Solar Tracking

Solar Tracking
How low can you go? Snow and ice and cancelled school.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Autumn

In the Willamette Valley, warm dry October afternoons are deeply unsettling. Natives are especially nervous, eying the blue skies like there is something fundamentally wrong with golden sunshine. And then, one day, the clouds roll in, smelling of the sea. Deep grey, they drop the sky down to a more human scale, and then, more come. And more. Soon, they bump up against the Cascades and flow back over the valley. One afternoon, the rains begin. In my north-facing classroom, we look up. Cross-country runners calculate the rainfall and potential mud creation quickly, and smile. Readers snuggle deeper into their minds, looking forward to the long evenings curled up in bed, reading and listening to the quiet conversations of the rain. The ceiling of our world descends, snugging us all in for the long winter nights, and everything feels right once again

Other signs of Autumn:
·        Wool socks
·        Squash in the Larder
·        Winter Wheat colors the fields a deep green.
·        Fuzzy pants in the evening
·        Cats nap all day long
·        Flan.
·        Fires on Sunday mornings.
·        Pumpkins everywhere!

Sugar Cookies from 1957

3/4 c of soft shortening (half butter)
1 c sugar
2 eggs
.5 t vanilla

Mix together.

Add 2.5 c flour, 1 t BP, and 1 t salt

Mix and chill for an hour or so. Then, roll out and cut into leaf shapes.

Bake in 350 degree oven until golden.

.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Putting the "Urban" into Urban Homesteading

I am not well-rested these days.

 After a long week of work and meetings, I looked forward to a decent night’s sleep on the weekend of October 3rd. However, other residents had different plans.

On Friday night, we were woken up at least three times by drunks passing by the house, bellowing. The first time is not a big deal; we can roll over and go back to sleep. The second is worse—there’s a shot of adrenalin that happens when you are woken from a sound sleep by a scream. The third leaves you lying in bed, waiting for the other shoe to drop—or scream to happen.
Saturday night, we stayed up until eleven, despite short sleep, hoping to find the near-by parties and bust them before we fell asleep. Around ten-thirty, the noise began. Groups of ten to twelve people walked by, discussing alcohol loudly. A group of males began chanting at one another. Three stood on one corner. “Old man! Old man!” they bellowed. “Old man! Old man!” another group responded from two blocks away. “Dude, wait up!” another called. Everyone was heading south, towards Frat row. I walked the neighborhood, busted one party where the attendees were standing outside, surrounded by a sea of beer cans, and went to bed. The noise continued. Groups walked by, every fifteen to twenty minutes, until around one AM.
The next morning, I walked down my street to take photographs, which I have attached. I ran into a neighbor, hanging our “Rights and Responsibilities” door hangers. She told me that a young man asked her what she was doing. When she explained, he took a handful of hangers to distribute on his side of King’s Blvd.

 By October10th, the next Friday night, we were unable to sleep, once again, because of herds of shouting drunks passing by out house…so we were primed to be upset by Saturday’s events.
The fraternity in our neighborhood had a very loud party on Sat afternoon. So loud, in fact, that one of our city councilors, who was at my house on another errand, was appalled. There was screaming, chanting, and music ricocheting off of all of the cement walls in the neighborhood. “Not unusual,” we told him. “It used to happen at two AM. This is progress.” After hearing the party in our basement, my partner called in a noise complaint; the police visited and nothing changed. When we called in the second time, an hour later, the police came around the back of the building and had a long conversation with the membership. Silence reigned.
Around six o’clock, the herds began passing once more. One group of four boys began screaming in front of the first house on the block and ramped up the volume as they walked along the sidewalk. They stopped outside of our house shouting, “Fuck you!” “Motherfucker” and “It’s still light out!” then screamed and continued along the block. This was clearly targeted harassment.
At 8:30, we could hear another party from inside the house, with the windows shut. When we investigated, we found it a block and a half away, across King’s Blvd, in a backyard. I called it in, only to be told that the police had just that moment arrived to break it up. Herds continued to wander the streets around our house. When I heard another party at 9:55, I went out to investigate. It was the frat across the way, playing tribal drums and chanting—as well as several parties in the townhouses down the street. Before I could locate addresses, a dozen people, staggering drunk, headed my way down the sidewalk. One had enough visual acuity to spy my slender gray cat tagging along behind me and suggest that someone grab her. I scooped her up and fled inside.
We went to bed. Noise continued to swirl around the neighborhood—shouts, bass beat, sirens near and far-- until almost midnight, when there was a settling down. Just before we nodded off, red lights flashed into our room. The police and an EMT were bent over our front garden, rousing a student who had passed out in the foliage and been spotted by a passer-by. The EMT left quickly because of a drug overdose down the street, while the officer attempted to find a sober friend to come fetch the staggering young man. When the officer came to our door to explain the situation, he was remarkably cheerful and very professional. It was, we agreed, a very bad night.
I am detailing our experiences for you not because we are so unusual, but because they are so universal in the areas around the university. Friends have seen people peeing in their front yards, been woken up by young women screaming, and heard young men puking off of the roof next door every weekend until the cold rains drive the behavior inside.

Corvallis and Oregon State University have a serious alcohol problem. According to OSU statistics, 46% of the student population used alcohol in the last 30 days; 24 percent more than ten times. Within that group, the average number of drinks was 6, with a blood alcohol level of .09. As the CDC defines binge drinking as more than five drinks, with a blood alcohol level of .08%, this is alarming. Of greater concern, 42% of drinking students forgot where they were and what they had done, and five hundred and thirty seven were raped (labeled “someone had sex with you without your consent” on the chart). 

 It is clear to me that we still have considerable work to do on livability in our neighborhoods.  A small group of drunken individuals continue to hold our ability to sleep and enjoy our lives hostage.

Suggestions:
Bike patrols. Our doorhangers. Encourage all residents to call in when they are disturbed by rowdy behavior. Tone down promotion of drinking around football games and college. Remove the beer ads from city busses. Clean up trash and glass in the streets. Lean on landlords to monitor behavior and respond to complaints quickly.  Suspend and expel students for bad behavior. Do not sell alcohol after ten PM.




Oregon State University statistics from: http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/osu-drinking-statistics.

Binge drinking definition from http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htmI am not well-rested these days.

 After a long week of work and meetings, I looked forward to a decent night’s sleep on the weekend of October 3rd. However, other residents had different plans.

On Friday night, we were woken up at least three times by drunks passing by the house, bellowing. The first time is not a big deal; we can roll over and go back to sleep. The second is worse—there’s a shot of adrenalin that happens when you are woken from a sound sleep by a scream. The third leaves you lying in bed, waiting for the other shoe to drop—or scream to happen.
Saturday night, we stayed up until eleven, despite short sleep, hoping to find the near-by parties and bust them before we fell asleep. Around ten-thirty, the noise began. Groups of ten to twelve people walked by, discussing alcohol loudly. A group of males began chanting at one another. Three stood on one corner. “Old man! Old man!” they bellowed. “Old man! Old man!” another group responded from two blocks away. “Dude, wait up!” another called. Everyone was heading south, towards Frat row. I walked the neighborhood, busted one party where the attendees were standing outside, surrounded by a sea of beer cans, and went to bed. The noise continued. Groups walked by, every fifteen to twenty minutes, until around one AM.
The next morning, I walked down my street to take photographs, which I have attached. I ran into a neighbor, hanging our “Rights and Responsibilities” door hangers. She told me that a young man asked her what she was doing. When she explained, he took a handful of hangers to distribute on his side of King’s Blvd.

 By October10th, the next Friday night, we were unable to sleep, once again, because of herds of shouting drunks passing by out house…so we were primed to be upset by Saturday’s events.
The fraternity in our neighborhood had a very loud party on Sat afternoon. So loud, in fact, that one of our city councilors, who was at my house on another errand, was appalled. There was screaming, chanting, and music ricocheting off of all of the cement walls in the neighborhood. “Not unusual,” we told him. “It used to happen at two AM. This is progress.” After hearing the party in our basement, my partner called in a noise complaint; the police visited and nothing changed. When we called in the second time, an hour later, the police came around the back of the building and had a long conversation with the membership. Silence reigned.
Around six o’clock, the herds began passing once more. One group of four boys began screaming in front of the first house on the block and ramped up the volume as they walked along the sidewalk. They stopped outside of our house shouting, “Fuck you!” “Motherfucker” and “It’s still light out!” then screamed and continued along the block. This was clearly targeted harassment.
At 8:30, we could hear another party from inside the house, with the windows shut. When we investigated, we found it a block and a half away, across King’s Blvd, in a backyard. I called it in, only to be told that the police had just that moment arrived to break it up. Herds continued to wander the streets around our house. When I heard another party at 9:55, I went out to investigate. It was the frat across the way, playing tribal drums and chanting—as well as several parties in the townhouses down the street. Before I could locate addresses, a dozen people, staggering drunk, headed my way down the sidewalk. One had enough visual acuity to spy my slender gray cat tagging along behind me and suggest that someone grab her. I scooped her up and fled inside.
We went to bed. Noise continued to swirl around the neighborhood—shouts, bass beat, sirens near and far-- until almost midnight, when there was a settling down. Just before we nodded off, red lights flashed into our room. The police and an EMT were bent over our front garden, rousing a student who had passed out in the foliage and been spotted by a passer-by. The EMT left quickly because of a drug overdose down the street, while the officer attempted to find a sober friend to come fetch the staggering young man. When the officer came to our door to explain the situation, he was remarkably cheerful and very professional. It was, we agreed, a very bad night.
I am detailing our experiences for you not because we are so unusual, but because they are so universal in the areas around the university. Friends have seen people peeing in their front yards, been woken up by young women screaming, and heard young men puking off of the roof next door every weekend until the cold rains drive the behavior inside.

Corvallis and Oregon State University have a serious alcohol problem. According to OSU statistics, 46% of the student population used alcohol in the last 30 days; 24 percent more than ten times. Within that group, the average number of drinks was 6, with a blood alcohol level of .09. As the CDC defines binge drinking as more than five drinks, with a blood alcohol level of .08%, this is alarming. Of greater concern, 42% of drinking students forgot where they were and what they had done, and five hundred and thirty seven were raped (labeled “someone had sex with you without your consent” on the chart). 

 It is clear to me that we still have considerable work to do on livability in our neighborhoods.  A small group of drunken individuals continue to hold our ability to sleep and enjoy our lives hostage.

Suggestions:
Bike patrols. Our doorhangers. Encourage all residents to call in when they are disturbed by rowdy behavior. Tone down promotion of drinking around football games and college. Remove the beer ads from city busses. Clean up trash and glass in the streets. Lean on landlords to monitor behavior and respond to complaints quickly.  Suspend and expel students for bad behavior. Do not sell alcohol after ten PM.




Oregon State University statistics from: http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/osu-drinking-statistics.
Binge drinking definition from http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htmI am not well-rested these days.

 After a long week of work and meetings, I looked forward to a decent night’s sleep on the weekend of October 3rd. However, other residents had different plans.

On Friday night, we were woken up at least three times by drunks passing by the house, bellowing. The first time is not a big deal; we can roll over and go back to sleep. The second is worse—there’s a shot of adrenalin that happens when you are woken from a sound sleep by a scream. The third leaves you lying in bed, waiting for the other shoe to drop—or scream to happen.
Saturday night, we stayed up until eleven, despite short sleep, hoping to find the near-by parties and bust them before we fell asleep. Around ten-thirty, the noise began. Groups of ten to twelve people walked by, discussing alcohol loudly. A group of males began chanting at one another. Three stood on one corner. “Old man! Old man!” they bellowed. “Old man! Old man!” another group responded from two blocks away. “Dude, wait up!” another called. Everyone was heading south, towards Frat row. I walked the neighborhood, busted one party where the attendees were standing outside, surrounded by a sea of beer cans, and went to bed. The noise continued. Groups walked by, every fifteen to twenty minutes, until around one AM.
The next morning, I walked down my street to take photographs, which I have attached. I ran into a neighbor, hanging our “Rights and Responsibilities” door hangers. She told me that a young man asked her what she was doing. When she explained, he took a handful of hangers to distribute on his side of King’s Blvd.

 By October10th, the next Friday night, we were unable to sleep, once again, because of herds of shouting drunks passing by out house…so we were primed to be upset by Saturday’s events.
The fraternity in our neighborhood had a very loud party on Sat afternoon. So loud, in fact, that one of our city councilors, who was at my house on another errand, was appalled. There was screaming, chanting, and music ricocheting off of all of the cement walls in the neighborhood. “Not unusual,” we told him. “It used to happen at two AM. This is progress.” After hearing the party in our basement, my partner called in a noise complaint; the police visited and nothing changed. When we called in the second time, an hour later, the police came around the back of the building and had a long conversation with the membership. Silence reigned.
Around six o’clock, the herds began passing once more. One group of four boys began screaming in front of the first house on the block and ramped up the volume as they walked along the sidewalk. They stopped outside of our house shouting, “Fuck you!” “Motherfucker” and “It’s still light out!” then screamed and continued along the block. This was clearly targeted harassment.
At 8:30, we could hear another party from inside the house, with the windows shut. When we investigated, we found it a block and a half away, across King’s Blvd, in a backyard. I called it in, only to be told that the police had just that moment arrived to break it up. Herds continued to wander the streets around our house. When I heard another party at 9:55, I went out to investigate. It was the frat across the way, playing tribal drums and chanting—as well as several parties in the townhouses down the street. Before I could locate addresses, a dozen people, staggering drunk, headed my way down the sidewalk. One had enough visual acuity to spy my slender gray cat tagging along behind me and suggest that someone grab her. I scooped her up and fled inside.
We went to bed. Noise continued to swirl around the neighborhood—shouts, bass beat, sirens near and far-- until almost midnight, when there was a settling down. Just before we nodded off, red lights flashed into our room. The police and an EMT were bent over our front garden, rousing a student who had passed out in the foliage and been spotted by a passer-by. The EMT left quickly because of a drug overdose down the street, while the officer attempted to find a sober friend to come fetch the staggering young man. When the officer came to our door to explain the situation, he was remarkably cheerful and very professional. It was, we agreed, a very bad night.
I am detailing our experiences for you not because we are so unusual, but because they are so universal in the areas around the university. Friends have seen people peeing in their front yards, been woken up by young women screaming, and heard young men puking off of the roof next door every weekend until the cold rains drive the behavior inside.

Corvallis and Oregon State University have a serious alcohol problem. According to OSU statistics, 46% of the student population used alcohol in the last 30 days; 24 percent more than ten times. Within that group, the average number of drinks was 6, with a blood alcohol level of .09. As the CDC defines binge drinking as more than five drinks, with a blood alcohol level of .08%, this is alarming. Of greater concern, 42% of drinking students forgot where they were and what they had done, and five hundred and thirty seven were raped (labeled “someone had sex with you without your consent” on the chart). 

 It is clear to me that we still have considerable work to do on livability in our neighborhoods.  A small group of drunken individuals continue to hold our ability to sleep and enjoy our lives hostage.

Suggestions:
Bike patrols. Our doorhangers. Encourage all residents to call in when they are disturbed by rowdy behavior. Tone down promotion of drinking around football games and college. Remove the beer ads from city busses. Clean up trash and glass in the streets. Lean on landlords to monitor behavior and respond to complaints quickly.  Suspend and expel students for bad behavior. Do not sell alcohol after ten PM.




Oregon State University statistics from: http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/osu-drinking-statistics.
Binge drinking definition from http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htmI am not well-rested these days.

 After a long week of work and meetings, I looked forward to a decent night’s sleep on the weekend of October 3rd. However, other residents had different plans.

On Friday night, we were woken up at least three times by drunks passing by the house, bellowing. The first time is not a big deal; we can roll over and go back to sleep. The second is worse—there’s a shot of adrenalin that happens when you are woken from a sound sleep by a scream. The third leaves you lying in bed, waiting for the other shoe to drop—or scream to happen.
Saturday night, we stayed up until eleven, despite short sleep, hoping to find the near-by parties and bust them before we fell asleep. Around ten-thirty, the noise began. Groups of ten to twelve people walked by, discussing alcohol loudly. A group of males began chanting at one another. Three stood on one corner. “Old man! Old man!” they bellowed. “Old man! Old man!” another group responded from two blocks away. “Dude, wait up!” another called. Everyone was heading south, towards Frat row. I walked the neighborhood, busted one party where the attendees were standing outside, surrounded by a sea of beer cans, and went to bed. The noise continued. Groups walked by, every fifteen to twenty minutes, until around one AM.
The next morning, I walked down my street to take photographs, which I have attached. I ran into a neighbor, hanging our “Rights and Responsibilities” door hangers. She told me that a young man asked her what she was doing. When she explained, he took a handful of hangers to distribute on his side of King’s Blvd.

 By October10th, the next Friday night, we were unable to sleep, once again, because of herds of shouting drunks passing by out house…so we were primed to be upset by Saturday’s events.
The fraternity in our neighborhood had a very loud party on Sat afternoon. So loud, in fact, that one of our city councilors, who was at my house on another errand, was appalled. There was screaming, chanting, and music ricocheting off of all of the cement walls in the neighborhood. “Not unusual,” we told him. “It used to happen at two AM. This is progress.” After hearing the party in our basement, my partner called in a noise complaint; the police visited and nothing changed. When we called in the second time, an hour later, the police came around the back of the building and had a long conversation with the membership. Silence reigned.
Around six o’clock, the herds began passing once more. One group of four boys began screaming in front of the first house on the block and ramped up the volume as they walked along the sidewalk. They stopped outside of our house shouting, “Fuck you!” “Motherfucker” and “It’s still light out!” then screamed and continued along the block. This was clearly targeted harassment.
At 8:30, we could hear another party from inside the house, with the windows shut. When we investigated, we found it a block and a half away, across King’s Blvd, in a backyard. I called it in, only to be told that the police had just that moment arrived to break it up. Herds continued to wander the streets around our house. When I heard another party at 9:55, I went out to investigate. It was the frat across the way, playing tribal drums and chanting—as well as several parties in the townhouses down the street. Before I could locate addresses, a dozen people, staggering drunk, headed my way down the sidewalk. One had enough visual acuity to spy my slender gray cat tagging along behind me and suggest that someone grab her. I scooped her up and fled inside.
We went to bed. Noise continued to swirl around the neighborhood—shouts, bass beat, sirens near and far-- until almost midnight, when there was a settling down. Just before we nodded off, red lights flashed into our room. The police and an EMT were bent over our front garden, rousing a student who had passed out in the foliage and been spotted by a passer-by. The EMT left quickly because of a drug overdose down the street, while the officer attempted to find a sober friend to come fetch the staggering young man. When the officer came to our door to explain the situation, he was remarkably cheerful and very professional. It was, we agreed, a very bad night.
I am detailing our experiences for you not because we are so unusual, but because they are so universal in the areas around the university. Friends have seen people peeing in their front yards, been woken up by young women screaming, and heard young men puking off of the roof next door every weekend until the cold rains drive the behavior inside.

Corvallis and Oregon State University have a serious alcohol problem. According to OSU statistics, 46% of the student population used alcohol in the last 30 days; 24 percent more than ten times. Within that group, the average number of drinks was 6, with a blood alcohol level of .09. As the CDC defines binge drinking as more than five drinks, with a blood alcohol level of .08%, this is alarming. Of greater concern, 42% of drinking students forgot where they were and what they had done, and five hundred and thirty seven were raped (labeled “someone had sex with you without your consent” on the chart). 

 It is clear to me that we still have considerable work to do on livability in our neighborhoods.  A small group of drunken individuals continue to hold our ability to sleep and enjoy our lives hostage.

Suggestions:
Bike patrols. Our doorhangers. Encourage all residents to call in when they are disturbed by rowdy behavior. Tone down promotion of drinking around football games and college. Remove the beer ads from city busses. Clean up trash and glass in the streets. Lean on landlords to monitor behavior and respond to complaints quickly.  Suspend and expel students for bad behavior. Do not sell alcohol after ten PM.




Oregon State University statistics from: http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/osu-drinking-statistics.
Binge drinking definition from http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm

Monday, October 13, 2014

Harvest Reckoning, 2014

Here it is—the annual reckoning of the harvest….

Tomatoes:
salsa 8 pints
                        Roasted 25 half pints
                        Dried 3 quarts
                        Longkeepers 10 pounds

Apples:
            Sauce 15 pints
            Cider 14 quarts
            Dried 6 quarts
            Butter 14 half pints

Blueberries:
            Frozen 2 quarts
            Dried 2 quarts

Peaches:
            Dried—2 quarts
            Canned 8 pints

Figs:
            Dried 3 quarts

Zucchini—one quart dried

Grapes:
            Dried 4 pints
            Juice 14 quarts

Pickles:
            Dill 6 quarts
            Senfgurken 5
            Beets 7 pints
            Red Cabbage 3 pints

Red Currant Juice: 5

Potatoes:
            Desiree 25 lbs.
            Ruby Crescent 8 lbs
            Yukon Gold 24 lbs
            Kennebec 21 lbs.
            All Blue 25 lbs

4 pumpkins
3 sweetmeat squashes


Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta

Cube an eggplant and roast it in olive oil until soft. 

Saute onions in big cast iron frying pan until soft. Add eggplant and two half pints of roasted tomatoes, as well as a handful of olives, some salt and pepper, and basil.  You can also add a can of nice tuna, which puts the whole meal over the top.

Cook a large handful of whole wheat spaghetti. Mix the whole mess together and top with Parmesan cheese. Eat with salad.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

October Work List

October is the end of the gardening season, the time to put the garden to bed for the winter and to snug in the house as well. It is also time to sit in the sun, on the top of a hill, looking down on mountain lakes, preparing the soul for the long dark time ahead as well.


·       Leaf collection and mulch.
·       Compost veg plants in the hoops; compost flower beds in place.
·       Clean the dehydrator screens and put them away.
·       Close down greywater systems, collect hoses.
·       Place bulk orders for Fill Your Pantry in early November.
·       Clean out the larder before filling with squashes, pumpkins, onions, and apples.
·       Carve pumpkins.
·       Take one more hike in the mountains.
·       Wash the windows and hang the storm windows.
·       Rake leaves.
·       Parent teacher conferences….
·       Clean the fireplace so that we can have fires inside.
·       Find the orange glass candleholders for the mantle.

 Oat Bread

1.5 c oats
1.25 c buttermilk
Soak for an hour or so.

6T oil
2 eggs
.5 c brown sugar
Add and mix

1 c whole wheat flour
.25 c bran
1t BP
.5 t salt
1 t BS
Mix and add

Pour into a bread pan and bake in 350 oven until done. Eat with apple butter.