git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 548 hiding missing files

At long last there's a way to hide annexed files whose content is missing from the working tree: git-annex adjust --hide-missing

And once you've run that command, git annex sync will update the tree to hide/unhide files whose content availability has changed. (So will running git annex adjust again with the same options.)

You can also combine --hide-missing with --unlock, which should prove useful in a lot of situations.

My implementation today is as simple as possible, which means that every time it updates the adjusted branch it does a full traversal of the original branch, checks content availability, and generates a new branch. So it may not be super fast in a large repo, but I was able to implement it in one day's work. It should be possible later to speed it up a lot, by maintaining more state.

Today's work was sponsored by Ethan Aubin.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 547 v6 almost complete

No time to blog yesterday, but I somehow found the time to fix the second to last known major issue with v6 mode, a database inconsistency problem involving touching annexed files.

The only remaining blocker for v6 not being experimental is that git checkout of large unlocked files can use a lot of memory (and doesn't honor annex.thin).

Also I finally have a rought plan for how to hide missing files: Have git annex sync update the working tree to only show visible files. Still details to work out, but it would be great to finally get this often-requested feature.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Winterizing the garden
Putting up quick hoops

With a chance of a light freeze on Thursday morning, we spent an hour winterizing the garden. Hoses had already been rolled up in late September, so the next step was to put quick hoops up over the lettuce, kale, and spinach beds.

Defoliated kale

Well, over most of the kale beds. I squashed southern cabbageworm caterpillars twice a week on the broccoli and brussels sprouts, but the kale didn't get treatment and a third of the crop ended up looking like this. I left that bed uncovered in hopes the bugs will freeze back and the plants will regrow from the roots. Next year, though, I think we'll try to make netted quick hoops for the crucifers to lower my workload and save the leafy greens.

Picking peppers

While I was quick hooping, Mark was picking peppers and tomatoes. Now we're ready for a freeze...which I hope means the cold temperatures will float right by us and not quite nip our crops.

Maggie also
Elephants of Our Youth

What is youthfulness? It's painful. Bones broken through bleeding flesh. Skinned knees. Alley fights and sovereignty. Stalked by drunken men, scratching their balls through sagging trousers. Fighting uphill to school and uphill the way back home. Young and turbulent. Striving too hard for no good reason. To prove self.

Egotistical growing pains. Restless to be somebody. To know all the answers. An unwillingness to take steps one at a time.

Yet childlike, a goal worth seizing. Hold tight to those childlike qualities. Stay true to your child within.

*Upon reading recent negative reviews of Kingsolver's new novel.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Yamaha EF2000 inverter generator one year update
Yamaha generator one year update.

The Yamaha EF2000 inverter generator gave us the power we needed when we were waiting our turn to get the electricity turned on.

It always started on the first pull if the choke was set properly.

Once we got the power hooked up we drained it dry of fuel and it stores nicely on the floor in one of our closets waiting for a day when it might be needed again.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
The Power of Now

The Power of NowI don't usually review non-homesteading-related books here. But Mark's mantra on the farm is "work smart not hard." And the most powerful tool our species possesses is our a book about using your mind as a tool must be homesteading-related, right?

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm only a quarter of the way into The Power of Now. But there's so much meat that I've been reading it slowly, and I wanted to share while the first part is still fresh on my mind.

The author's thesis (at least in the first quarter) is that our conscious mind is a valuable tool that we should put down and rest when it's not in use. How do you know if you're not using your mind properly? If you're pondering the past or the future rather than focusing on the present, your mind is probably steering you rather than vice versa.

Previously when I've tried meditating, I've found the experience harrowing and frustrating. But using Eckhart Tolle's technique of simply watching my mind and asking myself whether every fleeting thought is past, future, or present, I've finally made a bit of progress in understanding what meditation is all about. And I've seen more mushrooms than usual during the meditation phase of my daily walk too --- proof that resting my mind pays off! If you give it a try, I'll be curious to hear what you think.

Maggie also
How to Feel

All negative emotions live in the brain so close to love, definitely touching knees. The brain is there to communicate for us and sometimes the feelings get confused. So we have to think of our ambivalence as if we are caring for a naughty child. That's how we must see the argument and the other. And that is how we must see ourself.

May we be well.

May we be healthy and strong.

May we be happy and safe.

May we be free from suffering and the cause of our suffering.

May we be filled with compassion for ourself.

Maggie also
Nightmare, May You Be...

Nightmare, you are not my reality. I do not hate you. I know you came because you feel fear and pain. I am lying here in the same bed now. I've decided to pair the bad memory of the nightmare with an actually quite peaceful experience of resting, warm and cozy, with the dog cuddled at my feet. I hear her deep breathing in and out. It is wet out and autumnally chilly. Nightmare, you elicited fear that I am not wanted. But my meditation guru shared something with me so maybe others enjoy me still. I will let my good exchange with her sit next to you, like a dog at your feet, a companion balled next to you, a friend for you, to keep you balanced. May you be free from suffering and the cause of your suffering. May you be filled with compassion.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 546 deleted 40 thousand lines of code

Pulled the trigger on the old Android builds, and made a massive commit removing all the cruft that had built up to enable them. Running in Termux is just better. It's important to note this does not mean I've given up on more native git-annex Android stuff, indeed there are promising developments in ghc Android support that I'm keeping an eye on.

I'll kind of miss the EvilSplicer, that was 750 lines of crazy code to be proud of. But really, it's going to be great to not have hanging over me the prospect that any change could break the Android build and end up needing tons of work to resolve.

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

Maggie also
The Most Peaceful Place On Earth

Broad is the land
stretched between protective banks
rows of porches
Southern streets
locust trees
catalpa trees
bended knees
the gardeners prays for their country.
All of them do.
Rows of gardeners
pop up across thick meadows
pushing plows and lawn mowers.
Some kill weeds.
Most pour sparse water o're the dirt.
Humanity is a garden of gardeners.
Sometimes for money.
More often to feel the playful quality.
People gardening
with little terriers digging parallel holes.
Every few moments the pause for breath.
The Earth can lie fallow for long stretches.
So much need for rain.
So much rain.
We all live in the most beautiful spot
from Timbuktu to Kabul to Helsinki to Bristol.

Maggie also
Brazen's heel healing

Brazen got her stitches removed a couple days ago. A big improvement from spewing blood everywhere, my pup's paw pad is still a fragile state, so we still use either a head e collar cone or a boot.

I need to invest in some gloves or dig in the basement and go out in the back alleys picking up glass. I never broke bottles but it is irresponsible to expect the people who throw their trash around to clean up after themselves.

I am pretty sure it is not a universal understanding, the bond shared between a pet and their human. Of course they are our favorite family members. I would do anything for my puppy. So I am glad she's getting better.

Maggie also
27 is 3 times 3 times 3

When I'm 27
I finish college
with babies.

School of minnows.
School of thought.
School employs leisure.

the babies
turn 27.

I look back
wishing I had
bubble wrapped them kindly.

Maggie also
Preserved Youth

Last night I dream of a boy I once knew.
I knew him when he was eight and I was 17.
Mutual family friends rarely seen.
I build a wall around the world
so he can play forever free.
But it blocks migratory corridors of song birds.
They start dropping to our feet.
We're torn between rescuing them
and fearing disease.
I wake up missing the nineties
then drift back to sleep
to a land I can control.
Brick by brick I tare down the wall
and build shelters with the leftover bricks
to house the homeless people
in my mind.
Kid must be 27 now.
Not a kid.
Someone who saves orcas for a living.
You never know the impression you are making.

Maggie also
Winter hours extend over the land

October stretches wide.
Windows sealed up to keep the cold out.
Flocks passing above chimneys.
Grannies tucked in bed much later.
Pups huddled at their feet.
Marigold seeds scattering.

Maggie also
The Land of Purple

Is there a land where everyone is purple?
And what does it mean to be purple?
What is regular or typical?
Can everyone be purple
or just shades of red and blue?

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Wood stove addition pre-production
Install cat door

Okay, so digging wasn't really the first step in creating a wood-stove addition.

With input from Mark's mom (and due to the relative cheapness of large, glass patio doors when compared to double-glazed windows), we decided to make the new room cover the area where our problematic, blows-open-if-you-don't-lock-it, leaky door currently is.

Which means the real step one was moving the cat flap to the other door.

Remove railing

Phase two was taking down the landing and steps we installed just shy of a year ago.

Now we're ready to dig!

Maggie also
Publication News

I have four bumper stickers left, though I think Charlotte agreed to take one. So three more lucky people get these:

I am still putting out audiobooks on audible. So this list is growing. If you are new to audible or simple want a free promo code to purchase my book, I can hook you up if you ask.

The producer, MJ Helmer, who did the voice for Anne Lamont in Bird by Bird, has agreed to read my memoir Moody Tourist in Costa Rica. So that will be upcoming.

A few of my new books on kindle and paperback are unreviewed as of yet. I would love to have you read and review these books. The new books include two poetry collections, Sow's Ear Children, and Chronology.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 545 termux improvements

I've improved the termux installation, adding an installer script to make it easier, and fixing some issues that have been reported. And it supports arm64 and also should work on Intel android devices. This feels very close to being able to remove the old deprecated Android apps.

I'm temporarily running the arm64 builds on my phone, in a Debian chroot. But it overheats, so this is a stopgap and it won't autobuild daily, only manually at release time.

Released git-annex 6.20181011.

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

Maggie also
How to Social Media (without Facebook or Twitter)

Facebook is a "shit fest." This is a fact of life, and it could easily be said about Twitter too. But going online can bring a feeling of connection, understanding, and expression. I have been itching to read blogs but I don't always know where to find the good ones. Plus there are forums and places to connect online of intrigue. I hope to make a lengthy list. In fact I am going to look up some of the blogs of my favorite writers and use this as a personal directory for myself. If any of my readers will add in the comment section your favorite blogs, or just places you like to connect at online, I would really love to grow my list that way.

blogging and reading blogs Convert your kindle books to audiobooks, get free promo codes for audible.


Patchwork/ scuttlebutt

Dating websites.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Planning a concrete foundation for a new room
Slab on grade

As you can tell from Mark's post, we've decided to put the floor of our wood-stove alcove at ground level so we can use concrete. This is a new building endeavor for us since lugging concrete back to our old core homestead just wasn't happening! So I spent a while researching to figure out the nuts and bolts.

Words are so important in projects like this, and here are the relevant ones for this project --- we're building a frost-protected shallow foundation (a subset of slab on grade aka monolithic slab). Basically, by insulating the outside perimeter, this type of concrete foundation dramatically reduces the depth and complexity of the required footer.

Frost-protected shallow foundationIn our case, we only need to go down 12 inches and to use insulation with an R value of 4.5 around the perimeter (which equates to 1 inch of Type IV expanded polystyrene). If you live further north, you might need to add horizontal insulation sunk into the ground outside the perimeter of the foundation as well. This document walks you through all of the calculations.

There's lots more to plot out. But this should carry us through the digging stage!

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 524 new phone

Been making some improvements to git-annex export over the past couple days, but took time off this afternoon to set up a new phone, and try git-annex in termux on it. Luckily, I was able to reproduce the signal 11 on arm64 problem that several users have reported earlier, and also found a fix, which is simply to build git-annex for arm64.

So I want to set up a arm64 autobuilder, and if someone has an arm64 server that could host it, that would be great. Otherwise, I could use Scaleway, but I'd rather avoid that ongoing expense.

Also fixed a recent reversion in the linux standalone runshell that broke git-annex in termux, and probably on some other systems.

Today's work was sponsored by Trenton Cronholm on Patreon

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Stocking up after all
Blanching peppers

I know I said I wasn't going to preserve any food this year. But a little bit of this and that socked away in the freezer while making dinner doesn't count. Right?

Late summer harvest

Freezer tally --- three quarts of eggplant, one quart of red peppers, one quart of tomato sauce. There will likely be some broccoli joining those folks shortly since the addition of manure means the garden is finally beginning to produce.

Maggie also
The Beauty of Poor Street

We don't live on poor street, but it wouldn't be a long walk
from here. The oldest car on our street was replaced
by the newest one. I know these homes; it is so easy to love
their bones. You can paint the walks or hang a witch,
but you can't remove the home from the house. A house
is a home. The empty home across from where we inhabit
has a chimney habitat for swift birds, swooping down.

When first I saw your home, I knew it must be worthy.
But when I saw the house across the drive, I did not know
its story. So it took some time before I saw the beauty
in the suburbs. Beauty is heart. Beauty is a tug on the strings
of emotion. That's why beauty can take narrative to know.
That is why I know you know my home is home beautiful.
You who have trusted your way through my back alley with me

and trespassed your way behind my paw ways
back to my home. I know you loved my home.
I know you loved my beautiful home, because beauty takes love.
"Am I beautiful?" Loosely translates: Do you love me?
"Is my home beautiful?" Means: Do you understand me?
These things take practice, a rested heart,
a belief in the emotional bed of life.

Maggie also
Fortune is the Tide

I've seen her shores,
flooding their sand castles,
washing them to cave
in long pools
up and down the beach,
sanderlings wading,
a one leg sea gull
laughing and wading
and waiting to catch a puffer fish.

Just as I've seen her shores
reeling out
where we used to find sand bars,
where the pelicans used to go,
now must go out deeper
past the sand dunes sheltering.
The oldest water on the shore
is replaced by some miracle,
a wave to body surf upon,

salty water spitting high.

Maggie also

Every poem, the man who taught her words,
surpasses her last arrangement.
Every poem, the girl flies triumphantly
past the father.

He edits his verse twenty years,
until it's ripe and done.
Until at last he
gives up on it.

She spits them out, seeds,
until some waning week or month,
when she imagines
she'll never write again.

Poems are like the Indian's land
the tribe that knows it's family.
A part of our inner world
we can never deny.

Sisters and brothers
surging ahead
as whose most prolific
can't forget the roots.

Odes to death.
Odes to forgetfulness.
Odes to poems.
Cars full of odes,

traversing wherever the GPS directs,
up Georgia Road on the long ride,
to the Pentagon if asked,
but hopefully home.

Maggie also

Suzie the Suzuki.
Suzan B. Anthony.
Dream ride.

Maggie also
Once there was a Little Girl

...born in some Eastern city
hither to yon, with plums growing
even though it was winter
those plum blossoms snowing.

...born with a wealth
a silver spoon
New Englander
a healthy loon.

...why oh why
is everything free
asked the frosty transplanted
New England plum tree?

...she looked around her
a Siddhartha lady
and decided to resettle
and earn her own pay day.

...over forty years
she worked and she earned
raising five kids and many others
and riding wheels that turned.

...her kids grew up
and most moved far away
(except for a daughter poet
with a disability.)

" the skin of my teeth
I bought each car.
And now my teeth have bout run out
and my ride won't go far."

...when the transmission
about dies
hills become
increased in size.

...she's worked so hard
caring for all the others
it's a song so often sung
about tireless mothers. good as he was,
the father moved South
and Momma almost lost all hope
for the freedom of driving about.

...until the rest of her family (including the Dad)
in an act of generosity
pulled together efforts
and bought her a Suzuki.

...her family knew
an economy
that she had put more into than any of them -
an economy of generosity. imagine a world
where Trump

...for scientist know
really is a controlled hallucination
at best. other words as New Aged as it sounds
to a certain degree
we create our own

...and even if
you don't agree
I'd better quit writing
for simplicity.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Come for the sunrise, stay for the rainbow
Estes Park

I've been feeling the travel bug lately, but Mark and I hadn't been on a plane for over six years. So rather than making all kinds of pie-in-the-sky dreams without knowing how we'd handle flying, we looked for the cheapest tickets to a fun place and ended up taking a last-minute adventure to Denver to explore the natural wonder nearly in our backyard --- Rocky Mountain National Park.

Young male elk

I took more than 300 pictures over the course of three days, mostly of charismatic megafauna like elk and fish. But I've made a real effort to whittle it down for you so this post won't be excessively long. That said, it still won't hurt my feelings if you skip it --- there's nothing homesteading-related below.

Mountain rainbow

So what did tweak my fancy? I spotted at least three rainbows, including this one which appeared in the western sky just as the sun rose over the mountains in the east. Every moment, the rainbow became brighter as the sun rose higher until the band of colors had formed a complete half circle from montain peak to mountain peak.

Cloud mountain

But it was driving up higher beyond our home base at Estes Park that took my breath away, both figuratively and literally. Having been raised in the Appalachian Mountains, I thought I knew what mountains were. I had no idea. Just stopping at a roadside overlook gave me vertigo, the slopes descending so rapidly that land was soon lost in the clouds.

Photographing mountains

And then there was the alpine tundra at the top. As soon as Mark and I got out of the car at 12,000 feet, we knew our two fleeces, one toboggan, single pair of gloves, and lone long johns were only going to be enough for one person to brave the third of a mile of course I ripped Mark's warm clothes off his back and made a run for it.

Alpine tundra

By the time I was halfway up, sleet was punishing me for my disloyalty, the wind blowing ice pellets so hard they stung against my face. The air is so thin at that elevation that walking up a seemingly endless series of steps made it hard to breathe, and the people I ascended with soon scurried back down to seek cover in the visitor's center (where I'd left Mark). I, instead, huddled behind a small rock outcrop in an attempt to survive.

Rocky mountain peak

In case you can't tell, that moment of solitude within a very busy and very cold park was my very favorite part of the trip. (And, yes, Mark forgave me for leaving him behind.)

Shortgrass prairie

Then we returned to Denver, where we spent a short time exploring the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, where city and shortgrass prairie intermingle with wild abandon. There was a dust storm and bison and mule deer and prairie dogs...and my best photo was of a fire hydrant. I think I was getting a bit tired by that point.

Sunrise over the mountains

So I'll leave you with one last shot of Estes Park, taken at sunrise just before I turned around to look the other way and noticed the rainbow behind my back. I think there's a lesson there. What do you think?

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Pawpaw Festival 2018
Pawpaw Festival

Mark and I attended the Pawpaw Festival a few weeks ago. How could we not go to an event that promised a contest for the tastiest pawpaw variety, a demonstration of pawpaw cookery, and food trucks each with a pawpaw item on the menu?

Pawpaw menu

Unfortunately, the day was unseasonably hot (in the 90s!), the event was crazy well attended (thousands of people), and I just couldn't hack the combination. Maybe next year we'll go on Friday instead of Saturday...or maybe I'll just try to talk the library into making an information-packed pawpaw event for those of us who enjoy data more than festivities.

Tiny house massage

Of course, it's possible I should have just taken advantage of the tiny-house massage parlor....

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 523 backlog

So I've been catching up on backlog for a couple of days. Including reading all the old todos, and closing a bunch of them that turned out to have been implemented already.

Today I added an setting, fixed annex.web-options which was broken in the semi-recent security update, and fixed a very tricky bug in rmurl.

(What happened to the I was working on earlier this week? When I looked at the details, it was much more complicated than I had thought. Back burnered.)

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

Maggie also
My First Guided Meditation

I was in a flunk most of yesterday. I took a mental health day in what I was doing. I needed to go swimming but I was convinced it would not be the best thing because it does involve a pool of people and I just needed space. I just needed to isolate myself for a while and absorb the quiet of my room and home, with my pets who fortunately don't talk.

I wake up early, so much of the morning and early afternoon was filled with me trying to rest, trying to zone out in front of TV that just didn't work, and trying to nap which didn't work, and eat junk that didn't work. Then around 2:30, I started seeking more information on a sort of manual to kill my ego, which I did not shoot with my first intended bullet. (See previous entry.)

So I looked up TED talks on the ego, but found they didn't speak to the nature of my problem, and they seemed to ramble about problems I really don't relate to - a common kind of negative self talk. My problem seems to be that other people say things that bug me, so I began researching talks with both ego and relationship as a search term. But that was a fail too. So I went to Audible, which always seems to have something for me.

The book that came up as the highest rated with my search terms was "You are the placebo." I listened to a clip, though. I wasn't going to buy it, even with a free promo code, without listening. I was a little apprehensive of the new age title. I found myself giggling at the featured clip. I was truly unsure of whether the voice of the writer and narrator was legitimately serious. But I was allured into buying the audio book by Joe Dispenza, and I ultimately also got the second book in the pair of recorded books only on Audible.

I listened to the whole first book, laying back in my dog's comfortable chair. I became a nonbeing, floating around in space, whether my eyes were closed or when they were open. It brought me great peace, even when I was laughing out loud at the strange serious, slow nature of Dispenza's instructional voice.

Yesterday was open mic night at Bloom. So I decided I wanted to try to lead the coffee shop in guided meditation. And I did. I tried to make my voice just as unusual and commanding as Dispenza. And in the same way that I was filled with peace listening to his book, I hoped my audience DE-stressed in hearing my performance.

Then at the very end, when I was done, someone I know and admire came up to me saying it worked for him.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Theremin mechanics
Theremin being played by Anna.

Anna picked up on the mechanics of theremin playing rather quickly.

Most people think the theme song from the original Star Trek series uses a theremin but it's actually an opera singer's voice.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Can everbearing red raspberries handle deer damage?
Entranceway raspberries

I've been moving our initial plantings behind the deer fence bit by bit all year long. But it took me a while to make up my mind about whether or not to transplant the everbearing raspberries that line the path leading up to our back door.

Deer damage

On the one hand, the deer do eat them. Thorns mean the raspberries aren't crunched all the way down the ground the way other unprotected plantings are. But the image above is pretty typical, and the bushes produced about half as much as they would have if they hadn't been nipped.

Ripening raspberry

On the other hand, it's nice being greeted with tasty berries every time I get out of the car. (Well, nice for me. Mark probably doesn't like it as much because it means fewer berries make it inside to land on his plate.)

Transplanted raspberries

In the end, I decided to split the difference. I left the existing bed in place, figuring it was minimal work to weed, topdress, and mulch the area a couple of times a year. Then I transplanted excess shoots into the main garden where they can be safe from hooved marauders.

Of course, now I'll have no excuse for failing to share the harvest. Do you think Mark will buy it if I say I dropped the bowl of berries on the way into the house?

Maggie also

Before his assassination, Martin Luther King wrote about his end in his journals. I know this, so I have always added it to my superstition. When people I know die, they come in threes. A white horse on a hill grants a wish, like blowing a dandelion. And I have always known that my next year is given to me upon hearing a loved one sing happy birthday to me. If no one sings happy birthday, well this is the only year that has ever happened, and I didn't know what to do with it. So in the back of my mind, I wondered if I would not live to be 37. Then I went on with about a month and a couple days ago, I got an empty fortune cookie (without a fortune tucked inside.) "That's it." I thought. "One more bad piece of luck, and I will die!" Superstition probably is really hard for non-superstitious people to understand. It's like these arguments I keep having with mostly family. I know I love my people more than the arguments, but too often I have chosen the arguments.

So my sister did something I found unforgivable. But I love her, so I decided to let my love win over the dispute, after all. It was really hard, but I am letting that part of me die, the arguer. I am letting that be the part of me that dies this year, that doesn't live to hear another birthday song or fortune. I am sorry for all of you whom I have hurt, even you other person who imagine I could just maybe be talking about you. I love you, in a little way, or a big way if my sister. I love you, and I am sorry.

Maggie also
Once, I Lived with very Old Trees

Let the trees be tall. Let the trees be thick. Let the trees sway rough. And let the leaves play. And let them grow old. And let them teach you something. And you'll have memories of their bark. And you'll remember trees.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Steampunk anniversary
Steampunk spectacle

I started to write a long anniversary post summing up what our first year outside Athens, Ohio, was like. But, instead, Mark and I went to a Steampunk Spectacle at our local public library...and I kinda figured these photos said it all.

You'll be unsurprised to learn that Mark is better than me at nine pin, lawn bowling, and theremin. Despite all that, my mind was considerably expanded by the event. And isn't that the purpose of life --- learning and finding new enthusiasms every day and year?

Maggie also
Reporting Assault

I think it was 2007 or thereabouts when I went on an impulsive trip to Unity, Maine to investigate Unity College on a sort of manic venture. Anyone else might have blamed their mental illness or the impulsiveness of the trip and blamed them self for what went wrong. It ended up being the worst disaster of a time. I really didn't enjoy the trip. The bus ride was too long, nothing was well planned, it was too cold for whatever spiring time month it is, and I was running out of money so had to stay an extended time with a fortunately kind farmer who I had contacted about WOOFING. I did little farm volunteering. I was exhausted. I slept a ton. I don't remember how long I imposed and stayed with her. I was afraid of her pet dog, because she warned me he was part wolf and might be unpredictable.

I never have really written about this time. It was somewhere between a week and a month. I am so blurry on the time.

Before leaving on that horrible Greyhound bus, my good friend had kind of randomly told me this sort of crash course advice on rape and assault. 1/3 of all women will be assaulted. She told me most women don't report their assaults, but she had studied sociology in college and emphasized that from her findings, the women who are more resilient in this hard time are the ones who report their assaults, but she said the most important thing is that the victim have someone to tell. I swear this was like a month before I went away and got assaulted.

I think if my friend hadn't have told me that, I don't know if I would have ever actually got home.

I was assaulted in a remote bus stop near Unity. It was a place with a building, but I was dropped off there due to the fact my host was busy and needed to return home. The building was after hours, so I sat on a bench outside, and a Guatemalan man with a knife came up to me and forced me to touch his exposed penis. I am leaving some details out because it is pretty raw still surprisingly, and I can.

I got on the bus when it came. I was so relieved there were other people. He boarded too. I was terrified he would try to hurt me, though looking back I should have asked the driver to call the police on him. I got off in Portland in the dead of night. I don't remember if I took a taxi. I felt followed. I went to a expensive hotel. I don't know how I afforded it. I think I had just got my month's paycheck, and just barely got home and paid for the night in the hotel, then had no more money that month.

In the hotel I took a shower. By then I told myself I had to tell someone. I called many people. I forget in what order or whom. I know I think I called my youngest sister first. She told me the exact right thing.

I have a mental illness where I get withdrawn at times. I don't remember if I slept. I do remember I had bought a weird little radio and I was on the verge of being delusional because I heard strange things in the head set. I remember being so confused and in shock and withdrawn and just in this place mentally. It never has been so bad. I wasn't sure I would get home.

I had been babysitting a couple kids in Bristol, and I remember I started, inside my head, talking to myself as if I were the six year old, reassuring myself that I was capable of doing this, I could get home. I could figure out which way to go in the big scary station in New York. I don't know why I didn't get on a bus to Tennessee where I needed to go. I guess I just took the train to my Dad's in South Carolina without thinking.

On the Amtrak, this man sat down near me. He was kind and I wasn't talking to anyone., but he said to me, he knew what I was going through. He didn't say he was "praying for me" but he extended this kind of compassion that is hard to describe. If he hadn't I don't know if I would have survived. There are good strangers too.

Then he left. He gave me my space.

I forget why my Dad was angry, but it didn't seem entirely the right reason. I think I told him what happened, but maybe I didn't yet. That was hard. Maybe someone else told him. I told all kinds of people.

Back in Tennessee, it was my friend Deni who made an impression that I needed to officially report the assault. Several other people said I was talking about the assault too much. Some didn't believe. That hurt. Felicia said I should talk about it more. That was the most useful advice.

It was so hard, but I called the police station in Maine and told what happened. Deni was right that the assailant was still out there and he would do it again if he wasn't stopped. I don't know if he ever was stopped.

In terms of sexual assault victims, I never would disbelieve someone who said that happened. Not entirely for conventional reasons. Just because I have been assaulted, and being disbelieved hurts too bad.

Maggie also
Me Too

I did not ask you to touch me inside.
I did not ask you to mold me like clay.
I did not ask you to peel this sensitive part of me wider.
I did not ask you to hold me hard as the world spun
because I did not chose you.
If I had asked for this you would know I was asking.
The palms around me would not jerk me open.
The hands would be a feminine touch.
They would not squeeze the life out of me
but they would let me find myself in them.
They would not rape me
but they would lead me to lead myself.

So is the artist making something sensual?
Or is the artist taring the soul out and dragging it up the throat?

You've got to ask yourself these questions
because everything is art
and every encounter creates something
or chokes it.

Maggie also
Reasons not to Work so Hard

Endurance impresses me. Teamsters and train conductors, drivers of all kinds. Here's to those who press on in the night, who carry on night and day, who persist regardless of how they feel, ignoring their inner resistance, working to bring home a necessary paycheck that their families need.

When I work I push too hard. I focus every ounce of energy on the task at hand. Sometimes I'm transcribing, so fixed on the project nothing can distract me. Or when I was a professional cleaner, I pushed so hard my back ached after an hour. I am determined but my endurance is not that of a driver, I find. I use up all my energy in the first week in so many new jobs. I try too hard. I have a legally observed disability, and part of it is that.

If you have to work the night shift on the railroad, goodness bless your soul. But if you are like me and you can't handle a 15 hour shift, and especially if you already have another source of livelihood and almost can squeak through a sustenance, you maybe should not work, and you definitely should try to quit trying so hard. At least that is what I am trying to tell myself. I have needed so much rest these past few days, since the 15 hour shift and quitting. I am glad to give myself this time.

In the meantime, my best friend, Brazen, my pup, landed hard on some chard of glass, chasing a cat, and split her paw pad open. It impaled an artery, and I rushed her to the vet within the hour. The vet made it sound almost like she wouldn't have survived if I hadn't have done that. Immediately Brazen went into surgery, which the vet said almost required amputation. Now she has to wear an e collar, one of those head cone things, so she doesn't chew up the bandage when we aren't looking.

To top all of it, in her effort, walking to use the bathroom, using her 3 good paws poor Brazen seems to have hurt her other front ankle just this morning. I am babying her. When she got home, I wanted her to drink, and only encouraged her to sip out of my hand. Now it has progressed to me hand feeding her every bite she has had, and kneeling before her with a little bowl of water too. I am glad to baby her. But I am worrying just a little about that other front paw that seems sprained.

As I told the vet, she is the most important living creature in my life and the best pet I ever have had. I am praying she heals up soon, and I hope everyone can send her a loving feeling.

Brazen turns 7 on October 1.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Rocket Stove Mass Heater vs Jotul F 602
Rocket Mass heater infographic

We like Roland's suggestion about building a Rocket Stove Mass Heater.

It seems like a clever way to get more heat from less firewood.

Maybe we would give it more consideration if we had not fell in love with our Jotul wood stove. Plus the Jotul F 602 serves double duty as "Fire Therapy" where the Rocket Mass Heater feels more like a chore to operate properly.

Image credit goes to

Maggie also
Long Ride Home

I had this hope that I would keep working for the train crew transportation company, but I should have used my common sense and taken the reviews more seriously. Upon being hired I was told I would never be asked to work more than 12 consecutive hours without taking a required break. I thought 12 hours sounded like a lot to work in a row, but this is what happened Thursday.

Earlier than 3AM, my trainer called me for a final training run. He said we would be driving to Kingsport, and after that he would have to check to see where they wanted us. I drove in the dark down to Kingsport (from Bristol) where we picked up a crew and started the long trek to taxi them to a small coal town near Pikeville, Kentucky. It was foggy and rainy, and the 3AM call itself was unexpected. I had been told the early hour was 4 not 2:45. I drove slow to be safe, and finally made it to the station where the CSX coal trains stop.

These are the trains that chug through deep mountains, on their way to Kingsport, where the coal is wanted so badly. It's the very track where the freight train goes over the Clinch River, on that great trestle bridge that I always seem to notice. They only go 25 miles an hour on that bridge. It takes them 6 hours to get back from Kentucky to Tennessee, mostly going 50 or 55. Unless they hit a tree...

The engineer had to check the back engine, so we planned to meet the conductor a couple miles up the road in Marrow Bone. For a while the conductor drove solo, as we drove the other engineer to that little stop.

It was getting light in Kentucky. We ate a 3.50 breakfast in the Food City there. Then my trainer drove the rest of the way. From Kentucky to Kingsport to Irwin to Kingsport up to a yard on the boarder of Sullivan and Scott County where the same crew from Kentucky waited stranded due to running into a tree. Then we brought them to Kinsport, drove again to Irwin, then went home.

It was in total a 600 mile, 15 hours that day. The boss called 1PM or thereabouts, and she told me I had to work beyond the 12 hour limit. I was given no way to not work the extra amount because I was stuck in the car, and I felt it was disrespectful and also against what I had agreed to do. So when I got home, I called the boss and quit.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
High-tech passive solar wall panels
Passive solar wall panel 
"Have a look at these passive solar wall panels." --- Roland

As much as I love big walls of windows, I suspect Roland is on the right track. Optimal passive-solar design would likely involve one window for a view combined with multiple passive-solar wall panels for cold-weather heating.

And I'm glad he passed on that in-depth writeup, too, because my understanding of passive-solar wall panels was seriously old-school. The angled fins make a lot of sense (for geeky reasons explained in depth at the website above), as does the vertical orientation and the use of

UV-protected twin-wall polycarbonate sheets instead of glass.

The only problem is that the in-depth design starts to make this look like a project that wouldn't get done before serious cold weather hits. So I did some googling and found this panel that includes the angled fins, at least, if not some of the other features. We'll have to digest on it a little and decide whether the high price tag is worth getting the unit installed this year.
rstidyman (Richard)
Fed up.

Feeling pretty done with politics and the feds in general for now. White male privilege, misogyny, manipulating the timing of SCOTUS confirmations, , by either delaying one confirmation, and accelerating another, the hypocrisy of the religious right, the values voters, the swamp of “highly qualified” people, and a narcissistic, pathological lying president, too far gone mentally or psychologically to think or care about anyone other than himself.

Image result for religious hypocrite meme

This is the world we created when we fund education as little more than daycare, taxation that makes the rich richer, healthcare for those that can afford it, victim shaming, rule by intimidation, and all the while, much of the government hiding the fact that they have supported the spiraling down of what could have been great.

Image result for the rich vs poor

It is no wonder that many of us operate with a fear based, us versus them mentality when we have more resources at our disposal than ever, if not for the hoarding by the rich.

Sooner or later, the legislators will have to answer about the lies, greed, backroom deals, unfettered corporate donations, and ties to hostile governments.

Yes, I will vote, and do what I can to get others to vote for integrity, for love, compassion, transparency, with the next seven generations in mind. The clown show and the whole circus is temporary, one way or the other. I’d like to be around long enough to see and help make it happen.

And if you need a little picker upper like I do, what this.

01a clowns

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Last 2018 planting
Lettuce bed

Planting season for 2018 is now officially over. My stomach still can't handle garlic, so we skipped that previous crowd pleaser. But it's now too late to plant pretty much anything else outside a greenhouse, the last beds of lettuce and spinach (to go under quick hoops) having been seeded earlier this week.

Cover crop under tomatoes

Which isn't to say we don't have plenty still growing. In addition to the remaining summer crops, fall beds are lush with new kale, swelling carrots, bulbing brussels sprouts, and heading broccoli. Meanwhile, the oat cover crop I planted in gaps and beneath ailing tomatoes is up and running, promising to improve the soil with no additional effort during the autumn and winter months.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Dreaming about concrete
Concrete slab with rebar.

We are leaning towards a concrete slab for our new wood stove addition.

Our small slab will need .79 cubic yards of concrete which would cost a little over 200 dollars. We could avoid a 75 dollar delivery fee by ordering the 3 cubic yard minimum for 411 dollars. Then we would need to dream up a concrete project to use the other 2.11 cubic yards of concrete.

The picture is not us and was stolen from

Maggie also
Counting the Long Train part 4

A train can be a mile long. According to Samurai Hoghead, a probable pseudonym on Yahoo Answers, a freight train can reasonably pull 110 cars.

"When determining power requirements for a given run the "Rolling Train Resistance Formula" comes into play. It is, horsepower per ton, multiplied by 12, divided by the percent of the grade equals the speed that train will make. Put another way, HPT x 12 / %G = Speed. Speed is important in that below 12 mph, the locomotives may run into their "short time" rating while handling tonnage up-grade. This is a figure that tells us how long we can run the engine under extreme conditions without the traction motors over-heating. If the short time rating is exceeded severe damage to traction motors and cabling thereto can result. But, short time ratings are not cumulative nor constant. So, the number of cars that can be handled is variable. SP ran some 200 car freight drags with "repeater air cars" cut into the train in the 70's, but they just didn't work. But, in terms of practicality, 110 cars or so is reasonable and usual when railroading in grade territory."

I live pretty near the train station, its tracks, and the yard. As a driver or a pedestrian, I have been known to wait, counting the cars that squeal on by. There is a zen to counting the long train, that slows the heart rate just a bit, as different vandalized cars of steel pass along. It feels something like counting laps in the pool, at least to me, since it takes such a long time and you just end up with some number. One time, I counted up to 99, and there were a few more cars, but I lost track then. Were there 3 or 4, totaling 102 or 103? I'd never know.

Counting train cars is akin to counting a herd of slow moving elephants or giraffes, some creature of wildlife in the African safari certainly. But for me, there are other dimensions now that I am working for the people who drive the conductors.

How many days have I risen as early as 3AM? How many actual engineers, conductors, and train crews have I met along the way? How many expressions, from wide eyed to bleary eyed? How many sun rises? How many different train yards, many of which most local residents have never even seen before? How many towns and cities will I get to visit this year for this job? How many conversations will I hear in the back seat, generally two men running by some detail of their operation before slumbering down into hibernation mode? I am told the conductors and crew generally look forward to the restful quiet of the ride our company gives them, after having been on a super noisy train. How many silences?

Yesterday, as I was watching the end of the training videos in the Bristol yard, I saw a train going along by the building there in slow motion. I guess they had something they were doing, needing to move the train's location for some reason or other. In the front of the engine, a man stood out on the platform, parting the currents of the wind, before the locomotive. He looked a bit like the actor in the Titanic, who stands on the front of the giant boat. Maybe he was considering the same irony. It is risky work to drive a train, and it seems to me, it can be thankless. They are always on call, 24/7, and they get called in for 12 hour shifts. They certainly impress me, boundlessly.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Wild edibles as tea
Naturalist with multiflora rose

Hidden teaJenn and I enjoyed an inspiring naturalist-led hike at Burr Oak State Park on the equinox. Our fearless leader not only brewed teas for us to taste, she also stashed jugs of the refreshing liquid along the trail so we could sample each type as we ambled along.

My favorite was spicebush, made from the berries, twigs, and leaves of the aforementioned bush. I hadn't known the berries were edible, but it turns out you can cook them up into jam. I sampled one on its lonesome and found it too strong for fresh eating, although the first bite had hints of avocado and was intriguing to me.

Wild tea hike

Jewelweed seedsRunner-up teas included sumac (from the berries), sassafras (from the roots --- too strong for my tastes), and multiflora rose (from the hips --- very mild and I would have liked to taste it without the sweetening).

We also sampled jewelweed seeds, which were nutty but had too much of an aftertaste for me and Jen. The green seeds weren't quite so strong and might be a better start. Perhaps that's what the chickens preferred too?

Maggie also
Counting the Long Train part 3

Calls to pick up the train crew come in spurts. My first day training was more busy, but Thursday I never was called in time. So my driving test day will be tomorrow. This feels like such a comfortable job and place in the world, so I really hope I am deemed fit for the job tomorrow. If it does work for me, professional driving is an ironic career field for me, simply because I worked so hard pushing and working towards educating myself for so long, with the idea that I wouldn't be "skilled" if I did not complete college. Really absolutely everybody has some skill that could be applied towards a vocation, whether driving, communicating, or reading.

I am still adjusting to the early AM shift. I accept your blessings for my test.

Will keep you posted.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Amish rainwater collection
Amish rainwater collection

Mark, Rose Nell, Jayne, and I dropped by an Amish-affiliated produce auction last week...and of course I was more interested in rainwater collection on the nearby buildings than in the products for sale.

IBC rain barrel

IBC tanks were very much the rain barrels of choice in the community. The builders didn't brace their tower nearly as much as we did ours though.

Gutter closeup

Gutters, on the other hand, looked to have serious longevity. I think those are stainless steel on heavy-duty hangers, then the downspout is clearly PVC.

Amish gutters

Here's a long view from the other direction. I'll bet the residents put every drop of that water to good use.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Passive solar in a southeast-facing building
Trailer from the south

After deciding on the size of our eventual wood-stove alcove, the next question became --- how much do we want to overcomplicate the design for the sake of passive solar heating? Because this trailer isn't lined up as nicely north-south as our previous one. Instead, the photo above shows the view from due south.

Passive solar on a southeast facing building

One option is to stick to the easy square and put windows on both the southeast and southwest sides, coming up with some kind of shutters to cover the southwest ones during the summer months. Another option would be to use a rectangle and two triangles to cover the same surface area but make the addition face due south.

I'm still cogitating on whether the triangles would make floor joists and wall angles too difficult. What do you think?

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 521 newlines in filenames

Unix would be better if filenames could not contain newlines. But they can, and so today was spent dealing with some technical debt.

The main problem with using git-annex with filenames with newlines is that git cat-file --batch uses a line-based protocol. It would be nice if that were extended to support -z like most of the rest of git does, but I realized I could work around this by not using batch mode for the rare filename with a newline. Handling such files will be slower than other files, but at least it will work.

Then I realized that git-annex has its own problems with its --batch option and files with newlines. So I added support for -z to every batchable command in git-annex, including a couple of commands that did batch input without a --batch option.

Now git-annex should fully support filenames containing newlines, as well as anything else. The best thing to do if you have such a file is to commit it and then git mv it to a better name.

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

Maggie also
Hopping Trains Today

(Most of this is about autism and belonging and not trians.) Though I titled it "Hopping" I really just wasn't called in today to 'work on the railroad' rather than illegally riding freight trains. So I thought I'd explain that.

I spent tons of time today in a coffee shop because our car is still dead, the new car is not yet bought, and at least the coffee shop was on the right side of the train tracks, so I could be sure to get to the rail yard on time if I was called in. But I was not called in, so I waited and waited and waited in the coffee shop and nearby until 7 or 8 hours later I gave up, went home, and found that I would not work today after all. I guess this is the downside of this kind of work, but I am keeping optimistic. This could still be a job for me to love. I hope!

I am a terrible eavesdropper, and I heard someone talking about a person who is autistic, and that happens to be what I am thinking about tonight. (I also just watched this season of Atypical on Netflix.)

The person was talking about autism, but my thoughts have nothing to do with that actual person or context. It is entirely about me tonight.

I am about 100 percent certain that I am somewhere on the autism spectrum, though its mental illness that I have actively been thinking about and treating my whole adult life. I have self administered a few autism tests and I came up with high numbers every time.

I never have talked to a medical professional about autism. I wish I could bring myself to have time for that, but when I am with a doctor or therapist, I am trying to heal my diagnosed condition instead. Questions come to mind that I wish I knew the answer, for sure. An early question is I wonder the difference between being "on the spectrum" and being "autistic?" A deeper question is, if I am autistic, am I doing things that are socially inept or wrong that I could/should/might benefit from learning not to do?

Then I come around to the answer that has always kept me avoiding pursuing this too much farther. I like me. And I don't think it generally is healthy for me to try to avoid social ineptness. That's because a huge part of my life is spent trying too hard to please others, being anxious about what others must think about what I have done, and not enough of my life has been about CLAIMING WHO I AM, BEING PROUD OF MY DIFFERENCES, and DEVELOPING CONFIDENCE IN MYSELF ESPECIALLY IF I THINK SOMEONE MIGHT BE UNCOMFORTABLE BECAUSE OF ME.

But I am reading "Belonging" by Toko pa Turner. It is my new favorite book but not lightly. It is the best book I ever have read. And I hope it helps me figure out how to be more proud of who I am, no matter what.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
How to germinate ramp seeds
Ramp seeds

I made a mental note of the location of the ramps patches this spring, planning to check them for seeds in the autumn. Luckily, the patches are on my usual weekly routes because I'd forgotten all about my good intentions when these clusters of hard seeds (not berries as they appear) showed up atop four-inch-high stalks.

Germinating ramp seeds

I gathered a few dozen to experiment with, then hit up the internet for more information. Most people, it seems, use hit-or-miss wild germination, spreading the seeds in their woods in late summer or early autumn. Using that method, seedlings usually show up in six to eighteen months.

Seed saucer

I decided to get more scientific about it however. Looking through the literature, it appears that ramp seeds don't require scarification (breaking through the seed coat using manual methods or acids). Instead, the deal is that they need four to ten weeks at room temperature to get the roots to emerge followed by who-knows-how-long in the fridge to get the shoots to pop out.

I made a sandwich out of four layers of damp toilet paper between two saucers and put the seeds on the counter to see how my own results match up to those found under more sterile conditions in the lab. I'll keep you posted about whether/how my ramps grow!

censored Amazon review of Sandisk Ultra 32GB Micro SDHC Card

★ counterfeits in amazon pipeline

The 32 gb card I bought here at Amazon turned out to be fake. Within days I was getting read errors, even though the card was still mostly empty.

The logo is noticably blurry compared with a 32 gb card purchased elsewhere. Also, the color of the grey half of the card is subtly wrong, and the lettering is subtly wrong.

Amazon apparently has counterfiet stock in their pipeline, google "amazon counterfiet" for more.

You will not find this review on Sandisk Ultra 32GB Micro SDHC UHS-I Card with Adapter - 98MB/s U1 A1 - SDSQUAR-032G-GN6MA because it was rejected. As far as I can tell my review violates none of Amazon's posted guidelines. But it's specific about how to tell this card is counterfeit, and it mentions a real and ongoing issue that Amazon clearly wants to cover up.

Maggie also
Counting the Long Train part 2

3 AM, a different whistle collides with a 'dumb' alarm on a smart phone. Did I hear every train last night? My bed is a quick walk from the tracks and I think so. I am preparing for work on the railroad, as I call my job transporting train crews. I tell myself the first day of waking up at 3 is the hardest. I really don't get called in until 12:40PM, but I am on call at 4A.

Hey! There is another whistle. Have a good trip, boys! (And amazing woman?!)

One week ago, I had no idea that there even were "train people." Oblivious, I walked over the tracks, waited for the cars to pass in a car in Bristol TN or VA, or all over the place. You'd reckon a person would think about the crews running Freight Trains. But, not me until a week ago. I try not to admit that too much today.

In a flash, my last night's dream returns to me. I am the conductor on my first day, and I am the wrong person for the job, completely unprepared, little ol' me! Thank goodness that is not reality!

I would love to talk of everything that happens today, but it is simply too many beautiful, rainy, intriguing moments. Two formations of Canada geese intersecting pathways, the manual derailment of a slow moving single engine pulling one car, the myriad yards common folks like me never new existed, yards in places I thought I knew with entire islands of tracks and gravel, the uncertainty of the daily plan, the fact that today and Wednesday I am still in "train"ing. :)

At Wythville we pick up an engineer and conductor whose train derailed today, a terrible luck but alive, now our (bleary eyed) passengers. What a duty we have.

Like many, I used to say "it's the economy stupid" as a phrase to explain things. But as we drove today, I started thinking that the ultimate driving force in our world is not the economy, it is hunger. I was thinking about the infrastructure of the railroads and the highways and how I have been told they were built to go everywhere with military needs in mind. Of course, it is the military industrial system, among systems, that everything "goes" for. I don't know why today made me think about hunger. (I did eat a ton of lasagna when I got home this evening. But I don't think that is it.) Really I think it is important to mention the reason for the economy though.

I guess why I am mentioning this is I sometimes have to justify my employment area. Like, for ten or 20 years I refused to work for any corporation. I worked for nonprofits, schools, individuals, small farmers, so forth. Anyway, this is by no means my intended thesis, of my hopeful train memoir, but the need behind capitalism is real. Call it hunger.

So when an engineer said something to us about "Jihad" it was super easy for me to turn the other cheek. Actually, I have so much respect for these railroad workers, I just cannot explain it, and the drivers.

They are well aware that they are driving something vulnerable to danger, and bleary eyed from occasional derailing or long hours, it doesn't seem to me that I would do that particular job for any amount of money, but everyone uses at least something our freight trains deliver. (I looked up on the Norfolk and Southern website earlier and confirmed this.)

I write this to Tom Waits train music, to Bob Dylan, and Marley.

This day has been incredible but it has been long. So I bid adieu.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Wood stove alcove size
Four by four alcove

"We can at least plan the wood-stove alcove this month, right?" asked Mark.

"Sure," I replied. "But what size should it be? Four by four like our last one? Four by eight? Or eight by eight?"

"Eight by eight," Mark stated decisively.

That sounded pretty big to me, so I pulled out the graph paper and mocked up our options. Four by four turns out to be just barely big enough for the wood stove itself using heat shields to protect the walls. I should have known this since it's exactly what we made before.

Four by eight alcove

Four by eight would let me stuff my chair in there along with the wood stove to prevent obstructing the door.

Eight by eight alcove

While eight by eight provides a spacious alcove, especially if the wood stove is inserted at a diagonal.

As usual, Mark was right. I wonder if I should ask him the next question --- where the windows go for optimal winter sun intake --- or do the math myself? I'll probably do the math. That sounds a lot more fun!

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Water as a limiting factor
September garden

Last weekend, we got 4.5 inches of rain in two days and the garden started growing like nuts. This confirmed what I'd already suspected --- despite my compost troubles, water was the primary limiting factor in this year's garden.

I've only been hand watering enough to get new transplants and Sprouting oat seedsseedlings up and running. And, honestly, I hadn't even really been doing a good job of the latter.

The stumbling block was twofold. I don't want to use too much water on the garden before we installed rain barrles. And I was actually a bit glad to use water as a limiting factor keeping garden work (aka weeding) down to a dull roar during year one.

Excuses aside, irrigation will definitely be on the agenda before next summer. Because now that we're a bit more established, I don't mind weeding if it means harvesting three times as much delicious, homegrown vegetables and fruit!

Maggie also
Every Man Should be a Feminist

If every man considered himself a feminist,
every woman would be considered a sensible equal,
every girl would allow herself to carry away on her wildest dreams,
every boy would know to respect women and girls.

I try to be specific but it becomes like a description of a foreign utopia.
Descriptions become jagged statistical comparisons with our present.

If all genders were paid equally,
power would spread equally,
leadership would be for actual leaders
with merit based elections.

There are male feminists today.
It's why the world hasn't completely ended.

May they learn to multiply.

Maggie also
Counting the Long Train: Train Station 143

I go in to sign paperwork for a job opening at Station 143. The job is as a shuttle driver, transporting railroad workers to and from home. "Meet me at noon in the rail yard," says the voice on the phone. I don't really know where I am bound exactly, but I walk from my home for a stretch of limbs. Ten minutes after leaving my porch, I am crossing the tracks, following the railroad under the roof of the train station. A car would go down hill then up hill again, but I figure the way I am heading, if I just follow the tracks I am bound to find the office. Five, five line lizards scatter in the dry rocky terrain underfoot. It feels wonderful to be walking. I run through my mind the highlights of my personal narrative, my reasons for wanting the job. Mostly I am just interested in the story of the railroad workers. How do they feel on the train? Is it exhilarating or a just huge responsibility?

As expected, the office awaits me. I am ten minutes early, but one of the vans of the company I'd drive for rolls into the yard, so I approach the driver to ask him if this is the right place. He says wait a couple minutes and the boss lady should show face. Almost a heartbeat later, she rolls in in a black car. She hands me a packet of paperwork through the window. Drug test, background check, extensive application. The boss says I can go in the building and sit to fill it out. Inside, I interrupt a lively conversation to ask if there is a seat. It's a thrill to go in and feel the bustle of the office, with all the crew members talking about the train they then boarded. I am filling out forms, but glance up at the workers. They are all men except one woman who enters saying it is good to not be on a train. Two men discuss the "tonnage" of the train in the yard.

I feel I am somewhere entirely different, something of the trains of Harry Potter, how stepping into one of them can pull you out of the human world directly into a fantasy. Finishing up my papers, I am a bit self absorbed, and fail to notice the trickle of workers leaving the office, until the sudden moment of absolute quiet, when it is just the boss and me left behind. We are finishing things up, and she photocopies my identification, so it is not until I am standing outside the building that it becomes clear to me, the screaming sound of the train on the tracks, I see that all those people have pulled away to some Southern destination. I follow beside the train, as I head back homeward. Probably the same lizards scatter.

3AM the whistle blows again.

Maggie also
Train Station 143

I go in to sign paperwork for a job opening at Station 143. The job is as a shuttle driver, transporting railroad workers to and from home. "Meet me at noon in the rail yard," says the voice on the phone. I don't really know where I am bound exactly, but I walk from my home for a stretch of limbs. Ten minutes after leaving my porch, I am crossing the tracks, following the railroad under the roof of the train station. A car would go down hill then up hill again, but I figure the way I am heading, if I just follow the tracks I am bound to find the office. Five, five line lizards scatter in the dry rocky terrain underfoot. It feels wonderful to be walking. I run through my mind the highlights of my personal narrative, my reasons for wanting the job. Mostly I am just interested in the story of the railroad workers. How do they feel on the train? Is it exhilarating or a just huge responsibility?

As expected, the office awaits me. I am ten minutes early, but one of the vans of the company I'd drive for rolls into the yard, so I approach the driver to ask him if this is the right place. He says wait a couple minutes and the boss lady should show face. Almost a heartbeat later, she rolls in in a black car. She hands me a packet of paperwork through the window. Drug test, background check, extensive application. The boss says I can go in the building and sit to fill it out. Inside, I interrupt a lively conversation to ask if there is a seat. It's a thrill to go in and feel the bustle of the office, with all the crew members talking about the train they then boarded. I am filling out forms, but glance up at the workers. They are all men except one woman who enters saying it is good to not be on a train. Two men discuss the "tonnage" of the train in the yard.

I feel I am somewhere entirely different, something of the trains of Harry Potter, how stepping into one of them can pull you out of the human world directly into a fantasy. Finishing up my papers, I am a bit self absorbed, and fail to notice the trickle of workers leaving the office, until the sudden moment of absolute quiet, when it is just the boss and me left behind. We are finishing things up, and she photocopies my identification, so it is not until I am standing outside the building that it becomes clear to me, the screaming sound of the train on the tracks, I see that all those people have pulled away to some Southern destination. I follow beside the train, as I head back homeward. Probably the same lizards scatter.

3AM the whistle blows again.


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