Spent the weekend working on a large 6" x 6" 2-sided circuit board. It's a slow process to get clean traces.
Yesterday was the first cloudy evening we have had in a week. I took the opportunity to dump some fuel in the grease car and take off for Elephant Butte Lake. Unfortunately, the gas cap on the Mercedes was stuck to the point that I had to get some vice grips from the tool shed to open it. My guess is that biodiesel is eating away at the gasket on the fuel tank cap.
The landscape around the lake changes so quickly that I cannot even keep up. I've started taking pictures of different areas to explore for possible skimboarding. Now I need to figure out how to get to them. The roads are limited and most of the sand is too loose for me to drive in.
When we purchased our homestead five years ago there were two types of plants.
1. goat heads (aka puncture vine)
2. silver horse nettle
These are two of the most undesirable weeds in the area and we have worked hard to remove them. This morning I woke up and ripped out the latest infestation of nettles. They are a rhizome so I expect to see them again, but at least I can stop the seed from spreading.
A few people have told me that the fruit of the nettle can produce a vegetarian rennet for cheese making. Has anyone tried this or know of a website with more info? The plant has the look of a evil nightshade so I'm not about to just toss it's fruit into a warm pot of milk.
Our loofa is coming in and it is bigger than ever. I pulled a pair of the 18" long loofas today and tossed them in the drying rack. This is the start of a long and sort of tricky process. In the end we will end up with abrasive sponges. I'll post more about the drying process as it progresses.
Woke up and decided to rack our long overdue kombucha. Just before closing the bottles I added a tablespoon of pure prickly pear. Then all the bottles were placed in a 5 gallon bucket incase another one blows up.
After sitting at a desk working on a circuit board all afternoon I convinced Sesame to ride the lightning. We jumped in the grease car and went to Elephant Butte to enjoy the storms coming in from all directions. When we got home the storm intensified to the point of constant lightening as if a strobe light were on. We got a inch of rainfall in one hour.
Wendy kicked off her lengthy New York trip today just in time to catch the earth quake which was rumored to have knocked a glass over. I'm kicking it with the pets and keeping up the homesteading activities while she is away. I had a typical Tuesday.
- repaired two damaged garden hoses
- found loose connection in electric vehicle
- made a quart of greek yogurt
- cleaned up kimchi explosion in the cheese fridge
- walked Sesame twice
- swam half a mile at the pool
- 10 hours of circuit design on algae controller
Sharing, volunteering, swapping and giving - as if to say, "there IS enough" - is popping up all over. We see this with the Without Borders groups and in anonymous gifting in the public space (to name a couple). There are models too, the creative commons & open source.
For those invested in intellectual property things are still weird. It is so easy to take another's inspirations and sell them on the market. TV show producers, book authors, anyone in the creative 'industry' can peruse blogs and essentially steal another's life experience by replicate it for financial gain.
As a blogger I credit where an inspiration came from when I write about it. I do this casually, "our friends at ____ " got us started on ____. Or "after seeing this on ____'s blog." I like logging the evolution of an idea and threading a community of like minded people together by leaving a cookie crumb trail.
When people are making money from intellectual property and under pressure to come up with ideas, phrases, titles, content and inspirations nothing but personal morality prevents one blog from predatory content lifting from another. And so I ask, "where is digital etiquette?"
It feels awful to have your inspirations and creativity lifted and sold on the market with no credit given. When both parties are making a living off of intellectual property it is worse than theft because it leaves the one who's inspiration it was unable to use their own words and ideas.
I want a world in which ideas will not be owned and so I find myself conflicted. Right now I'm stuck with a flimsy cliche, "one bad apple. . . ."
HS blog readers what are your thoughts on the subject? What might intellectual property/digital etiquette look like? What exists already?
Photo: Meowolf installation Santa Fe, NM
If I were to write my own tax form the questions would look something like this:
Do you have a garden? (yes) (no)
If so, how many square feet?
What percentage of your food do you grow?
Send us some photos of your garden
If you grow 25% or more of your food your are elgible for a credit.
Do you have a alternative vehicle?
What type is it (electric / wvo / biodiesel / ethanol / steam / pedal powered / something innovative)
Are you able to achieve over 50 mpg?
If so, the IRS would like to credit you for every mile you have driven by paying a percentage of your fuel costs.
Do you harvest rain or grey water?
How many gallons?
The IRS can offer you a money per gallon of capacity for every year.
Do you have a PV solar system?
If so, the IRS would like to offer you a $1 per installed watt (eg. 2kW == $2,000 a year) for every year it is running.
What percentage of your electricity usage does it cover?
Did you install it yourself?
If so, the IRS would like to offer you $500 for the first year and $100 for maintaining it yourself.
Did you build a building with your own hands?
If so, the IRS would like to offer you a $1 per square foot for every year that it is in use.
Does the building require heating or cooling beyond what it can generate on-site?
If so, there is a $1 a year per square foot penalty for not being self sufficient.
The warm summer weather makes for easy processing of waste vegetable oil into fuel. Winter requires us to heat the oil all day just to filter it. I was able to process about 20 gallons of grease and bio in less than 30 minutes today. Most of that time I was changing out a battery in our electric vehicle.
I've been thinking about how to reduce the time it takes for me to CNC hard materials like plexiglass and copper circuit boards. My latest approach is to pull my designs from gEDA/PCB into Inkscape and generate a gcode file which does multiple passes. The idea is to do 1/100th of a inch passes one after the other rather than have me manually re-run the file. I'm still manually editing the gcode file to make sure it does logical things like cut out the object from the material last and do all the small internal cuts first.
If you happen to be on the east coast know that you are invited to join in. There's still space left and I'd love to see you! Here are the details. . .
VANISHING ART FESTIVAL
New Lebanon, NY - Over the days of August 24-28, 2011, a unique kind of arts festival will take place in New Lebanon, New York. The Vanishing Art Festival, sponsored by Seven Pillars House of Wisdom, will gather a community of visual and performance artists, as well as poets, philosophers, and thinkers of all kinds, to consider what life could look like if we return to the deepest, most spiritual dimensions of art as practice and experience.
Throughout the festival there will be performances, artist interviews and talks, meditations on art, social and music lounges, large group conversations and small group discussion salons. Each day will include a large-scale work of "vanishing art" - artworks that literally vanish after being created - one for each of the four alchemical elements: earth, air, fire and water, involving all participants in a significant symbolic and artistic act.
Unlike other festivals, The Vanishing Art Festival is intentionally being kept small, no more than 100 people in total, to allow deep connections between participants, between participants and art, and then ultimately between all that exists and the natural world.
Many celebrated artists will attend including Carolee Schneemann, the famous multidisciplinary artist who focuses on art as it relates to the body, sexuality and gender; Phong Bui, an installation artist and the influential editor of the Brooklyn Rail; Robert Kelly, the poet and professor at Bard College who has published over 50 books; Fred Johnson, an acclaimed jazz musician and performer; Syrian-born Bisan Toron, a vocal improviser; Dorothea Rockburne, an abstract painter inspired by mathematics and astronomy; Drew Dellinger, a poet who performs and speaks on themes of cosmology, ecology and compassion; and Wendy Tremayne, an activist and performance artist who offers remedies for materialism, with her interactive workshop Swap-O-Rama-Rama, functioning in more than 100 cities worldwide.
Other participants include David Levi Strauss, Raymond Foye, Charles Stein, Robin Becker, Yuval Ron, Charlotte Mandell, George Quasha, Susan Quasha and Pir Zia Inayat-Khan; Christopher Bamford, editor of Steiner Books.
The Vanishing Art Festival will be held at the mystical and magical Abode of the Message, a retreat center and community located on the outskirts of the Berkshire Mountains, in Columbia County, NY.
This has been a most interesting back n forth between natural and traditional medicine. Tradition is taking the lead for acute symptoms while herbal remedies will likely lead for for the longer term systemic side of the story. And sorry friends about all the dog posts. When the loved pets are sick everything else seems to matter a whole lot less. Prickly tuna's can be picked another day.
PS: It is Monday and it is raining and Mikey just served me a gigantic blackened marshmallow on a plate.
We bottled up a another batch of kit wine this weekend. This turned out to be a 9.5% white zinfandel. It's a deliciously sweet summer wine that tastes great at the end of a hot day.
Though I am chair abundant I figured this one was good aluminum, one of my favorite metals, light weight and with chemical properties that prevent rusting. And all it needed was a new seat. OK I admit I have a little chair repair problem. . .
Libby & Tristans Covered Wagon Couch
Ol' Metal Clunker
A Pallete Chair
From the Dump
Not Good Enough For Thrift, 1970's Wire Chair
There is truth in the saying, "If you want something done give it to a busy person." Things in motion stay in motion. Be busy.
We have more time than most people because we don't commute anywhere.
Sometimes we drink heroic doses of caffeinated beverages, specifically coffee and tea. Of late I'm enjoying the plant stimulant rhodiola. We often enjoy the ephedra plant that we harvest locally.
It's important to learn get past the need to like the thing your doing. This way you can get to know the state of "doing." Any love we have for doing one thing over another is acculturated learning. We can love doing for doing sake. And we ought to experience this before we choose to do the things we love to so that when we do we can enter into what can only be described as pure joy. There is a saying, "Whatever we wish to know well we must first love." Love is an attractive force, it brings things to us. What I am suggesting that we add to that is that we first find love in everything we do.
Today I will share one more strategy for getting things done. Do you see the picture of my desk posted here? I did not stage this shot. My desk looks like this all the time. I never ever let a pile of things build up on it, not even a list of undone to do items. One must live their life as a screen door that lets the breeze move through it with out any effort. There is no pile of leaves built up at it's base blocking the air flow. Clutter out crowds newness and space is a container for creativity, good ideas, gifts, movement, surprises and all sorts of other things.
Consider for a moment our biology. The atom is there and then it is not, it exists only in as much as it is nonexistent. It's condition is flicker. Our lives must in some way reflect what we are essentially made of. We are material and other. We can concretize and we do when we make things and ideas, we ground things in matter. But to have an inspiration to ground we must be spacious and formless. So go clean your desk!
In creating our new Eat Mesquite product we had to figure out a few things in order to home manufacture. I want to quickly share how we used our CNC machine to create the stencil for the packaging.
I provided Mikey with the art and he ran it on the CNC using a v shaped carving bit. We carved the image into mat board, the kind you use for picture framing. It was free, scraps at the frame shop. The CNC did three passes to complete it. What took the most time was doing a million revisions of the art to arrive at an image that had fat enough lines without compromising design.
We made the most amazing drink. I swear that it tastes just like a cherry flavored Jolly Rancher. We started with our usual peach oolong kombucha and added a few tablespoons of pure prickly pear juice just before bottling. Our prickly pear fruit is not particularly sweet or enjoyable in it's raw form, but once it ferments it changes to something truly unbelievable.
I had a good scare this week. The fancy pants 23" Apple Cinema Display I use with my laptop decided to stop working. I googled around for the LED flashing codes I was seeing and found a odd work around to the problem. The 90W power adapter is prone to failure and using a 150W power supply designed for the 30" display seems to resolve the issue. Apparently just bringing in another 90W power supply will not solve the problem. Whatever...I shelled out $150 for a replacement power supply and my monitor immediately came back to life.