Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   a squirrel tests Marie
Friday, October 5 2007
One of the reasons for the large roof on the new woodshed is to capture a lot of rain, rain I hope to use in the irrigation of the garden. Maintaining a thriving garden requires a fair amount of water (at least doing it the way our gardening fanatic neighbor Andrea does it), but water at our house necessitates the expenditure of a fairly large amount of electricity, since our well goes all the way down to sea level (600 feet below). It seems that if I can migrate some or all of our irrigation supply to zero-electricity rain-fed systems, we could save a fair amount of electricity. At some point I want to buy or otherwise obtain a number of clean 55 gallon plastic rain barrels and position them at the various downspouts. The house has three already and today I added a gutter and downspout to the woodshed. The woodshed's rain barrel would be at an ideal site for irrigating the garden, since it would be directly uphill and the intervening soil would be suitable for the laying of stiff plastic hose, the kind used for subterranean water lines.

Last summer we had an explosion of foliage-eating caterpillars followed by a record autumnal acorn crop. This autumn I've observed an explosion in the population of Grey Squirrels (and possibly Fox Squirrels as well). Due perhaps to population pressures, they're less shy than in past years. I've been about to stand out on the laboratory deck and see squirrels harvesting nuts in the Shagbark Hickory less than ten feet away. They see me too but ignore me completely unless I do something truly outlandish.
Today I saw an especially bold squirrel bounding along the west edge of the yard while Sally lay on the stonework in front of the house. Sally wasn't asleep and was actually looking vaguely in the squirrel's direction, but she evidently never saw it, because if she had she would have surely given chase.
Later in the day, that same squirrel (or perhaps another) clung to the trunk of a tree near that same edge of the yard, flicking its tail and cursing in deep chuckles at Marie the cat (aka "the Baby"). When Marie ignored it, the squirrel bounded down out of the tree and came closer, out to the edge of the grass, still chuckling and flicking its tail wildly. It was clear that this behavior was a deliberate provocation. It seemed the squirrel was testing Marie to see if she had any predatory intent. When, after about twenty seconds, Marie proved herself uninterested, the squirrel began foraging for acorns, mostly ignoring Marie but keeping an eye out just in case.

I've been having difficulties finding an arrangement that allows a single X-10 transceiver to communicate with all the X-10 devices spread out from the solar deck out to the woodshed. So this evening I wired an X-10 passive repeater to the two phases of the basement circuit breaker box to bridge 120 KHz X-10 signals from one phase to the other. Unfortunately, though, the repeater did no good. I suspect the problem is the sheer number of surge suppressors and filter-equipped powerstrip in the laboratory, which severely attenuate the X-10 signals. To get the X-10 stuff to work in the laboratory, I will have to dedicate a transceiver to it. [REDACTED]

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