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.)

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 472 removing empty directories

After doing some fine-tuning of webdav export on Wednesday, I noticed a problem: There seems to be no way in the webdav spec to delete a collection (directory) only when it's empty like rmdir(2) does. It would be possible to check the contents of the collection before deleting it, but that's complex (involving XML parsing) and race-prone.

So, I decided to add a remote method to delete a directory, and make git-annex keep track of when a directory in an export is empty, and delete it. While it does complicate the design some to need to do this, that seems better than complicating the implementation of remotes like webdav. And some remotes may not have a rmdir(2) equivilant or a way to check if a directory is empty.

Spent most of today implementing that, including some rather hairy eSQL to maintain a table of exported directories.

Still not quite done with export..

Today's work was sponsored by Trenton Cronholm on Patreon

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Impatient planting
Clearing a lettuce bed

Will we be in Virginia long enough to eat fall lettuce? I doubt it, but I went ahead and planted a bed at the beginning of the month anyway. The seedlings are now up and growing even as our summer crops begin to slow and fade.

And as soon as I expressed my impatience by planting, the endless array of paperwork leading up to our close started to come in. More on the first steps involved in solidifying our foothold in Ohio coming your way soon!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Fading cicadas

As soon as the weather turned cool, the cicadas began to drop from the trees. This one came to visit our grape vine, sluggish now that its job of mating and producing next year's offspring is done. Imagine being an insect who lives for only a few short months above ground!

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 471 export to more remotes

Got git annex export working to webdav and rsync special remotes. Tested exporting to the Internet Archive via S3, and to via webdav. Both had little weirdnesses in their handling of the protocols, which were worked around, and it's quite nice to be able to export trees to those services, as well as Amazon S3.

Also added connection caching for exports, so S3 and webdav exports only make one http connection, instead of one per file.

Had to change the format of git-annex:export.log; the old format didn't take into account that a repository can export to several different remotes.

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

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Ripe volunteers
Volunteer tomatos in the weeds.

It's been a good year for volunteer tomatoes.

Usually they don't make it past the green stage before the first frost date but for some reason this year a few plants are old enough to ripen and eat.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Seed saving supervisor
Seed supervisor

Huckleberry supervised my second round of seed saving last week. "Beans are dry enough to pack away," he said. "Label the tomato varieties carefully. Leave the squash and okra seeds to dessicate a little longer."

Good thing I have a cat available to tell me what to do!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Will share for Egyptian onions

Egyptian onionsWant to win a box of Egyptian onion bottom bulbs? Every year or so we give away a starter set of these dependable perennials to a U.S. reader who wants to expand their garden patch. This year, I'm hoping our readers will give us a moment of their time in exchange for the offer.

How can you enter the giveaway? Just share the facebook post below, and in a week I'll choose one random winner to enjoy a small flat-rate box of Egyptian onion bulbs. These bottom bulbs aren't usually sold online and they give you a year's head start over the top bulbs that are more frequently available. So hopefully they're worth spreading the word about our farm.

Thanks so much in advance! Mark and I appreciate your support as we move toward our new adventure.
git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 470 export to external and S3

Got git annex export working to external special remotes. Each external special remote will need some modifications to allow exporting. Exporting to some things doesn't make sense, but often there's a way to browse a tree of files stored on the special remote and so export is worth supporting. Now would be a good time to contact the author of your favorite special remote about supporting export..

Also had time to get git annex export working to S3. The tip publishing your files to the public had a clumsy method for publishing files via S3 before, and is now quite simple!

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

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 469 export merged

I've merged the export branch, after fixing most of the remaining known warts, and testing clean-up from interrupted exports and export conflicts.

The main thing remaining to be done is adding the new commands to the external special remote interface, and adding export support to S3, webdav, and rsync special remotes.

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

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.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Eleven-year-old homestead for sale

Aerial photoOur farm is now officially on the market! The basics:

Flooded creek

Before you get excited, please be aware that access is this property's major downfall. It's what you might call Extremely Private. You'll have to cross half a mile of Carrying a goat across a creekoff-road terrain between the parking area and core homestead and the creek floods past its banks a few times a year.

That said, for the right owner, the resulting tranquility and isolation is an asset rather than a curse. Pet owners will never find a safer paradise for their cats and dogs. Okay, yeah, and maybe for your wife's goats, mules, chickens, and other critters as well. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Gathering mushrooms and firewood

Anyway, back to the selling points....

Our farm is 58 acres, but only the center acre or so is in use. The rest is forest that ranges from 20 to 50+ years old and offers woodland walks, abundant firewood, and tasty mushrooms.

Farm in 2013

The interior includes a little over half an acre of no-till garden. The area looks considerably weedier at the moment than is shown in this picture from October 2013, but the soil is rich and ready to go. I even planted a bed of fall lettuce to get you started!

Bearing perennials currently include raspberries, strawberries, grapes, apples, hardy kiwis, asparagus and more. Basically, we've been feeding ourself almost entirely off this property for over a decade. It will be easy for you to step in and do the same.

Star plate barn

Milking stanchionAnother half acre of the homestead is fenced with cattle panels and contains a 110-square-foot, five-sided barn. Rotational pastures outside and a milking stanchion inside make this space move-in ready for your small herd of dairy goats.


Okay, okay, you know where the goats are going to live...but what about you? The center of the homestead is a 10x50 foot mobile home (1960s era) with a new metal roof and two large porches. We're leaving behind most of the furnishings, including the fridge, Trailer interiorstove, and chest freezer, so it won't cost much to get your center of operations up and running.

I should warn you that the trailer interior is very rough in places, but it's livable. Utility hookups include electricity, phone, and cable internet fast enough to stream Netflix.

Two water systems are also available --- drinking water from a well (pumped through a sediment filter and UV light for purification) and irrigation water from the creek (stored in a 1,000-gallon tank that gravity feeds into the house). The creek pump can be hooked up directly to a system of sprinklers as well.


Composting toiletAdditional living space is found in the 8x16 foot cabin with porch and metal roof. Meanwhile, the 36x45 foot tobacco barn (pictured previously) was reroofed in 2012 and is full of potential. Finally, a composting toilet/deer blind rounds out the outbuildings.

Interested? Email for more information on the homestead, or to make an offer or to arrange a showing. Thanks for looking and be sure to wear your boots!

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 468 export renames

I knew that making git annex export handle renames efficiently would take a whole day somehow.

Indeed, thinking it over, it is a seriously super hairy thing. Renames can swap contents between two or more files, and so temp files are needed. It has to handle cleaning up temp files after interrupted exports, which may be resumed with the same or a different tree. It also has to recover from export conflicts, which could cause the wrong content to be renamed to a file.

I think I've thought through everything and found a way to deal with it all. Here's how it looks in operation swapping two files:

git annex export master --to dir
rename bar -> .git-annex-tmp-content-SHA256E-s30--472b01bf6234c98ce03d1386483ae578f6e58033974a1363da2606f9fa0e222a ok
rename foo -> .git-annex-tmp-content-SHA256E-s4--b5bb9d8014a0f9b1d61e21e796d78dccdf1352f23cd32812f4850b878ae4944c ok
rename .git-annex-tmp-content-SHA256E-s4--b5bb9d8014a0f9b1d61e21e796d78dccdf1352f23cd32812f4850b878ae4944c -> bar ok
rename .git-annex-tmp-content-SHA256E-s30--472b01bf6234c98ce03d1386483ae578f6e58033974a1363da2606f9fa0e222a -> foo ok
(recording state in git...)

The export todo list is only getting longer.. But the branch may be close to being merged.

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

rstidyman (Richard)
Good Times at BUUF

This post is especially geared towards my friends, come and gone, that I’ve met at BUUF, aka, the Boone Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Videos I’ve made over the years can be found here.

BUUF at the holidays in 2006.

BUUF summer pics.

History of BUUF in pics.

Laughing your Way to Grace with Connie Green and Richard Tidyman.

Dwight B. Miller Memorial

And all of my content from the last 20 years, including family, friends, teaching and more can be found here. 

I started attending BUUF back in 1984 when I moved to Boone to go to ASU.  It was a small group, mostly old farts, or at my tender age of 30, they seemed old.  Now I am the old fart.  Those were the days when all we had was the Founder’s Home.  At some point, the home was purchased through the kindness and generosity of the founding fathers and members.  Back then, we met in what is now the larger room. We would set up chairs and on a good day, some folks couldn’t see around the corner (where the buffet table is.  If you look close, you can see where the wall was torn down and a different kind of hardwood was inserted in the floor.  Yep, that room was once two or three rooms.

BUUF became my home, where I was accepted and my beliefs were mine and no one wanted to argue or convert me.  It was all about love and social justice.  It was more academic in those days but that is due to the make up of those in power, mostly academics.

I met some wonderful people. I went to a picnic one day after church at Ben and Shirlee Edward’s house.  Shirlee must have liked me because at the next church service, she introduced me to Sally Royce Gaines, her youngest daughter. We fell in love, moved in together, and later, were married, for ten years total, before parting way.  Ben performed the wedding at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Valle Crucis with many UU’s in attendance.  The reception, a pot luck was at the apple barn.  To their credit, even after Sally and I amicably split up, the Edwards always invited me to every holiday meal and gathering.

A side note, at that time in 1984, Sally was the shelter manager for Oasis, the shelter for battered women, which was housed on the second floor of the Founder’s Home.  One year, we even had a garden where the current sanctuary now sits.

Picnics were always fun.  Back then, we’d travel south of Blowing Rock to Pat (???) and Warren Plicta’s house.  Over the years, we’d go to the various parks, Alice and Earl’s home, and many others.

What makes a church a home is not the place, the structure or even the rituals.  It is first and most, the people.  I always felt welcome there.  Most do andeI was a little more outgoing than most, and willing to attend social events, oftentimes alone, and found a group of intelligent, liberal (sometimes opinionated) good hearted people.  I’d say the only folks that had a hard time with us were those rigid in their beliefs and republicans.  I only know of one or two republicans who were able to tolerate the overwhelming vocal liberals.

I have found so many of the services and presentations interesting and many inspiring as well.  Some are boring.  Some times, and I’m not alone here, I’d check to see what was being talked about and who was delivering the talk and then weigh my own feelings.  Other times I’d go no matter what.  I’d go to socialize and support whatever speaker there was, as it is the closest thing I had to a community.  I’d suggest going no matter what if you have the time and energy.

If there was any advice I’d give, continue to make the fellowship welcoming.  People may be looking for inspiration but I think it is more likely people are looking for connection with other loving human beings.  Err on the side of kindness.  Say hi first, get to know them.  Invite them to lunch, even if they are a different age. We do after all, call ourselves inter-generational.

I’ve been in many of your homes, and I appreciated the chance to socialize and share a meal with you all.  In other cases, I was hired as a handyman.  I dropped out of teaching after four years, tried selling insurance and eventually did handyman work to make ends meet.  I hope no one’s house has burned down since.  I am not an expert at anything, but I do know just enough to be dangerous.

I’m grateful that you all tolerated my sharing of joys and concerns and even a few presentations.  My first presentation, and probably the worst was on globalization.  I’ve also done one with Richard Anderson of father’s day.  Connie and I did one on “Laughing your way to Grace”.  Most recently, I presented “Lessons Learned from 27 years of Teaching public school.”  I think it was pretty good.  In fact, I sometimes wonder if I should just pull together half dozen presentations on different topics and become a UU circuit rider.  What do you think?

Despite everything, you have always made me feel welcome.  You were there when we adopted our daughter, Hannah Marie Tidyman, and you were supportive as well when her son, my grandson, Sean Rohnan Tidyman (now Brooks) was born.

I’ve met lots and lots of wonderful people.  Most important are the men in my men’s group, many of which are UU members.  Big thanks to UU for letting us use the space for not only one but now two men’s groups. I’d rank my participation in those groups as some of the worthwhile opportunity to grow and learn from elders and youngsters.

I’ve seen many come and go.  Some move, some die.  I’m moving.  I’ll die later.  If case you missed the headlines, Danielle, the love of my life, who I first met at UU several years ago are moving.  She has a great job lined up, and I retired.  I’ll be holding down the fort, which includes a horse, two cats, two dogs, and chickens.  I’ll find some work, including that of a wedding officiant. There are lakes, and parks so I hope to take up fishing, bike riding, and tooling around on my scooter to learn my way around.  Maybe handyman work again. Hopefully there will be a niche for a liberal minister in the conservative  Hamlen County.    I know they have a democratic organization there, so I’ll check them out.  Hopefully, they do more than meet at Hardee’s for coffee.  But I’m good at that too.

I will be back to visit all the wonderful folks here at BUUF. We have two houses we need to sell, and it looks like I’ll have to rent mine rather than sell.

Wish you the very best and thanks for the memories.





Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Dairy show
Cattle show

Kayla met me at the Russell County Fair Saturday to watch the Junior Dairy Show. I was highly impressed by the skill of these kids as they led massive cows around the arena, nudging feet into proper position with long poles and guiding headstrong beasts into just the right conformation.

This girl was particularly skillful, rubbing the cow's belly gently to soothe her as the pair stood at attention. No wonder she won first prize!

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 467 firming up export

More work on git annex export. Made initremote exporttree=yes be required to enable exporting to a special remote. Added a sqlite database to keep track of what files have been exported. That let me fix the known problems with exporting multiple files that have the same content.

The same database lets git annex get (etc) download content from exports. Since an export is not a key/value store, git-annex has to do more verification of content downloaded from an export. Some types of keys, that are not based on checksums (eg WORM and URL), cannot be downloaded from an export. And, git-annex will never trust an export to retain the content of a key, since some other tree could be exported over it at any time.

With git annex get working from exports, it might be nice to also support git annex copy --to export for exporting specific files to them. However, that needs information that is not currently stored in the sqlite database until the export has already completed. One way it could work is for git annex export --fast treeish --to export to put all the filenames in the database but not export anything, and then git annex copy --to export (or even git annex sync --content to send the contents). I don't know if this complication is worth it.

Otherwise, the export feature is fairly close to being complete now. Still need to make renames be handled efficiently, and add support for exporting to more special remotes.

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

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
New gardening style for the future?
2008 yard drawing with barn and golf cart.

So, will this translate into a more hands-off gardening style in the future?


The plan so far is to be less spread out as we started here. Having a large garden was great for doing multiple experiments but the new style will start with a large fenced in area to keep predators out.

We might also not grow as much for the Winter if the Athens farmers market turns out to be as good as the word on the street says it is.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Fair weather
Russell County Fair

Like summer, fall seems to be arriving early in 2017. Two years ago, the Russell County Fair was sweltering. But despite happening on the same weekend this year, I had to dig out winter clothes to attend the event this time around.

Four piglets

With lows likely to drop into the forties by the end of the week, the critters will have to snuggle even closer to brave the unseasonable cold snap. Stay warm, little piggies!

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 467 export progress

Good progress on git annex export today. Changing the exported tree now works and is done efficiently. Resuming an export is working. Even detecting and resolving export conflicts should work (have not tested it). The necessary information about the export is recorded in the git-annex branch, including grafting in the exported tree there.

There are some known problems when the tree that is exported contains multiple files with the same content. And git-annex is not yet able to download exported files from a special remote. Handling both of those needs way to get from keys to exported filenames. So, I plan to populate a sqlite database with that information next.

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.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Harvesting the hardy kiwis
Blighted kiwi vines

For a decade, our hardy kiwi vines have been disease free. But as soon as they set fruit this year, leaves started to turn brown on the bearing plant. The disease looks strikingly like fire blight, so that's my working hypothesis even though the internet doesn't report that particular bacterial disease affects the plant species.

Hardy kiwi fruits

With leaves no longer pumping sugars into the fruits, we decided to bring some inside as a test harvest. The seeds are black, which suggests the fruits are mature enough to ripen off the vine. I'll keep you posted once we finally get to taste this fruit that's been ten years in coming!

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 466 export prototype

Put together a prototype of git annex export in the "export" branch. Exporting to a directory special remote is basically working, but this is only the beginning.

Today's work was sponsored by Jake Vosloo on Patreon

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Should we consider selling the blog with the farm?
Drawing by Anna.
Would you consider selling the blog with the farm?

Yes. For the right price we would sell the blog and domain name that makes up the WaldenEffect brand.

Our main objective for this blog has always been to function as a journal to record and share our homesteading adventure. We've dabbled a bit in monetizing it with Google ads on the side and the occasional Amazon link when it involved products we used but never really tried to turn it into a full blown money maker.

Stay tuned for more on this after I do some more research.

We would be very interested in hearing what long time readers think of this idea?

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Gearing up for the sale

Step one for selling was to decide whether or not to go with a realtor. After some deep thought, Mark and I opted to the conventional route on our very unconventional piece of property. We did, however, hunt through the agents on Zillow until we found one who looked willing to get his feet muddy.

Enter Chris Ward from Bennett and Edwards Realty. Chris was a pro when he came over to check out the place Saturday, and we look forward to sharing his listing with you soon. Stay tuned!

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Temporary adjustment of blogging interval
Mark and Anna sitting in the Kubota X900.

Will the WaldenEffect blog continue when we move North?

Thanks for asking and thank you for reading and telling a friend.

Yes. We plan to blog about starting from zero and building our new homestead when we move to Athens Ohio within the next month.

In the meantime we will cut back to one post per day until we move and get settled and have something more substantial to share.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
I can eat!
Bumblebee on goldenrod

After five months running to the outhouse at the drop of a hat then nine additional months on a severely restricted diet...I can eat! I'm a bit giddy with the flavors. Fruit between meals! Dishes seasoned with onions and garlic! Ice cream! It's like walking out of black and white and into color.

So what fixed me? I hesitated to make this post and I'm still going to keep it short. But since so many people deal with irritable bowel syndrome, I thought it was worth pointing out a potential light at the end of the tunnel...even if the light didn't come from the direction I'd thought it would.

Red sassafras leaves

I'll start with the slow-but-relatively-sure approach that did appear to be making a difference over the first year --- lots of rice to rest my gut, a low FODMAP diet to prevent additional irritation, increasing my morning walk to two miles per day, cognitive-behavioral therapy plus major life changes to lower my stress and anxiety levels, and the biggie...time. This combination of treatments really might have healed me eventually even if I hadn't accidentally pulled out the big guns.

But that's not what let me start eating again. Progesterone was.

Tickseed sunflowers

Earlier this summer, Mark talked me into visiting a holistic doctor who ran a battery of tests and concluded that, despite my age, my progesterone levels were at perimenopausal levels. Warily, I agreed to a daily hormone pill...and within a couple of weeks I was getting an extra hour of sleep per night while also feeling relief from tricky women's troubles that had crept into my life over the last few years. Two months in, I began testing the foods that used to mess me up and finding no ill effects. Could my grumpy gut really be as simple as a hormonal imbalance?

I'm a bit leery of staying on progesterone forever, although I have commited to the crutch until our move is complete. In the meantime, I figure I might as well add yet another stress-relieving gun into my arsenal. Time to learn to meditate!

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..

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
How your salad's hormones affect your belly
Plant hormones

I don't usually post raw links, but this one is an interesting read. Basically, the scientists in question concluded that the hormones in the plants we eat can directly affect both our bodies and our gut microbes.

For example allowing your plants to be exposed to drought conditions prompts those veggies to produce abscisic acid. This chemical has been linked to inflammatory bowel disease and other problems...but at the same time the chemical can help alleviate diabetes. So I guess the upshot is --- consider your own ailments when deciding whether or not to water those brussels sprouts....

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Troubleshooting phone repair
Phone line repair

Troubleshooting month-long phone and internet issues has been a slow process, but we finally nailed the issue. After replacing our router, our phone, and the line out to the box, we proved to the techs that the issue was outside our control. Sure enough, they tracked down a partially severed line over a mile away. Finally, we should be back on track!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Leaning north
Kale cat

We haven't written much about our upcoming move for a while because the adventure has mostly consisted of a mass of unphotogenic paperwork. Still, here's a glimpse behind the scenes in case anyone else is taking notes in preparation for their own land-buying episode.

First of all, we broke up with our original bank. Despite my post on the topic, choosing a local bank doesn't seem to be the be-all and end-all of finding a good mortgage for a plot of land. The bank we chose was on board, but when the loan-estimate paperwork came in they'd more than doubled the proposed interest rate. Too bad we'd already paid for an appraisal --- that's $374 we'll never see agin.

On the plus side, a little sleuthing turned up the fact that you can join the Ohio University  Credit Union by simply making a donation to the library (which means I'll come home with a university library card in addition to a mortgage --- score!). Working with the credit union has been like night and day compared to the other bank. The credit union didn't balk at funding a plot of land with only electric and water on it, didn't bait and switch on interest rates, and each step of the way has been ultra fast. I highly recommend them.

That said, the funder swap has set us back a week or two. So I guess I'll have to let our earliest potential move-in date slide by and instead start crossing my fingers for mid to late September. Here's hoping my kale seedlings (and impatient personality) can handle the delay.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Lost Sea Caverns
Mark in a yellow tunnel

After baking in the sun for a bit over an hour watching the eclipse, we moved onto the second phase of our adventure --- Lost Sea Caverns. In retrospect, planning to hit a cave in the zone of totality a few hours after the event wasn't such a great move since it meant lots of waiting in line. But I'm still glad we went.

Cave cracks

The highlight of Lost Sea Caverns is a four-acre underground lake at the end of the tour. But the rest of the cave is also huge and beautiful.

Cave flowers

My main point of comparison is Bristol Caverns, and I'd have to say Lost Sea lacks a lot of the intricate formations found there while making up for that lack with a host of intriguing features all its own. For example --- rare cave flowers that resemble sea urchins stuck to the ceiling...

Confederate signatures

...and signatures from Confederate soldiers.

Lost Sea boat ride

I'd have to say the boat ride was my favorite part though.

Lost Sea caverns

As usual when on a guided cave tour, I wished there was an option to travel in silence and spend more time soaking up the wonderousness of the surroundings. Still, we got lucky with an awesome, geology-trained tour-guide (ask for Thomas) and came home with lots of intriguing tidbits to ponder.

All around, an inspiring end to a day begun by staring at the sun. We definitely made this east Tennessee vacation count!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Gazing at the sun
Silver maple leaf

I've been avidly reading all of the eclipse-related blog posts hither and yon. In addition to being amazed by people who have seen thirty or more total solar eclipses, I've picked up some interesting tips that go beyond the obvious safety rigamarole. Here are the top two for your entertainment....

Two and a half minutes of totality isn't very long. So some of the smartest eclipse-watchers tell you to set your camera down and not even try to take a shot. I suspect I'll snap one photo to share with our readers, not worrying about its quality, then settle in to watch the show.

Speaking of the show, did you know that some pros wear a patch for fifteen to twenty minutes before totality over one eye? That way, they can watch the partial eclipse unfolding...then open their night-sensitive eye as the Bailey beads fade and enjoy a much more heightened viewing experience of the total eclipse.

How about you? What's your game plan?

(And, as an aside to family readers who check this space assiduously to make sure we haven't been eaten by bears --- it's a long drive, so I doubt Mark will post tonight. Don't worry! The bears will go hungry tonight.)

doctorcowgirl (Dani)
A brief foray into addiction

Recently, I had the opportunity to explore addiction in the simplest of terms.
For 2-3 days, I have walked around in a fog wearing crap color glasses, with a headache, stomach ache, whole body ache and zero energy despite needing lots. If I were any good at self-care, I would have called in sick.
I also noted that my super sensitive nature was on steroids. I have always been hypersensitive to any stimuli. I smell the potatoes when they are just thinking of going bad, a seam or tag will ruin my day, background noises are like kryptonite, and I can taste Stevia in my coffee if the spoon wasn’t rinsed after stirring Richard’s. I can spot a personality disorder in the produce department and there are a few people that I have a visceral reaction if I have to share space with them. I apologize to all the people in my life that have put up with this not so endearing trait and understand now those who chose not to! But these past few days, whoa!

Being the astute clinician that I am, I came up with a differential diagnosis that includes a brain tumor, Lyme’s and/or sudden onset of manic depression. But still, I searched for an easier answer, mostly because my most precious luxury, coffee, didn’t taste right in the morning. Richard is the Commander and Chief of our coffee, endearing me all the more to him. “Did you change the coffee lately?” I asked Tuesday morning. “Maybe I didn’t use as much coffee”. On Wednesday, “Are you sure there isn’t something different with the coffee?”, “Positive”. And today, “You didn’t change us to decaf did you?” “Absolutely not!” I drank the coffee, fell back to sleep for 3 hours, woke up still feeling like I had a whole body migraine. Not even a run revitalized me. Thank goodness Richard is so easy to get along with as I nagged him again, “I don’t see the decaf bag in the pantry, are you sure you didn’t use decaf?” He fetched the bag out of the trash – it was indeed the dreaded DECAF. He quickly brewed a rescue cup of full strength and after a shower, I feel as if I am coming back to life.

But I am not just writing about this experience to glean sympathy (well that’s part of it!)  What the past few days really provoke is the desire to examine what so many people face in addiction.  My discomfort is so paltry when realizing what patients with addiction experience, over and over again. As a physician, I reflect how I interact with these patients.  On my best days, I am present, compassionate, and willing to help.  Some days, I fake all the above and am relieved to get out of the exam room.  As a human, I don’t do nearly as good and avoid those with addiction at all cost.

Yet the news, social media and medical journals are full of pleas to help with the opioid crisis, to dig deep to address the issues leading to addiction.  We are being challenged to consider Mental Health Diagnosis,  Early Childhood Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders, the Impact of Poverty, and Adult Children of Alcoholics/Narcotics.  We are being urged to treat addictions as an illness versus a character flaw. We are asked to identify our prejudices and resolve them.  All of these are the right things to do, but…

As health providers, we are caught in the middle as we are increasingly graded on patient satisfaction, asked to treat more patients in less time with less resources, and suffer fatigue/hopelessness as nothing seems to work.

So, maybe as I transition to a new community, new clinic, new life, I can pick up the torch and do more.  I hope! But for now, pardon me, I am off in search of my next cuppa Joe!



Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Edible kousa dogwood

Mom and Maggie kindly came and sat in line with us for two hours at the library so we could get eclipse glasses to replace the knockoffs we'd originally bought. On the way out the door, Kousa dogwoodMaggie asked if I could ID a tree. "I think that's the edible relative of a dogwood..." I said, peering at the puffy red fruits.

Sure enough, when I got home and looked the plant up, it materialized into a kousa dogwood. The fruits are reputed to taste like strawberries or pawpaws, but are a bit tough to eat. You don't consume the skin or the seeds, just squeeze/suck out the soft flesh.

Of course, I didn't take a fruit home with me, so now I'll have to toss this back to the Bristol contingent for a flavor report. If you're brave enough to give one a try...what did you think?

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.

Joey chatter

Over ten times the capacity as the old panels, in a little more than twice the surface area. PV tech has improved a bit since the mid 90's..


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