Monday, August 30, 2010

Hot shit!

Researching alternatives to flush loos, this looks likes the most interesting way forward both for its introduction to the microbiological science of composting (esp thermophilic bacteria), and Jenkins' relentless (humorous) attacks on fecophobes:

THE HUMANURE HANDBOOK, A Guide to Composting Human Manure, 3rd edition, by Joseph Jenkins - 255 pages, 19 photos, 42 tables and charts, 55 drawings, indexed.

Here is a link to a very simple explanation of how it works, with pix.

No more concessions to out-of-sight, out-of-mind. But it is hard not to still enjoy the thrill of the sucking jet loo emptying prowess of the toilets in big box stores. You feel as if you are a full participant in the Space Age. Another seductive illusion.

Cabin Pix

Three days later. Now I can get obsessed about details, including some sort of vine covered deck, both for visual balance and .... pleasure.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Artists Retreat Cabin #1

Today, Josh Leith, Don and Jeremy started work on Artist Cabin #1. Finally I took the plunge. 12'x20', including a small bathroom and kitchen area, with undetermined plans for a water supply, a sawdust loo, and solar power. Just a shell, but small enough that finishing it out ought to be a breeze. I will slow everything down by insisting on making an outside door myself. The cabin will sit above the old farm pond amidst shelves of limestone.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The fantasy of the ever vigilant goatdog

I went up to feed my faithful goatdog Zip at dusk last night\ He was not around, so I left his food in the usual bowl\ This morning I checked, and it had not been touched\ I went hunting the goats, finally finding them under some shady trees\ But no Zip\ He had been eaten by coyotes! Testosterone had wandered him off (I had been warned)! Or perhaps he was lying injured, unable to woof\ Somehow I was failing my dogs\ My heart sank\ I wandered around - perhaps this ever alert guard dog was on higher ground surveying the scene, watching me even as I was looking for him\ Then I noticed a small patch of white in the grass not far from the goats\ My heart sank again\ Was it perhaps his limp body? I went closer\ He opened his eyes out of deep sleep, got to his feet, and walked off/ Then he turned around: "Is there some problem" he asked?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hegel and the Dog

Hegel distinguishes humans from animals by pointing out that we eat, while animals feed (essen/fressen)* Faced with food, we humans may contemplate the prospect of eating, while an animal will just plunge in and gobble up his food*

Zip has clearly not read his Hegel* Last night at dusk I went to feed him in his usual dish at the front of the barn* His habit is to lurk nearby and then eat when I move away* But he was not there* I filled the bowl anyway, and then as I was leaving, I heard him barking from the back of the barn* It struck me there just might be something going on* Round the back, a goat had his horns stuck in the corner of the shed and was bleating like crazy* I released him, as Zip looked on* What was it - duty? a 'problem'? something out of the ordinary? distress in one of his charges (the goats)? Whatever it was it was more important than food, even for a hungry dog*

On a similar note: "Hegel once remarked jokingly that shredding learned books and mixing them with the food of your dog will not increase the intelligence of your dog even one iota"* But reflecting on when dogs sacrifice food for other values might increase ours!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Yellow Bird / Giverny

In setting up Yellow Bird I had partly in mind Monet's garden(s) at Giverny* Three big differences - YB is much bigger and more interesting topologically* Giverny had no goats, or deer, and lots of flowers (connected!)* And Monet was, well, Monet, and did not get his reputation from his garden* And he had (I believe) lots of gardeners*

Giverny went through long periods of neglect, and it is a miracle it still exists* Only now is it open for visitors* YB will not have lily ponds, or flower gardens, but in some ways it should be just as interesting, not least as an ambulatory place* with sculpture trails* The one feature of Monet's original I would dearly love to copy is the Japanese bridge* Damn it, I remember it as red! Here is an image:It is planned to go between the two lakes* I think I need to get on and have someone make it, as he did! Here is the general plan of the gardens at Giverny* I need to develop a similar such map for YB*

"Claude Monet (1840-1926) expressed the opinion that he was good for two things in life – painting and gardening. Today, his paintings fetch record prices at auction, and his restored 5 acre (2 hectare) garden at Giverny, France – an hour north of Paris by car – attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

The garden is composed of two equal parts – Monet’s flower garden immediately in front of his house, and his water garden on an adjoining property, today connected by an underground tunnel to avoid visitors crossing a busy highway that in Monet’s day was a railroad track.

Monet declared his water garden his greatest work of art, and he delighted in conducting visitors around like the emperors of Imperial Japan when they entertained important dignitaries. He was also visited by numerous journalists who captured his thoughts as they toured his garden, and took photographs so that today we have an accurate record of what the water garden looked like at its peak of perfection, and why he designed it the way he did, as a cup garden and a subject to paint in all seasons and under all lighting conditions." (Derek Fell)

For more information about Giverny:

As for RED bridges, here is a possibility:

The Principal/Agent Problem

The Principal/Agent problem is an issue in economics: how to get the person you are hiring to do what you want them to do, rather than what they would rather do. Two interesting examples from recent bush-hogging. Jay started bush-hogging the big pasture, when my priority was to redo the trails, which we then did. Then Randall went off into the backwoods finding new mini-fields to clear that I did not even know were there. And he sorted out problems with the bush-hog that I did not know existed. This guy knows more about what I want than I do. Do economists discuss this variant of the P/A 'problem'?