Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Planning year two's shade trellis
Skirting the trailer

It's that time of year when homesteaders like me start to dream of new and crazy garden ideas. With the success of last year's shade trellis plantings under my belt, I'm considering two new planting beds encompassing the rest of the south-west side of the trailer and the entirety of the west side (where we have a big bay window at the edge of the kitchen). As usual, there are some restrictions and goals to keep in mind as I assess these areas:

  • I can't put any woody perennials right up against this side of the wood-stove alcove because that's where we set the ladder during Mark's annual chimney cleaning expedition. Perennials that die back to the ground or annuals are fine, though.
  • My main goal is to provide summer shade, which can be supported by an overhead trellis for the south-facing spot, but should be a vertical wall for the west-facing spot since light and heat from the setting sun streams in those windows during the summer.
  • Edibles are always top priority, but a few flowers would be nice.
New plantings

The photo above shows my current thoughts for filling in these two zones. Rather than building an overhead trellis along the south-facing wall (since I think Mark would hit his head on it while climbing the ladder), I'm thinking of a temporary trellis like we use for peas, perhaps populated with the scarlet runner beans that did so well for us this past summer. As an added color boost, maybe I'll scatter in some sunflowers or Jerusalem artichokes?

I'm still indecisive about the west-facing bed. On the one hand, I'd originally thought of putting grapes there like we have growing up to our first shade trellis, but we'd have to trellis these grapes vertically rather than horizontally in order to block the setting summer sun...and that much trellis might also block our winter views. Perhaps some closely-planted pear trees could provide that vertical growth just as quickly...but would the trees be leafy enough to block significant amounts of sun? Maybe bamboo would do better for speed of growth and sun blockage, although the species might keep its leaves during the cold season and reduce winter visibility even more than grapes would. What do you think?

Shade trellisAs for this past summer's experimental area, the bed now has a grape vine at each end, but I'll probably plant scarlet runner beans there for one more year as well while waiting for the grapes to fully colonize their overhead trellis. I'm starting to change this area over to a fully perennial bed, though, with the addition of sage, columbine, foxgloves, and some crocuses that I accidentally dug up while terraforming the forest garden. My goal is to have the bed become a profusion of blooms and fruits in a few years with little or no work on my part --- it's off to a good start!

The Human Condition

My current theory is this: no romping ground or heaven. Humanity is a ship, built of planks that have been replaced hundreds of times. But still it is humanity. Missing a grandparent or wearing her cross while hardly having known them (or Christianity - for me).... We still are humanity. The human condition is that ship. Realizing we all are planks is our job.

Naropa, two applications, two days...

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Naropa Statement of Interest Essay

I just applied to the Masters Program in Creative Writing and Poetics and as appealing as that sounds, I realized too late that it would not actually be as good for me as this program. I want to further my education at Naropa regardless, but I am moving in the direction of teacher, and though I write to Contemplate, I want ultimately to Teach. I am currently a substitute teacher in the school system where I grew up. I see that I could use this contemplative approach in my current job and any future endeavor I plan. What might that look like? For all I know I will be the next Peace Pilgrim, only my walk will land me in Monteverde Costa Rica. After Berea college, I had been wondering if I can ever again expand to live away from Bristol, and this program's low residency nature also appeals to that side of my nature. But also, I see the chance to hop a bus to Colorado (for the first time!) as a thrilling endeavor and a way forward into living a more brazen existence. I don't know why I behave so responsibly, or tied down, but I want to feel the oats of being young too. I think Colorado and Naropa will help me with that. I want you also to know how good of a fit Naropa is for me. I want to be stretched as I bow with you and to challenge myself in the little ways I imagine I will feel challenged as my Western upbringing meets your approach, and my knees meet the floor in class.

Beneath here is a sample from my other application, but I think it serves dual purposes for both programs, and it also shows you how committed I am to Contemplative Education. In fact, it was rereading this sample that firmed my self actualization so I realized I don't need another degree in writing which was my undergraduate concentration, and that my life is aiming already down the road of teaching contemplation and enjoying the comfort of being nurtured in your deepening environment.

In 2010 I took an intensive, January short term course at Berea College called Contemplative Writing in which we spent long stretches of time writing in silence, thinking in silence, and visiting retreat centers in Kentucky. After graduating in 2012, I became the Research Assistant for the professor, Libby Jones. This meant Libby interviewed all of her students from her Contemplative Writing courses, and I transcribed the tapes into a hundred page manuscript. Observing the impact of this type of learning take effect on her students is one of the main reasons I am moved to attend Naropa University. I also am a teacher who someday would like to extend this opening learning environment to my students.

I took the course because I thought it would offer me the space and presence of mind needed for me to get some writing done. Berea offers many places and times for a student to write, creatively and professionally, but it is rare for a course at Berea or any other college to provide such a wide open romping ground for personal growth. A lot can be sacrificed to meet an academic deadline, sometimes the pride that is first hoped for in the education process but Libby's class honored each student.

My perspective is that of a “nontraditional student” which is what I am called because I am 32. I didn’t exactly choose or plan to take 8 extra years to graduate, but during much of that interim time I got to realize for myself some of the ideas educators are currently suggesting. Education is changing to the point that a degree in English is obsolete on some campuses. Degrees that equip students with tangible, practical life skills, like plumbing or operating a GPS, are becoming more valuable. Some campuses have quit offering English majors.

Even Libby Jones the course innovator could not have imagined all of the amazing benefits of it. I would say her instincts were right, regardless of what inspired her. Contemplative Writing takes a small group (12 or so) of students, immerses them in several of the most tried and true elements of self exploration, and sets them loose. In no set order students experience: 1. more silence than they have ever experienced, 2. intentional exposure to the vast and open natural world, 3. a demanding but open ended assignment to write in journals, in more creative forms, and pulling together a project for the end of the semester, 4. travel, 5. first hand experiences in spiritual, religious, and secular monasteries and retreat centers, 6. actively drawing the class members together as a community, 7. encouragement.

Students enroll in Contemplative Writing for different reasons and though everyone finishes the class with unique points of growth, everyone experiences a kind of personal growth in the class that they never have known. While there is not any suggestion as to how students will use their time or transform through their reflection, certain trends have begun to form that are impressive.

My job as a Contemplative Writing RA is more important than I first thought. It is more important than contemplative writing itself done by any one person. In doing my work, I am recording the insights of over 20 voices. I am responsible for representing these people, who are mostly students and recent graduates of Berea College. About four people said this class helped them introspect and gain perspective to help them be more open about their being gay. Three or four said the class, the retreats, and the course projects helped them realize an openness to spiritual unity after feeling antagonistic against the Christian Church. The class changed people’s lives, deepening their writing skills and how they experienced silence. It also helped at least two students with severe mental illness process their illness more intimately and cope.

I am intrigued because the course does absolutely nothing suggestive to coerce or encourage these particular areas of thought and yet the stories mirror each other. It does make sense that groups of students within a class might decide to write about and explore similar subjects, even as deeply personal as sexual orientation or religion. But it is worth exploring why (number) separate and unique classes stretched over (number) of years experienced these same trends.

Contemplative Writing offers an intensive openness that college students need to know themselves, which is the starting point of all learning. I think Naropa, with its focus on Contemplative learning, will offer me this same needed place for me to grow.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Reminding me to play
Winter hike

"Do you want me to come over this week?" Kayla asked on Monday.

"Of course," I replied. "How does Thursday sound?"

"But that's your birthday," Kayla rebutted. "Mark won't let you work on your birthday."

She was so right. In fact, after we came back home that day and Mark posted about our adventure, my father (who knows us both far too well), emailed to say: "Glad  Mark got you out."

Gee, how did everyone guess that I'd originally planned to split some wood and then spend a few hours writing as my birthday activities of choice?

As a thank-you for his fun-filled nudge, I told Mark that he's in charge of deciding what we do on Christmas. Any guesses what he'll come up with next?

I sure am lucky to have a husband who reminds me how to play!

Joey chatter
an open letter from my neice to Stephen Hawking

Subject: Black Hole

Dear Professor Hawking,

This is (S). I am a first grader. I live in Swannanoa, NC, USA. This is my Dad's email address.

My interest is to learn about Black Holes. I like scary stuff.

I think you should send boogers and trash to a Black Hole. These two things do not matter so we do not have to worry about them getting crushed into pieces. Maybe you are going to learn about black holes.

Sincerely, S M R

Being Impacted can be more remarkable than Influencing

Dear Marley,

I have a friend in Berea named Adam. He is a contemplative who likes to read Thomas Merton and light candles for peace. Adam is one of these complete keeper friends. Sometimes I write a rare piece that has value deep to its core and I call them "keepers". Adam is in that club, with those rarities. You are too, I hope.I am not good in groups of people, it hurts. I am intense and I feel I push people away. I think this might be lessoning, since something that happened this summer kind of matured me. Yet I still am not a social butterfly as you saw when I went to Rising Tide gathering and withdrew into myself, estranging others.I have a sort of message that Adam told me once. I don't know if he ever told anyone else this but it is one of the most powerful things I ever have had grow in me and I think I need to pass it on to you. Once I told Adam I was struggling with how to do find a way to change the world with activism yet to bridge my personal needs of contemplation in that.Adam said being a contemplative is more important than being an activist. "That's nice." I replied. "I appreciate that but being an activist is important, it is how the world changes for the better. We need activists so people like you can get married to the people you love, so mountains are not killed and raped, so power is distributed in the right directions.""I know," Adam smiled his knowing way. "We need activists. We need people to stand up for what is right. But I want to make sure you know I mean to say this to you. Contemplatives are more important."What? Adam is an intelligent, compassionate, good person. He is not the kind to put one people group before another. Like me, he knows the harm that can cause. But he meant what he said. Somehow he knew which came first, the activist or the contemplative, in order of priority.This thought stewed in me for a long time. A LONG time. I have lost a lot of friends these few years. Others have drifted away, to Colorado where my legs cannot walk without better preparations.Adam knew that I need to be proud of who I really am and who I really am is some big type of winter butterfly. I am powerful, Marely. I am strong like you say. I carry a big presence and I make a big impact, like Peace Pilgrim.You are at a branch in the road. You are a contemplative like me. Maybe all movers and shakers are. I don't know everything. I know that it feels good to think of myself as a contemplative now. I know monks really can change the crystal shape of water with concentration and prayer. I know religion can be a beast, but prayer works. And I want you to tell you something big. This is it: contemplatives are more important than activists. I do not mean it as an insult on activists, and of course we can have both traits. But if we go in a direction or the other, our choice and intent matters a lot. Good luck.
Beyond their Eyes

Life is not about winning. I think that was one thing keeping me from wanting to submit my writing for publication, my ego said "you need to learn your worth without their eyes." That is no longer the state I am in. I have been working hard lately to organize my writing into well kept files and I've begun a sort of submitting spree. As long as it is a free submission using submittable (because it is easy and no printing is required) and as long as the publication is not put out by misogynists or bigots, I'm in! Having a dry couple of years of not publishing has me amazed at the opportunities in the world today. I even put in a couple short stories, hybrid pieces, art, and a scholarly piece! Isn't the world transforming!?!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Greywater wetland in winter
Greywater wetland in winter

One of our readers asked for an update on our greywater wetland and I'm glad she did. There are two kinds of projects that I seldom post followups about here on the blog --- ones that fail unspectacularly and ones that work so well I never have to think about them again. Our greywater wetland falls into the latter category.

Specifically, Kathleen asked:

"I wonder, do you ever get a foul smell from stagnant water? Do you send big chunks down the "drain" and do you do anything to winterize your system?"

We did have a short period the first summer when we smelled a bit of stagnant water wafting back up the pipes...but before we got around to fixing the problem, nature took over. I assume the right bacteria colonized the wetland and broke down the odor-causing problem, because we didn't notice a troubling smell again.

In terms of sending big chunks down the drain, we don't do so on purpose (like you might with a garbage disposal unit in a modern sink), but we also aren't careful when letting Looking down into the greywater wetlanddishwater drain out, so some pretty big chunks do get through. Due to our big pipes, and perhaps to the roof water I channeled in to flush out those pipes every time it rains, we haven't had any problems resulting from food chunks causing blockages.

Finally, no, we don't winterize our system in any way. Water is more likely to stand in the wetland over the winter, but it still sinks in pretty quickly, and we haven't noticed any problems. Overall, I'd say this is a system that you should feel free to replicate exactly as we built it --- it's an awesome addition to our farm, and the cattails are both pretty and (as we learned this fall) can be fed to goats when fresh and green. What's not to love?

Dawn of the Age of the Planet of the Blogger

I remember the first blogger.  Her name was Rachel, like most of the interns at the William Penn House.  I don't remember the flow of the conversation, but one thing stuck for sure, her personal diary was being read by her boyfriend and the world by way of that interweb thing my brother geeking about.  I never had published a word and thought I might when I turned a riper age, 35 or 40, something striking the "public" with the same dagger as To Kill a Mockingbird had.  

Today, have we evolved, or is the writer's use of online publication methods a sign that Darwin was wrong?  I think we need more of the moment and place where our feet sweat against our rough thermal woolen socks.  We need to look down the hallway of our narrow homes and think things look like they do in a Chinese laundry.  Every second something happens, observed and missed.  Did you catch the scent of dates in the chocolate nut oatmeal cookies, the scratchy patter of the old dog's paws, or when he finally settles by his bone on the sofa with a mild groan?  

I don't think blogging hurts anything to tell the truth.  We just have to remember the world around the blog is much more important than the fire in it.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Bundle of homesteading books giveaway
Book giveaway

It's time for me to make a little extra space on my shelves...which means one lucky reader is going to have a very special Christmas present show up in their mailbox next week. The seven books and one DVD below have a value of $166, and if you enter this week's giveaway, you can win all eight:

In exchange, I hope you'll help me plug this week's sale --- I've marked the two books in my Permaculture Gardener series (Homegrown Humus and The Naturally Bug-Free Garden) down to 99 cents apiece this week. I'd like to move a lot of copies so the books move up the rankings and are more visible to folks unwrapping kindles this Christmas, so any word-spreading you do would be much appreciated.

Here's the giveaway widget --- thanks in advance for joining in the fun!

Joey git-annex devblog
day 239-240 bittorrent remote

Spent a couple days adding a bittorrent special remote to git-annex. This is better than the demo external torrent remote I made on Friday: It's built into git-annex; it supports magnet links; it even parses aria2c's output so the webapp can display progress bars.

Besides needing aria2 to download torrents, it also currently depends on the btshowmetainfo command from the original bittorrent client (or bittornado). I looked into using instead, but that package is out of date and doesn't currently build. I've got a patch fixing that, but am waiting to hear back from the library's author.

There is a bit of a behavior change here; while before git annex addurl of a torrent file would add the torrent file itself to the repository, it now will download and add the contents of the torrent. I think/hope this behavior change is ok..

Joey chatter

The one that get me is git log . --stat not working. every time.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Moving and removing the apples
Apple roots

The so-called forest garden is now officially defunct. Due to extremely high groundwater (and some vole damage last winter), all three of the apple trees living there had died way back over the past summer, so Mark wiggled and wiggled and then ripped them out by the roots. Only one even had enough root mass left to make it seem worth trying to replant somewhere else, where the ground is more dependably dry.

Paring down an apple tree

Mark suggested planting the moved tree about eight inches deeper than it had been originally, which means the plant might root above the graft union. If so, I hope that I'll still be able to use my high-density training techniques to keep the tree relatively small.

In the meantime, we also did some drastic pruning to make the branch area more in keeping with the root area. This is very much an experimental tree, so it won't break my heart if it doesn't recover from the transplant shock and drastic pruning, but perhaps the tree will get its feet back under it in this better soil and will try once again to grow.

Digging raised beds

So, what's to become of the defunct forest garden? As I've mentioned off and on over the last six months, I'm busy mounding the area up into long raised beds for annual vegetables (and for hazels, which seem to be the only woody perennial that thrives in our waterlogged soil). The good news is that after years of hugelkultur, the soil is black and rich in many spots, so as long as I can get plants' roots up out of the underground ocean, perhaps this zone will turn into a prime growing spot after all. The big test will be tomatoes in 2015. Stay tuned for more details on drainage patterns (this winter) and on plant growth (next summer).

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Visual test to see if a goat is pregnant

"So, is Abigail pregnant?" Mom asked during my pre-birthday bash. I had to admit that I didn't really know. Some goats begin to show a bit on their right side (opposite the rumen) by the beginning of their fourth month of pregnancy, but others pop out kids without putting on any apparent weight at all. Still other goats have bellies so tremendous you'd think they were pregnant with quintuplets...but they never give birth because all that mass is just digesting hay.

My urine test said Abigail wasn't pregnant, but I didn't really believe it. Short of taking a blood test or finding an ultrasound machine, was there a more definitive way to find out whether Abigail had been properly bred?

Goat butts

"You could also try the pooch test," reader Sheree Clopton suggested. And thus began my obsession with peering up under Abigail's tail.

If your goat is pregnant, by two to three months after breeding, her anus (the hole on top) should be dropping down further away from her tail while her vulva (the pointy thing at the bottom) should become more elongated and tear-drop shaped. The trouble is that I hadn't take a before photo right when Abigail came to stay with us (because who really takes a closeup of their goat's butt during an introductory photo shoot?). And the test depends on deciphering individualistic changes in your goat's unique hind end. So I still don't have a definitive answer, although I think that perhaps Abigail's anus has dropped some over the last five weeks.

Goat eating honeysuckle

Grazing goatsOne way to be sure that milk is in our near future would be to go ahead and breed Artemesia, who is six months old and thus mature enough to get pregnant by some folks' standards. However, I've read lots of horror stories about breeding dwarf doelings on the young side, so Mark and I decided that it's probably safer to let Artemesia keep growing for a while, breeding her in the spring if she comes into heat then (which some Nigerian dwarfs do), or just waiting until next fall if necessary. Either way, I'll be sure to take some closeups before the breeding next time...just in case.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear from some goat gynecologists. Do you think Abigail is pregnant from the photos in this post?

Joey chatter
games of werewolf gone by

Offline all day Sunday with ISP trouble, I found myself reading IRC logs in Biella's book Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous.

I'm finding the best parts of that to be the first-person parts, partly because it's interesting to see inside the head of an anthropologist who used to study my own group, as she tackles a much harder to pin down phenomenon.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Nostalgic holiday ornaments
Christmas ball

Wooden ornamentI'm still feeling my way through Christmas decorations for our trailer. On the one hand, it's very easy to go overboard and turn decorations into clutter in such a small space. On the other hand, when the days are so short and gray, lights and greenery are much appreciated.

Last year, I went with a homemade garland above our table, which smelled good and looked pretty...but started dropping needles awfully quickly. This year, I changed gears a bit, keeping the lights (which we added to the garland after I made the post linked to above), and adding the bare minimum of ornaments. Mom let me go through our childhood Christmas box and pull out some ancient wooden ornaments and glass balls, which definitely make me smile every time I look at them, both because they're pretty and because they remind me of long-ago trees.

I'm curious to hear from others who like holiday decorations but live in a small space. What's your favorite nod toward the winter season?

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Metal detector fun

testing out the new Bounty Hunter TK4 metal detector
2014 is the year I finally talked Anna into a metal detector.

On the list of things I want to find is an old chain we lost in the weeds and a small bolt for the rear prop shaft on the ATV.

We got the Bounty Hunter TK4, and it seems to be good at weeding out the junk if you know how to listen for the right kind of tone. Picking better target rich terrain might be another skill we need to learn, but I can already tell it's the kind of activity that's more fun with two people. Anna likes to do the digging while I do the scanning.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Training goats to follow
Feeding a goat
"I noticed you referred to taking/leading your goats into the woods. How do you get your goats to follow? Do you have very many? I have twelve. They do not always follow...even with a bucket of food. I want to rotate them on pasture, but for their safety, we have to pen them at night (coyotes, neighboring dogs, etc.). Let's just say, I have 8 children and when we try to get them into the pasture/pen it can be quite the prospect for America's Funniest Home Video. I would love to know if you have a trick."
--- K Hill

The first thing I taught Abigail was how to walk on a leash. This involved a bit of pulling, but mostly holding grain in my hand just out of nose reach each time she stopped moving. Goats are smart. Soon, Abigail was nearly as well leash-trained as Lucy is (although our goat gets much more recalcitrant when she knows I'm about to lock her back in her boring pasture).

My guess would be that, if you can figure out who the lead goat is, leash training that goat might do the trick. But I've obviously never worked with a dozen goats. And Artemesia is willing to trot along at my heels whether or not Abigail is on the leash --- I think she was a bottle baby, and she adores humans.

Pair of goats
Unlike Artemesia, Abigail has a mind of her own, but I can usually get her to obey by using goat psychology. Lately, I've been taking Abigail out into the woods san leash, which works well because she knows I'm going to lead her to something tasty, and because she hates being left behind alone. (Artemesia, if giving the choice, follows me rather than Abigail.)

The trouble comes when we return to the coop, since Abigail would far rather keep exploring the woods rather than get shut back up. If I'm in a hurry, I'll snap on a leash to make sure Abigail doesn't get her panties in a twist about the end of walktime, but I'm also working on training her to behave there too. My method involves taking Artemesia off somewhere so that Abigail can't see us, then Abigail freaks out, thinking she's been abandoned by her entire herd, and she starts sticking much closer to my heels in the future.

That method isn't foolproof yet, though --- the last time Abigail came galloping down off the hill with me and Artemesia...and then ran right past us to a new patch of honeysuckle within sight line of the coop. She figured she could graze, Artemesia could get shut in, and we'd all be happy. So I've got a bit more work ahead of me there.

I'd be curious to hear from others who have worked with bigger goat herds than I have. Do you have tips for getting your goats to follow where you lead?

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Porch cleanup day
Cluttered porch

The trouble with our big, beautiful front porch is that it's dry, so Mark and I both tend to set things there...just for a little while. The fire in the smoker isn't quite out when I get done checking on the bees? Set it on the porch. Cardboard boxes not quite ready for kill mulching? Set them on the porch. Seeds need a bit more drying time? Set them on the porch.

After a few months, the results look like the photo above.

Porch sweeping

It gets to the point where I'm too scared to even start picking things up because the project begins to feel too tremendous for one. Luckily, Kayla came over full of good spirits and energy, and Mark also lent a hand. In only an hour, the porch was reclaimed!

Stacking firewood

Birthday signLook at all that empty space! Better fill it up with firewood.

Thank you so much, Kayla! And thank you for the awesome Bee Crossing sign too!

Next time, do you think we can tackle the barn?

Joey chatter
demoscene here I come
brainfuck ascii art demo generated by haskell program

Copy to file and run using `beef`, in a terminal (best 100+ columns wide).

The Wildebeest

(photo borrowed from Wren)

For Huck who came out to her Mother. 

For Huck who came out to her Father.

For Huck who came out to her sister.

This, Huck is your Winter present from Maggie who is also your sister, and Truth who is also your father, and love who is also your mother.

Maybe we all are characters.  Your character was raised by mainstream people.  Muggles? Germans? Big Brother himself? No they were humans like any other. People with lovely, loving personalities. Your parents and your sister love you. They love you. And you love them.

Your body, your heart, your soul taught you from a young age to listen to the murmurings of truth that wave beneath wind.  You learned that all things taught in school can be dis-proven at any given time. You are a follower of truth.  You speak truth as best as you can. 

Your journey was not an escape from your mainstream parents.  You were always a more noble Huck than that.  You slewed the beasts of falseness time and time again.  Returning home to your family, at least this far, the truths were not swallowed well by them.  But you treated them like people whose ignorance was sickness.  You stroked the mushroom of truth down until it had nowhere to go but down into their neck canals. 

You began growing hairs on your legs on your back on your face in unexpected places. Your mother would pick at you and say, this is not real. These are not hairs. Act as if you do not have these hairs. We will take you to have them removed. Your sister teased, called you a wildebeest. Your father said you were different before the hairs.

But you had visions and voices. Deep in your core, a voice rose up that said run, and you ran until your feet hurt. You ran from the raisers and Nair and the laser machine.

All that you had before was your family and the palace and the warmth of your mother's womb. But you ran, and the voice said. "Stop only when you smell chocolate and sex, and you feel a cat curled up in the small of your back. Then that will be home."

You lived in the rich part of town. And you realized you were heading towards the slum quarters where drugs were peddled on the corner by men with drawling voices and pleated woodpecker laughs.

You see a woman dressed in clothes that reveal her bosom and she does not look up to you. But walking away from her, you bump into a long haired Persian cat. And the woman's eye's dart up to you. "Don't you kick my cat, slut." She says. She says the last word like it is your name. Slut.

"Well give me three shillings. Be hasty. I know you have eight."

You glance to your purse. She grabs your ear. And drags you ear first into the sex shack. Women lie on the floor eating. And so forth. It is all women and children in here. You see things you have only seen on Television back in your home.

And your feel warm and pulsing in your private parts. And you find that your hand is instinctively there at your privates. Pulsing.

"Take your place on the floor and we'll see what Cindy can do for you. She likes tips."

A teenager, without clothes, much younger than your sister comes out from behind the blind. You have obediently laid down on the carpeted floor. She unbuttons your plaid shirt. One button at a time.

"Wait. You're a woman. And I'm a woman. We shouldn't."

Cindy roles her eyes. She has a small orgasm as your foot touches her hairy vagina.

"Your vagina is hairy as me." You say to her.

She licks her lips. "Listen. I am not much of a therapist. I am not going to make you do it if you do not want. Melba does those. What I do is fleshlights, fisting, fingering, eating you out, most general lesbian sex." She paused. "Why are you here if you do not want me anyway?"

Oh baby I want you. What was this voice that kept coming up in your head? You feel wet.

Cindy pulls out two small pieces of chocolate. She balances them on your nipples. Your nipples harden. Then she gets on her hands and knees. She slinks over you inches from you. Not touching. She nibbles the chocolate off of you tiny bits at a time. You think she is going to nip your tit with her tooth. But she manages not to. Then she licks off every last trace of chocolate until it is gone.

But it is when she kisses your mouth that you let loose and let her do whatever she is here to do. You do not want to wake up. It is ecstasy. Her expert tongue dances with your amateur mouth. Cleans cavities.

"I think I like women." You say when she begins with the dildo. You never have really had a man in that way. So you cannot rule out men. Then you start to orgasm. You wake up with no purse, but with Cindy still next to you.

"The old hag likes watching us." Says Cindy the second your eyes open. She kisses you then moves her warm hands over the small of your back, between you and the kitten.

You jump up. You have to get home.

When you explain to Cindy why you must leave, she roles her eyes and says, "You'll be back. Why don't you get your family a present from the woods. I hear the mushrooms are popular." Then she whispers in your ear. "They're psychedelic."

You run home, stopping only for mushrooms. Your feet are swelling and hairy by the time you get home.

Your mother is furious.

"Huck." She says. "Where have you been?"

Joey chatter

So yeah, I have a function that can optimize brainfuck code. For example, converts ">[-]>[-]+[<>[-],.<>]<<" to "+[[-],.]"

Joey chatter

celerbrated a beautiful sunny day with massive 2.5 hour housecleaning. and then 2.5 minute cold shower outside, last of the year

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Pampered goat chopper
Chopped roots

Pampered Chef chopperOur goats aren't precisely spoiled...they just like things a particular way. So, when I started giving them apple cores and a carrot in the morning, they informed me that the food choices were good but the presentation was way off. "Chop our roots!" Abigail demanded.

Luckily, Mark's mom had just found me a Pampered Chef Chopper at a yard sale. This is a fun little device that basically does the job of a food processor, but is hand powered. With carrots, you have to be careful not to overload the reservoir, but with that caveat aside, a few pounds of my palm reduced the root to a pile of splinters just the right size for Artemesia's little mouth.

I suspect there are better choppers out there for roots since the Pampered Chef Chopper feels a little flimsy with its all-plastic construction (except for the cutting blade). But it's definitely making my morning routine easier, so I'll try to be gentle and will hope it serves us a good long time. "I don't care how you do it," Abigail chimes in. "Just keep chopping my roots!"

Alone Together

What could it mean

to dream

a desert dream?

(I've never been before.)

I am alone

and in good company.

May Sarton, Thomas Merton, Rumi.

Sand everywhere, our mandala.  

Joey chatter
 -- | Optimized to use less space.
 helloworld' :: String
 helloworld' = brainfuck $ go 0 $ map Char.ord "hello, world!"
         go n [] = return ()
         go n (c:cs) = do
                 let delta = c - n
                 multi (if delta > 0 then incr else decr) (abs delta)
                 go c cs

I think this generates the shortest possible brainfuck hello world program. And I wrote it in ... 15 minutes?

Joey chatter
helloworld :: String
helloworld = brainfuck $
        forM_ "hello, world!" $
                flip withChar output

Generates a page of brainfuck.. which does print out the greeting when run.

Joey chatter

cat = brainfuckConstants 1 $ flip forever $ input >> output -- so easy

a brainfuck monad

Inspired by "An ASM Monad", I've built a Haskell monad that produces brainfuck programs. The code for this monad is available on hackage, so cabal install brainfuck-monad.

Here's a simple program written using this monad. See if you can guess what it might do:

import Control.Monad.BrainFuck

demo :: String
demo = brainfuckConstants $ \constants -> do
        add 31
        forever constants $ do
                add 1

Here's the brainfuck code that demo generates: >+>++>+++>++++>+++++>++++++>+++++++>++++++++>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++<<<<<<<<[>>>>>>>>+.<<<<<<<<]

If you feed that into a brainfuck interpreter (I'm using hsbrainfuck for my testing), you'll find that it loops forever and prints out each character, starting with space (32), in ASCIIbetical order.

The implementation is quite similar to the ASM monad. The main differences are that it builds a String, and that the BrainFuck monad keeps track of the current position of the data pointer (as brainfuck lacks any sane way to manipulate its instruction pointer).

newtype BrainFuck a = BrainFuck (DataPointer -> ([Char], DataPointer, a))

type DataPointer = Integer

-- Gets the current address of the data pointer.
addr :: BrainFuck DataPointer
addr = BrainFuck $ \loc -> ([], loc, loc)

Having the data pointer address available allows writing some useful utility functions like this one, which uses the next (brainfuck opcode >) and prev (brainfuck opcode <) instructions.

-- Moves the data pointer to a specific address.
setAddr :: Integer -> BrainFuck ()
setAddr n = do
        a <- addr
        if a > n
                then prev >> setAddr n
                else if a < n
                        then next >> setAddr n
                        else return ()

Of course, brainfuck is a horrible language, designed to be nearly impossible to use. Here's the code to run a loop, but it's really hard to use this to build anything useful..

-- The loop is only entered if the byte at the data pointer is not zero.
-- On entry, the loop body is run, and then it loops when
-- the byte at the data pointer is not zero.
loopUnless0 :: BrainFuck () -> BrainFuck ()
loopUnless0 a = do

To tame brainfuck a bit, I decided to treat data addresses 0-8 as constants, which will contain the numbers 0-8. Otherwise, it's very hard to ensure that the data pointer is pointing at a nonzero number when you want to start a loop. (After all, brainfuck doesn't let you set data to some fixed value like 0 or 1!)

I wrote a little brainfuckConstants that runs a BrainFuck program with these constants set up at the beginning. It just generates the brainfuck code for a series of ASCII art fishes: >+>++>+++>++++>+++++>++++++>+++++++>++++++++>

With the fishes^Wconstants in place, it's possible to write a more useful loop. Notice how the data pointer location is saved at the beginning, and restored inside the loop body. This ensures that the provided BrainFuck action doesn't stomp on our constants.

-- Run an action in a loop, until it sets its data pointer to 0.
loop :: BrainFuck () -> BrainFuck ()
loop a = do
    here <- addr
    setAddr 1
    loopUnless0 $ do
        setAddr here

I haven't bothered to make sure that the constants are really constant, but that could be done. It would just need a Control.Monad.BrainFuck.Safe module, that uses a different monad, in which incr and decr and input don't do anything when the data pointer is pointing at a constant. Or, perhaps this could be statically checked at the type level, with type level naturals. It's Haskell, we can make it safer if we want to. ;)

So, not only does this BrainFuck monad allow writing brainfuck code using crazy haskell syntax, instead of crazy brainfuck syntax, but it allows doing some higher-level programming, building up a useful(!?) library of BrainFuck combinators and using them to generate brainfuck code you'd not want to try to write by hand.

Of course, the real point is that "monad" and "brainfuck" so obviously belonged together that it would have been a crime not to write this.

Joey chatter
the brainfuck monad can be derived lazily so already exists

6502 assembly language as a haskell monad (for programming NES games) Looks 99% like regular 6502 ASM, but can be refactored into haskell functions. Awesome!

Quite simple implementation details here:

By my count, it took 25 lines of code to write this beyond-full-featured assembler.

Joey git-annex devblog
day 238 extending addurl further

Some more work on the interface that lets remotes claim urls for git annex addurl. Added support for remotes suggesting a filename to use when adding an url. Also, added support for urls that result in multiple files when downloaded. The obvious use case for that is an url to a torrent that contains multiple files.

Then, got git annex importfeed to also check if a remote claims an url.

Finally, I put together a quick demo external remote using this new interface. git-annex-remote-torrent adds support for torrent files to git-annex, using aria2c to download them. It supports multi-file torrents, but not magnet links. (I'll probably rewrite this more robustly and efficiently in haskell sometime soon.)

Here's a demo:

# git annex initremote torrent type=external encryption=none externaltype=torrent
initremote torrent ok
(Recording state in git...)
# ls
# git annex addurl  --fast file:///home/joey/my.torrent
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100   198  100   198    0     0  3946k      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 3946k
addurl _home_joey_my.torrent/bar (using torrent) ok
addurl _home_joey_my.torrent/baz (using torrent) ok
addurl _home_joey_my.torrent/foo (using torrent) ok
(Recording state in git...)
# ls _home_joey_my.torrent/
bar@  baz@  foo@
# git annex get _home_joey_my.torrent/baz
get _home_joey_my.torrent/baz (from torrent...) 
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
  0     0    0     0    0     0      0      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-100   198  100   198    0     0  3580k      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 3580k

12/11 18:14:56 [NOTICE] IPv4 DHT: listening on UDP port 6946

12/11 18:14:56 [NOTICE] IPv4 BitTorrent: listening on TCP port 6961

12/11 18:14:56 [NOTICE] IPv6 BitTorrent: listening on TCP port 6961

12/11 18:14:56 [NOTICE] Seeding is over.
12/11 18:14:57 [NOTICE] Download complete: /home/joey/tmp/tmp.Le89hJSXyh/tor

12/11 18:14:57 [NOTICE] Your share ratio was 0.0, uploaded/downloaded=0B/0B
Download Results:
gid   |stat|avg speed  |path/URI
71f6b6|OK  |       0B/s|/home/joey/tmp/tmp.Le89hJSXyh/tor/baz

Status Legend:
(OK):download completed.
(Recording state in git...)
# git annex find
# git annex whereis _home_joey_my.torrent/baz
whereis _home_joey_my.torrent/baz (2 copies) 
    1878241d-ee49-446d-8cce-041c46442d94 -- [torrent]
    52412020-2bb3-4aa4-ae16-0da22ba48875 -- joey@darkstar:~/tmp/repo [here]

  torrent: file:///home/joey/my.torrent#2
Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
And does eat oats
Goats eating oats

I've been intrigued to realize that the beds of oats that our goats have repeatedly nibbled throughout the fall and early winter are staying green longer than the un-nibbled beds (which are pretty much dead by now). I wonder if the nibbled beds are producing more underground biomass as well as regrowing their leaves repeatedly? After all, I've read that, when grass is grazed, the plants slough off a proportional amount of root mass (although I've yet to see a scientific study to this effect). If the root-sloughing is more than a permaculture legend, then you might actually add more Goats in a tangle of brushbiomass to the soil by letting goats graze your cover crops a couple of times than by simply letting the oat plants mature and then die in situ.

Of course, even re-nibbled, there's only so much oat growth at this time of year. So I've been taking the girls up in the woods every day or two to hunt down honeysuckle. This week, we found a huge tangle not far from their pasture, where a fallen pine held honeysuckle branches high enough off the ground that deer were unable to dine. Enter the biped and the caprines! Artemesia thinks that humans are pretty darn awesome because we can pull vines down from way up high with our flexible fingers and opposable thumbs. But Abigail gets sick of waiting, so she simply hops up onto the trunk of the fallen pine (three feet off the ground) and chows down. If our local deer were as agile as Abigail, there would be no honeysuckle left at all!

Chicory rain

Blue weed

you bring

a brother

Swings out the station wagon

landing on slow moving gravel

funny farm children saving box turtles

Reaching out

I snag

some leaves


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