day 3042: the 2012 halloween crew!

day 3042: the 2012 halloween crew! I.

the 2012 halloween crew getting ready for some tricking or treating!

can you spot odin?

day 3042: the 2012 halloween crew! II.

oh, o.k. i’ll make it a little easier for you. odin and i were dressed-up as matching, well, i’m not quite sure what we dressed-up as. maybe ringwraiths?

i cobbled the costume together a few years ago from this and that and have discovered it’s very disconcerting to young and old alike, possibly because i’m taller than your average joe and people can’t see my face. it’s big fun to sneak up next to unsuspecting trick-or-treaters and just loom over them without saying a word.

odin so enjoyed the effect that he decided he wanted to dress up like his poppi this year 🙂

viroqua fire department training fire.

viroqua fire department training fire. I.

i was out on a evening run and i happened up a training for the viroqua fire department on the 200 block of north center avenue across the street from nelson’s agricenter.

at first i didn’t know it was a training fire and couldn’t figure out why there weren’t any sirens on and everyone seemed so calm.

it started out slowly…

viroqua fire department training fire. II.

but even though they were putting plenty of water on the fire, it got roaring pretty quickly which makes it all the more frightening to think about how fast it would have gone had they not been there.

viroqua fire department training fire. III.

nelson’s has a warehouse filled with lumber right across the alley so they were making sure it didn’t get to hot on the north side ( on the right ) of the fire.

viroqua fire department training fire. IV.

the second story of the building starts to collapse…

viroqua fire department training fire. V.

the building, which i believe had been boarded up and abandoned for awhile, collapsing with a spray of sparks and flying embers. a fairly spectacular event to watch up close.

viroqua fire department training fire. VI.

now there’s something, thankfully, you don’t see every day. i’m getting a brief glimpse of the adrenalin rush firefighters must get when putting out a blaze.

viroqua fire department training fire. VII.

they started really dumping the water on it after it collapsed and i got a good dose of vapor from the evaporating water mixed with flaming soot and decided it was time to move along!

i hope everyone stayed safe while keeping it under control!

day 3040: odin’s jack o’ lanterns!

day 3040: odin's jack o' lanterns! I.

even though i’ve always wondered about how smart it might be for any of us to be poking pumpkins with sharp implements, we’ve been carving jack-o-lanterns for a few years with odin i’m really not sure how it’s not ended in bloodshed and a trip to the emergency room.

two years ago, odin mostly handled the overall artistic design and we did most of the carving. last year, odin still did the design and some of the carving with help from grandma.

this year he did pretty much mostly everything All By Himself!

i think they turned out just great. and not a drop of blood shed!

day 3040: odin's jack o' lanterns! II.

is it just me? do i see just a slight toothy resemblance?

that moment when you realize you might be in the running for a darwin award.

that moment when you realize you might be in the running for a darwin award.

so i’m building the platform for the floor joists for the The World’s Most Awesome Treehouse(s) out of really big and heavy treated 2x10s a the problem arises. how exactly am i supposed to hoist the two “sistered” fourteen foot 2x10s that make up the ends of the platform twelve feet in the air so i can attach them to the sixteen foot 2×10 joists?

i had attempted to recruit a small army of strapping, oldish men to help me out, but we got rained out last weekend and i just wanted to make some progress without having to coordinate another work party.

“easy!”, i thought. i’ll use a pulley and counter-weight the boards with a trash can loaded with about 250 pounds of paving bricks that i just happen to have laying around ( i just knew they’d be useful for something! ) and pull the two fourteen foot 2x10s that are screwed together up twelve feet and nail in the joists.

what could possibly go wrong?

so, i hauled the trash can up the ladder precariously perched against the tree, and wound the pulley rope through the handles and around the can and started loading it with pavers. after putting in about 250 pounds worth of pavers in the trash can it started dropping and the fourteen foot 2x10s quickly started to raise up to the required height! awesome!

whem it was just about where i needed it to be, i realized i still had to climb back up the ladder and huff and puff to get it up and over the 3/4″ threaded rod that’s holding up the supports that the joists will run along.

creeeaaaaaak. the handle on the trash can started to give way and the rope started to unwind and loosen while i’m standing 12 feet up on a ladder trying to “man handle” a couple hundred pounds of treated lumber.

all too slowly it dawned on me that if the rope gave out completely i probably wouldn’t be able to keep holding on to the boards and they’d fall down the ladder and take me out. hard. double hard.

uh. oh.

luckily i summoned the strength to hoist the boards over the threaded rod and rigged the slack in the rope to hold them in place while i quickly screwed in a couple of joists.

phew. but still. a close call. yikes.

Another Big Job for the radio flyer wagon.

Another Big Job for the radio flyer wagon.

why yes, i’m slowly making progress on The World’s Most Awesome Treehouse(s) since drilling two foot holes through the trees! the supports are up ( i’ll show more on the design later ) and today i started framing out the 14’x16′ platform for the 2″x10″ floor joists that will be built around two of the trees.

so, once again, i paid a visit to nelson’s agricenter to pick up four 14′ 2″x10″s and a couple 16′ 2″x10″s. only, i didn’t have the car so i had to take odin’s radio flyer wagon. the fine folks at nelson’s are used to this kind of behavior from me, since i only live a couple of blocks away.

as i wheeled the wagon into the lumber barn, the lumber guys didn’t skip a beat.

lumber guy number one: “i see you’re starting another big job, huh.”


lumber guy number two, scratching his head: “well, i dunno, i guess we’ll skip putting a red flag on on it.”

“yeah, probably doesn’t need it. just going down the road.”

so they loaded the boards on the wagon and i wheeled it down the street to much to amusement of several small kids playing in yards along the route.

poultry.internet: a system for remote human-pet interaction

adrian cheok wants to create a sensory internet and, naturally(?), started with poultry and made haptic jackets for chickens which can produce a gentle touch at a distance. and he has research to prove the chickens enjoy it ( “if the chicken enters the blue door we remotely touch it through the pet doll interface” ). i wonder if he’s willing to open-source the system design so i can create for The Girls ( though i should probably first finish the wireless nesting box – based on the wireless tweeting fridge – that tweets when an egg is laid ). oh, and if you’re thinking of making a “choking the chicken” the slashdot commenter, er, beat you to it.

american academy of pediatrics’ clinical report highlights benefits of organic food

excellent news that the american academy of pediatrics released a clinical report that finally highlights the benefits of organic food, including lower exposure to pesticides for consumers and the workers who produce the food, lower exposure to drug-resistant bacteria and lower overall environmental impact than conventional farming and recommends that, “…Pediatricians should incorporate this evidence when discussing the health and environmental impact of organic foods and organic farming..”

as the organic trade association press release notes this is a major milestone for organics since the pediatric party line has historically been that there’s no difference that makes a difference between organic and conventional foods.

A Generation in Jeopardy: How pesticides are undermining our children’s health & intelligence

if anything, the AAP clinical report soft pedals the research on pesticide exposure in particular. the pesticide action network also released a report, “A Generation in Jeopardy: How pesticides are undermining our children’s health & intelligence” that reviews dozens of recent scientific studies on the impacts of pesticides on children’s health. the emerging evidence of links between pesticide usage and childhood health harms are impossible to ignore.

it’s hard for me to imagine how anyone can read the 44 page report and not decide to purchase organic food ( and all the more so now that we know GMOs have unleashed a pesticide gusher ).