Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Carbon sinks on the homestead

While we refer to our "lawn" only in parentheses since the grass is full of dandelions, clover, and whatnot and never gets fertilized (except with the chicken tractor), I do occasionally feel guilty about the grassy areas.  Granted, on our farm, grassy garden aisles make sense, but most like-minded people think all lawns are evil.  However, as I mowed Thursday, I started wondering whether the carbon dioxide coming from our mower might not be offset by the carbon being sequestered in the soil as grass blades and roots turn into humus.

Sure enough, independent scientists (in addition to the lawn-care "scientists" you might expect to feel this way) report that lawns do act as carbon sinks.  A minimal input lawn like ours that only gets mowed with no other treatment sequesters about 147 pounds of carbon per lawn per year (after you subtract out the carbon released by the mower).  The abstract I read didn't mention lawn size, but I'm assuming they're using the American average of a fifth of an acre, which matches up with another study that reports each acre of lawn sequesters a net of 760 pounds of carbon per year.

Of course, cover crops will put the puny carbon sequestration powers of a lawn to shame.  Sorghum-sudangrass will pump a massive 10,565 pounds of carbon per acre into the soil, and oilseed radishes don't do so bad either at 3,200 pounds of carbon per acre.  In fact, a 120-year-old northeastern woodland only clocks in around the carbon sequestration powers of oilseed radishes, and you can still grow tomatoes in the oilseed-radish ground during the summer.

Which is all a very long way of saying --- if you're considering making a patio or leaving that area as lawn, go for the lawn.  But if you really want to sequester carbon fast, plant some cover crops.

Joey chatter

Linus Torvalds at DebConf.. this is going to be kinda weird I think.

Joey chatter

10 minute demo with 1 intentional haskell type error, 5 lines of code entered, 1 docker container provisioned, one change to my dns server provisioned.


mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Danger zone
using a circular saw blade in a weed trimmer eater

Our neighbor mentioned that he uses a miter saw blade on his weed trimmer.

The arbor hole is the same diameter as the Ninja brush blade. Make sure the teeth point to the left to take advantage of the cutting teeth.

I only tried it on some rag weed and it was like a hot knife cutting through butter. Our neighbor reported when he tried it the blade would bind up on even medium sized trees. I think we don't need the little bit of extra cutting power for such a huge leap in danger.

Joey chatter

It will run on amd64 or arm. I don't think on i386, because I put the amd64 qemu in it.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Two bean cover crops
Buggy beans

I appreciated all of the thoughtful comments on my scarlet runner bean post last weekend!  Several of you correctly pointed out that the species is actually a perennial, although the distinction won't make much of a difference for most of us since (like tomatoes) scarlet runner beans are perennials that act like annuals in temperate climates.  On the other hand, that reminder did point out that not only the green beans, shelled beans, and flowers, but also the tubers of scarlet runner beans are edible.

Bean beetle larvaHowever, what I wanted to share today is a downside I just discovered of my beautiful bean planting.  Unfortunately, scarlet runner beans seem to make awesome nurseries for Mexican bean beetles, as you can tell from the holey leaves in the photo above (and from the larva that was hiding in a photo in my previous post, repeated to the left).  We use the ultra-simple bean-beetle control method of succession planting bush beans (explained in more depth in The Naturally Bug-Free Garden), but adding scarlet runner beans to the mix means that this year's beetle population exploded and quickly colonized my bush bean plants.  Good thing I'd already frozen several gallons of the staple crop because the plants will probably soon bite the dust....  I might try scarlet runner beans again, but this piece of data suggests I should keep my for-food beans far away from my for-beauty beans in the future.

Fava bean seedling
On a semi-related note, our experimental fava beans have come up!  The seedlings look more like peas than like beans, which is probably because fava beans are really a vetch.  We hope to experiment with eating both the fava bean seeds and the scarlet runner bean seeds at lima bean stage...even though I don't think I've ever eaten lima beans before in my life.  For those of you who are more experienced --- what kind of introductory recipe would you recommend?

Joey chatter

Forgot to mention, image by Aigars Mahinovs who must have held his DSLR out really far!

Joey chatter
Multnomah Falls from above

What a beautiful day we had. And, how lucky I am to have a waterfall not far from home that can be compared to Multnomah in exquisiteness of experience, if not sheer height.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Goldenrod leatherwing
Goldenrod leatherwing

Insects on echinaceaThis week, the world seems to be chock full of soldier beetles.  Specifically, these goldenrod leatherwings are in a mating frenzy --- I counted half a dozen on just a few echinacea flowers on Wednesday afternoon.

With nearly 500 species of soldier beetles in the U.S., gardeners aren't likely to learn them all by name.  But I'm pretty sure all of the soldier beetles are either innocuous or beneficial (although some of their larvae are minor problems on fall fruits).

Feeding soldier beetle

The beneficial species are handy because the larvae eat slugs and snails while the adults consume aphids.  Other species (like the goldenrod leatherwing) seem to fixate on nectar instead, but the world can't have too many pollinators!

(Yes, this post is just an excuse to share pretty bug photos.  What can I say --- they're cute!)

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Pre pulling
Chevy S-10 truck stuck in the mud with me and Frankie looking at it

Our neighbor with a tractor has agreed to help us get the truck unstuck.

Today we just looked it over and developed a plan.

With any luck it will continue to dry up and make things a little easier.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
August lunch
August lunch

August is probably the tastiest time of the year on our farm.  This week, we've enjoyed the first lettuce and red peppers, and the fall round of red raspberries are starting to be nearly as copious as the blueberries we've been enjoying for weeks.  Three cups of berries per day make perfect desserts.

Celeste figWe're still eating tomatoes and cucumbers and watermelons (although they're starting to decline), and have plenty of summer squash, green beans, and Swiss chard that will continue to go the distance.  We're nearly at the end of our spring cabbage and carrots (which currently live in the crisper drawer of the fridge), but fall crops are all growing like gangbusters and promise to replace the spring round soon.  In fact, I saw the first pea flower Monday!

What am I watching with an eagle eye?  Our fig bushes!  Last year, the first fig ripened up at the very beginning of September, and I'm looking forward to tasting the first few Celeste figs (along with bowlsful of Chicago Hardy) later this year.

What are you enjoying and looking forward to seeing soon in your own garden?

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Learning to cook on a rocket stove
Rocket stove

Our power was out for about 21 hours Sunday afternoon through Monday morning.  That seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the new rocket stove that our neighbor gave us!

Stovetec rocket stove

I'd like to be able to tell you "I only needed two sticks of wood to scramble our breakfast eggs," but the truth is that this first iteration of rocket-stove cookery was a learning experience.  What I mostly learned is that damp wood doesn't fly in rocket stoves --- I didn't really get the fire blazing until I tracked down the piece of kindling in the middle of the photo above, which had been sitting in our woodshed for a couple of years and was bone dry.  The sticks that have been drying on the porch for a week mostly smoldered instead of burning.

Perhaps because I only ended up using one dry piece of wood, the temperature in the skillet on top of the rocket stove never got warmer than what equates to about medium on our electric range.  That's fine for scrambling eggs, and would be great for things like soups, but for my next experiment I look forward to trying out the skirt that fits around a pot to increase the stove's efficiency by 25%.  I also want to get a more solid handle on exactly how much wood the rocket stove consumes, although I have to say that I'm already impressed in that regard.

Rocket stove on cinderblock

What was the biggest surprise about making breakfast on the rocket stove?  How much I enjoyed the fire therapy!  Usually, I get a little cranky during power outages due to internet deprivation, but a dose of fire first thing in the morning instead set me singing happily as I weeded the garden.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that our Cyberpower Battery Backup combined with my laptop battery means I can enjoy about an hour and a half of blogging time even while the grid is down.

In case you're curious, everything in the freezer stayed frozen during the outage, despite highs that nearly reached 90.  If the juice had stayed off for more than 24 hours, though, we would have topped off the cold with our generator.

Joey chatter
Note to my family

A lot of my posts this week have pictures, but they are not showing up on the family blogs page. If you click on the title of a post, you'll see the picture.

(This is because of issues with I need to find a better rss feed.)

Joey chatter
90 minute ballet

Managed to escape DebConf's gravitational pull for a few hours; wandered down to Pioneer Square and watched ballet in the park over a salad.

But it's hard to escape.. Stopped for an expresso on the way back and in no time the conversation jumped from indiginous Brazilian music to haskell on powerpc. Then on the way back to my room I had an intense mind-meld of a conversation about the best battery choice for our respective solar powered dwellings.

.. And that was a relaxed 1.5 hour gap in the DebConf schedule. Got back just in time for the ledger BoF (double-entry accounting for geeks).

Joey chatter

sorry about kicking down your door.. a bit of a bad habit

Joey chatter


Yeoj died on level one. Killed by a Chris's apostrophe golumn.

Inventory: A +2 ring of armhf power (worn on left hand).

Attributes: You used no wishes. You were devoutly libre software.

laughing willow

sometimes I forget too much
to share the laughing willow
of abundance that is me
with myself

Pilgrimage to Rising Tide North America

I went camping this weekend in a beautiful natural and human landscape to represent the work I’ve done against hydrofracking in an anti climate change movement I am somewhat familiar with called rising tide. I am thinking a lot about pilgrimage and my life actions as broadly being a pilgrimage and my involvement with these people reminded me the environmental world badly needs human intervention and a changed way of consuming to survive. I felt a bit out of place in the group as I always do in groups. At one point I even felt I needed to defend the Tea Party people because I believe anyone can be taught and brought to better ways and I heard a shunning of sorts of people who might actually even make up a large percent of my home town.

I guess my point as an “activist” or among activists is that I like to bridge the gap between people groups who believe in climate change and those who don’t. That is very necessary work. In the next hundred years the sea level will rise so incredibly much regardless of what we do and we all must prepare for what is to come.

I am not personally good at the nonviolent civil disobedience tactics generally used by Rising Tide but I think it was still good for me to go.  I am a contact for them in Bristol.  

In my beliefs a pilgrimage can be many things.  For me I use the word because I think it is accurate.  But don't be confused.  I wasn't bringing much to the group I think.  I mostly just sponged up thoughts for my future use.  

The biggest lesson for me though when I am among radical activists is that the situation of climate change is real and looming.  So increasing my influence of others environmental decision making really does matter.

I am very grateful for the willingness of the organizers to give me the scholarship they offered.  I now also feel I owe them money.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Keeping an eye on varroa mite levels
Honeybee on Joe Pye Weed

The bees haven't managed to do any extra comb-building this week, as evidenced by a photo up through the bottom of the daughter hive.  Sure, there are scads of flowers available at the moment, but bees can't fly when it's raining every day.  Luckily, both of Worker beesour colonies have socked away so much honey that they could probably coast until winter if they had to.

Honey is on my mind because this is the time of year to start thinking about the hives' winter survival.  But survival through the cold months doesn't just mean honey stores.  Varroa mites can be a huge drain on a hive's resources in the winter, and the populations sometimes balloon in late summer and early fall.  So I like to do a mite check in August, another in September, and one more in October just to make sure the colonies are on track.  Our two hives passed with flying colors during this first round --- the daughter hive dropped two mites per day while the mother hive dropped 1.3 mites per day, far below the worrisome threshold.

What will we do if mite levels rise over time?  We already use a lot of the methods of varroa-mite treatment/prevention listed here.  Last year, we tried out treating bees with powdered sugar as well, but I don't think I'd do that again --- it could be just a coincidence, but the hive dosed with sugar is the only one where I've ever had a colony abscond in the fall.  Instead, I might try the rhubarb trick that an old-timer recently shared with me.  Better yet, here's hoping our hygenic bees will groom off so many varroa mites that I won't have to do anything at all.

Joey chatter
ad-hoc networking at DebConf

The XKCD display box and router converts the internet wifi into a local ethernet.

Right next to it is a mini-network consisting my my freedombox, running as an access point, and bridging via ethernet to the the git-annex-logoed OLimeX computer.

I was using this today to get a clean Debian installed on the Lime (it came with a messy debian preinstalled), and investigate what needs to be done to support it in d-i.

I was surprised I managed to get the kernel, filesystem, and even u-boot replaced. Mostly because I don't have a serial cable for this box, so the only access was over wifi-to-ethernet, and via looking at the microsd card after it booted! Only 2 twice did it fail to boot at all, luckily. :)

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Scarlet runner beans
Scarlet runner beans

I'm intrigued by the potential of the scarlet runner beans I'm growing for the first time this year.  I planted them for quick shade along the south face of the trailer while the perennial vines get established, but I was soon taken by the way the orange-red flowers attract hummingbirds (plus bumblebees, butterflies, and other insects).  And now I'm wondering whether biomass production might not really be scarlet runner beans' primary selling point.

Seven weeks ago"Those plants are like annual kudzu!" I told Mark at lunch yesterday, and he asked me why I was being so mean to the beans.  But, the truth is, I was paying them a compliment.  If the species wasn't the scourge of the South, kudzu would have a lot going for it from a permaculture perspective due to its ability to fix nitrogen, to thrive in poor soil, and to grow extremely quickly.  Scarlet runner beans seem to share many of the same traits, as you can see by comparing the two photos above --- the top picture was taken this weekend while the second photo is from only seven weeks earlier.  Since scarlet runner beans are annuals instead of perennials, they can put out this crazy amount of weekly growth with much less risk of the beans taking over the world.

Cover crop polyculture

Since our soil is getting richer by the year, meaning we can grow more food in less space, I've been tossing around ideas for what to do with the freed up growing room.  One big goal is to grow more of our own compost and mulch.  To that end, I'm experimenting with some plants that I wouldn't quite call cover crops since they don't out-compete weeds, but which might mix together to make a prime compost pile.

Insects on bean flowersThe photo above shows this summer's experiment of sunflowers and sorghum, with oilseed radish planted around the roots of the left-hand bed for weed control.  Perhaps the relatively woody stems of sunflowers will combine with the high-nitrogen vines of scarlet runner beans to create good compost?  As a lazy gardener, I'd love it if the compost could be made in place --- just toss the plant carcasses on top of a garden bed in the fall and let them rot into compost by spring while shading out weeds in the process.

It seems like I've always got exciting cover crop experiments in the works.  That's the sign of a geeky gardener --- she's drawn to the buckwheat being grown for soil improvement before she takes a look at your tomatoes.

Joey chatter
free as in coffee

Excellent and free DebConf coffee cart is dannngerous to my so far not complete caffeine addiction.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Best chicken cam?
goats from chicken cam

I've looked at a lot of chicken cam set ups over the years and have not been impressed with any until I found Terry Golson's

What's it take to keep 4 live streaming cameras going in a barnyard environment
? Terry's husband does an excellent job explaining the not so easy IT details that make such a project possible.

They've also got goats to keep their flock of over a dozen chickens entertained.

Joey chatter

Beautiful morning wandering around the Portland farmer's market, located right out front of DebConf.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Kayla's crafts
Canned goods

Ripening tomatoes"You know, my parents' house used to be a trailer," Kayla mentioned after I posted about looking for a few more trailersteaders to profile in the upcoming print edition of Trailersteading.  It turns out that her family home is an elegant example of turning a mobile home into a beautiful and functional living space...but you'll have to wait to read about that in the book.

Bed turned bench

Still, I can't resist sharing some highlights from my tour.  From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I was taken by the canned goods that Kayla and her mother have stocked away in their pantry (including lots of pickles from our cucurbit overflow).  And aren't ripening tomatoes always beautiful?
Silverware wind chimes
More functionally, some of you might want to follow the family's lead and turn a yard-sale bed into a beautiful bench like the one shown above.  Just use the headboard for the back and cut the footboard in two to create the sides.  Kayla's mom decided to make her own bench after seeing a similar one selling for $150; in contrast, her version cost only about $10 to produce.

On a similarly crafty note, I was so taken by the harmonious sound of Kayla's silverware wind chimes that I traded a chicken waterer for a set to take home.  When I first saw photos of these wind chimes, I expected them to be a bit tinny like the cheap chimes you can get from big box stores, but I was very wrong!  Want a set of your own?  Kayla has four more already made and up for sale in her Etsy store.

Thanks so much for letting me invade your home and take photos, Kayla and Alice!

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Chicken tractor predator protection
Chicken tractor predator protection

"Do you have problems with raccoons?  My neighbor has tried chickens for almost 10 years and every single time except this last time (when it turns out the "hens" were roosters. Oy!) raccoons figured out how to get into the chicken tractor (which is really very well built) and EAT them.  Got any suggestions?" --- Nayan

It's tough to make a chicken tractor light enough to pull and still strong enough to keep out predators.  The photo above shows how Kayla used movable screens to keep a hawk from reaching through the mesh into her chicken tractor.

We recommend not trying to beef up your tractor to keep out raccoons.  Instead, keep your chicken tractor very close to home (and get a good dog, if possible) to scare any potential predators away.

With raccoons, it's also handy to make sure your birds eat any kitchen scraps very quickly.  We learned the hard way that raccoons will come for scraps and stay to eat your chickens.  Better a flock that only eats store-bought feed and grass than birds with a more diverse diet who end up in a raccoon's belly.

Anna & Brandy (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Best kefir recipes (and a giveaway)

Kefir grains
Brandy is the original source of my kefir grains, and she's been experimenting with wild fermentation for much longer than I have.  So I was thrilled when she offered to share a bit about her experiences...along with a free starter culture for one lucky winner.  Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter the giveaway, but be sure to read Brandy's tips too.  (And don't forget that you've still got a few hours left to enter our notecard giveaway!)


Kefir ice cream sandwichIt's been more than five years since my kefir grains arrived in the mail, packed in a small zippered bag and looking all squished. I don't think I knew what was ahead then, that it would be the one thing I'd keep up with through good times and bad, through morning sickness and two new babies. My kefir grains have traveled, too. After sharing them with dear local friends, they've been packed up and shipped all over the country. I'm still just as excited about kefir as I was when they arrived, so I thought I'd compile some of my thoughts and favorite recipes.

Kefir biscuitsI got the grains on a whim, thinking it would be fun to try them out. I'd had some serious antibiotics a few months before and I was not feeling all that great. I started by making berry and peach smoothies and putting the kefir into biscuits. I'm still doing that, and more. I haven't bought buttermilk in years and I don't really buy much yogurt since Anna enlightened me on the differences. My stomach feels so much stronger, too.

Kefir makes a wonderful substitute for buttermilk, even for those who enjoy buttermilk plain, and adds a lovely leavening kick to quick breads. We put it in waffles, pancakes, biscuits, smoothies, cobblers, coffee cakes, anywhere that buttermilk would normally go. I've even used kefir cottage cheese in place of ricotta in lasagna! My mother, who is gluten-free, enjoys kefir as a way to add a yeasty taste to wheat-free baked goods. All this is making me hungry, let's get to some recipes! Kefir smoothies

Fluffy Kefir Biscuits
Kefir Cottage Cheese
Vanilla Kefir Ice Cream
Kefir Cream Cheese
Long-Fermented Sourdough Biscuits
My simple kefir tutorial


If those recipes sound good, you can get started on kefir in your own kitchen.  Enter the giveaway using the widget below for a chance to win a starter culture, or buy your own for just $10 (plus $5 shipping) in Brandy's etsy store.  Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Joey chatter

Finallly done with mailing my campaign thank you's.. Ran 3 separate post offices out of global stamps.

Now off to my 12th DebConf in Portland!

Climate Change

Dear Earthlings,

I am one of the few people in my home city who BELIEVES in climate change.  I am awakening to this fact.  I have studied it to my best scientific capabilities for years.  I KNOW it is TRUE and have for a long long time.  But BRISTOL TENNESSEE and our sister city in VIRGINIA does not.

Many people in the South are employed by coal or are tied into the coal economy through a long legacy of family heritage that is important.  Mountaintop Removal and Hydrofracking is not possible in Bristol's city limits, but we are a big part of the political pressure in this region.   Our city managers and council members, the people in power, and the Fossil Fuel CEO's who own much of the mineral rights are often where people get their information.  It is a big mess of coersive long term propaganda and restriction of free speech if people speak out against the Powers that be.  

Last night I had a realization around a 20 page research paper I wrote at Berea College with a thesis about Cuba and immigration.  My realization is this:  

I have thought much about the sustainable practices Cuba developed after the the embargo.  Fukushima is becoming 100% energy independent by 2040.  All the world must also.  Or we will all be refugees.

I do not want to be a refugee on my own planet.  The tide is rising.  Are you ready to think for yourself, Bristol?  

Love always,


Bristol, Tennessee is my home and heritage too.

Making Dreams my Own

I had a dream that a very important person (Mom) slipped out to me in conversation that I am dead, (didn't I already know.)  Then my mind walked through my home wondering why my bed is still here in my room and why my stuff is still in order and here and changing if I am dead.  In all of this I was in my dream convinced I was dead.  I woke up experiencing an internal scream that made me more than anything want to live and embrace life to my fullest.  Maybe that is a hard explanation to grasp for most, but it is the honest truth.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
The first hazelnuts
Ripening hazelnut

Nuts are notorious for taking a long time to bear.  For most species, you probably shouldn't expect a harvest for at least a decade, and during that time nut trees may spread to cover an area fifty feet in diameter.  So it's no surprise that many homesteaders instead turn to the bush growth habit and relatively fast bearing nature of the hazel.

Of course, "relatively fast" isn't exactly speedy.  Almost five years after planting, our unnamed hybrid hazel variety from the Arbor Day Foundation is finally starting to take off, and I was excited to see both male and female flowers on the bush this spring.  I'd thought the latter dropped off, but closer inspection this week turned up a few developing fruits nearly hidden amid the foliage.  Since only one of the three bushes I originally planted survived, this bush is either self-pollinated or (more likely) the wild hazels about a hundred feet away in the woods provided enough pollen for everybody.  No matter who the nuts' daddy is, I'm excited to think that we'll get to taste our first homegrown hazels this year after all!

Hazel bush

Despite our bush's slow initial growth, it has proven itself able to handle waterlogged soil, as is evidenced by the "pond" in the photo above, which is actually a pit I dug to gauge groundwater levels and to elevate the surrounding soil.  Unfortunately, the two named varieties I planted in the starplate pasture this spring have been less resilient in the face of heavy deer pressure.  Only one of the two bushes has survived and I recently decided that the hazel would probably do better if transplanted into the safety of our core homestead close to its cousin.  In fact, I might even dig the little survivor up now rather than waiting for the usual transplanting season (after the leaves fall) since I'm not sure how much plant will be left after a few more months of deer grazing.

Rambling aside, the purpose of this post is really to tell my father to go check on his hazel bush.  Yes, you think it's never born fruit, but I had to look really, really close to see the developing nuts on my bush, so yours might have them as well.  Or you can wait a few more weeks until the husks turn brown and look less like leaves, at which point I suspect the nuts will be more evident.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Runaway meatball
Strider posing with new fixed spatula

Our good spatula broke in two. I tried gluing it once, but it didn't hold for long.

It works okay like this...but we lost a pastured beef meatball last week due to it separating.

Today I got lucky with drilling a hole through both the plastic and metal and securing it with some found hardware. With any luck this will put an end to any future meatball casualties.

Thanksgiving in August, for Daddy


He nourished me with the food of love.

When he felt the current pulling out

all he could do was to look down

at me clinging to him like a stick to a raft.

So when he was pulled out into the confusing sea

when he spun off, not knowing how to swim,

I honestly wasn't thinking about him.

I was sinking hot and heavy

into the little currents I had always been helped through.

Remember that time we went as a family to the breakers?

Every bit of my swimming I had done up until then

I had done holding his hand

with his feet firmly planted in the sand.

So as I sank I complained and named my father my problem

but he was the one who did not know swimming.

Somehow I was still in close enough to the land

that my friends and other family helped me in.

I had a sun burn as I walked away from my bobbing father.

I was thinking more about aloe than helping him.


My father taught me feminism in his little way

I don't know if he uses that word.

My father taught me poetry

but not spelling.

My father taught me some mean habits of speaking out

and often I do that before listening _in_.


With Daddy I always knew he loved me

but until this morning coming back to swimming

after a long stupid unhealthy month

and about three more of his silence

- now I am finally an independent woman!

I know the way to love.


Daddy, you can swim anywhere.

I hope you don't sleep all the time -

I know your back hurts 

and you are tired of life sometimes.

I hope we can talk again before too long.

I hope you'll call me.

It's been too long and there were some pretty

important holidays we missed.

But maybe you can't swim.

Maybe you are just barely making it yourself.

Out there somewhere deep in the aging process

hanging onto the oceanic city of floating bags.

Hang in there.

You are so loved.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Homesteading gear windfall
Homesteading gear

It turns out that a like-minded neighbor was living a mere half mile down the road from us all this time, and we only learned the extent of our similarities when she got ready to move away.  For health reasons, our neighbor is having to return to her home state, and she decided that much of her homesteading gear wasn't worth shipping south.  Did we want a rocket stove, hand-cranked generator, solar oven (with one broken pane), and much more?  Definitely!

Sun pantry drying rack

I'm most excited about experimenting with the rocket stove and the solar oven, while the Chinese military-issue generator from 1972 tops Mark's list.  However, what I actually used first was an item I thought wouldn't be much use to us here.  A simple wooden rack of drying trays makes sense if you live in a climate where the humidity doesn't often hover around 80%, but if we tried to dry food in such a device without building a solar dehydrator around it, we'd just grow mold.

Still, when I realized I'd picked too much basil for my current batch of pesto, I thought --- maybe the simple drying setup would work for herbs?  I filled the four trays with basil, oregano, chives, and Egyptian onions and will report back in a few weeks once I discover which, if any, dry quickly enough to maintain their flavor in our wet climate.

A huge thank you to our soon-to-be-ex neighbor for sharing the bounty with us!

Being Big

Wow.  My friend in Ferguson was on Alhurra yesterday, a news broadcast station covering 22 Middle Eastern and North African countries and reaching 22 million viewers per week.  I am proud of her and others in my graduating class who have done great things.  Not everyone is plowing ahead in those ways, but I am unemployed, and I do sometimes compare myself.

Last night I gave into some time of telling myself I am at a pivotal time of change AND I AM, but the change in my life that I need is not going to transform me into anyone else and I don't want it to.  

It occurs to me I am doing something pretty noble, more worthwhile _for me_ than activism or poetry or even doggy care-taking.  I am spending a lot of quality time with my mother and that is making all of the difference.  In the long run, Mom is my best friend, my birthday present, and what makes me big.  Thanks Mom.

Giving Options in response to the murder of Michael Brown

Giving Options in response to Ferguson:

chronology of edits below)

***Please feel free to use/share/quote this information, with attribution to Bolder Giving***

Donors and others have been asking us here at Bolder Giving how they can help, and especially donate, in support of the organizing being done in response to Ferguson and to support the Brown family and Ferguson residents. As protests continue, our support from around the country is still needed! It’s a changing landscape but here’s what I’ve gathered so far.

Direct Service/Family Support

If you’re looking to support immediate human needs, there are ONLY TWO CONFIRMED ways to support Michael Brown’s family (confirmed with the family’s representatives). You can give online or donations can be mailed to Fifth Third Bank (all other online campaigns are unauthorized or scams). There is also a campaign to raise money for the Ferguson food bank to help kids who may not get fed because they’re out of school and missing the school breakfast/lunch programs.

Local Organizing Efforts

If you want to support organizing in the area, Organization for Black Struggle is based in Ferguson and they're raising money now for another organizer as they're overwhelmed responding to everything. Additionally, after a police raid on one of the primary gathering places of the OBS #HandsUpDontShoot campaign, there is an effort underway now to raise funds for medical and other supplies. MORE (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment) is supporting protesters and organizers who have been jailed and has established a legal defense fund, and there is a newly formed league of young organizers being coordinated by Young Activists United St. Louis. There’s also a campaign to fund independent journalistic coverage of what is happening on the ground in Ferguson and CREDO is raising funds to keep up the progressive livestream they’ve launched with WeActRadio.

More on these in the links/notes below which I've been copying and pasting from various sources. If you have other resources, please send them to me at the email below and we’ll keep updating this resource. And if you find it useful and make a gift, let us know that too!

Jason Franklin

Executive Director

Bolder Giving

Direct Needs in Ferguson & the Brown Family

Supporting the Brown Family - Online

If you want to donate online to support Michael’s family after the loss of their son, you can donate online to Michael Brown’s Memorial Fund at I have confirmed this as the official donation portal with the family’s representatives. These funds will assist his family with costs that they will acquire as they seek justice on Michael’s behalf. All funds will be given to the Michael Brown family.

Supporting the Brown Family - Mailed Checks

If you would prefer to support the family with a donation via check, the Brown family has established a Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund at Fifth Third Bank. I called and confirmed this with the bank and reconfirmed with the family’s representatives. You can make a donation at any branch ( or you can mail a donation with “Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund” in the memo line and send it to:

Fifth Third Bank

8013 West Florissant Ave.

Jennings, MO 63136

You can call the branch at 314-685-3200 with any questions.

“As the world watches the events unfolding in Ferguson, many people have thought ‘how can I help?’. As a public school teacher, my first thought is always about the children involved in any tragic situation like this. When I found out school had been canceled for several days as a result of the civil unrest, I immediately became worried for the students in households with food instability. Many children in the US eat their only meals of the day, breakfast and lunch, at school. With school out, kids are undoubtedly going hungry. ALL OF THIS MONEY WILL GO TO FEED KIDS IN FERGUSON. A dollar or a hundred dollars, it doesn't matter. You will be helping to put food in the mouth of a child who needs it. Regardless of your opinion on the civil unrest in Ferguson, there is no need for innocent children to go hungry because of it.”

Organizing in Ferguson

Organization for Black Struggle

OBS is on the ground in Ferguson, MO. They are calling for help in raising the money necessary to hire an organizer dedicated to tackling all the recent developments. From OBS:

“We are raising money for an OBS organizer to deal with the Ferguson cop killing. We are stretched to the limit. From almost the moment that Michael Brown was viciously killed by a Ferguson cop, OBS has been inundated with requests for information, media interviews, etc. We've been doing police violence work for nearly 35 years and some of us who were in predecessor organizations, it's over 40 years of experience that we bring to the table. We are putting out a call to help us raise money for a dedicated organizer and to help with bail fees. We invite people to donate, especially those outside of St. Louis who are looking for ways to help. Direct people to our website where a PayPal account has been set up separate from our regular donations.

What OBS has done around this case:

  • OBS members have been on the ground from the jump including providing security and surveillance on Sunday night when the situation literally exploded.
  • OBS has been overwhelmed with media requests from KWMU to MSNBC to Al-Jazeerah. Today, we were contacted by a Spanish-speaking media outlet.
  • We doing our best to be responsive to all as we believe our viewpoint is very different from others.

The progressive community is looking to OBS for leadership and we've been in conversations with people to start laying the groundwork with Ferguson residents to address the issues in their city. We can support them, but we cannot do it for them.”

You can donate directly at

Hands Up Don't Shoot Campaign Infrastructure Fund

From the #HandsUpDontShoot website “Young black and brown people are self-organizing daily in Ferguson in a fight for justice for Michael Brown. Local organizations and leaders have been going out nightly to provide crowd control, medical support, document violent actions of the police against protestors, coordinating national support coming into Ferguson, and building relationships with the young people that are out leading the fight every day. Donations will be used support purchase of medical supplies, local meeting space, communication support, and other infrastructure resources.”

Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment

MORE has been expanding their support of people who have been arrested and jailed, both active protesters and bystanders. From MORE’s Facebook page - “Upwards of 40 people have been arrested at rallies and events in Ferguson over the past several days. Many of the arrestees were on the sidewalk and trying to leave when they were arrested. There is a jail support team that is trying to get in touch with people who have been arrested in order to connect them to lawyers, relay messages from them to their families, and advocate for them. “

About the Legal Defense Fund in particular - “Please donate to the legal defense fund to help release those arrested in Ferguson protests standing for Justice for Mike Brown! Since the killing of Mike Brown, dozens of people have been arrested by the Ferguson police for participating in protests. This legal defense fund has been set up to support all people currently in jail. … One small way that we can fight the PIC is to assert the right of every individual, regardless of the crime, to proper legal representation and due process. No matter where you are, this is an immediate and tangible way that you can stand for justice for Mike Brown and support the members of the Ferguson community. We cannot afford to wait until this happens again. Help us take collective action now.”

Young Activists United St. Louis

YSTL is helping to coordinate a newly formed “Justice League” of young people organizing in Ferguson, any donations very appreciated! More generally, from their website:

“YSTL is a bridge organization that provides leadership training and opportunities for social engagement and empowerment. We connect people on campuses, in their workplaces, and in their home communities to the social justice community in St. Louis. We seek to empower youth to become the next generation of activists in the social justice movement and stand with young people and students to fight for social change.

We are currently involved in solidarity work with various organizations in the St. Louis area including Peace Economy Project, Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates, and others. We currently have a chapter at the University of Missouri-St. Louis where we are building relationships with new student organizations such as Minority Student Nurses, Associated Black Collegians, and the Student Government Association. Through these relationships and recruitment at other campuses and workplaces we hope to build a stronger coalition of students and young workers to strengthen the youth movement.”

Find more info at:

Fund Independent Journalism

From the Beacon Reader - “We need sustainable coverage of what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri. Back this project, and every $500 is one more day reporters can provide ongoing coverage from the scene.”

CREDO Livestream

CREDO needs contributions to keep the livestream up. From CREDO - “The military tactics and police brutality that have been used against protesters in Ferguson is astonishing. CREDO is working with WeActRadio to keep a livestream of the events in Ferguson on the air. Please help fund this effort to broadcast protests against police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri.”

On Friday (8/15) they had over 40,000 unique viewers at They’ve started archiving clips to push out to media at

Pinterest board created by Jenifer Fernandez Ancona of the Women Donors Network to gather and track some of the best articles, news sources and Twitter feeds covering what is happening in Ferguson


Includes both petition links, links to the Brown Family & FeedFurguson efforts referenced above, and links to some national efforts focusing on Ferguson

“Unarmed and Black: Philanthropy’s Challenge to Address an Old, Sad Story”

Blog post about long-term investment possibilities for philanthropy from Susan Taylor Batten, President & CEO, Association of Black Foundation Executives

“Stand (or Sit or Recline) on the Side of Love: Honoring the Life of Michael Brown, Witnessing His Murder”

“I feel so useless sitting here. What can I do to help Ferguson??”

“12 things white people can do now because of Ferguson”

Document History (in case you’re wondering how this has evolved)

  • 8/15/14 - 6:45 pm EDT - Document created
  • 8/15/14 - 8:45 pm EDT - Added info on Young Activists United St. Louis.
  • 8/18/14 - 11:25 am EDT - deleted info about OBS PowerPAC+ challenge which has ended, added info about funding independent journalism with Beacon, updated info on giving to support Brown family, deleted info on OBS call on 8/16, added additional resource articles
  • 8/18/14 at 12:15pm EDT - added info on CREDO/WeActRadio progressive livestream
  • 8/18/14 at 12:25pm EDT - updated info on ways to support the Brown family after speaking with the family’s attorneys to confirm
  • 8/18/14 at 1:10pm EDT - Added blog post from ABFE to article resources
  • 8/19/14 at 11:57 am EDT - Cleaned up formatting, updated info on online giving to the Brown family
  • 8/19/14 at 1:47 pm EDT - Added additional information on YSTL & MORE, clarified throughout what text was from Bolder Giving and what was copied and pasted from other sources
  • 8/20/14 at 10:52 am EDT - updated & combined info on the MORE legal defense & jail fund, added Pinterest board from WDN’s Jenifer Acona to articles
  • 8/20/14 at 12:28 pm EDT - Added blog post from the Nation to articles and explicit permission to share this document, with attribution to Bolder Giving
  • 8/20/14 at 12:35 pm EDT - Added article
  • 8/20/14 at 2:42 pm EDT - Added fundraising appeal info on the OBS #HandsUpDontShoot campaign

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Joey git-annex devblog
day 218 scary locking

Plan is to be on vacation and/or low activity this week before DebConf. However, today I got involved in fixing a bug that caused the assistant to keep files open after syncing with repositories on removable media.

Part of that bug involved lock files not being opend close-on-exec, and while fixing that I noticed again that the locking code was scattered all around and rather repetitive. That led to a lot of refactoring, which is always fun when it involves scary locking code. Thanks goodness for referential transparency.

Now there's a Utility.LockFile that works on both POSIX and Windows. Howver, that module actually exports very different functions for the two. While it might be tempting to try to do a portability layer, the two locking models are really very different, and there are lots of gotchas such a portability layer would face. The only API that's completely the same between the two is dropLock.

This refactoring process and the cleaner, more expressive code it led to helped me spot a couple of bugs involving locking. See e386e26ef207db742da6d406183ab851571047ff and 0a4d301051e4933661b7b0a0791afa95bfe9a1d3 Neither bug has ever seemed to cause a problem, but it's nice to be able to spot and fix such bugs before they do.


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