Podcast of the month: Science for the People

The podcast of the month this month is one of my all time favorites. It’s called Science for the People.

If you want to learn a lot about science this podcast is exactly what I would recommend. Every week they interview a different author/ scientist/ researcher about something they have published. Each episode is about an hour long and incredibly informative. The really cool thing is that every episode is full of information about one specific topic and you really learn a lot about the science behind it.

I have just recently started listening so I have only listened to about 20 episodes, however, it is first on my list whenever I get a chance to listen. Unfortunately my podcast app has an issue with downloading the episodes so I can only listen when I’m in an area where I get great service.

My favorite episodes so far have been:

Episode #536: let them eat dirt. They interview Dr Bretty Finlay about his book about letting kids be exposed to germs. It was amazing and really made me feel better about my anti-antibacterial stance on child rearing.

Episode #532: a class conversation. In this one they talk with Daniel Laurison, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College and coauthor of the book “The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged”, about class and its impacts on people and our systems.

I loved that they really went in depth into how different people define class and the issues with the definitions and why we shouldn’t be so quick to judge those we don’t view as middle or upper class. It’s pretty fascinating.

Honorable mentions: The climate doomsday episode was one of my favorites because I had just finished reading David Wallace-Wells’s new book on climate change and it was fantastic getting to hear him talk.abiut it right after finishing it.

Also the prosperity without growth because I have been independently studying economics over the past 6 or 7 years and found what Tim Jackson had to say. I was so impressed that apparently I couldn’t stop mentioning how much I wanted to read his book Prosperity Without Growth, so C bought it for me for my birthday! I was elated to say the least.

Finally the best episode is apparently a yearly episode they put out for the holidays. It’s entitled “give a nerd a gift” and it goes over all the best nerd gifts of the year both in books and non books. The book list gives me my reading list for the year (I’ve already read 3 books on the list) and the non book list gave me ideas for at least three gifts this year. Actually I ended up giving everyone on my list who wasn’t a small child something from this episode.

Lastly if you donate at least $5 a month they will send you amazing swag on a different super awesome little known scientist every year. This year they celebrated Mary Golda Ross, if you don’t know a out her look her up. She’s beyond amazing.

Needless to say if you are a science nerd this podcast is a must for you. Go listen. Now. Also tell them I sent you!

Finally getting floors in

We asked for gift certificates to our nearby home improvement store for Christmas, and we got what we wanted. Last weekend we went out and bought some plywood, 2×1 boards, and shims to finally get plywood down in the kids rooms.

Our goal is to not be walking on concrete floors by mid spring. After we finish the girls room (this week) we will be tackling the large main room.

We are pretty excited about this new development. It’s so nice to be able to walk on level ground and not have to worry about falling on concrete. The kids love it too. Once we get then plywood down we will start putting down the hardwood. We are doing two different colors of bamboo. One in the kids rooms and a darker one in the main room. We already have them picked out too. Hopefully we can start working on that sometime this summer.

Let there be wind!!

When C got his bonus at work we were finally able to out some money towards getting a wind turbine. It was about $2300 for the set up but we were excited to finally have the ability to keep the batteries charged when there wasn’t sufficient sun for days. We got it installed on top of the battery house (after trying to manipulate a giant metal contraption shaped like a moveable insect, it was quite difficult).

The battery house is about 10 feet above the ground, and then we put it on a 6ft tall metal pipe, so about 16 feet off the ground.

At first there was wind, but we had installed it wrong and it made lots of noise but no electricity. After about 24 hours we fixed the installation problem, and proceeded to have about 10 days with little to no wind, of course.

Finally we got wind, but discovered that since the battery house is in a valley the wind that we get is considered “dirty” wind (meaning it’s really turbulent) so we aren’t using the turbine efficiently and it’s not making as much energy as it should. We figured out that we either need to raise the turbine another 10 ft, or move it to higher ground. It’s probably going to be cheaper to move it up on the hill and have it 16 ft above ground there. Hopefully that will solve the problem. I’ll let you know when we finally get around to it.

We got the driveway… Sort of

They finally came and put in our driveway about 2 days after my last post about it. They spent all day working and we’re extremely nice. I was really happy with it, although at this point I would be happy with anything. C got home from work about an hour after they left and was pretty pissed about the whole thing. We paid a lot of money from them to grade the driveway, especially on the new section where they were going to cut into the dirt to make it flat and even before laying the gravel. They didn’t. The second section of driveway was more or less thrown together with gravel laid on an uneven ground, which is tilted and on a hill, and they didn’t put in a pad big enough for two cars. It just stops. He called the next day and we got it in writing that they would come back in the spring when it was dry and fix it. In the meantime we are just hoping the whole bottom part doesn’t wash away before they come back. C is going to make sure to take off work when they do. That’s probably for the best.

Happy New Year!

Hey everyone! Happy new year! Man am I glad that this year is over. We didn’t do nearly what we had planned, and had a lot of setbacks. Thankfully, with the support.if friends and family, we were able to pull through in the end. We were able to get a driveway sort of put in, and a wind turbine, also sort of installed (these posts are scheduled for the next week so stay tuned). We have a definitive path that the farm will hopefully take, which is definitely a step in the right direction. Also (a future post on this as well) I have been accepted to the U of L MS sustainability program. I am very excited and will have a lot more to post about this in the future. It looks as though the farm and CSA are going to be a large part of my degree so I’m pretty thrilled. I hope you all have a safe and happy New year!!

A muddy mess

It’s been two weeks since we prepped the driveway. Today was the day they were supposed to put in the new driveway. I have been looking forward to this day for two weeks. They had to postpone it because it’s raining. It may be raining tomorrow too. All of my joy is currently gone! Not really, but I do like a flair for the dramatic. The old driveway is slowly devolving into a complete muddy mess. I have to wear my mud boots to the car and physically carry each individual child (except the 15 year old, although I think she would really appreciate it if I did!) in the morning and the evening when I get home. Today I left the house without extra shoes but refuse to wear my mud boots in building because it’s just plain rude to track mud everywhere you go. So this is how I look at my son’s speech therapy appointment. I feel so stylish, and yes those are my work heels, and vampire socks. I also currently hate my driveway.

Podcast of the month: Ologies

Recently some very good friends introduced me to the world of podcasts. I have been putting off listening to them because I didn’t think I had time for them, and didn’t think I would really enjoy them. This concept now seems very silly because I have always enjoyed a good talk radio show. After enjoying these shows for several months I decided to share my love of these podcasts with you. If you listen and decide you love them too please leave them a positive review and mention where you heard about them (especially with this month’s because I know she reads her reviews and it would be so cool if she read my blog).

This months podcast is:

-ologies

Here is a link:

https://www.alieward.com/ologies

The premise of the show is that the host, Alie Ward, interviews different scientist about their field. it is really informative, Alie Ward is hilarious, and its so refreshing to hear scientists get really excited talking about what they love to do. It’s also really neat learning about all the different sciences that are out there. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what you are doing in your own field and forget that there are other people in their own fields equally as excited about their studies. Also, it’s really cute to see nerds get super excited about things they love.

My favorite episode, so far, is, man this is a tough one, probably a tie between the Paleontology and Phonology episodes, but really they are all very good. She is a wonderful host and does a fabulous job with this podcast.

Also, this one’s for you Alie, Boy Howdy is it good!

Whew it’s been a while!

As many of you know it’s been a long hard year. C had some heart trouble that led to us losing almost a months worth of income which was incredibly difficult. I ended up working a lot more than thought would and I went through some personal issues tht kept me off of here. BUT I’M BACK, and I have so much to share with you!!! I also have some great new blog topics coming as well, so stay tuned!! After months of searching for someone to work on our driveway we FINALLY had someone not only say they were coming out, but actually did, and give us a quote THAT DAY, and (catch this), call us with a date they can start. I’m still skeptical, but I think this may actually happen. However, they weren’t going to be able to fill in the gigantic hole between the house and the septic that was never filled in.

During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend we rented a backhoe and, after over a year, finally filled in the giant hole. This also means we no longer have a rickety bridge to walk across to get into the house. We also filled in some around the back of the house to improve the drainage. We will have to finish that later this summer when we rent something smaller and it dries up more. We also started working in the new driveway (which is what they are putting in). It will cut about 50 feet off the driveway and won’t be as steep).

Struggling

This has been the hardest summer to date. This is even worse than the year we had to rebuild the tire wall. C had a “cardiac episode” almost a month ago. We have no idea what caused it but he definitely has heart damage. He was taken off work for at least a month but so far we haven’t had any answers, other than from the cardiologist who told us that “he was too young to be having heart trouble so it was probably heartburn, so take some Tums”.

I have had a really hard time getting myself back together after this, and C isn’t allowed to do anything strenuous, especially in the heat. We have been able to keep up on most of our bills but it’s been a struggle since the kids just went back to school. I was able to ramp up my bread baking for a while but I’m so afraid of getting in trouble (because the cottage food laws are strict) that I have refrained from advertising myself outside of our Facebook page. Thankfully we have a great group of friends who love bread.

The CSA has taken a huge hit because of the constant rain into immediate drought and I had to cut way back on how many I am offering. I’m really upset about it and may end up having to cut it short all together. I Think I can keep up 3 baskets for the rest of the season, buts until it starts raining again it’s really touch and go. We are behind in so many chores on the farm that I can’t even fathom catching up anytime soon.

The one silver lining is that we are living here. I absolutely love our farm and the house. I do have to force myself to stop and really take in all that we have achieved in the past few years and k ow that we will get past this. It’s also really nice having C home. It was our plan from the begining to be able to figure out how to work the land enough that he could afford to be home more. The factory job has been a huge blessing to our family but it is literally killing him. I am really impressed with his dedication to the bees though and hope that it can be lucrative in the next few years. I guess time will tell. For now we need to get through this hiccup.

Rough summer

This spring and summer has been rough for produce growers. Everyone I have talked to either has or are currently losing produce left and right. The spring was really hot and wet. We lost almost all of our cabbage family plants. We bought some hoop benders at the begining of the season but couldn’t get out money situation straighted out enough to make hoop houses out of our brassica beds. Next year we are going to spread them out more, have them bigger when we put them out, and put a cover over them during it gets too hot. Hopefully we can get some yield out of them. From what I understand they do better in the fall anyway.

The summer plants took a big hit because it was too cool and wet for them for a very long time. Finally over the past three weeks the rain has stopped and the sun has come out and we are finally getting everything to grow. We are hoping we will finally start to get a good yield in the next few weeks. I feel bad for our CSAs. I’ve had to cut back a lot to compensate for the lag in produce. We are learning a lot.though and have a much better plan to go forward with next year.

The good news is that my bread business is really taking off. We could potentially come out of this ahead, finally. I don’t want to jinx it though.