Whether you celebrate Easter or Ostara, this is the time of year for eggs. Our hens have been working overtime to keep up. We have 26 hens and get about 16 to 18 eggs per day (over the winter, they only produced 6 to 8). This basket is one days worth.

We have 4 araucana, 3 barred rock, 1 comet and 2 mixed breed. The rest are buff orpington. The araucana produce blue to blue-breen eggs, the mixed breed hens produce blue-gray eggs and rest produce various shades of brown. You can see from the basket that there is quite a bit of variety.

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Chicken fencing

When we fenced in the chickens, we used 4 foot tall poultry fence. It didn’t take the chickens long to discover that they could fly over.

To solve that problem, we cut 3/4 inch boards and connected them to the metal fence posts with zip ties and attached 7 foot tall deer fence with more zip ties.

This is a cheap solution that was easy to install, but it doesn’t over winter very well. When the snow is the heavy wet stuff, it tends to bring the deer fence down.

Here are some photos of this years repairs.

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A green greenhouse

The greenhouse is turning green! The plants on the ground are lettuces that were planted last fall. They didn’t grow much over the winter, but they survived.

The plants on the shelf, in the back of the green house are the sprouts that were growing under the plant light just last week. They have done wonderfully. The seeds were planted a few weeks ago, when the first green appeard, my wife (the gardening goddess) put them under the plant light.

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Welcome spring.

Welcome Spring! My wife, the gardening goddess, wanted to start onions and spinach. The soil outside is solid as a rock, so the seeds will have to be planted in the house.

My sand and water table, having a 24″x36″ plastic tub, is perfect to start seedlings, provided an appropriate light source can be added. I built a frame to suspend two 40 inch shop lights above it. I built the frame tall enough that it could be used to suspend other things.

The lights are about 6 inches above the plants.

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The Dark Mead Lives!

The yeast in the Dark Mead started working again. I hope this brings the sweetness down, The sample I had when I racked it on 1/29/06 was too sweet and the alcohol flavor was overpowering. Notice the foam on top. When I racked the Dark Mead, the foam from the yeast had subsided and the Dark Mead was almost as clear and foam free as the cyser in the photo from 1/29/06.

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Are electronic payments safe?

I am receiving reports (OK, my wife is reading online) that electronic payments are more secure than paper checks. Here are a few links that I was able to find: The Better Business Bureau has found electronic to be safer. Mainly because most ID theft was by someone knows to the victim. Also, because electronic payments require the user to access their account online more frequently, the damages were less because the theft was caught sooner. Here is the complete article. Most of the articles I find online reference one study from this company: The following article looks at victims of ID theft and correlates the information. It appears that the most prevalent form of ID theft is the opening of a credit card in the victimís name. The prevalence of a thief taking over a checking account is rather low.

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Dark Mead & Cyser

The dark mead and cyser are comming along rather nicely. They still look cloudy, which is the yeast and apple solids.

You can see that the foam at the top of the apple is almost gone, indicating that the yeast almost done. I will be transferring the apple to another carboy soon and putting it in the basement to cool. When it cools, the sediment will settle out and it will be crystal clear.

The Dark mead needs more time. There was over 20lbs honey. I will be transferring the dark mead to two containers and adding some water to lighten it up. I think it will be too sweet and have to much alcohol if I don’t.

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PERL Programming

I’ve been working with the PERL on a few projects. The power of PERL comes from two things. The First and most important is it’s Regular Expressions, which are very powerful pattern matching.

This is very useful for processing a long log file, looking for oddities, or when converting data from one file format to another.

PERL is also Interperted, so you can make changes to your program and test them immediately.

I downloaded a copy of PERL from

Try searching for PERL, REGULAR, EXPRESSIONS in your fav. search engine to learn more.

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Electric Guitar box

This is an electric guitar circuit I’m building with the kids. Picture. It is a 2 input mixer, with booster and then an overdrive/distorter. Plugged into my fender amp, there is lots static, but plugged into the computer powered speakers, it sounds great.

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Dark Mead & Cyser

Brewed a dark mead for Samhain. It is 20 pounds of honey, 1 pound of molassas and 2 1/2 gallons of water. I used WhiteLabs WLP099 High Gravity yeast. After it ferments, I’ll be adding some spices. Should be quite the brew. Potential alcohol of over 20%.

I also brewed a cyser. This is a cider with honey. 4 gallons of fresh, organic apple cider from a local apple farm, along with 4 pounds of honey. I used White Labs WLP775, English Cider yeast.

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A computer geek with a taste for sustainable living, organic food, green products, buying local, woodworking, bicycling, running, yoga, recycling and doing-it-yourself.