git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 510 v6 get drop index

I've now fixed the worst problem with v6 mode, which was that get/drop of unlocked files would cause git to think that the files were modified.

Since the clean filter now runs quite fast, I was able to fix that by, after git-annex updates the worktree, restaging the not-really-modified file in the index.

This approach is not optimal; index file updates have overhead; and only one process can update the index file at one time. smudge has a bunch of new todo items for cases where this change causes problems. Still, it seems a lot better than the old behavior, which made v6 mode nearly unusable IMHO.

This work is supported by the NSF-funded DataLad project.

Maggie also
Iron Weed Lady

It happens in a surprising instant
the woman with the purple dress
passing the iron weed
notices its almost matching hue
and for just about five seconds
she pauses
like the gap
between a mediative breath
that little place
on the soul of the foot
that passes gradually
into the Earth.

Then like a heaving sigh
she finds her footing
down the hill
where time has caught up with her
and she is no longer
a girl
but worn and wrinkled
in the garments
of tomorrow.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 509 filterdriver

Working on a "filterdriver" branch, I've implemented support for the long-running smudge/clean process interface.

It works, but not really any better than the old smudge/clean interface. Unfortunately git leaks memory just as badly in the new interface as it did in the old interface when sending large data to the smudge filter. Also, the new interface requires that the clean filter read all the content of the file from git, even when it's just going to look at the file on disk, so that's worse performance.

So, I don't think I'll be merging that branch yet, but git's interface does support adding capabilities, and perhaps a capability could be added that avoids it schlepping the file content over the pipe. Same as my old git patches tried to do with the old smudge/clean interface.

This work is supported by the NSF-funded DataLad project.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Foster peach harvest
Basket of peaches

I dropped by one set of foster peaches this past weekend to see how their pruning and thinning had done. Success! Actual ripe peaches.

Peach brown rot

Unfortunately, the taller limbs that I'd left in the interest of not pruning the tree too hard all at once (then hadn't thinned the fruits on since I couldn't reach them) were full of brown rot. I think I'll be brave and whack the top off the tree this winter, water sprouts or no water sprouts.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Kindle vs Real Book
Anna pretending to work at a book store

No....Anna did not get a job working at a book store.

She just likes to illustrate what it would be like to carry around all the books she keeps on her Kindle and why she now prefers Kindle over a hard copy.

Maggie also
Secret World

The drippy faucet

holds back full sentences

guarded against plumbers.

Full moon men

are all the same

cursing my flow

yet quenched by me.

Maybe the day will come

when nix the metaphors

of plumb.

Maggie also
We are the tenth goose...

We are wabi sabi truth

We are the beauty

of decaying natural things

we are impermanent

our youth fades

we grow older

we cannot move as easy

some prefer not to think about getting older,

aging or imperfections we have

that send us to therapy

yet we are the tenth goose

yet we grow older

yet we waste away

we lose our potential

we become fallow weeds

once sought after wildflowers

but it doesn't have to be that way



what does this mean?

Maggie also
If you are reading this, be there with yourself a while...

I was writing to my Friend, Pat, who used to attend the same Quaker Meeting as I went to in college. I said to her "I need to be there for myself as a Friend sometime" then added "like tonight".

Some people say they are intimidated by the idea of becoming Quakers, like Quakers might hold them to a higher level than they would hold themselves.

Personally I don't know a lot of Quakers in the Tricities. Not people who want to worship this way. I have been going to a fantastic meditation group and getting a ton out of it.

I do not have a regular meditation practice in my life. I need one, and I hope that this is my first day of a real pattern of new honoring of self. But all I can be sure of is this moment.

Tonight I plan to pray, off computer, off phone. I will have the my eyes open to the world some so I know what time it is. I will be with myself an hour. I will be there for myself as a Friend for one hour tonight.

I invite you to be there for you too. And we will go forward from there.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Take that, deer!
Deer outside the garden

Deer licking lipsI take an inordinate amount of pleasure in watching the deer walk by the garden and stare at my vegetables.

This doe was literally licking her lips, but those brussels sprouts and squash are all mine!

rstidyman (Richard)
In ______ We Trust. (You pick)

Tennessee public schools now required by law to display ‘In God We Trust’ motto.

“As students head back to class in Tennessee, a bill signed into law by Governor Haslam in April is making the motto ‘In God We Trust’ a staple in all Tennessee schools.” Citizen Tribune and

Representative Susan Lynn sponsored this bill and recently said this: “Our national motto is on our money. It’s on our license plates. It’s part of our national anthem. Our national motto and founding documents are the cornerstone of freedom, and we should teach our children about these things.” She doesn’t know her history very well.


You may have heard of the phrase “War on Christianity”.  What a crock.  No one is trying to convince  christians what to believe, but they do.  No one is pushing to have their religious slogans emblazoned in public areas, but they do.  No one is refusing to sell christians a wedding cake, fill a prescription or humiliating you for exercising your basic civil rights, but they do.

Susan Lynn could not be more wrong about our “founding documents.”  No where in the founding documents can you find “In God We Trust” because it wasn’t there.   Never codified by law, E pluribus unum was considered a de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396), adopting “In God We Trust” as the official motto.”

A motto of the United States; Latin for “Out of many, one.” It refers to the Union formed by the separate states. E pluribus unum was adopted as a national motto in 1776 and is now found on the Great Seal of the United States and on United States currency.”

faith-2Bin-2Bgod-2Bpope-2Bmobile-2B3-2Binches-2Bof-2Bbullet-proof-2Bglass“Public schools may not teach religion, although teaching about religion in a secular context is permitted.1 The Bible may be taught in a school, but only for its historical, cultural or literary value and never in a devotional, celebratory or doctrinal manner, or in such a way that encourages acceptance of the Bible as a religious document.” 1 School Dist. of Abington Township, Pa. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963).

There is a reason why teachers and school systems are disciplined by the courts for trying to teach religion.  Children are moldable, open, trusting of teachers and authority figures. They are impressionable, and maybe more than anything want to know that they belong. The motto “In God we trust” without the historical contect, is the religious rights further attempt to force their relgious beliefs onto the public.

If we let one religion to post its beliefs, do we have to let others?  You know, that equal rights thing.  If the Mormons had their way, they have us all believe that Humans can become angels, and angels can become humans. Another ancient religion would have you believe Putting a dirty milk glass and a plate from a roast beef sandwich in the same dishwasher can contaminate your soul. Maybe we’ll be seeing posters from other religions, like the Nuwaubianism group, The Church of Euthanasia, or The Church of the SubGenius.  After all, what is good for one should be good for all.

Public schools need to be teaching children to think on their own, explore their own beliefs with the help of their parents if anyone, and the church they choose to attend.  NOT public schools.  Furthermore, all children, regardless of what they believe, or don’t believe need to feel welcomed into a school where they feel like they belong, not like they are different.  Some of the most painful and hateful harrassment I’ve seen in schools come from students that want to beat their religion into those independent thinkers.

Private schools, teach whatever you want.  But in public schools, paid for by public taxpayers money, keep your religious beliefs to yourself. All religions, keep them in your church.  If you want to teach about religion, do so in a class, in a historical or scientific format. Drop the word “we”.

Can’t we just let everyone teach their own kids whatever religion they want without the state and school systems getting in the way?

38814378_10156814740849728_4840695899443167232_oThis isn’t limited to TN.  It’s in several states.  Be afraid. Very afraid.

How about a sign that says “In God Some Trust, but it is completely optional.” For me, I’ll take “In Dog I Trust”.


git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 508 git-protocol

Spent today implementing the git pkt-line protocol. Git uses it for a bunch of internal stuff, but also to talk to long-running filter processes.

This was my first time using attoparsec, which I quite enjoyed aside from some difficulty in parsing a 4 byte hex number. Even though parsing to a Word16 should naturally only consume 4 bytes, attoparsec will actually consume subsequent bytes that look like hex. And it may parse fewer than 4 bytes too. So my parser had to take 4 bytes and feed them back into a call to attoparsec. Which seemed weird, but works. I also used bytestring-builder, and between the two libraries, this should be quite a fast implementation of the protocol.

With that 300 lines of code written, it should be easy to implement support for the rest of the long-running filter process protocol. Which will surely speed up v6 a bit, since at least git won't be running git-annex over and over again for each file in the worktree. I hope it will also avoid a memory leak in git. That'll be the rest of the low-hanging fruit, before v6 improvements get really interesting.

This work is supported by the NSF-funded DataLad project.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 507 v6 revisited

Plan is to take some time this August and revisit v6, hoping to move it toward being production ready.

Today I studied the "Long Running Filter Process" documentation in gitattributes(5), as well as the supplimental documentation in git about the protocol they use. This interface was added to git after v6 mode was implemented, and hopefully some of v6's issues can be fixed by using it in some way. But I don't know how yet, it's not as simple as using this interface as-is (it was designed for something different), but finding a creative trick using it.

So far I have this idea to explore. It's promising, might fix the worst of the problems.

Also, reading over all the notes in smudge, I finally checked and yes, git doesn't require filters to consume all stdin anymore, and when they don't consume stdin, git doesn't leak memory anymore either. Which let me massively speed up git add in v6 repos. While before git add of a gigabyte file made git grow to a gigabyte in memory and copied a gigabyte through a pipe, it's now just as fast as git annex add in v5 mode is.

This work is supported by the NSF-funded DataLad project.

Maggie also
mono no aware beauty

William Carlos Williams wrote his poem
About the red wheelbarrow
On a prescription medical pad.

Give me an old tattered scroll
or the dirty wall of a tunnel
or threads that I can weave into words.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Finding room for fall broccoli
Broccoli starts

Our second set of fall broccoli is outgrowing its pots and ready to hit the garden. But is the garden ready for it?

Planting broccoli in gaps

Eight of my 38 plants fit easily into gaps in the summer garden. Which left quite a few in need of a home.

Broccoli in halfway composted manure

The beds I'd intended for them are built from partially composted manure...which looks much less composted than I'd thought. I set out four test plants and will check back in a few days to see if broccoli is one of the plants that can handle such strong not-quite compost. Squash and raspberries, I've learned, can. Asparagus and blueberries cannot.

Maggie also
Appalachian Ocean

Today the ocean visits my mountains.
I sit outside the library,
Knowing that the brick walk could be sun crusted sand,
The puddles of freshly fallen rain could be
pools of water,
the maple leaves floating here
could be sea weed.
My bench is a boat, and swaying in the rocking sea
It is the gusty wind that both
Connects me to the ocean, so far away,
And reminds me of where I am today.


Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Cover crops at last
Buckwheat flowers

For most of the year, we've been barely building garden beds in time to fill them with productive plants. But in July we got a little ahead --- time to plant buckwheat!

Beds of cover crops

Germination was a bit spotty with only hand-watering, and I didn't put a kill mulch in the aisles until the buckwheat was already up so had to mulch pretty far in to kill all the weeds. Still, it's so satisfying watching the garden enrich itself!

Up this week --- filling any small gaps that won't be used this winter with oats. The garden finally feels like it belongs to me now that I'm planting cover crops.

Maggie also
Noticing Airplanes

I like to go outside without a phone for many reasons, but detaching from the clock is a big part of it. Then, last week, I began noticing different airplanes that cross overhead at established times, going in various directions, pin pointing mental times to go with each. Sometimes I sit on the front porch between 3 and 3:15 PM and a plane flies from the Northeast on in the direction of the airport, I imagine. But maybe it is going further. I don't know. I would be fascinated to learn of this world just miles above us. But I am not dying to know all about airplanes. It just fascinates me to think that there are these people with phones in airplane mode perhaps, sitting in that bulky metal jet, hurdling over me. They're going to Chicago. They're going to Lexington. They're going to New York City. And it would be neat to know the schedule of the planes flying above me. I might try to memorize it if I saw it so I could write poems that read, "3:15PM, I sit on the front porch waiting for the airplane to pass above on its way to Charlotte." But I don't need to write with information. Sometimes I am happy that my poems and thoughts are just contemplations on my imaginings of life. So I take the few things that I do know about airplanes. I know that plane passes in that direction every day around 3:15.

Maggie also
Appalachian Rainforest

Today the South drips like a tropical rainforest
The water kinks up hair like roots of a vine-tree
Our squirrels, with no written doctrine to conserve the land,
Dig holes and plant acorns.
People can only imagine why.
So that we do not curse our beneficiaries,
In a world where life depends on rain
Let the rain drip, if only
To moisten the Earth
So more life can grow.


Maggie also
Earth Momma's Defense

Don't look twice because I am taller and stronger
As I plow through the field with the power of a Woman
Digging potatoes for my seven children, husband, and aging father.
If it rains, don't come to tell me my feet are clods of mud.
Don't you think I know that?
Don't you think I like that feeling of Earth?
A Woman as strong as me can take anything.
I fork out thirteen bushels a day.
I tell you before I met my husband, I would have chosen
To marry the Earth, instead.
So I waited, until one day, when the sun was going down,
And I was absentmindedly watching a moth fly off towards the moon,
And I smelled something better than bacon in the morning.
You think I'm a vegetarian?
Honey, just because I look like your Momma
Does not mean I'm easy.


Maggie also
Bookstand at Frog Level

Joey said a tree frog had camped out on his rain barrel
before he went to the beach that still was there
when he returned. I bent over noticing
she must have been laying eggs all the while.

Mom comes with books,
a Field Guide to Fossils, Ape Man,
several bottled in her head
like the tadpoles swimming towards that tiny hole.

Maybe it will rain and rain
and when they grow bigger the frogs will hop out
in a single file line
and maybe, just maybe Mom will write a book.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Transplanting summer flowers
Sunflower transplant

Summer transplants aren't optimal. But with a little TLC, plants often come through better than you'd think.

Cock's comb

I wasn't so sure these flowers Mark's mom thinned out of her garden would make it in the summer heat. But we got lucky and it rained for three days after planting. Add in a little supplemental handwatering and they all seem to be surviving. One cock's comb is even starting to bloom!

Maggie also
Painted Father

I am painting a picture
of a man who looks like my father.
But I cant get it perfect.
Sometimes I think Ill give up
And then my stroke is truthful.
When I concentrate too hard
I slip and practically spill
the water on the canvas.
Time always changes a watercolor.
Especially in that early period
between wet and dry.
In the back of my mind
my own history of art teachers
tells me to leave the
white be, to use my time wisely,
never to throw away
or give up on
a piece of art.
I enjoy painting,
but something tells me
the finished product shall
be equally worthwhile.
Something in my own gut
tells me never to sell
a masterpiece classic.
Just to drop to my
knees, and hope it
comes out OK.


Maggie also
Miracle Therapy!!!!

The miracle is here. I found a good therapist with an office very very near where I live. I allowed the great question of miracle therapy to open a door to me. I think I will go out the door, build a swinging bridge... to a world of dream vision quests to live and lead.
So I have been asking the question Elizabeth Vega asked when we went to Berea together. Does this mean I am on the verge of transformative growth? Likely. Vega went on to do some of the most amazing important work I have ever heard of anyone doing. And I am asking her question, of my own accord. I am so eager to know my answer, and to spread the question to help others grow. Then I go to my first therapy appointment and learn that this question asked as part of therapy is an actually technique called miracle therapy. Wowzers!

So what would you do if you could do anything in the world without limits?

I can't want to explore our answers!

Maggie also
the miracle question!

The miracle is here. I found a good therapist with an office very very near where I live. I allowed the great question of miracle therapy to open a door to me. I think I will go out the door, build a swinging bridge... to a world of dream vision quests to live and lead.
So I have been asking the question Elizabeth Vega asked when we went to Berea together. Does this mean I am on the verge of transformative growth? Likely. Vega went on to do some of the most amazing important work I have ever heard of anyone doing. And I am asking her question, of my own accord. I am so eager to know my answer, and to spread the question to help others grow. Then I go to my first therapy appointment and learn that this question asked as part of therapy is an actually technique called miracle therapy. Wowzers!

So what would you do if you could do anything in the world without limits?

I can't want to explore our answers!

Maggie also
The Gardener

The girl in the garden, is not just a girl.
As she covers newspaper with mulch, she wonders.
What am I?
I massaged my friend, and my friend liked it.
Perhaps I will go into massage.
She extends the rake into the truck bed,
And takes a pile of warm, smelly wood chips.
The chips are brownish black.
Maggie sneaks her fingers into the mulch, loving the smell.
Her back and her neck hurt a bit.
She has heeled others, but not herself.
Fifth grade, Mrs. Godsey told her she could write well.
On a sixth grade level if she tried.
I may be a writer, she considered.
What am I?
Covering the headlines with brown chunks.
The mail man and the cat distract me.
The mailman and the cat have a place.
But me?
Even the weeds that I pluck will soon have a place in the compost.
But me?
Maggie paused, somewhere between the earth and the sky.
In revelation:
I embrace my simplicity.
If nothing else.
Today, now, here, I am a gardener.


git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 506 summer features

After the big security fix push, I've had a bit of a vacation. Several new features have also landed in git-annex though.

git-worktree support is a feature I'm fairly excited by. It turned out to be possible to make git-annex just work in working trees set up by git worktree, and they share the same object files. So, if you need several checkouts of a repository for whatever reason, this makes it really efficient to do. It's much better than the old method of using git clone --shared.

A new --accessedwithin option matches files whose content was accessed within a given amount of time. (Using the atime.) Of course it can be combined with other options, for example git annex move --to archive --not --accessedwithin=30d
There are a few open requests for other new file matching options that I hope to get to soon.

A small configuration addition of to make git-annex try to get content from a remote even if its records don't indicate the remote contains the content allows setting up an interesting kind of local cache of annexed files which can even be shared between unrelated git-annex repositories, with inter-repository deduplication.

I suspect that may also have other uses. It warps git-annex's behavior in a small but fundamental way which could let it fit into new places. Will be interesting to see.

There's also a annex.commitmessage config, which I am much less excited by, but enough people have asked for it over the years.

Also fixed a howler of a bug today: In -J mode, remotes were sorted not by cost, but by UUID! How did that not get noticed for 2 years?

Much of this work was sponsored by NSF-funded DataLad project at Dartmouth Colledge, as has been the case for the past 4 years. All told they've funded over 1000 hours of work on git-annex. This is the last month of that funding.

rstidyman (Richard)
Thought for the day

inspirational-quotes-dance-sing-3Whatever challenges that you face today, try to keep a few things in mind to make it easier.

  1.  You always have options.  The serenity prayer, sometimes repeated for several minutes is a good meditation.  and for those things we really have no control over, let go, and let God, however you imagine your higher power.
  2. Even if options for action are few, you have the option of changing your beliefs.
    • Focus on the positive, and make a gratitude list, at least mentally.
    • Maybe instead of feeling like a victim, consider the possibility that you allowed today’s events into your life to learn a lesson.
    • If others are being jerks, you don’t need to engage.  “Bless them, heal me” is a prayer I’ve thought often. Too many jerks in your life?  Maybe you should check this out.
  3. You are perfect in the eyes of your creator.  Just because society doesn’t see it that way doesn’t make it so.  Your gifts, talents and skills are desperately needed by the world.
  4. I tell myself to look for opportunities to make the slightest difference; e.g., saying hi to folks that I suspect are unsure about whether to say hi first.  Wish people a nice day, and engage them in a short conversation.  A compliment (not on appearance tho), such as “Thanks for the fine customer service you are providing.  It’s one of the reasons I shop here.”
  5. What others think about you is none of your business.  They don’t know the struggles that you have gone through to be where you are today.  True friends will accept you where you are, encourage you to be the best, and will not intentionally hurt you or humiliate you. The Four Agreements is filled with wisdom and stresses  this concept.
  6. Guilt serves no purpose other than to spur you to action.  Don’t make the same mistake and to the degree possible, try to make amends.  Apologizing can be healing for all parties involved.
  7. Fill your thoughts with positive stuff.  I often take a break from the news, most of which I have no power, influence or control over and remind myself that great progress is being made.
  8. Just because you may not feel like it, that doesn’t change the fact that you are  unique, amazing, incredible. And a dream come true.
Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Painting rocks
Fossil coral

Painted rockKayla's been telling me I need to try rock painting for months (years?), but I always smiled and nodded. However, a fossilized coral from Kelleys Island prompted me to find some supplies and give it a shot.

Of course Kayla was right --- painting rocks was scads of fun! Now to decide where to hide them....

rstidyman (Richard)
It IS all about you.

August 2, 2018

(Listen or watch here) Actually, it is all about you

Imagine going to one of your favorite restaurants that has one of your favorite buffets. It might be Pier W on the shores of Lake Erie in Lakewood Ohio.

pier w



It might be Eseeola Lodge in Linville, NC for their famous Friday night seafood buffet.


You walk in, get a seat, the waiter comes over and says “are you here for the buffet” and of course you are and he or she explains that most of the buffet table has wonderful, Delicious and nutritious food. On the far end however we have food that is old, spoiled,  tastes terrible, and will probably make yo

u sick, miserable and regret for the rest of your life however it is an option. You look over and you see people going to both ends of the buffet table. Hold that thought.

buffet table


From years of visiting the halls of alanon, one of the phrases that often comes up, said somewhat sarcastically is, “it is all about you.”  It’s a gentle reminder that when we are deep in our stuff, we to look beyond ourselves and realize you are not the center of the universe. But I’m thinking this morning that our experiences, and more specifically relationships, it is all about you.

Think about where you are in your life. And I’m thinking about where I am in my life. And where I would be if not for my self defeating beliefs that ruled me in my younger years. I taught school for 27 years and regularly saw  limiting beliefs hold students back and teachers as well. And school systems as well.

Let’s look at relationships.  Are you feeling bad about the way someone treats you?  It’s all about you. Let me use an analogy. Would you go around complaining about the food you ate today? Would you blame the food for tasting bad or making you sick for making you fat or making you  feel bloated? And how would you respond to the food? Would you scream at it. Would you hit it? No of course not, that’s cray cray. Accepting full responsibility for what you consumed, you would acknowledge you did it to yourself. “I allowed this substance, this food into my system. No one was making me eat it. In a moment of temporary insanity, I must have just convinced myself that I needed this food.  I must have thought this was the only food available. I must have thought I was afraid I would die if I didn’t have this food.” Do you see the analogy in here?

So do you have people in your life the drain your energy? Treat you badly? Insult you? Humiliate you? And if so, are you blaming them? Except in extreme circumstances, it is your choice to be with that person.  After all, most of us have locks on our doors. Most of us have a block feature on our cell phones. Most of us have the option to say ” No, I’m not willing to do that. ” Most of us have the ability to learn how to set boundaries. I like the expression ” I am not willing to put up with you  ______________(their behaviour) And if you continue to do so, then I will have to _____________ insert consequence here “.

Some of us are so surprised when the people we choose to associate with her turn out to be jerks. We should not be so surprised that they’re jerks. Most of the time, we knew they were jerks before we invited them to participate in our lives. And as for getting to know them, they continued to act like jerks. They disrespected our boundaries then and still do. They don’t show the love and support that we really need, want and deserve. But we tolerate it. Like bad food. But we hoped they would change. Which is like hoping the food will change. And like the food on the buffet,  they will probably degrade even further.

Does the analogy fit? Not perfect. So why do people put up with jerks in their lives? They falsely believe that the jerks will change? Or that there are no better options available? Or that they don’t deserve to have healthy, nourishing relationship. Maybe, they tell themselves it is only until something better comes along,  not realizing that better is always available. Or maybe they don’t believe they have a choice when in fact they do.

You may know the story about the girl who befriended a snake. Everything was great until the poisonous snake bit her. She was shocked and asked “Why did you bite me?” only for the snake to reply ” you knew I was a snake when you picked me up. “131880

You and I and everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, love and support. We can provide that to others as well. if you’re not getting those needs met, it might be time to ask yourself why are you tolerating it? Would you sit at a buffet table with food that was rotting knowing at the other end of the table is some great food? You get to choose what you eat how much how little how often. The same goes for relationships. You deserve to be in a quality relationships,  and only you have the ability to communicate your boundaries and then deliver consequences for your own sanity, integrity and well being. Life is short.


So yes, it is all about you.

rstidyman (Richard)

skinnymarieonchairWhen you were growing up, did you have the type of parents that said “I tried to tell you” or “I told you so”. My mom didn’t.  Instead she would say “that’s an expensive way to learn a lesson”. With seven kids, she had lots of opportunities to say it. I wonder why she didn’t just shorten it to something like TAEWTLAL.   

There are lessons to be learned in every area of life.   As a kid, I learned not to run your finger down the length of a sharp blade. Blood often follows. Don’t practice your golfing in the backyard especially if your old man is quick to temper. My buddy George Karnavas saved the day. Professional painter that he was,  we replace the window pane, painted it before the old man ever knew what happened. I learned a valuable lesson, about golf and having good friends. TAEWTLAL.

51XRJAH196L._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_Some lessons were financial related.  As a struggling college student, taking classes full time and working part time, I wanted to sign up for Evelyn Wood’s Speed Reading Program.  I never found out if it worked though.  I gave $300 to the bank teller, they gave me a bank check, and I didn’t know and they didn’t advise me to fill in the TO: line, otherwise, if lost anyone could fill it in and never be traced.  I promptly put the check in the chest pocket of my sport coat pocket, mounted my trusty 12 speed, and headed home. Once home, I discovered the check was missing. TAEWTLAL.

We recently moved to a new neighborhood and were told that it was the good side of town. What I wasn’t told is that the people from the bad side of town come to the good side and steal stuff.This town has one of the highest rates per capita of opioid and methamphetamine abuse in TN. Despite the fact that we have a security system on the house and install garage doors on the garage, we were not using either.

Burgman 400 BOne night at 2 a.m., the dogs are going crazy barking . I look out the window just long enough to see the getaway car my purchased mint condition 2005 Suzuki Burgman flying down the road. TAEWTLAL.

I have a lifetime of financial mistakes including a house, cars yard sale items, tools. Probably the worst mistake  of all is withdrawing 6 years of retirement funds at age 36 convinced I would never need them. What’s done is done.. I would say though with every setback I would shrug my shoulders and ask myself what’s the lesson. I would also hope that whoever ended up with the money that I no longer have needed it worse than I do.

I’m pretty sure that in every case,  I could have avoided the financial missteps if I had only shared my idea with someone smarter or more knowledgeable than me. I needed information and someone to teach me patience.  Besides the bad judgement, I could be compulsive. So why didn’t I ask someone for their expert opinion? For one, the risk of embarrassment of showing my ignorance. Secondly, I want what I want when I want it. And consulting another might result in my not getting what I so desperately wanted.

karmaThere is a whole college majors involving risk management and decision making.  That’s something we should teach kids that in school? There’s plenty of talks on Youtube and TEDTalks on the topic.  I think it might be time to revisit the issue before I go buy that almost new, slightly used scooter that is for sale.  Cheap too. Wonder why? I’m sure it’s a deal.

What’s your lesson?


Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Wood chip garden paths revisited
Wheelbarrow of wood chips

Three months ago, we had unmulched aisles and a huge pile of Big pile of wood chipswood chips (right). Now two thirds of the aisles are mulched and the pile is all gone (above).

I've been very, very pleased with my mulched aisles, actually. The weeding pressure is dramatically reduced since there's no need to root out plants trying to creep from the aisles into the garden beds. And the unwatered perennials have done better than I thought they would during dry periods, presumably because of moisture held beneath the wood chips and accessible to plant roots.

I guess the only question left is --- how hard will I have to work to track down another dump-truck load of chipped trees? Living right beside the road has definitely helped my garden thrive!

rstidyman (Richard)
A Renewed Effort

July 30, 2018 Introduction: The The High Five

Hello. This is the introduction to a new effort. I’m going to at this point call it “The High Five”, easily read in 5 minutes. Why?   I have a strong need to express myself, share my thoughts and  feelings. Doesn’t everyone have a story to tell?

Most mornings I listen to inspirational video or talk or Ted Talk to get my head straight. Yesterday I was listening to Seth Godin. Smart guy. He suggests everyone should write a blog. It’s not even important if anyone else reads it. It’s just important to go through that process of putting your thoughts together and putting them down. If anyone else enjoys it, all the better.

For me, I want to write my story leave something behind for when I’m gone. I so wish friends, parents and grandparents  had left their story behind. I don’t expect to have many ancestors from my direct line. I have one daughter and two grandchildren. but maybe they’ll read it and enjoy it.

Topics? Over the course of the last 45+ years I rejected the religion that I grew up with. Like many, I’ve read books on philosophy,  religious traditions, and self improvement. Why  so fascinated with philosophy and religion.  I was unbearably unhappy despite a relatively normal childhood, for those days at least.


I grew up well fed and loved as best my parents and siblings could provide, went to good schools, had lots of opportunities. I was a relatively cute kid, fairly good-looking high school kid, had some natural athletic ability (which I didn’t do much) with and a pretty good brain.  I spent much of my first 16 years confused, lonely, hopeless, feeling unloved and unlovable. As a result, I developed a strong core belief that I was worthless. I was the baby of seven. For those first 16 years, the most significant people in my life were bigger, stronger, smarter, more talented better than me. That became my world view. Growing up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father and a codependent mother, we were all doing our best to emotionally survive. In my case that meant numbing out, trying to not be seen, and keep  quiet. True to form, I married an alcoholic and we divorced when my daughter was only 3.

Lucky for me,  I bumped into a few but significant people along the way.  They were encouraging. They showed me that there was hope. There was a light at the end of the tunnel and it wasn’t a train. 

summer 2012So here I am having just turned 64. I recently moved to a new town in Tennessee, primarily an  industrial town, but  great state park system and some cultural events to make life interesting. I spent the bulk of my career in NC, as a middle school shop teacher with several years taken off in between teaching jobs to sell insurance, work for collection agency, sell cars, wait on tables, and run a handyman business. 

If you’ve known me in the last 5 or 10 years you might think my life is awesome.  It is. I’ve never been happier in my life. I have more hope in my life then ever. I’m confident that the rest of my life will be filled challenges and opportunities to love,  to serve, to create and to make a difference in a way that no one else can.

My current feelings and beliefs are in stark contrast to those I grew up with. So what happened? This blog will be my small effort in communicating my journey,  what I’ve learned what works for me, what doesn’t work. Some stories will be light, frivolous and fun. Others more  common place and contemplative, but maybe something you can relate to. And I won’t be surprised if on occasion I go deep. Feel free to visit often. Your comments,  suggestions, and constructive criticism are almost always welcome. Almost.

where do the years go

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Picking wild mushrooms
Sauteed mushrooms

Along with downgrading our homesteader status to weekend level has come a similar upgrade in the amount of time I get to spend in the woods. In fact, I've worked a hike into my daily schedule --- an hour or two of editing in the morning is followed by a two-mile stroll through the nearby park while I think the day's chapter out.

Chicken of the woods

More time in the woods means more wild mushrooms collected. And, in the process, I've noticed that wild mushrooms taste so very different if picked at their peak flavor versus even just a few hours later. This chicken of the woods, for example, was one of the best mushrooms I've ever eaten. I'm so glad my characters recommended I take that particular path.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Tomato blight fake news
Tomato blight

We had a rainy week here in Ohio, and suddenly all of the gardeners started talking about tomato blight. Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of misinformation floating around in that department. So this post is my attempt to debunk a couple of myths.

Myth 1: Blight came in with my compost. While it's possible that you brought in tomato blight in one of your store-bought supplements, it's most likely this fungal disease floated through the air from someone else's garden to yours. Store-bought tomato plants can sometimes bring blight along with them. But unless the compost you bought was created from diseased tomato plants, it's unlikely a soil amendment is at fault.

Pruned tomatoes

Myth 2: I'll plant African marigolds and beat the blight that way. Tomato blight refers to one of several different fungal diseases while African marigolds are used to combat some species of nematodes. Tomatoes can (rarely) suffer from nematodes, in which case you'll see enlarged knots on the roots, yellowing leaves, and general slow growth. So, sure, plant a cover crop of African marigolds in next year's tomato bed if you're certain you suffer from nematodes. Otherwise, I instead recommend manual blight-control techniques to deal with your ailing plants.

I'm glad to report that our tomatoes enjoy Ohio much more than they did Virginia. I've pruned a couple of times to knock back septoria leaf spot, but our plants are still thriving despite the onset of the mildest of the trio of common tomato fungal diseases.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Shade-loving edibles
Shade edibles

Just outside our main door, the bed up against the trailer faces west toward a stand of trees and barely gets any direct sun. I could have put flowers there, but I wanted to set out edibles. But what enjoys nearly full shade?

Herbs are a great choice for this kind of situation since they often get too strong-flavored/bitter under the peak summer sun. Both the mint and the basil in this bed grow slower than their compatriots in the main garden, but they taste a lot better at this time of year too.

An ultra-early lettuce bed is another good solution. In fact, my mid-July planting is doing so well, I'm thinking of setting out some spinach seeds while the ground is still wet and cool.

How about you? What edibles have you installed in shady locations in your garden with good results?

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
A true weekend homesteader
Garden produce

For the last ten months, Mark and I have been weekend homesteaders rather than whole-cloth farmers...and it's been fun! I just cruised through The Weekend Homesteader --- written, ironically, when I wasn't a weekend homesteader --- and discovered that we've hit 75% of my suggested projects during our first ten months on our new plot.

Of the projects not yet broached, I think we're going to leave chickens and bees to our neighbors for now. But I suspect rain barrels, worm bins, having enough excess food to preserve, soil testing, and at least a couple of fruit trees will be on our agenda for the year ahead.

Which is a long way of saying --- this might be a two-year-project book instead of a one-year-project book, but it has stood the test of time even for its author. No wonder the title is still my non-fiction bestseller six years after publication and has nearly 100 reviews on Amazon. The Weekend Homesteader is also marked down to $1.99 today, so nab your copy now if you want to join me weekend homesteading during the year ahead!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Kelleys Island, Ohio
Kelleys Island

Mark and I snuck away to Kelleys Island this week, which is almost the closest spot on the Great Lakes to us and is definitely one of the most natural. I'm a bit afraid to tell you how much we loved it or the island may be swamped the next time we try to visit. On the other hand, the $72 ferry ride (two people and a car, round trip), must cut down on what would otherwise be a total inundation.

Inscription rock history

Oh, but wait! There was a bit of a dud involved in this exploration. Inscription Rock, a Native American petroglyph, was pretty disappointing. The 300- or 400-year-old carvings in a big limestone boulder have pretty much worn away despite the roof erected in the 1980s. On the other hand, the history museum (from whence I stole this series of images) filled in the blanks very nicely and made me almost feel like I'd seen the original carvings.

Glacial grooves

Everything else on Kelleys Island was phenomenal. The glacial grooves were Mark's and my second-favorite part of the island (although impossible to photograph in their full glory). This massive gully carved out by a mile-high glacier over 10,000 years ago is encircled by mind-bending educational signs (albeit a bit hard to read at 40 years old). You can also find smaller, unmarked grooves on the island if you look carefully. (I found one set!)

Embayment wetland

"So if glacial grooves were only your second-favorite attraction, what was your favorite part?" I can hear you asking. The North Pond Loop Trail, a nearly mile-long boardwalk through an old-growth wetland (aka an embayment pond) was so beautiful I felt like I was walking through a botanical garden...but one sculpted by nature rather than by man.

Giant Swallowtail

There were butterflies and flowers and an out-of-the-way observation tower in which Mark and I relaxed and listened to the waves on the nearby beach while watching the world go by. Finding some place beautiful and alone to just sit is probably our very favorite vacation activity, and we indulged repeatedly.

Lake Erie alvar

From a plant-geek perspective, the alvar on the northwest side of the island was just as amazing as the embayment pond. Also known as limestone pavement, this iteration of the ecotype looked quite different from the one I'd explored in the UK eighteen years earlier. The ocean-like Lake Erie was right there, for one thing, so the glacier-scraped rock wasn't as bare as the pavement I remember seeing inland. And the slap of the waves up through cracks in the alvar lent an auditory edge to the pavement on Kelleys Island that the other example didn't possess.

Alvar plants

On the other hand, those same features made the Kelleys Island alvar feel a bit pedestrian at first. What's the big difference, I wondered, between this and a rocky beach by any sea?

It wasn't until I got down on my hands and knees and started peering at (and photographing) the tiny, rare flowers that barely manage to cling to the rock that I understood what makes the Kelleys Island alvar so special...and delicate. No wonder it took me two tries to actually find the habitat, which is close to but not actually on any trail.

Cobble beach

Speaking of special, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the preserves I missed. (After all, we were only there for a day and a half, and I spent quite a bit of time lounging in the airbnb's semi-private beach.) The brochure I picked up at the ferry dock's visitor center on the way out tempted me with the Huntley-Beatty Preserve for an example of a man-made alvar, the Scheele Preserve for rare rock elms, wafer ash, and citrus, and the East Quarry for fossil hunting. I guess we'll just have to go back...although I'm thinking Pelee Island might be on the agenda as well.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Manure scavenger
Shoveling manure

You know you live in a crunchy area when the free horse manure is fought over. I'm currently grabbing the precious organic matter when it's only a couple of weeks old and letting it mellow on our farm to make sure I'll have enough.

Sweeping manure

And, yes, I love my manure so much I even sweep out the truck once I'm done.

Dumping manure

That last wheelbarrow goes a long way toward creating new garden beds! These will be planted in lettuce and kale next month.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Whole-cloth strawberry transplant
Transplanted strawberry

When we moved in here last October, I brought along some strawberry plants. With no idea where I'd later want them, I just stuck them in the ground near the trailer.

Fast forward ahead to the present day, in which deer are dining like crazy on anything outside our garden fence. So rather than just transplanting runners into a new spot the way I usually would have done, I dug up every single strawberry plant.

Summer-transplanted strawberries wilt like crazy the first couple of days after they've been moved. But a little water morning and evening quickly pushed ours over that hump. Some of the older leaves won't make it (and a couple of the plants similarly bit the dust). But the rest are now resilient to normal summer temperatures and should fruit for me next year.

Dormant strawberry

Meanwhile, I expanded the planting with twenty almost-dormant Mara Des Bois from an online nursery. Most of my favorite sources had already stopped shipping bare-root strawberries for the season, so it's possible these little guys won't fruit next spring. However, they're everbearers, so if nothing else we should taste this much-lauded variety a year from now.

rstidyman (Richard) is a scam.

I should have known.

Don’t use or buy from

They will over charge you and then not send what you ordered. They even send you an email with a shipping tracking number, which works.  Thanks a lot

what was ordered


mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
High-tech hose
Zero-G hose

Hose technology has improved since we last went shopping.

This hose looks so high-tech that Anna gave me the fish eye when I brought it home. "How much did it cost?" she demanded.

After learning that the price was half of what she'd guessed, she fell in love with its light weight, flexibility, and easy connectors on either end.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Homegrown menu expansion
Ripening peppers

Mark's hose hookup has pushed the garden into much faster growth over the last week. The peppers are ripening...

Roma tomatoes are the first few tomatoes. We're starting to harvest cucumbers in multiples now rather than one per week, and the summer squash are holding onto their female flowers rather than aborting them before they can turn into fruit.

Summer garden

On the other hand, this garden is still much less turbo-charged than my Virginia one. A decade of soil building can't be replaced overnight. But blight has been minimal, the fenced acreage is perfect for keeping me sane, and I suspect I'll love this garden even more than my previous one within a couple of years.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Oyster mushroom season
Oyster mushrooms

We haven't had any appreciable rain for a week and a half...but apparently it's mushroom season anyway. I'm guessing the cooler weather is what brought out this flush of oyster mushrooms at the park. All I know is that I could only fit a quarter of the available caps into the scooped-up front of my shirt without exposing my belly button. Clearly I need to start bringing a harvest bag with me into the woods!

Maggie also
Scissors or Glue

I think I figured a few things out just in filling out a therapist intake form just a little bit ago. And these things are so pivotal and instrumental to my life. I am kinda blown away.

The form asked 3 questions back to back.

Did your parents divorce? When you were what age? (Yes, 18)

Did your family suffer incredibly from an illness? When you were what age? (Yes, 17 - me being the ill person.)

Did your family suffer a death? When you were at what age? (yes, all my grandparents, but very importantly, Mom's Mom, 17)

My old conclusion was that my family somehow was ripped apart partially because of my illness. But my new walkaway is other major things were happening right then. What if my illness was somehow the thing that binded us all?

Maybe I am the glue!

Maggie also
New Moon Mohawk

Open up your computers, class.

Be certain not to go first to any internet locations.

No websites, facebook, or email.

Do you know what you are here without them?


Backyard tangle of ropes webbed together,

inside of them a garden.

Mother’s gone mad.

Go find her. Tell her she’s no spider!


Some other woman is cutting her own hair.

New moon mohawk, a bit messy.

Not for some guy this time.

Then she goes for the second side, not for some woman.


Class, this is the tradition called contemplative writing.

It’s something different for each of us.

You don’t have to show these to anyone.

Write down a secret.


What is that in between those onions and the fig tree?

A deer? A fawn all by itself?

How could it get inside there?

Let’s help it out, quick but not to startle it.

Maggie also
Painting Vs Picture

The worst stages of my early mental illness were a dream I could not wake from, a painted reality that means so much about the actual world. Painting the picture, experiencing the psychosis, can unveil truths that couldn't be exposed in the land of normal.
Last night, I dreamed I was tent camping on the beach on the ocean side of the dunes. Someone was shaking my tent, so I woke up within the dream, thanking this person who made me realize the water was washing up to me and my tent enclosure. I dreamed of dragging the tent up to the dunes while many of my tourist friends stood in ankle deep water on the beach, circled by "glow in the dark sharks" that thrilled and fascinated them, and never bit.

The glow sharks were magnificent, and the dream felt good. Countdown to reality.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Summer eggplants
Patio baby eggplant

Three weeks later, it's time for a followup on my eggplant varieties post. How have Patio Baby and Black Beauty fared now that summer is in full swing?

Patio Baby is both better and worse than expected. The plant is so heavily loaded with developing fruits that I had to stake the stem upright, and we've enjoyed a handful of tasty meals picked from the single plant.

On the other hand, I can tell it hasn't bothered to send roots out into the surrounding soil. If I don't give it a daily half gallon of water, the plant wilts like crazy by the middle of the afternoon.

My conclusion? If I had to do it all over, I would keep Patio Baby on a patio where it's easy to water and keep an eye on.

Eggplant flower

Black Beauty, in contrast, is slow and sure and just now blooming. I haven't watered the plants at all except when I happen to be hitting the nearby bush beans in the same row. But Black Beauty is fine with the neglect...I'm just not sure if the plants will manage to set fruits before winter frosts come to call.

Among both varieties, though, there's a major success to report on --- flea beetles haven't been much of a problem after the plants spent their first three months in pots. I always love it when a type of produce I thought wasn't worth growing organically is suddenly easy with a simple tweak, and that appears to be true in this case.

Maggie also

In the nightmare, the ocean has become a water park for confederate flag waving racists. The other scares me, and there are others who shiver down these shoots on our way into the unknown. I tell a small woman who cannot swim she can grab onto me for buoyancy, then I am afraid, as haters speed by with their flags and general loudness. I do not know where we are headed, just that this small woman, I fear is really my niece. I think that would be the one thing worse than this accidental vacation from hell, but then the spout is shooting us out, one after another or two at a time, into Goodness knows what, and I am thinking I hope we don't end up just repeating and repeating this same history. There is some decision, like left or right. What can we do? But anxiety is not unending. Generally after waking from the nightmare, or taking a dump, parts of our gut realign, and I open my eyes realizing there is this little dog snuggled up to me. At first I think it is to keep warm, but I know when I tell my Mom my terrible dream, she is right in suggesting Brazen was right there because I needed her. The reality is not a nightmare at all. That is just anxiety. I am still making it to the beach this year, and in this world, the ocean is still peace.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Washing machine intake garden hose hook up
Garden hose hook up onto washing machine out through dryer vent.

We attached a garden hose hook up point to our washing machine intake.

Anna and I have a debate about hooking up the dryer. She is fine with not hooking it up....I want to have it available on cold rainy days when we don't want to hang clothes outside.

It might take me a while to win that one. Meanwhile we will use the dryer vent door to access the new garden hose hook up and push it back inside when Winter comes.


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