Joey git-annex devblog
day 309 proxy

Ended up sending most of today working on git annex proxy. It had a lot of buggy edge cases, which are all cleaned up now.

Spent another couple hours catching up on recent traffic and fixing a couple other misc bugs.

Joey chatter

Smallest yellow one I had on hand.

Joey chatter
the ginger-pear chutney of my dreams

Makes me want to dive into a curry and pull the nan bread over top of me.

Recipe: 4 pears, 1 onion, 1 thumb ginger grated, 1 tbsp crushed mustard seeds, vinegar and honey to taste. Sweat until sticky.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)

Inside a bee hiveI hesitated to make this post since I suspect most of you won't get anything out of it. Chances are pretty good that 40% of you don't need this information and another 50% of you will poo-poo it. That leaves only 10% of our readership who might benefit from this post, so feel free to look at the pretty picture inside our daughter hive and then move on if you're in the 90%.

Still here? Okay, I wanted to plug a website I've been using for the past month --- happify. Mark has been training me to use positive thought to boost my creativity and pleasure in daily life for years now, and this website's activities are helping me build on that foundation and take my mental hygiene to the next level.

I've worked my way through the track "Conquer your negative thoughts," finding some activities a bit basic but many others insightful and thought-provoking. This weekend, I started studying the Mindfulness track and I can tell it's going to continue to help me simplify and focus my thoughts so they don't look so much like the image above.

In case you're curious, I haven't paid for any of the potential upgrades they keep throwing at me (the one downside of the website), but I thoroughly recommend the free version of happify. Just be sure to click on the little "why it works" links to learn more about the science behind the projects.

Homesteading is all about choosing your own adventure, and that adventure can be terrible if your brain isn't in the right spot. So, go on, happify!

Joey chatter
pear chutney

Yard is full of fruit.. 3 trees of pears, 1 apple tree, 3 grape vines, blueberries, all coming ripe. Pear chutney seems like a good idea.

Joey git-annex devblog
day 308 other peoples bugs

Work today has started in the git-annex bug tracker, but the real bugs were elsewhere. Got a patch into hinotify to fix its handling of filenames received from inotify events when used in a non-unicode locale. Tracked down why gitlab's git-annex-shell fails to initialize gcrypt repositories, and filed a bug on gitlab-shell.

Yesterday, I got the Android autobuilder fixed. I had started upgrading it to new versions of yesod etc, 2 months ago, and something in those new versions led to character encoding problems that broke the template haskell splicing. Had to throw away the work done for that upgrade, but at least it's building again, at last.

Notable Reads

My reading history breaks up into 5 easy groupings.

Early Reading Before High School

Learning how to read brought ideas into my life from far away. For example, there is a chapter book about a group of children who stay in the library at night. As an early writer and reader, I learned there is a large intergenerational audience that finds that finds that idea revolutionary. Reading From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler expanded my horizons not just because I would have liked to get locked in the library. When my friends reacted so excitedly to this novel, I took mental notes on the kind of literature people are enthusiastic to read.

I remember picture books and chapter books near and dear to my heart, but not all of them. My childhood reading started with Sow's Ear Poetry Magazines, often before they hit the press, sometimes on adult subjects, whether I understood the subject or not. A lot of the books that I finished have faded away in my memory or my personality has so changed that I don't entirely care for that kind of writing anymore. I have never resented reading a book or finishing one. Finishing books feels wonderful and reading does too. But I sure had a thing for some books, especially in my adolescence, that I certainly would not read again. The first chapter book I ever completed was an Indiana Jones in the third grade. Before then I dug pretty deep in the school library and our home collections. From Blueberries for Sal to Bedtime for Francis, the pictures meant at least as much as the words.

High School Reading

Then in high school I went through the required reading lists which is a lengthy bunch of books I wish I knew what exactly the titles were. A librarian in my high school suggested I read The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver and after that I read all of the novels and essay collections by her before my 2000 graduation. I also was reading classics then for my AP English class, while trying to define "classic" for myself in some unique way I could use as a wanna be writer. From the Grapes of Wrath to Catch 22 these "classics" seemed to show a large societal problem in a beautifully written, tempting way. I felt Kingolver's writing was doing the same thing. So I revered her as a writer, thinking her a modern classic, and I wanted to be able to write just like her.

Mary Oliver

Since writing, reading, and thinking are interconnected so inextricably, the fact that I finished 24 books by Mary Oliver plays a big influential role on my putting words together in my writing. The problem with studying one writer so deeply that you read everything by the author you can get your hands on is it can feel you know nothing other than them. I feel I need to read everything I can get my hands on by a few other writers, but the library is so big and my reading pace is so slow it can feel pretty impossible. Sometimes I write poetry that I notice seems to be trying to mimic Mary Oliver. She is one of the best poets who ever wrote and she has written a whole lot, even more than the 24 books I know. Her words tend towards questions that open people to understanding nature, life, and existence. The best thing about Mary Oliver is she seems to have God on tap brewing the finest appreciation of the vastness of it all.

College Required Reading

As an English student, we had a lengthy portfolio of literature to read. So I got to know Greggor in Kafka's Metamorphosis, finally to complete Waiting for Godot, and to read my first book by Rachel Carson. In my classes, there were reading lists that I finished and others that I just read enough to survive. I started reading audio files if I could find them, which got the reading quicker, and sometimes I could read and walk or clean my room which was special. The twelve years it took me to graduate was not entirely filled with school, so many of my independent reads happened before or between spells of being a college student. Nature writing like A Sand County Almanac inspired me to write about nature, and reading what my sister thought about things. The most beautiful read in college was an independent portfolio read, My Antonia, a novel so sentimental and touched by a prairie I do not know. The Diary of Samuel Pepys bent my mind into realizing literature doesn't have to be written with any specific intent at all. Journals and diaries contain threads that weave a fabric of history that can tell you a whole lot more than you might learn in a text book. Then there was The Journal of Virginia Woolf, which I probably identified with more than was accurate.

Adult Independent Reading

As an early young adult, a tiny segment of Donald Perry's Life Above the Jungle Floor opened my heart to appreciating the challenge and adventures of the rainforest. Poetry chapbooks galore have made it through my eyes and in to change my writing style. Right now I am inches from finishing The Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible. It has turned my impulse to judge upside down to the point I actually am letting to of judging my own behavior. For example, I sometimes don't recycle or I catch myself doing things a lot of people would call negative. I would rather not recycle for a while until my heart let go of burnout or doing things because of perceived external forces of judgment or worry, than recycle just to comply with what I keep telling myself is right. This for me is one of the biggest reads to challenge my thinking though I am not sure I recommend it.

This essay needs a lot of help if I use it for anything else.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Stocking up on winter-research topics
Brussels sprout seedling

In the middle of the summer, I'm so engrossed in the garden that I just don't have the mental energy to research deeply into the solutions to thorny problems. Then, in the winter, all I can remember is the beauty and deliciousness of our past successes. So I thought now might be a good time to note some problematic areas of our current garden for future research.

As basic as it sounds, I'm still a seed-starting amateur. When I start seeds inside under low-light conditions (I'm too cheap to use a grow light), they often succumb to damping off. I put the flats outside in the summer sun and they dry up in a heartbeat. Next, I try to start those same seeds in a shady damp bed outside, in which case they get eaten up by (I assume) slugs. And by the time I finally give up and just start the seeds in my happy garden soil under heavy irrigation, it's often too late for fall crucifers to have time to grow before our first hard freeze. As you can see, our brussels sprouts are a bit smaller than I'd hope for at this time of year, and our fall broccoli may be nonexistent. Definitely a topic to research! First stop will be The New Seed-Starter's Handbook.

Seckel pear with fireblight

With our tree fruits, I feel like we're 80% of the way to success...but close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. One obvious issue is the fire blight on our Seckel pear, but that's probably not worth researching. I already know that I should have cut out the problematic limbs when they first started appearing, and I also know that Seckel isn't as disease resistant as other pears we're now trying. Hopefully variety selection will nip this problem in future years.

Late spring freezes are a more pressing issue since this seems to be the biggest hurdle preventing us from getting tree fruits at the moment. This winter, I want to research freeze protection (it really might be worth wrapping some of our dwarf trees and hardy kiwis) and to start setting out thermometers at potential orchard areas to gather data on anti-frost pockets. It's painful to have mature, beautiful trees that simply don't bear because of one late spring frost, so this topic is near the top of my research priority list.

Sunny garden

It's not a research topic, but this year I've been more aware than ever before of how differently my vegetables perform in full sun (tiny patches of our homestead) versus partial sun. Our okra, for example, is providing about ten times as many fruits as in previous years. Why? Because I finally put this non-essential crop in the center of the sun zone. As our garden soil gets better and better and we're able to shrink our growing area, I want to be sure to focus our mulch- and fodder-producing crops in the partial-sun areas to save the full-sun for vegetables.

What's on your winter research list so your 2016 garden will blow this year's effort out of the water?

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
August about-face
August homestead

In July, I outlaw all talk of winter. We don't have enough firewood in, the garden seems like it will require a time machine to get all of the requisite work done, and winter stores of all sorts seem inevitably poised to fall short.

Sunflower chicks

In August, I embrace the changing seasons. The light is subtly different, a spell of cool nights is bracing and revitalizing. I freeze a sixth of our winter stores in one week and our wood shed is a little fuller than last year's. I look forward to the harvest successes and accept the inevitable failures as a simple part of gardening.

What a difference a month can make!

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Wood shed capacity
wood shed

We got our wood shed past the half way mark this week.

There's still a lot more fallen tree material to cut up which has got us to consider building wood shed number two in the Fall.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Flatfooting and square dancing
Whitetop Band

I'm proud to report that I've so far met my New Year's resolution of taking one work day off per month in 2015. During the peak of weeding season, we did dodge a bit and take two Friday afternoons off per month instead of indulging in a full day all at once, but Mark said that counts. (He's easing me into taking time off gently.)

Kayla was my partner in crime during our most recent random holiday, providing moral support and acting as my dance partner at the square dancing class at Mountain Empire's Mountain Music School. We learned the (very) basics of both flatfooting and of the Virginia Reel and are all fired up to take another dance class soon. Next up: the classical Indian dance of Bharatha Natyam. Stay tuned!

The Devil and me

In their eyes

I see the reflection

of something familiar.

Like myself

but more-so

like the devil.

I hear my

empowered blog talk

from earlier that day.

Love yourself no matter what!

Do not judge

outside, inside, is kin.

I love the devil.

I open myself to

unconditional acceptance.

Welcome home

I whisper sweet nothings

in our ears.

Joey git-annex devblog
day 307 two release week

Made a release this morning, mostly because the release earlier this week turns out to have accidentially removed several options from git annex copy.

Spent some time this afternoon improving how git-annex shuts down when --time-limit is used. This used to be a quick and dirty shutdown, similar to if git-annex were ctrl-c'd, but I reworked things so it does a clean shutdown, including running any buffered git commands. This made incremental fsck with --time-limit resume much better, since it saves the incremental fsck database on shutdown. Also tuned when the database gets checkpointed during an incremental fsck, to resume better after it's interrupted.

Letting Conversation Be Open to Listening

My conversational way has changed over the years. Sometimes I surprise myself though. I generally have been a debater. When I disagreed with something I always would just say so thinking that was the best possible thing to do, thinking my debate would magically change minds, thinking my words would win somehow.

Yesterday I shared ice cream with an old friend. Our conversation, often political, migrated to the confederate flag. But I just had blogged here about judgment, so when she said things I disagreed with, instead of publicly debating as I normally would have, I listened.

I have only rarely learned anything when someone tells me what they expect that I should know. Though I don't think real insights were achieved yesterday in the ice cream parlor, the goal of listening should not ever be to lead the conversation in a pointed direction. I mean if I ask a few questions to move the conversation, my questions should not be loaded or aimed at teaching a particular lesson.

What people need is space to explore their thoughts. That is what contemplation is. It's what I do on this here blog. Eating ice cream, I was actually the one I am sure changed. I continued from where I am in towards asking more meaningful questions.

You might not have known that my questions were meaningful if you happened to be sitting in a table nearby. But rest assured, for every flaky question I raised, I am evolving towards better skills in listening and letting be.

When someone says to you the confederate flag is not racist, if you disagree, that is the sensitive moment to say something as simple as "oh, really?"

I have a strong faith that things get better when people can think about them, discuss, or write about them. What better is a matter of taste I guess.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Heirloom chicken trials

With three more cockerels in the freezer, I'm ready to pass judgment on this year's round of experimental chicken breeds. I didn't raise the five varieties separately, so I can't tell you who cost the least to feed, but I do have data on foraging ability, rooster weight at roughly fifteen weeks, and survivability. I'll start with the last.

We had quite a few predator losses this year, mostly due to human error (we forgot to shut in the chicks a few nights) but also partly because our guard dog is getting on in years and sleeps more soundly than she used to. It could be entirely random which chicks got picked off, but I wanted to mention that the australorps came through unscathed, the orpingtons only lost one bird, and the three other varieties lost two birds apiece. This is interesting because I'd read that dominiques are very good free-range birds because they're less likely to get picked off --- that wasn't the case in our very small sample.

Heirloom chickens

Moving on to meat qualities of the birds, I don't have any data on dominiques or New Hampshire reds. It turns out we did end up with one dominique cockerel, but his comb was so small when we went to snatch birds off the roost by flashlight that I thought he was a girl! And all of our surviving New Hampshire reds turned out to be girls as well. So you'll have to wait for an update on meat qualities of these two breeds at a later date.

My all-around favorite (without tasting any of the meat) is definitely the Rhode Island red (the dark brown bird in the photo above). Australorps grew a little bigger (averaging 2 pounds 13.9 ounces dressed for the australorps versus 2 pounds 11.9 ounces dressed for the Rhode Island red), but the Rhode Island red had the brightest fat. This is a key indicator if you're looking for high-quality pastured meat since yellow fat comes from birds that forage the most, meaning you're getting more omega 3s and the birds are probably eating less feed.

In contrast, our orpington cockerels were big losers, having quite pale fat that almost looked like the fat on a cornish cross. The orpingtons were also the lightest birds at fifteen weeks, clocking in at 2 pounds 6.2 ounces. Although they'll likely catch up to the other breeds later, this slow growth probably also means they eat more feed for every pound of meat that ends up on the table (although I can't be positive of that fact). As a final nail in the breed's coffin, the orpingtons are the only birds in this flock who have been causing trouble, refusing to abide by my pasture rotation and returning time after time to the first pasture we started them out in. So while Kayla assures me that orpingtons are good pet chickens, I'm afraid I have to take them off my list of prime thrifty chicken breeds.

Omniscient kitten

Sprawled on his back, flat
Camera aiming, shutter drawing wide
Stretching kitten, eyes closed, blurs shot

Valuable lesson, human:
Don't take life too seriously!

Being Unashamed

Everything in my life lately has pointed either towards or away from self judgment. It's been a long time in the coming, and now I feel I need to talk about some minor issues that can feel tremendous - that boil down to shame.

My idea is that we need to actively forgive ourselves in ways that I just do not witness. I feel instead I am surrounded by fingers pointing even though not all the time are the fingers aimed at me.

Maybe I am talking with the wrong people or living in the wrong circumstances. But all I seem to hear, on either side of the political spectrum, are blame. What I would give to tune my ears to a different channel.

Sometimes it actually is a channel like frequently National Public Radio, though other times this "conversation" exists on facebook postings and comments, gossip I hear at the gym, or chit chat at the library.

People talk about what they believe in, which for all of us are ideas shaped by our culture.

For instance, one of my greatest beliefs is that people with mental illness are too often treated in ways that stigmatize them, which is entirely unhelpful, and is just not a true characterization.

When I say stigma I am talking about the activists saying people with mental illness should not be permitted to purchase guns plus the media saying the problem with violence is due to the mentally ill people.

I could say I was reared by a family out of their element in terms of politics and thoughts, but that sounds almost as much like blame as reason, and I am trying to be as compassionate was I would like in return.

What I want is to not be judged. So how can I not judge?

I feel the question is huge and I have few answers. But trying not to be judged is probably missing the point. My real quest is to forgive myself. Since my thoughts are full of outside material, since I feel other people are part of this, it is not just a matter of me forgiving me. I am drawing a blank though at least I know what my question is.

Proposed Disability Cuts

A battle is stewing about what to do with the Social Security Disability Insurance funds. Cuts are looming in which Republicans are trying to reduce disability by 19% starting in 2016.

It is important that people know how disability works. 11 Million people counting on those benefits. Americans pay in over their working years, and if they become disabled, they get SSDI. The three integrated programs are either a retirement, a survivors, or a disability benefit.

An integrated Social Security program means that part goes to retirement and part to SSDI. According to Jason Furman, Chairman of Obama Administration's Council of Economic Advisors, there is only one way to prevent the cuts that are looming and that is to reallocate the funds. To reallocate or draw more disability from the retirement fund has happened numerous times before, 11 actually.

Because merging the programs would be an easy solution, I am amazed that the 19% cut is even being considered.
Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Hatched song sparrow chicks
Song Sparrow chick

I was a little concerned that Mama Song Sparrow might have decided she'd settled in too much of a high-traffic area and abandoned her nest, because she seemed to be off more than she was on. But I guess in the heat of July, you don't have to hug your nest to hatch eggs. Because when I peered into the tomato patch Tuesday, I saw two baby sparrows already out of their shells and looking for lunch.

Now to leave Mama Sparrow alone for a few more days and hope she hatches two more. It's been a couple of years since we've incubated our own chickens, so it's fun to vicariously enjoy a successful hatch, albeit of a much smaller species. And it's always a joy to watch wildlife move into our long as they're not eating our crops.

Owning It for Bernie Sanders

Early this spring, in a Bernie Sanders discussion page on Facebook, I suggested Bernie run as a Democrat. People tell me others must have said so too, but the truth is, I would like to proudly state that I talked Bernie into running as a Dem, so by gum, he ran as a Democrat because of me!

Tonight in little tiny Abingdon, Virginia 50 fine people gathered together in a big room that happened to be in a movie theater in the earliest largest campaign kickoff in this nation's history. There was a simultaneous broadcast reaching over 100,000 people who will become the volunteers Bernie needs to win.

Tonight was a huge success and it actually is really hard work for me to say I was a big part in making it happen. I had the vision to put our meeting in a movie theater. I also booked the theater.

We all have a little part to do every day.

Some people say Bernie is not presidential material, that they wish they could vote for Bernie, but Hillary hawk will have to do. Where's the pride in that?

I would like my next declaration to make a difference, to grow like the numbers of volunteers in Abingdon tonight. We are going to make Bernie win!

Here is what you can do. Learn what you can about the issues Bernie has worked for all of his life. Get to know his platform. Sign up for updates about Bernie at his website. Text "Work" to 82623 to sign up as a volunteer in any of about 20 different tasks.

The campaign for Bernie Sanders to be our next president is one that I believe in, and to use the language of tonight's broadcast, it is a Political Revolution. Life begins in revolution. So live.

The time has come for wall street to stop being treated better than citizens. The time has come for African Americans not to be arrested for the color of their skin. The time has come for free tuition in public universities. The time is ripe for Bernie Sanders to be our next president! Yay!!

Jerk Today, Idiot Yesterday

Binge watching "How I Met Your Mother"

I see myself in Barney Swinson the proud.

Once a hippie, now no one knows what he does,

but he has lawyers who work for him

and he seems wealthy

but not in tastefulness or classiness

in fact he's something of a womanizer

taking a new one home each night

usually swindled out from under his friend Ted

when he's supposed to be the wing man.

His humor is terrible, foul, that of a pubescent child.

He does magic tricks, gambles with the Chinese in Chinese.

The whole first season no one knows where he lives.

Then Lilly needs a place one night,

we see his bachelor pad

with a whole bookcase of porn neatly

lit up with display lights.

Unlike the average man's hidden selection.

So where am I in Barney?

I know now I watch this show for Barney.

The first episode he was a jerk and I only

barely made it to the second show

because of Barney, the jerk.

Now though I see something bigger in Barney,

an idiot, an fool,

yet somehow in him I see wisdom.

If you have job stability, why hide your porn collection?

If the sex is consensual, why wimp marry or divorce or remarry?

On second look, I am not Barney.

But watching this show, I know I am the anti-Barney.

I blush when the subject hints around anything of want or of the flesh.

I feel self conscious about everything Barney,

but everything about Barney is what makes me laugh.

Plus I always liked magic.

So maybe I have something to learn from Barney.

Nix that. I still like magic, which for me is Barney.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
June bug in a bucket
june bug in a bucket

I found a June Bug in a bucket and thought the chickens might want it.

They seemed to enjoy watching it bounce around, but could'nt quite reach the bottom of the 2 gallon bucket.

The bug was snatched up by what I assume is the quickest hen when I dumped it.

Maggie also
The use of Tumblr


I am a bit nervous about switching blog platforms because at least 10 people read the other one and no one has even begun to indicate their presence here on tumblr.  So I wonder if people have a clue I am doing this.  Hmmm.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Sweet corn puzzle
Spotty corn germination

What's wrong with this picture?

(Guess before you peek!)

Spotty corn pollination

If you said that Artemesia was eating our sweet corn, you got tricked by the zoom-related flattening of the photograph. Our little doeling was actually about five feet beyond the corn in question when I clicked the shutter button on our camera.

On the other hand, if you noticed the large distance between the corn plants, you're on the right track. My germination test this past winter suggested that last year's corn seeds were fine. But in the real-world setting of our garden, those same seeds came up very spottily. That's a problem since corn is wind pollinated and relies on a relatively large stand to ensure the seeds develop well and the ears bulk up. In fact, I was expecting to see lots of cobs like the one pictured above when the time finally came to harvest our crop.

Sweet corn harvest

To my surprise, most of the seeds seem to have set even with less than a dozen plants to spread their pollen. While I'm glad the corn plants came through for us this time around, I've resolved to stick to buying corn seed every year rather than trying to eke out those packets for a second season. It appears that corn, like onions, is simply better planted during year one. Live and learn! At least we can still eat my mistakes.

Joey chatter

Did I really nap away the whole afternoon? Yes, yes I did.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
What has it got in its pocketses?
In my pockets

I usually try not to go down that slippery slope of filling up my pockets. But Monday, I realized I'd accumulated an odd assortment of odds and ends. The pocketknife is present to cut straw-bale strings since Monday is deep-bedding-top-up day. The seeds are to fill gaps in the garden where I noticed beans and cucumbers didn't come up as perfectly as I'd like. And the potato onions were found while planting the beans, overlooked during a previous harvest.

My Monday mornings are generally about as diverse as the contents of my pockets. I have to fill about an hour and a half before the dew dries off the tomatoes, but I don't want to get so engrossed in a big project that I'll forget about my primary purpose for the day. So I scythe pastures animals were recently rotated out of, feed the bees, tether the goats, and generally mark little things off my list. And then it's time to prune those tomatoes and make some pesto chicken salad for lunch...and empty out my pockets!

Joey git-annex devblog
day 306 release day

Made a release today, with recent work, including the optparse-applicative transition and initial support in the webapp.

I had time before the release to work out most of the wrinkles in the support, but was not able to get gcrypt encrypted repos to work with gitlab, for reasons that remain murky. Their git-annex-shell seems to be misbehaving somehow. Will need to get some debugging assistance from the developers to figure that out.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
When to stop milking goats
Mini-Nubian goat
"How long can you milk Abigail? Will you breed them both this fall?"
--- Deb

A lot of factors go into how long you decide to milk a goat. First, there's body condition, which I've discussed previously. If your goat has lost too much weight, you need to stop milking.

Lacation graph

The other issue is whether it's worthwhile for the human to keep milking as production slowly declines. The chart above shows Abigail's lactation curve to date (starting three weeks after Lamb Chop was born, when we started locking him away for the night). There was a lot of human learning involved in our first effort, so this curve doesn't look like they usually do --- with low production slowly rising to a peak at around 4 to 6 weeks post kidding, then declining back down. However, you can see that production is already dwindling markedly so we're now averaging about three and a third cups per day. I suspect that when I'm only bringing home one or two cups per day, I'll decide the milk is no longer worth the squeeze.

Goats on logs

One thing to keep in mind is that Abigail was a cheap starter goat. Artemesia's genetics are more high-brow, so there's a good chance our doeling will produce more milk for longer than Abigail has.

Why bother with a goat who doesn't give very much milk? I figured it was worth learning on a cheaper goat, and I stand by that decision as a good one. It would have been a shame to decide we didn't like goats after sinking much more money into the project, and Abigail has also proven to be an easy keeper, which might be better than an amazing milker in the long run. So I'm happy with what I've got...but am looking forward to much more milk next year.

Goat battle

And, in order to get that milk, we're going to have to breed both goats. You can read my thoughts on our options here, with the caveat that I'm leaning more toward buying a cheapish buck whom we can use and then eat in the fall. Now that I'm pretty sure we'll need to breed both goats (rather than milking Abigail through), the hassle of bringing two separate goats to be bred when they come into heat at two different times seems larger than the hassle of dealing with a buck for about a month.

Miniature goat in the woods

At the moment, though, we're just enjoying our happy little herd and our delectable milk products. I'm still thoroughly in love with our goats!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Mom and the beanstalk
Scarlet runner beans on a trellis

Mom was very taken by our scarlet runner beans when she came over. She felt like I hadn't given an accurate picture of their impressive height and spread on the blog...but I'm afraid I've still been unable to capture the full awesomeness of this bean. The photo above shows beans who have only had about two and a half weeks to grow up their trellis. They've been at roof height for half that time!

Developing scarlet runner beans

The plants in the first picture haven't bushed out enough to provide much shade yet, but the ones on last year's trellis on the south side of the trailer are already doing a pretty good job breaking the summer sun. A hummingbird comes to these plants each morning --- a perfect view to eat my breakfast to. And, look, beans already being set to feed us this winter!

Joey chatter
bonus acronym: ICFP

Booking a flight, and pretty sure that picking an airport I don't want (SJC) + nearby yields cheaper flights to the airport I do want (SFO), than picking it directly does.

Oh well, user-hostile non-free software aside, I'm going to SFO, and YVR in August!


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