone is still trapped on the other side of the hospital glass, unable to watch the swallows and bats sweep into old chimneys, unable to crunch leaves under her feet, someone else is experiencing suffering of mental illness like I did. Bone chattering anxiety. Someone can’t find their breath because anxiety has taken over. Someone is making up stories that sound more true than reality. Someone is feeling the physical pain of their inner suffering. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We could prop each other up. We could be there for one another.”

Coming off the stage, Wendy was greeted by the mustached young man. “Peter Finn at your service.”

“Finn. That is a strange last name. It rings a bell for me. Oh, I know where I heard of it. That is really funny that I didn’t know that from the start. My own Massachusetts grandmother’s maiden name was Fynn, a variation of Finn.”

“I guess that is a variation. There is a lot going on here.” Peter responded so softly, she dipped her head towards his and caught the flavor of his breath.

“Yes, there is. We could be long lost relatives.”

“And your name is Wendy, there is something about that too. Since elementary school I always have been a fan of Wendy.”

“Oh, that’s right. Your name is Peter. Peter Pan,” said Wendy.

“Exactly,” Peter said.

Wendy walked over to a table in front of the stage and for a second she wonders if this new friend was gone forever, but Peter followed her. He sat beside her.”

Wendy remembered something saying, “I have something at home I think you would like to see. Let me bring it back here.”

“OK” was all Peter responded. “My mother has this heirloom book about the names of ancient relatives. It’s called the Finn, Fynn, Fin book.”

Peter smiled, “How interesting!”

Five minutes later, Wendy reentered the diner with a large book. She returned to where Peter is writing calligraphy with ink on heavy paper. He was like someone from another era.

“Here is the Finn Fynn Fin book.”

“Wow this is very interesting since I am adopted. Actually, I do want to look at this book very much, but I am unsure of where to go in it, since I am adopted.” His little mustache reminded her of a fox. It twitched as he spoke.

“I didn’t know you were adopted,” Wendy said as more of a question than a statement.

Peter smiled saying, “well we just met, so that is ok.

She had fought her mother to borrow it, but Wendy responded, “Take the time you need.”

“Do you mind if I step out with the book and call my Dad to ask a couple family questions?” Peter asked.

Wendy knew her mother would murder her if the book got lost, but responded, “I don’t mind at all, just keep in mine it is my Mom’s heirloom book.”
“Where are your family members from anyway?” Peter wanted to know.

“Massachusetts, originally, “ said Wendy, wiping down the table.

“I remember my people were supposed to be some of the early Mayflower people.” Peter still spoke in that low way that drew Wendy near.

“Odd. Maybe we are cousins! That is my family story too.” Wendy responded in a more exuberant exultation.

“Well I will be back with the book in a minute. This is all pretty emotional to me.” Peter did look deeply moved.

About ten minutes later. Peter returned. A band was up on the stage with two women playing from Massachusetts. They are folk musicians and Wendy was clapping and seems to be really thrilled.

Peter gestured to the Massachusetts band. “This is kind of crazy”.

“I know!” Wendy had resumed waiting on tables though she kept talking to Peter.

Peter raised his voice a little so Wendy could hear him over the band, “I spoke with my father and learned a little about my family members.”

“Cool! I am glad you got to do that,” Wendy picked up some dirty dishes and brought them to the sink.

Wendy looked up at the clock, “I think I should go home actually. My shift is well over.”

“Let me give you my phone number,” Peter suggested.

“I am horrible with phones. I’ll give you my number,” Wendy responded with usual truthfulness.

“Expect a call!” Peter exclaimed as Wendy exited the diner.

Three mornings later, Wendy was working with the other waitress, June. “The message came to my phone when I had it off three days later. It was the most beautiful thing anyone had ever said to me. It stroked my ego and made me feel so loved yet conflicted. Something about it made me wonder if it was a lie.”

“What did it say?” Wondered June.

“I still have it. Listen,” said Wendy, pressing play on her answering machine.

“Hey Wendy. This is Peter from the other night. I want you to know that I go to the open mic every week. You should come to it too and let me sit close to you and I’ll call you cousin, and we’ll let the people think whatever they chose to think.”

“Girl, is he sexy as he sounds? What are you doing not calling him back?” June asked.

“Yeah, but I don’t think it’s real,” responded Wendy. Then she deleted the message.

A month passed. Wendy worked every day at the diner, and barely realized when open mic night came around again, until there again was Peter walking through her doors. The pair exchanged a look soon after he entered the door. He came over and sat down next to her and started stringing an old acoustic guitar.

Wendy couldn’t help smiling to see him, and she was blushing, “Am I going to get to hear you play this time?”

Peter smiled and Wendy kept trying to engage him in conversation. His response was even quieter than the first night or coy.

“I am sorry I never called you back. To be honest I doubted if you would want to hear from me,” Wendy said to a sad seeming Peter.

“I actually am just nervous to ask you something,” Peter grinned back to her.

Since hospitalization, Wendy had never felt such a deep connection. In hospital, the connection was generalized towards all the people. Everyone around her was suffering something. Today, she witnessed this sad man with a foxy mustache suffering a scar she had unintentionally invoked herself.

This was the turning point of her life, though she did not know it. Peter had returned to the diner to ask her to elope with him to Massachusetts. He wanted to see it, the place their ancestors were both from. There was a real romantic connection they clearly both felt, and a strangeness that they could be distant relatives.

It was right then, when Peter pulled out two bus tickets and asked her to go north, Wendy began having her first panic attack. She sat down on the counter stool as dishes piled up and Peter began to worry for her.

But this was a woman who had learned more about herself than most people ever would know. She called over June from the back room and introduced her to Peter.

“This is that sexy man I told you about,” Wendy found breath to say. She was shaking and June started fanning her with a napkin.

“I’m fine,” promised Wendy. “Do me a favor and go together to Massachusetts.”

Both June and Peter looked kind of hurt. They didn’t like the plan, but somehow Wendy convinced them. This was the defining moment in Wendy’s life because it was when she saw the purpose of her mother’s life, tending the dinner, and herself following in her footsteps, and she looked at her customers and realized she had quite a devoted following. She had earned a stability and was not willing to risk it for a thrill or a fling.

As Wendy quite literally pushed June and Peter out the door, she felt a pride beyond anything she had ever experienced. She had caught the symptom of her body and mind saying no. No. That is not going to work for me. That is what the panic attack was. And it ended quickly, because she was listening to her own needs, and not the script of someone else’s movie.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 494 url download changes

To make git-annex faster when it's dealing with a lot of urls, I decided to make it use the http-conduit library for all url access by default. That way, http pipelining will speed up repeated requests to the same web servers. This is kind of a follow-up to the recent elimination of rsync.

Some users rely on some annex.web-options or a .netrc file to configure how git-annex downloads urls. To keep that supported, when annex.web-options is set, git-annex will use curl. To use a .netrc file, curl needs an option, so you would configure:

git config annex.web-options --netrc

I get the feeling that nobody has implemented resuming interrupted downloads of files using http-conduit before, because it was unexpectedly kind of hard and http-types lacks support for some of the necessary range-related HTTP stuff.

Today's work was supported by the NSF-funded DataLad project.

Stewart V. Wright announced recastex, a program that publishes podcasts and other files from by git-annex to your phone.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Ramps season

When I hiked past the first cluster of ramps (more specifically, Burdick's wild leeks) last week, I yearned to sample but didn't want to damage a wild population. Then, a few days later, I stumbled upon the motherlode --- over an acre in size, with evidence of last year's flower stalks promising a mature population. Time to finally taste some ramps!

Beech rock

I still only harvested a handful, not wanting to damage such a slow-growing plant. But they certainly made for deliciously flavored biscuits, and I have several more recipes I want to try. Good thing ramps seem to be overharvested much less in Ohio than they were in Virginia!

Maggie also
Figure Drawing @ Bloom Cafe

The figure drawing class was a great opportunity, but most of the time, my eyes were drawn to the artists themselves. So I sketched them too. Everyone produced brilliant unique pieces each so different from their neighbors.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Hay cats
Cats on a hay bale.

These handsome cats were photographed at our neighbor's house.

Not hard to figure out which one is the Alpha cat of the two.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Perennial straw
Canary reedgrass field

Our new bales of straw were cut from a perennial --- canary reedgrass, which grows in soupy ground down by a creek. The farmer reports:

"It is a grass that regrows every year. And is more friendly to the environment than wheat straw. We do not harvest until late August early September; by that time all the seeds have fallen off and it is just like wheat straw except it is a little longer and does not have the golden color."

Self-serve straw kiosk

Clearly, the demand for his straw is high. The farmer has just about sold out, having moved 1,000 bales using a self-serve kiosk by the side of the road over the course of the winter and spring.

I'll try to remember to report back once I have more of an idea of the pros and cons of using this perennial straw in the garden. For now, I suspect it'll rot a little faster since it has more of a grass feel than a straw feel, but will otherwise work as expected. Stay tuned for further details!

Maggie also
Shagbark Hickory

Shag-bark Hickory

These are all of the words I do not share with you.
These are all the poems I don't write you.
I have such warmth for you I want to share
but to grow the tree needs space
so I walk away from it.

I don't swing on its branches.
I don't reach out beneath it.
I don't collect all the leaves as they fall.
I don't even look up the species.
I don't water the tree when the rain stops so long.

I just put my faith in her strength and walk away.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Intense Excitement
Film crew for Intense Excitement.

I've been doing more film making than homesteading these past few weeks.

This is a photo from an upcoming comedy titled "Intense Excitement".

My role on this film is Unit Production Manager.

Maggie also
The Sketchbook

When my sister sent me a blank sketchbook, with it came instructions. "Sketch one picture a day, of something that makes you joyful, grief, angry, or afraid." I took the first three days off. On the third day I sketched ten pictures of my cat. On the fourth day I sketched ten more pictures of my cat.

Cats intrigue me because their movement has abundant fluidity like ocean water.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Worm bin pro tips
Worm bin workshop

Laura Diaco from Rural Action regaled a group of attendees with pro tips on making indoor worm bins pull their weight earlier in the week. Mark and I have played with composting worms quite a bit, but I still came away with a few excellent tips.

Springtail trap

First --- skip putting onions, garlic, and citrus in your worm bins. (This was one of my first beginner mistakes back in the day.) Second, freeze food scraps before use to kill fruit flies. (Yep, this was the second problem we had with our original bin.) And, third, you can apply a piece of bread dosed with milk to attract springtails if you experience a population boom, removing the "trap crop" along with the unwanted critters to cleanse the bin.

Laura had so much success with her bin that she had to use a starvation diet to slim her population down to the point where she could continue to bring the demonstration unit to events. Otherwise, it was starting to get too heavy for her to lift! Clearly, she has a way with the worms.

Maggie also
Life's Whole Purpose

One day might have been all it really was. It might have been a week. I’m a little hazy. But I felt a connection with someone recently that was real to me. It felt like love. It is interesting because in all of my days, I have never felt this intense of a connection. Maybe it was brief, yes it was deemed impossible due to various barriers I was willing to cross but he was not.

So to be honest, that is what was happening when I experienced the low that came after. Stress was what I was undergoing. Thank goodness for my resilient response. So the learning of my response? I picked myself up, and the sun came out, and when I got past the sad thoughts, I realized this inspiring wonderful thing my life has never allowed.

I realized love is the whole reason. Life’s whole purpose is love. And these connections that we get in our lives, romantic love, love as the lovers may describe it, is the whole reason.

For a long time, I denied that the purpose of life is to be in love. Once I had a relationship with a man that probably could have been the most sensible, perfect union. And I do love this friend of mine. It’s funny the play of insanity with love. It is like, oh sensible, that’s too bad. Because often sensibility is at odds with the wild craziness of love, or it seems that for me.

Not many people who are mentally ill allow themselves or are allowed to go over the deep end together over love. Or when mentally ill people (everyone) fall in love, there is often this question of what is going on? Like you might be in a relationship with someone who is entirely wrong for you. Or maybe you are the wrong person.

I think my heart is wide open this year. This is not even the first time this year I have felt similarly, to be honest. And now that I know love is my intention, maybe something else will happen?

Maggie also
Blog Over Facebook

In case if people are wondering my facebook status, or what is going on with me and facebook, I want to never return to using it. I am still on messenger, I think. I need to download that to my phone, so might have backed up messages. And yes, I am angry at the corporation facebook for political reasons, and human reasons, but it isn't really news or new. Facebook has been evil for as long as it has been. I guess part of the initiative that is helping me ditch it is that I am noticing other people are leaving it, and that empowered me to just step back. So hoping I never go on it again.

This is not my last entry today tho... Should get personal...

Maggie also
One Way to Help

Helping others improves cholesterol, self esteem, and tend to befriend mindset to start the list. One interesting fact I found in McGonigal's The Upside of Stress is that survivors who are put to work and given ways to help counterbalance their/our need for help. There was a story of vulnerable youth who were trained to be EMS workers and their lives turned around because of the altruism they were giving. It might not be obvious that it is better to give than to receive, but it is an axiom with the richest depth of meaning. I recently saw a TED talk that spoke about apathy, saying that people really aren't apathetic almost ever, we just are struggling to find a way to help or be helpful in a society that structurally dis-empowers quite often. What would be awesome would be if systems of care giving and helping were given to locations everywhere so that people had more opportunities to help others. People want to volunteer, to help. Not just "able bodied people" but all people benefit when they have an avenue to help someone or something in need.

three conferences one week

Thought I'd pack my entire year's conference schedule into one week...

First was a Neuroinformatics infrastructure interoperability workshop at McGill, my second trip to Montreal this year. Well outside my wheelhouse, but there's a fair amount of interest in that community in git-annex/datalad. This was a roll with the acronyms, and try to draw parallels to things I know affair. Also excellent sushi and a bonus Secure Scuttlebutt meetup.

Then LibrePlanet. A unique and super special conference, that utterly flew by this year. This is my sixth LibrePlanet and I enjoy it more each time. Hghlights for me were Bassam's photogrammetry workshop, Karen receiving the Free Software award, and Seth's thought-provoking talk on "incompossibilities" especially as applied to social networks. And some epic dinner conversations in central square.

Finally today, a one-day local(!) functional programming(!!) conference in Knoxville TN. Lambda Squared was the best constructed single-track conference I've seen. Starting with an ex-pro-figure skater getting the whole audience to pirouette to capture that uncomfortable out of your element feeling you get learning FP, and ramping gradually past "functional javascript" to orthagonality, contravariant functors, the lambda cube, and constructivist logic.

I notice that I've spent a lot more time in Boston than I ever have in Knoxville -- Cambridge MA is starting to feel like my old haunts, though I've never really lived there. There are not a lot of functional programming conferences in the southeastern USA, and I think this explains how Lambda Squared attracted such a good lineup of speakers. Also Knoxville has a surprisingly large and lively FP community shaping up. There will be another Lambda Squared next year, and this might be a good opportunity to visit with me and go to a FP conference too.

And now time to retreat into my retreaty place for a good long while.

Maggie also
Everyone Struggles with Social Belonging

Did you know that when people start in a new program or a new incoming class, everyone tends to struggle with social belonging. Nobody feels they fit in at first, but this changes with time. Most people don't express that they don't feel belonging. Thankfully, by the years' end, when people stay in school or programs, they come to a place of feeling more inclusion.

The new classes don't fit in with what they find in their predominating surroundings. The ones who form close friendships with other struggling incoming students find shared belonging. Makes sense to me.

Maggie also
More Notes From McGonigal

From the Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal PhD People respond to stimulus based on their beliefs and expectations about it. Perceptions change our bodily responses. Can stress be positive if we expect a positive response?

Recently I have felt my brain chemistry change. I have felt my emotional state alter as depression and stress crept in and my mood became more vulnerable. I have felt broken down. I slept several days in a row, more hours than are good for me. I considered quitting the next stage of my life before I tried it. I disbelieved in my abilities, felt unhinged, did things that were out of my usual normal, and I lost connections that matter a lot to me.

I had a very sad talk with my father in which I seemed to guide the conversation into a really dark dis-empowered place. I felt as if he and most everyone else, is unwilling to invest hopefulness into my future, due to my mental illness and common response of quitting. I had a similar talk with my mother. I remember in my early 20's I felt pressures that were external that said achieve, do something amazing. Lately I have felt sad because I don't think anyone in the world wants me to achieve great things with my life, except for maybe me.

So when my brain starts going into unhappy zone, and when I feel bogged down by how I think about my abilities, I have felt the impact of a negative mindset, at least lately. Until this morning. I guess what changed this morning was when I woke up, I was talking with myself about gratitude. I deeply was grateful because yesterday I did two things that many people could not do, because of bad health. 1. I went to the dentist and got a clean bill of health. 2. I donated blood for the gazillion-th time.

Maybe these are just basic common occurrences, but in my world, health is more important than wealth or fame. "When you have a more positive view of growing older, you are more apt to do things that benefit yourself over time." McGonigal So this morning I woke up with hope, thinking I will maybe live old like my grandmother who made it to 92, or my great-grandmother who lived to 102.

So how am I thinking about stress? My mindset is changing. I have been feeling a breakdown of a positive mindset this past couple of months, but it doesn't have to be the story of my life. In fact, I learned several lessons this year that I could not have learned without the brief stint in the job that I quit suddenly.

So what have I recently learned? 1. The difference I am seeing between successful introverts and struggling ones like me, is that successful introverts talk to others and go into public when they are feeling their best. So if I learn to not go out and talk to others, not to make phone calls, or not to immerse myself among others when I feel bad, I could overcome a good chunk of my illness/negative disposition. 2. Along those lines, I need boundaries that I set, so that when I feel pushed I can say no solidly. But if I don't have it in me to say no solidly, I do have a second option. I an always just kill a grandparent.

One of my favorite people in the world once told me about grandparent killing in the face of excuse needing. She said she was impressed that I graduated from Berea without lying about reasons for doing things, but that I don't have to feel bad about making up some excuses. I think she had a point. Specifically, she said I should kill grandparents as much as I want, when I need an off day. This goes with the first finding, I don't necessarily need to explain my depression when I feel low. All I need to do is draw myself out of the bad situation until I feel better. Hence, say my grandparent died, and do it as much as I want. In fact, killing multiple grandparents in one week can add extra space. I know this sounds morbid, but all my grandparents really are dead, so it might be better.

  1. If I start withdrawing emotionally, I need to just go home. Even if I feel like verbally fighting, or whatever I feel is the best way forward, I am better off just retreating for a while.
  2. If I feel I am becoming unhinged, I need to find help somewhere, even if I think the world seems to not care or think I am wrong, stupid, or impossible to help. Chances are that is not what actually is happening. 5. Everything bad that happens to me can become a building block for improvement. 6. Tomorrow is always another day.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Claytonia taste test

Claytonia is one of the ultra-cold-resistant crops recommended by Eliot Coleman, but I've never planted it in my own garden. It's hard to commit space to a plant I've never tasted before. So I was delighted to find a clump for sale at the farmer's market. $2.50 to test how the plant works on our palates seemed like a pretty good deal.

The conclusion? Eh. Claytonia is probably the blandest green I've tasted. Yes, in late January when everything else is dead, I might appreciate it. But I'd rather focus on the sweetness of overwintering kale.

rstidyman (Richard)
It’s Showtime


I recently subscribed to the Citizen Tribune and much to my pleasant surprise, they want my opinion.  Okay, not me specifically but clearly it says they want to hear from their readers. I’m not sure they know what they are asking for but here goes.

I’m new in town, which among many other things, means I get to see things from a different perspective than those who have been here for a while.  I’m like the kid from the country that goes to NYC for the first time, craning his neck looking at everything and saying out loud “Gawly, look at that!” Everything is new and different.

You might be thinking, who is this guy, only living here for six months, and what does he know?  And I say, not much. but that never stopped me from expressing my opinion.


Circumstances brought us here. My fiancee was drawn here for a career opportunity.  I used that as an excuse to retire from teaching middle school Career and Technology Ed in NC for 27 years.  It seemed like a good time to move out of the cold and snow of Boone, NC to a warmer climate, longer growing season for our gardens, and new opportunities.

Just in case you haven’t noticed, Morristown is a great little city, brimming with interesting people, many of them striving to make this a place where people can find not only financial security but also social and recreational opportunities.  In fact, before moving here, we were told how wonderful the local community theaters were. And they were right.

The latest research in psychology and well being  tells us there are five things that make activities (or life) worthwhile.  They are: 1. If it’s fun. 2. If it’s engaging. 3. If we have positive relationships. 4. Includes a sense of purpose and 5. Includes a sense of achievement.  My recent plunge into acting with the Theatre Guild, Inc. confirms my suspicion that it is worth my while. And you might too.

The cool thing about community theatre is that you don’t have to be great.  Hey, you don’t even have to be good. There is very little competition, so almost anyone can find some way to contribute.  Even if you are not thrilled with the prospect of getting up on stage and risking embarrassment, they still need folks to build scenery, run lights, sound, make food, clean up and more.  I’m still hoping for a massage therapist to show up to rub our shoulders before the shows to ease our tensions.

So why don’t more people venture into this domain?  Fear? Of what? Brene Brown calls it shame, also understood as fear of not being good enough in some respect.  Fear that I won’t be accepted, fear of failure, fear of not looking, talking, walking or being enough in general.  I know that feeling. I certainly felt those things to some degree. So does everyone else I know. But here’s what we found?  In community theatre, everyone is good enough. We are all pieces of the puzzle, each different in their own way, but it is our uniqueness, each with our quirks and idiosyncrasies that makes the puzzle complete.  And makes the show go on.

Back to that list of five things?  When the show is over, I’ve discovered I feel like I belong here in this quirky city.  After a few weeks of rehearsals, two weekends of shows, and despite a few mistakes here and there, we learned that, 1. We are not perfect, or even the best, but we were good enough. 2.  It is fun, and engaging, and the time flew by. 3. New friends were made with great people, young, old and in between. 4. We achieved our group purpose by providing a couple of hours of respite for a couple hundred people. In “Arsenic and Old Lace,” from backstage we could hear the laughter and laughed along with the audience.  With “A Christmas Carol”. We, along with the audience, were reminded of the true meaning of Christmas. Spoiler alert. It isn’t the presents.

25353657_559947001006584_929194144398755219_nFinally, There is the sense of accomplishment when it is over.  What started in a basement room at the Rose Center, reading lines for a part, magically, the show it seems comes together.  The sense of accomplishment? Huge. Imagine fist bumps in the air backstage. Maybe even a houyah or two as well. It wasn’t ALL magic though.  It was a group of committed people, working, playing, laughing, all while rehearsing a few or five nights a week. We have a supportive board, a patient artistic director known as Joe Powell, and so many others that made it happen.  It’s been happening for about 84 years in fact. And will continue I hope. We have a place for you if you too are looking to challenge yourself, have fun and make a few friends. You belong.

AOL Cast


Maggie also

A friend of mine said he was sorry for me, life had become awkward. I think awkward must be what I often am striving for. I am currently spinning the past month's dialogues into a play or screenplay. Or a Broadway musical probably. Go big or go home.

Let it die in time first. Then when fear of liable has subsided I will publish.

I have been overcome by my inner strength and resilience lately. There is nothing like falling down hard and heavy yet rising back up in streaming sunlight laughing and singing just a couple days later.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Replicating grape successes
Grape roots

I know I said we weren't going to buy any trees until next year...but I figured I could slip in a few bushes and grapes this first spring. The latter came on Saturday, with hefty roots that continue to put Starks near the top of my favorite-nurseries list.

These grapes are meant to replicate our past success as closely as possible. So we stuck to the same variety --- Reliance --- and the same location --- outside the west-facing window. As hefty as these plants are, Mark may have to build them a similar trellis this year too.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 493 two new special remotes

I've been traveling and at conferences.

In the meantime, Lykos has released git-annex-remote-googledrive, a replacement for an older, unmaintained Google Drive special remote.

Today I added a special remote that stores files on an Android device using adb. It supports git annex export, so the files stored on the Android device can have the same filenames as in the git-annex repository. I have plans for making git annex import support special remotes, and other features to make bi-directional sync with Android work well.

Of course, there is some overlap between that and the Android port, but they probably serve different use cases.

Today's work was sponsored by Trenton Cronholm on Patreon

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Potting soil comparison followup
Potting soil comparison

About a month ago, I set up a side-by-side comparison of two kinds of high-quality potting soil. The photo above shows the results.

Top row is Fox Farm and bottom row is Happy Frog...and I'd have to say both composts worked pretty much the same. (The big difference between the plants on the right and the plants on the left is due to the former being further from the window before we got our lights up and running.)

I also started seedlings directly in both types of compost and saw no damping off or other germination problems in either. So I guess we'll be nabbing another bag of whichever is cheapest the next time we visit White's Mill. In the meantime, I'm hoping we get a warm spell soon so these big lettuce plants can go out in the ground.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Is dumpster diving cardboard legal?
Dumpster diving cardboard

The radio is full of news about how China no longer wants our paper and plastic, resulting in low commodity prices and buildups at recycling centers. Despite all that, a bit of sleuthing suggested our best option for bringing home bulk cardboard is still dumpster diving.

Truckload of cardboard

In Dungeons and Dragons terms, I consider myself Lawful Good. So I was a little leery of rooting through the dumpsters for two reasons.

First, I had a feeling dumpster diving was illegal. The internet, on the other hand, suggests that as long as you're in a public area (thus aren't trespassing) and don't create a disturbance, you're likely okay on the legal front.

But is taking cardboard that folks were hoping to recycle ethically sound? This is a trickier topic since recycling cardboard lowers energy usage and saves trees at the upstream end of new product creation. On the other hand, we'll be using our cardboard to grow food, sequestering carbon in the soil and reducing energy use during production and shipping.

In the end, I figured dumpster diving cardboard was at least ethically neutral. Which is a good thing since my hungry garden needs cardboard now!


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