Not Exactly Bored

I am plagued or blessed—depending on the way I squint my eyes when I reflect on the things that fill my vision at various moments on any day of the week—with a lot of interests.

I guess I just don’t want to miss anything before the lights go out.

One of the current spinning plates in the Vaudeville Act of Life is a resurrected interest in playing the piano—and this after giving away our old family upright that, in this moist location with drying woodstoves, would never hold a tuning.

Shortly thereafter, I had occasion to sit down at a nicely tuned old piano and was able to resurrect just enough of my ancient muscle memory to enjoy playing again, and not have that too terribly painful to listening ears.

And so, after two weeks of dinking around with a borrowed Yamaha keyboard, I ordered one this morning. Finally! An end to the empty hours when I can’t find a single thing to occupy my idle mind and hands–the Devil’s workshop, you know!

Oh—and there is Scout, our 13 month old canine with us now two weeks tomorrow. Ann entreated me to not post anything about the dog, since, for a few days there, we were not certain we were equal to the task of training a dog who had already had a former life we knew nothing of.

I think—think—we are past that uncertainty. So Scout, the pup, is another thing to stave off boredom. And more about that new hobby, soon.

Saturday Shorts

►I often thought, when looking up at a crop of walnuts, that it would hurt mightily to be hit by one of those things. I was right. A glancing blow and no permanent damage done, but this time of year, wear protective clothing in walnut country. You were warned.

►And there are a gazillion nuts just waiting–a heavy mast year, and the oldtimers would say, this tells all the critters it’s gonna be a hard winter. The Good Lord is making sure there’s enuff for them what needs nuts and seeds and the like. But at this point, not winter by a long shot.

►We still have tomatos growing in the garden in early October. Unheard of!

►Speaking of glancing blows, that seems to about all we should expect from the (by then) Tropical Depression named after our son, Nathan. We really, really need the rain so hoping for at least a few inches.

►Life with two dogs continues to offer its ups and downs. The downs tend to happen in the very wee hours; and when a car goes by. We have work to do in the dog training department.

[Update from the moment: Dingo just sat when he heard a truck coming. He was promptly rewarded for this happy accident.] Pity us that dog training is not the only arena where we have work to do, and there, we’re getting way too much help–when hanging clothes, gathering wood, stomping walnuts. Dingo insinuates himself into all arenas. After all, he IS family now.

►Back to walnuts by the gazillions: there are a couple off hundred off that number in the trees now, because they have been “stomped” in our gravel parking space. There, they await the upcoming rains to soften them for the several stages between busted up on the ground and meats extracted, dry and stored for cookies and cakes. This last step, my mother has actually requested–a familiar duty, from a long history of shelling bushels of peas and picking PEEcans.

Notes to Self ~ 13 Nov 2015


► What to give for Christmas this year? I’ve started my list.  This Desktop Edible Insect Hive Grows Your Daily Protein At Home.

  • Lower your food carbon-footprint
  • Feed your livestock kitchen scraps, harvest and prepare–all on your kitchen countertop. Comes with a starter kit of mealworms. Think of it: the mealworm smoothies; quiches; stews and casseroles! High in protein, low in carbs.
  • No animal diseases transmitted; no hormones or antibiotics required; no farm effluents to pollute local waters.
  • Squeamish? Get over it. The Golden Age of Big Burgers is over. Insects are the wave of the future (or is that the onset of dry heaves?)

► How the Tick Got its Name

  • We’ve had a lot of tiny ticks (8 – 10 at at time) off the dogs this month.  If found inside, they go down the drain, but outside, each small dark dot is compressed against the pavers with a piece of gravel.
  • And with this action, each minuscule arachnid produces a most distinctive “TICK!” and that, I claim, is how the tick got its name.
  • OTOH, if they had been named on the basis of the same fate to the huge, fat, round blood-and-babies variety, we would today know them as “SPLATS.”

► Lastly, as an alternative for those who for some odd reason have not already gone to Livin Farms to order your Insect Hive for that special someone on your Christmas gift list, it’s that time of year again when I mention that you can replace your loaned-and-not-returned copy of Slow Road Home or What We Hold in Our Hands OR buy a few as gifts. You know you’ve thought about doing just this very thing and now is the time to put legs on the notion.

Go to Fragments from Floyds/stuff to order, or find them in Floyd at the Country Store, Artisans Studio in the Station, at Hotel Floyd or the Jacksonville Center for the Arts. But order direct from me for a better deal and with the potential of a special inscription upon your request.

Creek Jots 01_22_2015

► I have not written in depth about synthetic biology here because the subject is not of interest to most regular visitors (yes there are certainly exceptions) and the topic is just becoming enormous in breadth, depth and relevance to life on the ground. Suffice it to say there are some encouraging signs that public (and scientific) concerns about escape into the wild of novel lab-created organisms may have an answer.

► The MacPro has a new home. It took about an hour on FB. I did not want to have to resort to eBay or Craigslist so I’m pleased. OTOH, it will be in the possession of a friend; selling to a distant stranger severs the nerve of remote dread that an “as is” sale will go wrong for the new buyer. I can sell this system in good conscience. And should the motherboard give put the ghost, this system is worth its price in parts, especially the new 3TB internal drive that is six months old.

► I am enjoying the “easy part” of novel-writing: background research–and it is in fact very likely the only part of this book I’ll actually complete. And yet, I am compelled to have a voice and obtain a reach that this blog does not provide. I’m conflicted about whether or not to “bring readers along” to any extent as this book does or does not progress. That ‘over the shoulder’ sharing of Slow Road Home, and to a lesser extent, What We Hold in Our Hands, was part of the joy of pulling those pages together.

► Related to the last paragraph, I’m following “arctic sea ice” via a google alert. This progressing phenomenon is seen in its early  state in the opening of my book storyline. Out there in the real world this open-waters process is way ahead of earlier predictions, and is already playing a major role in future warming.

There are many who think ice up in that “frozen wasteland” is just a hindrance and good riddance after all, an ice-free arctic is the best thing that could ever happen. Decreasingly-ice-bound northern oceans contain 15% of the oil and 30% of the natural gas on the planet. Now, with the fox guarding the hen house, watch how fast the deregulated Northern Seas gold rush happens. Drill (but baby it’s cold outside) drill! I may share an excerpt from the manuscript along this topic path at some point. Or not.

► IMAGE: My daughter takes lots of images lately, but six months worth of shots are still on her camera card. She is pre-photoshop. So I uploaded a gazillion of her images onto my hard drive to play with. This was one of them. I stole it. So sue me for everything I’m worth. And enjoy your pizza.

Randoms from the Ravine 22 December

If I plotted the frequency of posts and their entry times over the past year, I’d see a drop in the number per week and words per post, and also see a trend in which post times grow later and later.

With wife working far fewer day shifts, the alarm does not go off anymore at 3:45 a.m., and if she is a sluggard until 5 or 5:30, then so am I. I know that, if I want uninterrupted writing time any more, I have to rise before Herself who turns on NPR, chatters with kitchen appliances and reads over my shoulder every time she passes.

That said, I’m late today, having been all around the world via my feed reader, email and the usual suspects—that, taken altogether, are a much more serious interrupter of focus than any wife—or most any wife-could ever be. This morning I’ve…

►…gotten a reply from Microsoft Online Safety Support to say they’re on it. Seems that, when I log into my OneDrive account (almost exclusively for access to OneNote) I see a OneNote account of a gentleman (or not?) from Israel. There are my four OneNote notebooks along with one titled in Hebrew. I think this is a random screw-up and not an intentional hacking, but nevertheless, it lowers my confidence in OneNote and Microsoft, so I’m writing this post in Quip instead the usual OneNote.

►…paid out another $2 for iPhone software. I just added vividHDR as in in-app purchase for my go-to camera app, ProCamera 8. It seems like the best High Dynamic Range tool at the moment, and while I recoil from over-worked images in HDR, landscapes often benefit from the depth and light range such a tool can provide so much easier than doing something similar via Photoshop.

►…sent this (recommended) Christmas afternoon time-filler activity to my grand daughters: Learn to Fold a World-Record-Setting Paper Airplane. So once the presents are unwrapped and it’s ikky outside, there’s something to absorb the Cabin Crazies. Pass the link along and build your own, full-grown children everywhere!

►…found my computer glasses between cushions on the loveseat. Yes, for the first time, I need glasses mostly for computer reading distance rather than books. So now I have my regular glasses, prescription sunglasses, and the computer spectacles with Clark Kent Horn-rim Frames. And the gadget bag of Elder Adaptives grows quickly too heavy for our puny chassis to tote from room to room, and we check into our shared 12 x 12 at the Failing Arms Rest Home.

…but not today.