the dudes look less like ladies!

the dudes look less like ladies!

we’ve been watching a few of the suspect roosters and it’s much more evident that probably three of our latest flock of six are probably roosters, which is a bit of drag because roosters in town are a no-no.

the prominent combs are a giveaway in addition to the fact that they are practicing cock-a-doodle-dooing.

update: a few weeks later.

we found a good home for them with someone who appreciates and can have roosters :-)

a psa for anyone thinking about jacking up a 2,000 pound treehouse deck.

a psa for anyone thinking about jacking up a 2,000 pound treehouse deck.

say you’re trying to jack your really heavy treehouse deck that’s 15 feet off the ground. you’ve already done it once without anything too terribly terrible happening and you’re feeling confident.

when you get to raise the other side of the deck to jack up the deck to remove the support you notice the ground is much more sloped and soft directly under the middle of the deck. not ideal conditions. so decide to go a little “off center” on more solid ground without also triple checking to make sure the 4×4 post your using is as close to perfectly vertical as humanly possible.

because guess what happens when you jack up the deck that floats on top of the supports 6 inches and things are leaning a bit?

that’s right! gravity takes over and the 2,000 pound deck falls 6 inches very quickly and shifts over a few inches off center of the supports as it pivots on the 4×4 post and the post falls over almost knocking you cold.

and that’s a check your underpants moment.

so take a little extra time and build up a nice level and solid foundation before jacking up your treehouse deck. you’ll be happy you did.

we are stardust, we are golden quantum entangled double helixes.

as neil degrasse tyson is fond of saying we are not figuratively but literally made of stardust which is mind blowing all on its own to think we’re sentient stardust. and now a new theoretical model predicts some of our most important stardust, the dna double helix, is held together by quantum entanglement. yes, the very same phenomenon that einstein referred to it as “spooky action at a distance” might be responsible for holding DNA together. the very same phenomenom that can theoretically instantaneously teleport information across infinite distances. surely someone must be theorizing how we are connected to our multiverse doppelgängers. who knows, the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.. so sing along with me, we are stardust / we are golden ( quantum entangled double helixes ) / we are billion year old carbon / and we got to get ourselves back to the ( multiverse ) garden

90 miles. 57.6 mpg. and not even hypermiling the jetta tdi sportwagen.

90 miles. 57.6 mpg.  and not even hypermiling the jetta tdi sportwagen.

after driving our 2005.5 jetta tdi sedan for nine years and 186,000 miles we thought it was time to get another car and loved the gas milease of the diesel but wanted more room so opted for the sportwagen.

we’ve been driving manual transmissions tdis for almost 15 years and in the sedan i could regularly get close to 50mpg which was much higher than the “official” mpg ( which i think was something like 38mpg ) and i was a little nervous that we’d still see that kind of mileage with the wagon which if officially rated at 23 city and 33 hwy.

sure enough after the “break in” period of a few thousand miles i can regularly get higher than 50mpg at speeds between 55-60mph ( it drops to mid to high 40s at higher speeds ).

on a recent trip through rolling hills of the driftless region i managed to get 57.9mpg after driving 90 miles.

and no i wasn’t doing any fancy hypermiling manual transmission moves. pretty amazing. i’m not sure what you with an automatic transmission so can’t say how much of the difference between the official numbers is a result of conservative reporting on volkwagen’s part or my super optimized manual transmission skills.

in the interest of full disclosure, kris took this picture while i was driving :-)

raising a more supportive treehouse support.

raising a more supportive treehouse support. I.

making progress on modification to treehouse deck supports. i pulled down one of the supports “sistered” on a 14 foot 2′x10′horizontal so the support would span the entire deck and doubled up the supports that go down to the bottom lag bolt so the entire support is twice and strong. and possibly the most important modification – 2 1′x1′ 3/8″ steel plates now help reinforce the bottom of the support.

but how to get it back up since it weighs almost 200 pounds and i didn’t want to almost nominate myself for another darwin award? i called in a crew to help! it took the four of us to pull up the support using a proper pulley and a “poor man’s pulley” built by tossing a rope around one of the deck joists.

at one points someone ( not me ) exclaimed, “i didn’t realize i have a phobia of standing under really heavy things that might fall and crush you.” ah, well, fears were overcome and we relatively quickly got the support back on the top threaded rod that goes through the whole tree.

i have to admit that for the entire winter when i was contemplating taking down the supports i thought there was a good chance the whole deck would come crashing down or for some reason or another the support wouldn’t go back in place. so to get it back in place was a tremendous relief.

thanks to joe, jason and david for the help!

raising a more supportive treehouse support. II.

i decided to reinforce the base of the support with steel plates. the way the physics of forces and pivots work, the base of the support is the most probable point of failure so adding the strength of steel makes me happy. many, many thanks to the fine folks at tollefson repair for custom fabricating the plates. the tollerances were perfectly tight.

raising a more supportive treehouse support. III.

d’oh! the 6″ 5/8″ carriage bolts that go through the steel places push the support away from the tree so the 3/4″ lag bolt will not go as far into the tree. i didn’t anticipate that. when i roughed it out the bolts didn’t rest againts the tree. oh well. the lag bolt still goes about 5 inches into the tree which is fine for now. it’s not going to just pop out. someday i might replace it with a longer bolt. for some reason i’d be happier with 9 inches in the tree.

whoohoo! after i secured the support i went up on the deck and making the support span the entire width of the deck has really made a difference. prior to lengthening the support you could feel the slightest “shimmy” when standing out on the farthest corners of the deck. i think it was perfectly safe if but slightly disconcerting. now no shimmy! and i’m much happier that the new support will stand the test of time at the weakest points. hurray!

raising a more supportive treehouse support. IV.

i think i’ll reinforce the second primary primary support on the other side of the deck over the next week and then we’ll be ready for movie screening season.

i have to admit, it’s still a thrill to stand up on the deck and be surrounded by the canopy of the trees. the furnishings are a little spartan for now but i’ll work on that after the second support is finished.

frida’s post run cool down routine.

frida's post run cool down routine.

frida loves, loves, loves to go running with me. with the warmer weather, keeping her cool is important so it’s great that she also loves, loves, loves cooling down in the kiddy pool!

she usually goes 4 or 5 miles when the weather is cooler in the mornings or evenings. 3 miles if it’s during the heat of the day and she gets plenty of water. i think she’ll totally be game for 10-13 miles runs in the winter since she’s built for running the cold.

a malamute and chickens living in harmony?

a malamute and chickens living in harmony? I.

our dearly departed pushkin never gave a second thought to eating the hens, in fact, he was The Great Defender of All Members of The Pack and was known to shoo cats away who prowled around to give them trouble.

but we suspected frida, having the genetics of a very predatory malamute, might be tough to teach that the chickens were not food. so we started training her when they were chicks and while she tried super hard to be good, i wasn’t very confident that she’d be able to control herself outside when the were running around, scratching and pecking and clucking.

a malamute and chickens living in harmony? II.

they’ve been out in the chicken run surrounding the coop for afew months – which is plenty of space for them – but they’ve really been wanting to run around the yard to munch on bugs. so today i decided to let them out and see what would happen.

a malamute and chickens living in harmony? III.

while she was interested in what they were doing, i was very surprised to see her leave them alone. and even more surprised to see them walk up to her.

i’m not going to leave them along for any extended periods of time but i’m cautiously optimistic they might all live in harmony :-)

{ intertwingled since 2000 }