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Around the Homestead: Bantam Chickens, Dead Fox, and Bypassing Nonsensical Regulations

Which Came First?

The egg of course! We just got 34 baby bantam chicks from the Murray McMurray Hatchery in Iowa. Baby chicks can survive 3 days after hatching and they come via US Mail in a flat box with holes, chirping. The first thing we do is teach them to drink water. We keep them under an infrared light as they grow. We've been raising chickens for 30 years. The fresh eggs are worth all the work.


Found this beautiful creature, hit by a car, last week.

I skinned it, stretched and salted it down, and after a week, rolled it up in a poster tube and shipped it to Bucks Country Furs in Pennsylvania via UPS. In about 2 months I'll get it back via UPS, beautifully tanned, a process I find to be a minor miracle.

Oak Firewood: I Fought the Law and I Won

I'd seen a downed oak tree by the side of the road for a few weeks. On a Friday I took Marco and a chainsaw along. We cut it into liftable pieces and had just got the truck (fully) loaded when along comes a ranger. "You can't pick up wood by the side of the road," she says. I walked over to her SUV and said, "You know, this is a win-win situation. You guys don't have to pay money to have it removed and I get good clean firewood, which will heat my house all year and I don't have to use electric heat, which comes from coal-fired electric plants, or burn up non-renewable propane." She gets it, sort of. But then says, "You'll have to unload your truck." She's gotta be kidding, but she isnt. Marco tosses the first piece down the bank, and I say no, no, dump it next to the shoulder. He looks at me, puzzled, then grins. We go home with an empty truck. Dumb, huh? Now I assure you it didn't occur to me to get up at 3:30 the next morning, go down the deserted road and by the light of the full moon pick up the whole load. I would never do that. No, that would be resisting authority.

Stewart Brand, The Whole Earth Catalog, The Well, and the World Wide Web/From Counterculture to Cyberculture by Fred Turner

It never occurred to me how much Stewart Brand and the counter-cultural ethos of the'70s-80s WEC shaped the internet as we know it today. A belief in decentralization, of freedom of information, of access for anyone to communicative media, these idealistic concepts seeded in the '60s formed the foundation of the internet and the web before Big Biz and the Greedy Ones could tie it all up in the oligopolistic name of profit. Remarkable.
Here is an excerpt from an article in Science magazine dated 3/9/07 by Henry Lieberman, titled "From Whole Earth to the Whole Web," in which he reviews the new book From Counterculture to Cyberculture by Fred Turner:

"That we happened to get such an open network was a miracle. But it wasn't an accident. The technical community that built today's digital infrastructure did so around a certain set of cultural values, among them openness, sharing, personal expression, and innovation. These were core values of the early digital pioneers (the hackers), embodied in what we proudly call the "hacker ethic." Today, we take the digital revolution for granted and seldom appreciate to what extent these values were sparked by the 1960s counterculture, which preceded the digital revolution: counterculture begat cyberculture.
Because of the happy coincidence that the corporate and bureaucratic establishments of the time understood digital technology so poorly, the hackers were able to pull off the revolution before the bureaucracy knew what hit them. Like the fall of communism, it happened so fast that we haven't yet really taken the time to fully celebrate its victory and examine how it happened."


I've just realized, after struggling to make infrequent (and long) blog postings monthly or so, I should do shorter postings more often. I went for a run in the hills this afternoon. Got down to a creek and there was a spot of sunlight and I stripped and lay in the sparkling water for a minute. My time of year, being of the Taurus persuasion. Then I ran another few miles to a cat-tailed-lined pond of my acquaintance and swam in the cool water. Getting out in the woods and beach is an antidote to sitting at a computer.

Tony Serra, His Friend Jasper, and Wild Duck on a Sunny Sunday Afternoon

Tony's out and biting back already. He filed a lawsuit on behalf of prisoners so they earn more than 60 cents an hour for (productive) prison labor. (Tony Serra, San Francisco's samurai/poet/lawyer who just got out of jail for refusing to pay income taxes.) I've known Tony for over 50 years. Tony's friend, hunter/fisherman/builder (and lawyer!) Jasper had a barbecue wild duck dinner to celebrate Tony's freedom to once again prowl the nation's courts of law. Beautiful sunny afternoon in a funky and charming hand-built house on a hillside, with Tony and friends. Major good vibes. Wild Duck, red wine, and wild rice. Jasper built his house on a steep unbuildable hill site in 1974 and filled it with his woodsman/hunter/fisherman objects throughout. I'd photographed the place before and was once again struck by its right-feelingness and homey charm. A home for body and soul.

You'll never see anything like this in Architectural Design

Salty Dog/Procul Harum;Tweeter and the Monkey Man/Bob Dylan/Traveling Wilburys; Jesus Loves Me

Music du Jour: I have an old scratchy vinyl record of Salty Dog by Procul Harum that I've played off and on for 30 years. It strikes me as one of the great rock operas (and I don't include anything by The Who in that category). It's a trip on the high seas in an English vessel with the elegance of the British musicians of the '70s. Then yesterday I listened to "Tweeter and the Monkey Man," Bob Dylan's song with The Traveling Wilburys, and it still sounds powerful. I always thought this record, with Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, George Harrison, and Jeff Lynne, released in 1988, was a masterpiece that got largely overlooked. Finally, today on local KPIG I heard a country song on religious right righteousness:

Jesus loves me,
But he cain't stand you…