recent reads

Since my post last August I read some good books, at least by my tastes. China interests me and I read Soul Mountain (a slow read in between other books) by Gao Xingjian, 1st Chinese recipient of Nobel Prize in literature; and the Wild Swans by Jung Chang, a good successor to her book on Mao: The Unknown Story.  When I travel to Australia I look for books which have not yet surfaced in the United States and I enjoyed Easternisation by Rachman - succinct and gripping.  As is the Hundred-Year Read more [...]

how to produce a 3d picture

I have taken several MOOCs (internet courses)  given by University of Illinois on 3D printing and the most recent was on 3D printing software.  The software, which was free to students, was provided by Autodesk and included Sketchbook (for sketching), Tinkercad (an easy to use CAD design tool) and Fusion 360 (sophisticated computer design, modeling, etc. software).  Tinkercad and Fusion 360 convert ideas into 3D models.  Scanning creates a 3D model from a physical object such Read more [...]

BJC (the Beauty and Joy of Computing) online course completed – Tower of Hanoi

I just completed the 4th and final semester of BJC MOOC via edX hosted by Berkeley, San Francisco.  What a great course!  And I learned so much about basic programming, computer science and technology trends.  All for free if you wish, though I contributed some.  For teaching purposes it uses blocks which you re-arrange called Snap! which is based on Scratch developed by MIT.  A fun exercise was the Tower of Hanoi puzzle. The rules are simple.  There are 3 pegs labelled left to right "From", Read more [...]

the wonderful world of free internet college courses

I didn't post this site at all in May.  Not because I had stopped my growing activities or lost interest but because I was completing 2 demanding courses on electronics and programming and am in the middle of a new course on Python programming. College education of your choosing at your convenience with the world's best colleges for free!  If you are interested and can make time available, this is a bonanza. My education in South Africa and England was in law, accounting, business and the Read more [...]

early summer activity

It's been a good April and May - frequent rain showers to minimize hose watering and keep my +6,000 gal storage tanks fully topped.  Lettuce, onions and garlic have grown well though the lettuce is now bolting.  My lettuce, kale, chard and turnip greens taste real, they have a flavor missing from store bought greens, a lot of which are raised in greenhouses or insect free conditions.   Now I am wondering if there is some advantage to eating kale, chard and turnip greens on which insects previously Read more [...]

long hibernation ending

My last post was November 25.  As we moved into winter my growing activities were largely shelved. In November/December I cleared and weeded some beds and planted out, closely spaced, several 100 garlic cloves.  They are all descended from 3 varieties of garlic I purchased from California 4 years ago.  After harvesting last year I strung them together and hung them from joists in the carport.  Fewer rotted compared with previous years where I had stored them in laundry bags hung in the basement.  Read more [...]

some winter tasks

charging the Takeuchi After some cold nights (12 below freezing) my Takeuchi bobcat refused to start.  Cold and tired battery.  The best way to charge the battery is to pull the cab forward on its hinges and then you have direct access to the battery.  It is heavy and best done with an assistant.  In the past I had an anchor point in front of the Take and winched the cab forward.  However, there was no anchor point for the Take this time just a 2,400 gal rainwater tank.  The last time I Read more [...]

coursera – it’s great

Coursera, the MOOC (massive open online course), has kept me very busy.  Last year I took the sustainability course and earlier this year, 2 physics introductory courses.  My background is accounting, business and the humanities.  Now, with access to excellent tuition from top flight college lecturers, all for free, I am greedily imbibing the sciences.  I am currently taking 4 courses: Animal Behavior (University of Melbourne, Australia), Preparation for Introductory Biology - DNA to organisms Read more [...]

horse manure control test

In March 2012 I performed a simple test to get some confidence that the horse manure I was collecting was not harmful to my plants.  The test indicated that my plants would not be harmed but the effect on worms was undetermined.  I had not visited the stables for some time until early this January I headed their way.  One of the immediate changes was the password controlled electric gate.  The new owners, a husband and wife team were welcoming, and when I mentioned I usually paid $20 per load Read more [...]

2 good talks – EpiPen and chestnuts

Bee Stings & Allergic Reactions Last Thursday was the monthly meeting of the Cherokee Beekeepers' Club meeting and the speaker was a MD who specializes in medical emergencies and is also a beekeeper.  Well qualified in all respects.  He outlined the differences between a local reaction to a bee sting (swelling, pain, redness) which is normal; a large local reaction where the symptoms persist for up to a week; and an allergic reaction of which anaphylaxis  is the most serious and is life Read more [...]