Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Step landing
Porch stoop

Although plumbing has consumed a lot of our attention over the last week, we did have time to make a start on more code-worthy steps.

The beginning is a landing in front of the door, minimum size three feet by three feet. We're trying to move this project along so we can get our electricity, but I took to heart my father's admonition over a decade ago that building is much cheaper if produced in sizes divisible by eight. So we expanded out to four feet by four feet instead.

extending Scuttlebutt with Annah

This post has it all. Flotillas of sailboats, peer-to-peer wikis, games, and de-frogging. But, I need to start by talking about some tech you may not have heard of yet...

  • Scuttlebutt is way for friends to share feeds of content-addressed messages, peer-to-peer. Most Scuttlebutt clients currently look something like facebook, but there are also github clones, chess games, etc. Many private encrypted conversations going on. All entirely decentralized.
    (My scuttlebutt feed can be viewed here)

  • Annah is a purely functional, strongly typed language. Its design allows individual atoms of the language to be put in content-addressed storage, right down to data types. So the value True and a hash of the definition of what True is can both be treated the same by Annah's compiler.
    (Not to be confused with my sister, Anna, or part of the Debian Installer with the same name that I wrote long ago.)

So, how could these be combined together, and what might the result look like?

Well, I could start by posting a Scuttlebutt message that defines what True is. And another Scuttlebutt message defining False. And then, another Scuttlebutt message to define the AND function, which would link to my messages for True and False. Continue this until I've built up enough Annah code to write some almost useful programs.

Annah can't do any IO on its own (though it can model IO similarly to how Haskell does), so for programs to be actually useful, there needs to be Scuttlebutt client support. The way typing works in Annah, a program's type can be expressed as a Scuttlebutt link. So a Scuttlebutt client that wants to run Annah programs of a particular type can pick out programs that link to that type, and will know what type of data the program consumes and produces.

Here are a few ideas of what could be built, with fairly simple client-side support for different types of Annah programs...

  • Shared dashboards. Boats in a flotilla are communicating via Scuttlebutt, and want to share a map of their planned courses. Coders collaborating via Scuttlebutt want to see an overview of the state of their project.

    For this, the Scuttlebutt client needs a way to run a selected Annah program of type Dashboard, and display its output like a Scuttlebutt message, in a dashboard window. The dashboard message gets updated whenever other Scuttlebutt messages come in. The Annah program picks out the messages it's interested in, and generates the dashboard message.

    So, send a message updating your boat's position, and everyone sees it update on the map. Send a message with updated weather forecasts as they're received, and everyone can see the storm developing. Send another message updating a waypoint to avoid the storm, and steady as you go...

    The coders, meanwhile, probably tweak their dashboard's code every day. As they add git-ssb repos, they make the dashboard display an overview of their bugs. They get CI systems hooked in and feeding messages to Scuttlebutt, and make the dashboard go green or red. They make the dashboard A-B test itself to pick the right shade of red. And so on...

    The dashboard program is stored in Scuttlebutt so everyone is on the same page, and the most recent version of it posted by a team member gets used. (Just have the old version of the program notice when there's a newer version, and run that one..)

    (Also could be used in disaster response scenarios, where the data and visualization tools get built up on the fly in response to local needs, and are shared peer-to-peer in areas without internet.)

  • Smart hyperlinks. When a hyperlink in a Scuttlebutt message points to a Annah program, optionally with some Annah data, clicking on it can run the program and display the messages that the program generates.

    This is the most basic way a Scuttlebutt client could support Annah programs, and it could be used for tons of stuff. A few examples:

    • Hiding spoilers. Click on the link and it'll display a spoiler about a book/movie.
    • A link to whatever I was talking about one year ago today. That opens different messages as time goes by. Put it in your Scuttlebutt profile or something. (Requires a way for Annah to get the current date, which it normally has no way of accessing.)
    • Choose your own adventure or twine style games. Click on the link and the program starts the game, displaying links to choose between, and so on.
    • Links to custom views. For example, a link could lead to a combination of messages from several different, related channels. Or could filter messages in some way.
  • Collaborative filtering. Suppose I don't want to see frog-related memes in my Scuttlebutt client. I can write a Annah program that calculates a message's frogginess, and outputs a Filtered Message. It can leave a message unchanged, or filter it out, or perhaps minimize its display. I publish the Annah program on my feed, and tell my Scuttlebutt client to filter all messages through it before displaying them to me.

    I published the program in my Scuttlebutt feed, and so my friends can use it too. They can build other filtering functions for other stuff (such an an excess of orange in photos), and integrate my frog filter into their filter program by simply composing the two.

    If I like their filter, I can switch my client to using it. Or not. Filtering is thus subjective, like Scuttlebutt, and the subjectivity is expressed by picking the filter you want to use, or developing a better one.

  • Wiki pages. Scuttlebutt is built on immutable append-only logs; it doesn't have editable wiki pages. But they can be built on top using Annah.

    A smart link to a wiki page is a reference to the Annah program that renders it. Of course being a wiki, there will be more smart links on the wiki page going to other wiki pages, and so on.

    The wiki page includes a smart link to edit it. The editor needs basic form support in the Scuttlebutt client; when the edited wiki page is posted, the Annah program diffs it against the previous version and generates an Edit which gets posted to the user's feed. Rendering the page is just a matter of finding the Edit messages for it from people who are allowed to edit it, and combining them.

    Anyone can fork a wiki page by posting an Edit to their feed. And can then post a smart link to their fork of the page.

    And anyone can merge other forks into their wiki page (this posts a control message that makes the Annah program implementing the wiki accept those forks' Edit messages). Or grant other users permission to edit the wiki page (another control message). Or grant other users permissions to grant other users permissions.

    There are lots of different ways you might want your wiki to work. No one wiki implementation, but lots of Annah programs. Others can interact with your wiki using the program you picked, or fork it and even switch the program used. Subjectivity again.

  • User-defined board games. The Scuttlebutt client finds Scuttlebutt messages containing Annah programs of type Game, and generates a tab with a list of available games.

    The players of a particular game all experience the same game interface, because the code for it is part of their shared Scuttlebutt message pool, and the code to use gets agreed on at the start of a game.

    To play a game, the Scuttlebutt client runs the Annah program, which generates a description of the current contents of the game board.

    So, for chess, use Annah to define a ChessMove data type, and the Annah program takes the feeds of the two players, looks for messages containing a ChessMove, and builds up a description of the chess board.

    As well as the pieces on the game board, the game board description includes Annah functions that get called when the user moves a game piece. That generates a new ChessMove which gets recorded in the user's Scuttlebutt feed.

    This could support a wide variety of board games. If you don't mind the possibility that your opponent might cheat by peeking at the random seed, even games involving things like random card shuffles and dice rolls could be built. Also there can be games like Core Wars where the gamers themselves write Annah programs to run inside the game.

    Variants of games can be developed by modifying and reusing game programs. For example, timed chess is just the chess program with an added check on move time, and time clock display.

  • Decentralized chat bots. Chat bots are all the rage (or were a few months ago, tech fads move fast), but in a decentralized system like Scuttlebutt, a bot running on a server somewhere would be a ugly point of centralization. Instead, write a Annah program for the bot.

    To launch the bot, publish a message in your own personal Scuttlebutt feed that contains the bot's program, and a nonce.

    The user's Scuttlebutt client takes care of the rest. It looks for messages with bot programs, and runs the bot's program. This generates or updates a Scuttlebutt message feed for the bot.

    The bot's program signs the messages in its feed using a private key that's generated by combining the user's public key, and the bot's nonce. So, the bot has one feed per user it talks to, with deterministic content, which avoids a problem with forking a Scuttlebutt feed.

    The bot-generated messages can be stored in the Scuttlebutt database like any other messages and replicated around. The bot appears as if it were a Scuttlebutt user. But you can have conversations with it while you're offline.

    (The careful reader may have noticed that deeply private messages sent to the bot can be decrypted by anyone! This bot thing is probably a bad idea really, but maybe the bot fad is over anyway. We can only hope. It's important that there be at least one bad idea in this list..)

This kind of extensibility in a peer-to-peer system is exciting! With these new systems, we can consider lessons from the world wide web and replicate some of the good parts, while avoiding the bad. Javascript has been both good and bad for the web. The extensibility is great, and yet it's a neverending security and privacy nightmare, and it ties web pages ever more tightly to programs hidden away on servers. I believe that Annah combined with Scuttlebutt will comprehensively avoid those problems. Shall we build it?

This exploration was sponsored by Jake Vosloo on Patreon.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Rural trash pickup
Trash day

Rural Athens County is a bit of an odd duck in the garbage department, at least compared to other areas I've lived in. We're outside the municipal pickup region, but apparently there are no county-operated dumping stations that accept private trash. Instead, we have to choose from a slew of privately run enterprises that pick up garbage at your door.

I figured if we were going to have to pay for trash disposal, we might as well go all the way and choose the service that offers recycling. I'm tempted to go into a long analysis of whether or not the Libertarians are right about this kind of setup making the most sense...but, honestly, I haven't entirely decided yet. Perhaps I'll make another post about it in a few months. Or, given my recent penchant to eschew public politics, perhaps not.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 476 third time lucky

There's been a lot of little bug fixes and improvements going on in the ... oops ... almost a month since I last updated the devblog. Including a release of git-annex on the 3rd, and another release that's almost ready to go now. Just have not had the energy to blog about it all.

Anyway, today I spent way too long fixing a minor wart. When multiple annexed files have the same content, transferring them with concurrency enabled could make it complain that "transfer already in progress". Which is better than transferring the same content twice, but it did make there seem to be a failure.

I implemented two and a half different fixes for that. The first half a fix was too intrusive and I couldn't get it to work. Then came a fix that avoided the problem pretty cleanly, except it actually led to worse behavior, because it would sometimes transfer the same content twice, and needed non-obvious tweaks here and there to prevent that. Finally, around an hour ago, having actually given up unhappily for the day, I realized a much better way to fix it, that was minimally intrusive and works perfectly.

So it goes.. I'd say "concurrency is hard", but it's more that big complex code bases can make things that seem simple not really that simple. Yesterday I had a much easier time fixing a related problem with git annex add -J, which was really a lot hairier (involving a race condition and a lack of atomicity), but didn't cut across the code base in the same broad way.

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

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Yamaha generator review
Off-grid cooking

Our new Yamaha generator is quiet and efficient.

It runs for twelve hours on one tank of gas at a low load --- a few fans, a light or two, and a laptop charger.

The Instant Pot and circular saw work on the generator too, but both run at a slower speed. After the first test, Anna opted to continue cooking on the propane camp stove instead. I kept using my saw.
Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Second impressions
Big, wet tree

Dancing for joyKeeping up with the basics --- food, water, a spot to use the bathroom, and staying up to date on our computer work --- engrossed us for most of the first week. But the ground had been so parched that when it started raining, I couldn't resist running out to explore our new domain.

Down over the hill

Living so close to the road has taken some getting used to. But as soon as I slipped down over the hill, humanity disappeared in very short order.

Intergrown tree

Egg-shaped mushroomVarious neighbors have told us that this area was a dairy farm roughly a century ago. Sure enough, the trees are mostly the same age once you pass beyond the easiest-to-reach areas. There are scads of sugar maples, quite a few beeches, a tulip-tree or two, and even a few oaks. This is in stark contrast to life on top (our new core homestead) where honey locusts reign supreme.

Down at the bottom

Soil mapOur new property consists of a series of plateaus separated by steep banks. Following the deer trails, it wasn't too hard to get around, although the walk back up had me huffing and puffing by the end. But I'll definitely be coming back to my new favorite spot --- an outcropping of rocks beside a wet-weather creek.

I actually only made it halfway through the property --- our land goes up the other side past the creek too. But I want to follow a topo map when I head further afield. I'll save that expedition for the next time it rains!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Tasting at the farmer's market
Farmer's market bakery

We finally made it to the Saturday farmer's market. As promised, the array of goodies was considerably larger than the already impressive Wednesday offerings. Mark said I looked only slightly less exuberantly amazed than the toddler who was running in circles so erratically that she nose dived into my knee by mistake.

No spray farmer's market

As best I could tell in my daze of delight, only one stand promised entirely organic produce. But lots of others were marked "no spray," which I assume is the poor man's version used by folks who haven't jumped through the hoops to be officially labeled as organic. I chose copiously from both types of farmers, falling back on conventional offerings only when I absolutely couldn't resist their wares.

Sunflower microgreens

New taste favorites that we'll likely be trying to grow in the years ahead: sunflower microgreens, middle eastern summer squash, and another stab at seckel pears. As the books promised, a ripe seckel pear is indeed a taste explosion. Mark called the result "magical." High praise from a husband who's not given to hyperbole!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Yamaha inverter generator
Yamaha inverter generator

We lasted for one week with only a small solar panel for electricity. Then we fell back on the other option we'd researched before leaving copious internet access behind --- an inverter generator.

When we bought our last generator, inverter generators either didn't exist in our price range or we simply hadn't heard of them. Since then, though, they've come down into the consumer price range --- only a couple of hundred bucks for a small, off-brand model or up to a thousand plus dollars for hefty units that will likely go the distance.

The downside is --- you get less power for your buck with an inverter generator. So why did we decide to go that route anyway?

Carrying an inverter generatorSimple --- efficiency, fuel savings, and peace and quiet. Basically, inverter generators are able to run at different speeds depending on how many things you plug into them. So if you're just running a lamp and charging a laptop, they'll barely use much fuel at all (about a gallon for every ten hours of use at 1/4 load) while keeping the noise down to about the level of a window air conditioner. Plus, they're small and light enough to be carried by one strong person alone --- definitely a plus.

We'd originally opted for the 2000 starting watt/1600 running watt Honda, partly because of its good reviews and partly because it was supposed to be available at Home Depot (where Mark could use his veteran's discount). But when the time came to make the purchase, all of the Home Depots in the area had run out. (You were right, Joey!) So we instead tracked down a Yamaha with similar stats at a motorcyle store in town --- bonus that we'll have a repair shop nearby if it needs to be worked on. More on what we think of our little engine that could in another post.

Maggie also too
Fighting Against Human Trafficking

I haven't announced it until now but I am very excited because I have a Skype interview tomorrow with the Friends of WPC Nepal nonprofit to volunteer as a Grant Writer as part of their fight against human trafficking.

The picture in the background and these other photographs are of the house this organization is building in Hetauda, Nepal, which happens to be where my favorite Canadian expat vloggers live.

It feels good that I will possibly be able to help a cause I care very much about from my Tennessee home. I think the only travel to Nepal that makes financial sense for me is to wait until 2019. In fact, I am thinking very certainly that I will go there then when it is least rainy, February - April.

"Little Princes" by Conor Grennan is becoming a seminal read for me. I am almost finished with the book, currently in section 10 of the Audible read. I think that's chapter 5 of the book, where he meets the woman he has been corresponding with, Liz with whom Conor seems to be building up to with a relationship.

Anyway, the book by Conor is fascinating. He really outgrew tourist status quick, ultimately devoting his life to the children of Nepal.

--- Back in the world of unnecessary electronics and extravagence, I bought my mother a new refrigerator.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
New to us
Cat on couch

Two of our local thrift stores deliver.

One had a half-off sale.

We landed a lightly distressed pleather couch, a wooden dining table, three kitchen chairs, a desk, a dresser, plus delivery for $172.50.

Cat sold separately.

Maggie also too
Is Nepal Really a Democracy under the Maosists?

I have been spending a lot of time in Nepal lately, in books, supplementing my formal education, with outside reading.

I am currently trying to understand Maoists. I am interested in the blurred lines of progress. I started reading the book Nepal Culture Smart, a pretty basic and straight forward explanation of customs in this foreign country.

I learned Nepal has never been officially colonized, though there have been a lot of entities taking power in Nepal. But before the Maoists came into power lately, the certainly, the royalty were not honest about the distribution of wealth, and education was rare.

I am learning in The Little Princes that the Maoists have many of the Nepali people living in fear. Before reading this book, I wondered if the terrorist stereotype of Maoists was wrong.

But no, Maoists are dangerous, and they are putting children in encampments apart from their families and though they may be having misinformed tourists teach them English, they are not doing the right thing.

The American friend who got me interested in Nepal, gave me the impression he was happy with the current situation in that country. While I would go there in a heartbeat if I was given a chance, I cannot say the Communist Party is good for anything decent. Child trafficking is a sickness that must end.

Maggie also too
I just became an Audible Scholar!

10 hours for Newbie.
50 hours for Novice.
100 hours for Pro.
250 hours for Scholar.
500 hours for Master.

Even when I was a little kid, I thought achievement badges were more ego oriented than interested me.

But, there is this thing about literacy. The more I read, the more I enjoy reading. The more I read, the better I think. The more I read, the better others understand my writing.

So becoming an Audible Scholar, independent of any formal school, feels to me as magnificent as taking a first step or learning to swim.

Now's to do it again.

Maggie also too
Little Princes by Connor Grennan - hilarious and enlightening

I am reading one of the many books written about Nepal, _Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal_. It left me hee-hawing, glad to read of some of Mr Grennan's missteps in the foreign land of Nepal. Of course the book is about a deeper, more serious subject. But it takes good writing to be able to laugh at yourself while speaking of missing children.

The part that had me laughing most in the beginning of the book is where Mr Grennan greets everyone in the village with "Namaste" even including the stray dogs. Of course, the word namaste is a more somber important word than what would customarily be used the way he did. It reminds me of a lot of the use I have observed in Western Facebook culture.

Yet honoring that of God in someone is one of the kindest things I can think of, something that we each maybe should do more, and dogs are family, so why not?

It would be an omission if I did not mention that I am just in chapter one of this book. I can tell the book is written well, but I cannot brag that I have read it all, and it is not a careful summary of the entire book that I have written, just remarks on one tiny section.

Maggie also too
​ Movement is the Medicine

My Varanasi is the local YMCA pool.

Nothing interesting like a river or lake or ocean

though sometimes I swim in those too.

All the people of my town can come to wash off

in this pool where I work so hard sometimes

and strengthen my heart.

I lap up my miles.

My heart grows strong

when I am in these waters.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Home of the heavy machinery
Septic tank delivery

We prioritized steps over mailbox, so at first it was a bit tough to tell service providers how to find us. Then I realized I could just tell them to look for the yard full of construction equipment.


The bulldozer did most of its work before we arrived, but the trackhoe has been busy on a daily basis since. Here, it's digging trenches for our septic leach field.

Unloading septic equipment

Then on Tuesday, our herd of equipment grew larger yet as a massive truck came to deliver our septic tank and tiles. The new beast broke down while hefting the concrete tank over the trackhoe-dug hole, but a different truck was back on the job within two hours. It's amazing how much work heavy machinery can get done in a short amount of time!

Maggie also too
Committment vs Tourism

I got accepted into a program to volunteer in Nepal, and then I searched it to see if the organization is transparent, using Guide Star. The organization wasn't listed. I am reading Tessa Feller's book, "Nepal: Culture Smart!" which exposes the fact that some NGO's, posing as educational volunteer opportunities to teach English, are using the children and placing them into human trafficking.

So I took my hopes and dreams and I pivoted.

I have decided that I would like to be a volunteer grant writer to end human trafficking, and I applied to Friends of WPC Nepal, a nonprofit rated Gold for transparency (again on Guide Star.)

I don't know if I will get accepted to the grant writing volunteer position, but I am keeping crossed fingers.

Someday I will step foot on Nepal. But I will not get there on a whim. I will research so much it will sound annoying - all of this knowledge. In the meantime, I will use my main skills (soft skills) to help the situation at hand.

Sex trafficking and human trafficking in general is the worst thing I can think of. We must go forward from where we are ending our naivety and guided by justice.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Borrowed off-grid electric
Off-grid electric

Joey lent us a solar kit perfect for off-grid charge ups.

(Thanks, Joey!)

We move it from room to room each day following the sun.

In return, we net enough juice to charge our laptop, cell phone, and ereaders.

Despite having access to the bare digital necessities, we can hardly wait for our electric line, slated to arrive ten days after our final inspection.
Maggie also too
Nepal Dreamer

Nepal Dreamer

was it worth it

quitting your second job

to go to a Bollywood film

in Johnson City?

You cannot rush your dreams.

Maybe if you landed a job

to earn money faster

you think for a while the dream is closer.

But no,

the dream always

was right here.

Imperial caterpillar

wrapped by some spinster queen.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
First steps
Building steps

After a day spent climbing in and out of the trailer using a stack of cinderblocks, we decided it was time to install some steps. Given our relative lack of power tools (we only have a couple of charged batteries and no access to plug-in equipment until our electric is hooked up), we opted for an inside-the-box solution. Two risers and six precut boards inscribed with traction channels were pricey but fast and easy to install.

Of course, our contractor took a look the next morning and informed us we'd done it all wrong. In Ohio, nothing can be attached to the trailer itself if we want to pass inspection. Off to buy some four-by-four posts and support the back end properly!

Joey devblog

Built a new haskell library,

I've been using Secure Scuttlebutt for 6 months or so, and think it's a rather good peer-to-peer social network. But it's very Javascript centric, and I want to be able to play with its data from Haskell.

The scuttlebutt-types library is based on some earlier work by Peter Hajdu. I expanded it to be have all the core Scuttlebutt data types, and got it parsing most of the corpus of Scuttlebutt messages. That took most of yesterday and all of today. The next thing to tackle would be generating JSON for messages formatted so the network accepts it.

I don't know what scuttlebutt-types will be used for. Maybe looking up stats, or building bots, or perhaps even a Scuttlebutt client? We'll see..

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

rstidyman (Richard)
Say it now.
Two of my dearest friends passed a few weeks ago.  They were the parents I chose after mom died.  I met them in 1994.  Both lived into their early 90’s, beautiful, humble and  loving folks.  They died with 16 hours of each other, in beds push together so could hold hands  when they wanted.
Danielle and I visited them about a week before they passed.  John was clearly failings.  Mary, though almost blind and mostly deaf was her chipper self.  They were together for almost 72 years.  John proposed after only two weeks of dating.  She turned him down at first but a few weeks later, changed her mind and accepted.
I got a call a week later, saying they were leaving us, Mary, already in a comatose state, John had quit eating and not able to talk.  When John quit eating, their daughter explained to Mary that he wanted to leave this world.  Mary said, “I want to go with him.”  She had a massive heart attack that night and never really woke up from it.
So we went for a final visit.  Mary was unresponsive, just breathing. John tried to open his eyes when he heard my voice, raised his hand.  He couldn’t talk but I made sure he knew how much I appreciated him and loved him.  He died that night.  Sixteen hours later, Mary passed.
I get pretty emotional in my old age.  I was afraid I might not get to share with John how I felt about him, so several months earlier I wrote him a letter.  I also knew that I would be hard pressed to express those thoughts face to face without breaking down.  He called me a few weeks later and told me how much the letter had meant to him.
Here it is:

Dear John,

One of the many things that I try to teach my students is the importance of  appreciating people, telling them, and letting them know your thoughts and feelings.  I figured this might be as good a time as any to tell you how grateful I am that you are in my life.

We met back in 1994.  My wife and I were splitting up, and I needed a place to stay and much more.  Your daughter Carol called you and based on her recommendation alone, you allowed me to move into your house in Tenn.  How incredibly trusting of you.  You knew nothing about me but you trusted her judgement.  Then it turns out what a small world it is. You worked for my brother’s father in law. I spent the winter living in the newer, nicer white house, and then, you two returned from Florida and I moved into the old farmhouse. Those were two of the best years of my life.

Before long, I viewed the two of you as grandparents.  I’m not a very good judge of age  because as it turned out, you are my parents age.  I had been looking for a surrogate father figure and, John, you fit the bill perfectly.

Your kindness over the years, your generosity, doing projects together have meant so much to me.  John, you were the first and only person to ever show me how to skin a deer.  Our evenings playing cards was greatly anticipated and savored for several years. Your meticulous record keeping was met with much laughter. When there was time, we played ping pong but mostly billiards.  We even had several rounds of racquet ball until you discovered your had issues with your heart.  I borrowed books and tools, some of which I probably still have and have lost track of.  Sorry about that.

In the 22 years that I’ve known you, I have never heard you say a mean thing about anyone.  You are truly one of the kindest men I have ever known.  There were plenty of times I’m sure that you could have gotten mad at me but you didn’t.  One time, to work off my ten hours of “hard labor” as you called it, you sent me down the road to spray roundup on the kudzu.  One particular vine of kudzu worked its way up into branches of a tree.  Not thinking about it, I sprayed the leaves I best I could, including the leaves of the tree.  I think ultimately the tree barely survived but for that summer, it had no clothes.

There were probably many more mistakes I made while living at your old farm house, and throughout our friendship. Fortunately, I can’t remember them now, which tells me you took them all in stride.  With your patient instruction, I learned so much.

Not only did I learn to do some things, but you were teaching me directly and indirectly how to live.

I remember one conversation in particular.  I was faced with a challenge that had a  pretty steep learning curve.  I asked you with all your years in industry “What did you do when you didn’t think you could solve a problem.”  Your response was, “It didn’t occur to me we couldn’t solve it.  I always knew there was a solution.”  Wow.

I loved coming over for visits, and being single for many of those years, you two would insist that I stay and eat dinner, even if you didn’t really prepare enough.  Bread and butter was always on the table and filled my hollow leg that my own mother said I must have had.

You listened to my ideas about teaching, my relationship woes at the time, and the challenges of being a parent.  You hired me for many projects, building a banister or two, cutting the grass once in awhile, and more.  Do you remember the deer we butchered on the pool table?  It was a small deer that got hit by a car on my way home from work.  I called you and you said bring it over and we’ll butcher it.  I also remember that you put the head in the compost pile which scared Mary when she went out there and found it by accident.

Lucky for me, that your own children were older than I, and well on their on their own, so you had time to take in a forty year old orphan like me.   Call it serendipity, luck or fate, I feel so blessed to have you two in my life for the last 22 years.

I could not have asked for a better pair of friends, when I so needed an older, and much wiser couple to discuss life with. You set for me an example in so many ways. You are in so many ways a mentor to me.

I don’t know if you can imagine how significant you are to me.  My father died when I was 16, and due to his problems and issues, wasn’t really much of a father to me at all even when he was alive.  In many ways you filled those shoes.  Whether you like it or not, you have become the most important father figure in my life.  You mean so much to mean. I am a better man for knowing you. I will carry you in my heart forever.



Maggie also too
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha

I went to see this wonderful bollywood film, Toilet Ek Prem Katha.

According to Google's description here is what Google says about the film:

"A woman leaves her husband on the first day of their marriage after discovering that he doesn't have a toilet. He desperately sets out on a mission to win back his love by standing up to the age-old traditions and values of India."

I was captivated. The musical take on this comical romance brought together real traditions, like the Love Festival where the colorful powder is scattered through the town, and added a flare of dramatic storytelling, with the woman beating her husband with a stick, spreading the powder, and the husband singing "hit me and I will love you more."

For three hours, through one intermission, I was in India. The volume was so high but everything felt more real about the experience.

The idea of a septic system as the pivotal center of plot turn in a movie worked so well because it is such a true issue of humanity. In India, I understand there are places and whole villages where there are not toilets, and there also are places where everyone has toilets.

Imagine the tradition of not using a toilet, comes with it a kind of cultural pride. If you have wounds, say throw a little dirt in them. Really! But also it is very true that the new way of disposing bodily waste, the toilet, is something people can make a real case for.

So it became this hostile dispute between a very cunning strong willed woman and her father in law. Her wimpy husband took too long at first making short term solutions and not taking the issue seriously enough. How could be? I won't spoil the end but only say that it impressed me how the woman stood strong asking for what she needed, but also the father in law impressed me for reasons I will let you watch the movie to guess.

As if we stepped off a jet, Mom and I turned around at the end of the film and saw that the theater was full of about 10 mostly young Indian children, though two of the people were adults. The family we saw really could have been some other nationality originally and probably half of them were American born. Regardless, they were so so kind and sweet and cute and the parents opened the door for us and both parents asked us if we liked the film and the kids smiled adorably.

Six stars in the 5 star system for the movie. (10 for the family.)

Maggie also too
A new sentiment: saving instead of eating out

I am getting this sudden new resolve to transform my budget and how I spend money. Large parts of it are owed to the simplicity of the Canadians/Nepalese bloggers I am following (Nathan and Danica).

If people can get by on a dollar a day in Nepal, and I know because I have gotten by on that much here too, that investments in experiences and durability are wiser responses than eating out which ends in an hour, though there's food in your belly.

And those darned servers, need their tips... :) (Irony, sarcasm.)

Anyway, I went to a place where a personal friend is the manager yesterday. That was my 20 dollar tip. But I am developing this, ok that was my last time eating out, sentiment.

If I took all the money I was going to pay for eating out and I budgeted for groceries and ate at home, and saved the change, could I get a ticket sooner to Nepal/India?

PS It is occurring to me that I am feeling like I need to go to Nepal and India some day. Not that I want to, but that I need to.


Maggie also too
questions to research and answer tomorrow:

How long is the flight to Nepal?

What city in Nepal/India would I like to visit first?

How long do I intend to be in India/Nepal?

What visa do I need for my trip?

When will the super reasonable TESOL certification course be offered again?

Once I watch all the vlogs of The Ticket to Travel what other sources should I dig into?

How much money will I need?

What is travel like with Social Security Disability?

Are there reasons to read Lonely Planet guides despite their basic limitations?

What will I bring with me?

What is my main intent in travel?

Do I want to teach English there?

How can I practice the customs of Asia here without confusing my mother? :)

How do you get important medicines in Nepal and India?

What put this bee in my bonnet?

Maggie also too

North Eastern India, through that pass that is so small, where four or five states abut Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh and China. That little piece of Indian land is different than other parts of India. It includes Meghalya, a place I am so drawn to, with mango root bridges that have been trained and cultivated by the people. Some of the tribes there are barely seen by camera, like the halucinegenic honey hunters near there.

Anyway I am feeling exploratory, and learning about Nepal too. The people are so intriguing to me. The culture.

I knew a couple friends in college from each of these places, but really haven't much personal connections yet.

I want to do home-stays and be immersed. I want to learn Hindi and other tongues. I am glad to be opening more.

Maggie also too
Time and Money

I found something that I wrote a year ago on facebook that I have enough time and money, but it's how I spend it that matters.

Yesterday I worked for the first time in the food industry at a local pizza restaurant a half a mile from my home. It was some of the hardest work I have ever done but somehow I made it through the night without turning in the towel.

I was on my feet between 4 and 10:30PM and just that can be hard for me. I sat down twice for five minutes other than the 5 deliveries I ran around town.

People don't tip like they should. I mean I tipped 20 dollars yesterday and made 27 dollars in tips. Laugh out loud. I did do more of a tip than usual, but I always tip unless I really am feeling bitter with the services. I had customers talk about how surprisingly good the food was here but I guess the service (me) was not up to par because they just left without leaving a dime, more than once.

But then there was the really nice last delivery customer who tipped 5 dollars and made me rethink quitting right when I got back.

I have worked with the public before, and despite the challenges of learning the ropes being hard, and the near indentured servitude pay, I love the public. I love serving the public, I love serving other people and if I made one person smile, that makes an hour more worthwhile.

By the end of the night my right knee was in so much pain I took one of my ultra rare ibuprofens when I got home. That also helped some with my swollen feet, as did the elevating them.

So now I make a decision. Do I work again tonight? If so I fill out the damned W2 forms and report the earnings I will make to Social Security. If so I must send in my pay stubs or they will take it from my earnings and everything will be volunteer.

I could quit. But I made some friends today and I would like to go on with my goal of working. I barely had the stamina to do it last night. I have a bachelors degree and really deserve at least 8 dollars an hour in this line of work, but I think I will only be getting 4 or 5. So I am not entirely certain about the cost benefit analysis. But I might be cray cray enough to do it again.

The Bristol TN/VA work ethic is insane. I mean trying to keep pace with people in my home town blows my mind. I see people pushing so hard just to rub 2 nickels together by the end of the day.

I still am dreaming of India and Nepal. Everything takes time, and hard work too.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Athens arrival
Construction site

Septic fieldWe've arrived! It was a bit of a shock to show up and find the overgrown parcel we'd bought cleared and turned into a construction site. But we'll appreciate the septic system when it's done, and in the meantime are thoroughly enjoying settling into our new digs.

Mushroom log barrier

To my surprise, the herbs and strawberries I left behind during our closing trip are alive and well. The mushroom logs I used to protect the greenery from deer produced a flush while we were gone, but otherwise our beginning of a new garden hasn't missed a beat.

Moving in

Mostly, though, we're focusing on zone 0 this week. Scrubbing and mopping, moving in, buying furniture at the thrift store (they deliver!), and generally getting used to the area are top of our list. More on the move-in process next time we stop by the library for our internet fix.

Joey (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Ironweed in front of the barn

The sumac spice hidden in plain sight was only my latest find around an old homestead. Several years after moving to the country, I followed a faint trail up a hill, and found overgrown blueberry bushes. And then the next year found another blueberry bush I'd missed, and another this year... Now I have a thriving blueberry hill, that produces berries half the summer long.

Wringer washer in the weeds

My last time visiting Anna, the encroaching weeds reminded me of when I first visited, soon after Anna bought the place, and well before the beginning of the waldeneffect blog. Then it was a tangle of weeds and brambles, with the bones of an old farm in among them. Walls chinked with newspaper told the tale, of occupants in the 1930's, and a hardscrabble farm.

Mom in the garden

I'm used to software, where each line of code comes with a deep epistolary history of past versions, descriptions, justifications, discussions. A similar history has been built up on this web site, but as weeds choke the place again, perhaps it will be forgotten.

Metal hummingbird

Perhaps a deer hunter one day will notice a row of gnarled fruit trees in the old homestead, or in among a raspberry thicket, find stranger fruits, tiny kiwis and figs. Perhaps a new resident, crossing the ford years from now, will wonder what hands shaped it. Will, as they prune apple and peach, pick spring asparagus, and uncover deposits of unusually rich dirt, find themselves conversing across the years with like minds.

All we know is, we'll remember the place fondly, and look forward to new adventures. Join me in wishing godspeed to Anna and Mark!

Maggie also too
Rolling a giant Seed

I am developing a goal to travel to Nepal or India in a year or so. There are many areas of research that I have yet to do, and one of them happens to be learning what time is the best time to visit the low lands of Southern Nepal/Northern India. Also, I am pretty unsure of whether it is an either/or or if I possibly could see both. I have yet to save a dime for the trip and also, I haven't looked extensively into visas, restrictions, and so on. But I have done a few good things towards this goal.

1. Hold a stable part time job. Check.

2. Get a second job. Check. (Starting today at a pizza place as dishwasher/driver.)

3. Quit being in debt. Mostly check.

4. Start paying regular rent. Check.

5. Begin learning about Nepal/India by watching videos and reading at the blog "The Ticket to Travel" among others.

6. Practice squatting when using the bathroom.

7. Cultivate an open mind.

8. Start eating with my right hand only.

9. Make lists and lists of my lists.

Yet to do:

1. Look into length of stay. Frankly I want to get a one way ticket but I know that has huge risks. Also, I am not sure if they will let me in the country with a one way ticket.

2. Look into work exchange/home stays.

3. Figure out exactly where I want to go to start off.

4. Find a place where I can get my needed medical care while away. (According to Nathan and Danica at The Ticket to Travel blog, "some places offer great, inexpensive medical care."

5. Talk at all about this on a personal level to any family. (oops!)

6. Save money.

7. Buy my own ticket(s) to travel.

8. Pack my bag.

9. Hit the road, Jack!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Energy and cost effective heating and cooling for small spaces

Moving the wood stoveOur new trailer has no furnace and we're not sure if we'll get our wood stove installed and find cured fuel before winter. So now seemed to be the time to get our act in order about a backup heat source.

Mark's first impulse was geothermal since this is the most efficient heating and cooling option currently available. Of course, the downside of geothermal is a hefty price tag. The internet reports that you can install a geothermal system for as little as $7,000, but my on-the-ground research showed up $20,000 as the more-likely lower limit. Given the small size of our space, the current lack of federal tax rebates, and the fact that a considerable amount of our heat will likely be wood in the long term, that price tag seemed unrealistic. So I moved on down the list to heat pumps.

Cost of heating options

The last time I read about the heat-pump option, it didn't seem realistic for our region since heating efficiencies dramatically decline in cold weather. But since then, science has come to the rescue with variable-speed heat pumps that don't start losing their efficiency until 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, if your home is smaller than 1,000 square feet, ductless heat pumps bring efficiency levels nearly to geothermal status for a much lower price tag. For example, this 2,400 BTU unit costs $1,374 (or $947 after Mark's veteran's discount and AEP Ohio's $300 rebate) while boasting operating costs that rival those of a wood stove if you're buying fuel.

I can just hear Mom asking, "But what about the noise?" Ductless heat pumps use circulating refrigerants rather than moving air, so they're much quieter than the less efficient standard heat pumps. All told, they're currently top of our list...but I'd love to hear from anyone who's given them a try and has firsthand information to impart!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Moving day!
Moving trailer

A huge thank you to Rose Nell and Jayne, who brought us this moving trailer two months ago and took a huge amount of pressure off our transition! We've been filling it in dribs and drabs ever since, and now everything that made the cut is packed away and ready to move north.

Today's the big day! We won't have electricity (or water or septic or pretty much anything except two whiney cats cooped up in a trailer) at first, so please don't worry if your comments sit in moderation until I head to town and let them out days later. I suspect that within a week or so, we'll be back to normal. In the meantime, we'll be thinking of you all as we embark upon our new adventure!

Joey (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
processing my sumac harvest

I used to only know sumac as the tree my mom used for making a strange tea. The sumac trees here, planted behind a retaining wall, I paid little attention to for years. Until I noticed how plump and vibrant the clusters of tiny red berries were at their peak. Snipped off dozens with scissors, as high as I could reach.

After drying my sumac harvest and rubbing the berries off the bobs, I ground it by hand with mortar and pestle.

Passed through a sieve to remove the seeds and stems, an amazing spice emerged.

This is the first time I've processed a spice. It reminds me of processing tobacco in the barn as a kid. So tactile, hands become sticky with dry sap, and it smells amazing.

I'm looking forward to trying the tart earthiness of sumac in many dishes this fall.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Homesteading party food
Homesteading party food

Happy birthday, baby D.! Kayla's almost-adopted foster daughter invited us to a huge party at the corn maze last weekend to celebrate her second birthday. We had a great time hanging out, riding on the hay wagon, and sampling party food cute enough to star on pinterest.

Thanks for the invitation, Kaya! Putting physical distance between us is harder than leaving the farm I've nurtured for the last decade. Let's plan to meet in the middle soon!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Homesteading without a dog
Groundhog eating squash

We didn't realize how much a homestead depends on a dog until Lucy was gone. For example, the groundhogs are so brave they're starting to scamper up onto the porch to gnaw on curing butternuts!

Will we get another dog at our new place? I'm starting to lean in that direction, although there are also positives to having so few animals we can be footloose and fancy free. I suspect we'll wait and see what our new life style is like before making any far-reaching decisions like choosing a canine companion.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Hardy kiwi taste test
Hardy kiwis

We enjoyed a tasting of our first indoor-ripened hardy kiwis a couple of weeks ago, and now a few are starting to ripen on the vine. So what's the consensus?

If you eat with your eyes, you're unlikely to be pleased. These little fruits aren't at their flavor peak until they're quite soft on the inside and wrinkly on the outside (like the one in the upper left of the photo above). That said, the taste is quite good and very similar to the fuzzy kiwis from the store (without the need to peel the fruit).

I couldn't tell much difference between the vine-ripened kiwis and those I'd ripened in the house, though, so I picked the rest Friday to ripen up. Looks like we'll have some snacks to take with us to our new land!

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Hybrid heat pump hot water heater
Heat pump water heater diagram.

We are currently weighing the long term advantages of a Hybrid heat pump electric hot water tank.

There is a substantial 500 dollar rebate from the company providing electric that will eventually go away.

Does any readers have any first hand experience with this new technology?

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
More moving questions
Soil test hole

We've racked up a bunch more reader questions about our upcoming move --- time for an answer post!

"When are you moving?" --- Everybody, including me

We've opted to do everything by the book this time around, which means lots of slowdowns and bureaucracy. Heck, it took three solid hours just to have the trailer put officially into our name and permitted to move a mile down the road!

At the moment, we're waiting on the septic system to be installed --- getting approved already took a month and a thousand bucks. We're also working out the kinks on getting the trailer set up and  hooking up electricity.

Speaking of which:

Mobile home
"Are you going to be able to connect to the grid in your new location?" --- Chris

We are. Although off-grid living is inspiring, solar panels aren't yet within our budget if we want to stay out of debt. So we've put in our work order with the electric company and are hoping cleanup operations down south go quickly so residents of hurricane-damaged regions can get back on track...and Ohio workers can return north ASAP to hook us up.

New property
"Why does the house need to be butted up against the road?" --- Chris

The property we're moving to is another big parcel without very much "usable" land. Only the half acre or so closest to the road is flat and easy to manage, so the rest will be earmarked for hikes and mushroom gathering and (possibly) pasture if I get the animal itch again. Despite my hankering for privacy, I'm willing to make this swap in exchange for easier accessibility of off-farm manure!

Earth star
"I wonder what your projected tax savings are over say 10 years. Cheap land, cheaper house?" --- John

Our taxes will actually be a bit more up there than they are down here. But, it's true --- living in a trailer is going to be a huge savings based on Ohio rates! I'd say we'll pay a third to half as much as if we'd chosen the same-sized plot of land with a conventional house on it. Definitely a bonus to the pocketbook....

More once we have anything to report. In the meantime, I'm launching two fiction books at once and starting on the third since writing up a storm is my best approach at pretending to be patient. You know what they say --- fake it 'til you make it!

Joey chatter
processing my sumac harvest

After drying my sumac harvest and rubbing the berries off the clusters, I ground it by hand with mortar and pestle.

Passed through a sieve to remove the seeds and stems, an amazing spice emerged.

This is the first time I've processed a spice. It reminds me of processing tobacco in the barn as a kid. So tactile, hands become sticky with dry sap, and it smells amazing.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
How to choose a used mobile home
Trailer living room

So what did we look at when we started considering potential used mobile homes? Given that the abodes are technically wheeled vehicles, I turned to used-car know-how. First on the agenda --- finding one as young as possible within our price range.

Two by four walls

Our current trailer is about 50 years old...which puts it before the cutoff when mobile homes beccame manufactured homes. On June 15, 1976, HUD tightened their rules and changed the name of the result. So this is a smart age to look for --- if you can afford a trailer that dates past this era, you're likely to end up with thicker walls, better insulation, and overall higher quality of living. (Plus, you can rightly tell your parental units that you didn't buy a trailer --- you bought a manufactured home. Bonus!)

Mobile home

Next up --- potential trouble spots. Roof leaks and bad floors are two of the most likely flaws of a used trailer. I go into this in much more depth in Trailersteading, so I won't bend your ear again here. As when hunting an ugly-duckling property, it's just a matter of figuring out what you can live with (and fix) and what you can't.

Old trailer

In the end, Mark and I got lucky. Our septic installer is also a trailer mover, and he knew of a 1993 Skyline Sabre less than a mile down the road from our new place. There are some obvious trouble zones we'll have to fix --- a few holes in the floor, lack of a furnace, pipes that likely burst when the space sat unheated for three years, and single-glazed windows being the worst of the downsides. But the trailer was a steal for $1,500 and will be very cheap to move given its proximity to the eventual destination. Success!

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 474 tracking exports

Built a way to make an export track changes to a branch.

git annex export --tracking master --to myexport

That ties in nicely with git annex sync:

joey@darkstar:~/tmp/bench/a> echo hello > foo
joey@darkstar:~/tmp/bench/a> git annex add
add foo ok
joey@darkstar:~/tmp/bench/a> git annex sync --content
[master 8edbc6f] git-annex in joey@darkstar:~/tmp/bench/a
 1 file changed, 1 insertion(+)
 create mode 120000 foo
export myexport foo 
joey@darkstar:~/tmp/bench/a> git mv foo bar
joey@darkstar:~/tmp/bench/a> git annex sync --content
[master 3ab6e73] git-annex in joey@darkstar:~/tmp/bench/a
 1 file changed, 0 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)
 rename foo => bar (100%)
rename myexport foo -> .git-annex-tmp-content-SHA256E-s6--5891b5b522d5df086d0ff0b110fbd9d21bb4fc7163af34d08286a2e846f6be03 ok
rename myexport .git-annex-tmp-content-SHA256E-s6--5891b5b522d5df086d0ff0b110fbd9d21bb4fc7163af34d08286a2e846f6be03 -> bar ok
Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
How much should I spend on a used mobile home?
Checking out a trailer

Despite parental dismay that we're planning to live in a trailer again, the first phase of our closing trip to Ohio involved hunting for a new mobile home. Well, actually, for a used mobile home.

Trailersteading gives details about our first mobile home, which Ancient trailerwe were given for free since the structure was windowless, ancient, and a liability to the trailer-park owner. Given our budget at the time, that trailer was the perfect choice. But we've since saved our pennies and wanted to move to the next step up. The question became --- how high should we go?

Just out of curiosity, I took a look at the selling price of new mobile homes. These started at $24,000 and definitely seemed like a very bad financial decision even if we'd Trailer bedroomhad the spare cash on hand. If we'd had to borrow to make the new mobile home a reality, the financial situation would have been even darker, involving a high-interest loan. Bad idea!

At the lower end, I was still able to find free mobile homes for sale on Craigslist. One didn't look at all bad...although the listing did mention an infestation of bedbugs. Elbow grease would definitely have made these livable...eventually.

Then there was the Goldilocks middle ground. For $3,000 to $7,000, there are a slew of trailers to choose from. We made a list then started making calls. More on the results in tomorrow's post!

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 473 distributed use of exports

The tricky part of the git annex export feature has definitely been making it work in a distributed situation. The last details of that seem to have been worked out now.

I had to remove support for dropping individual files from export remotes. The design has a scenario where that makes distributed use of exports inconsistent.

But, what is working now is git annex export being run in one repository, and then another repository, after syncing, can get files from the export.

Most of export is done now. The only thing I'm thinking about adding is a way to make an export track a branch. so git annex sync can update the export.

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

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Athens, Ohio, farmer's market

We are now the official owners of a tract of bare land outside Athens, Ohio! Our closing was Thursday, and we went up Monday to start getting a bunch of balls rolling. Enter a mass of gut-wrenching and expensive problems that made me doubt the entire endeavor and ask Mark if I could just crawl under a rock and live there instead. (For the record, he said, "No.")

Gluten-free baked goods

In need of a quick emotional fix, Mark and I headed straight to the farmer's market on Wednesday morning. Wow! All doubts were laid to rest at this midweek gathering (about a third the size of the main one on Saturday morning)...although part of my mood lift might have been due to that excellent gluten-free brownie.

Green Edge Gardens

But it wasn't just the brownie that floated my boat. I'm so impressed by the town's commitment to locally-grown food, which varied from fresh ginger and oyster mushrooms grown by the certified organic Green Edge Gardens...

Farmer's market fruit multiple orchards with dozens of fruit varieties I haven't even tasted yet.

Pretty pies

I'm really looking forward to being part of a community that puts such a value on high-quality produce. A wise person once said that all boats are safe until they leave the harbor...but if you never leave the harbor what's the point of being a boat? Despite some squalls, I'm starting to get my sea legs under me as we continue to navigate our transition.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
A new adventure
Inaugural visit

16.8 acres of mostly bare land + a new state = the first step in a grand adventure!


There's a water tap and an old camper on the property...and not much else. I suspect the amenities will be easier to establish than they were on our first farm, though, since the area that will become our core homestead butts right up against the road.

Edibles in trunk

Okay, and I'll admit it --- the land isn't quite bare any more. I couldn't resist filling the trunk with mushroom logs and potted plants before heading up to our closing. If the deer don't find them before we drive north again, we'll have the tiniest bit of a homestead waiting for us upon our return.

(This last picture is at our AirBnB. The actual property has no houses in sight.)

Joey chatter

Found this gorgeous thing on a bush, in a spot that I'm eyeing as a site for a small pond.

Joey chatter
solar update

Been online via satellite for over 24 hours straight and have not used dialup at all for ~5 days. Solar upgrade is really working out; batteries have recovered significantly in the past month and despite summer waning, I have more power every day.

Joey chatter
sumac + garlic

Cut a bumper crop of sumac just ahead of the rains. Amazing flavor.

Don't know yet how to process/store it, but I did make this jar of infused sumac garlic olive oil.

Joey chatter
Anna's garlic

Split out the biggest cloves of Anna's garlic and planted them today.

The remaining pile-o-garlic should satisfy me for a month.

Joey chatter
lemon harvest

This is my biggest lemon harvest ever from my potted meyer lemon tree. I've had it for 10+ years and it's always a joy. Next two lemon harvests in prep already..

Joey chatter

Borg seems like the closest backup program like obnam. The main difference is it uses per-client AES keys, rather than gpg keys. So a backup can't be easily made accessible by other gpg keys.

I suppose that encrypting its AES key to the gpg keys you want to be able to access the backups, and storing the encrypted AES key alongside the backup will get the same functionality.

Joey chatter

Drove to Canada and back. Home!

Joey chatter

I walked over this bridge probably a hundred times, but never went down to see the waterfall. Let alone hiked down the gorge to Ithaca before.

Probably sums up my Cornell experience in some way.

Joey chatter
far above cayuga

Back at Cornell for the first time in 21 years. My feet still remember the way around.

Joey chatter
putting up pears

Around a quarter of my pear harvest canned now.

The small jars are ginger-pear chutney. Need to find the time to make more of that, it's stunning.

Joey chatter

There's always brogue..

Joey chatter

Which is faster than my SSD can write out 6 gb. There are a few speed hacks involved. ;)

Joey chatter

Sped up build time for a 6 gb disk image file from 30 minutes to 30 seconds. Wow.

Joey chatter
strange cables

Cables near my PV controller:

  • USB on one end, house electric outlet (24v) on the other
  • Ethernet on one end, USB outlet on the other

What could possibly go wrong..

Joey chatter








Joey chatter
smoke signals

Beaming pictures of bratwurst through woodsmoke to orbit.

Joey chatter
hair salon

Poitras's film Risk has this surreal scene where Julian Assange is getting his hair cut by Jacob Applebaum and Sarah Harrison and Erinn Clark, while watching k-pop.

Joey chatter
left the building


Actual error message seen on actual VPS host just now.

Joey chatter

wow (talk)
wow (code)
wow (paper)

Quiet talk starts slow and grows exponentially. My head stopped hurting at all the maths and started blowing off at the awesome around minute 30. Then at minute 56 he shows one slide of code that uses a SMT solver on a regular haskell functions, to find inputs that produce a desired output. Angels descend, singing, etc.

Joey chatter

Sometimes the simplest things, like laying these bricks under the grape arbor, are super therapeutic.


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