Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Heat from Your Lawn

Pellet stoves are a convenient way to heat your home with a renewable resource.  But you may find buying dozens of bags of pellets disconcerting.  Did you know you can Make Your Own Pellets?  And they don't have to be out of wood. ABC Machinery has hammer mills, dryers, and pellet mills that will convert grass clippings into grass pellets on a homestead level.  The Vermont Grass Energy Partnership did a Technical Assessment of Grass Pellets as Boiler Fuel in Vermont.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Homegrown Furniture

How do you make furniture out of solid wood?  Try growing it as a single piece.  Okay, maybe it isn't something that amateurs can do at home, but the results certainly are intriguing.  Gavin Munro has come up with special molds and pruning and grafting techniques to get the trees into the proper shape.  Full Grown Furniture in England sells them, but they cost thousands of dollars and you have to wait many years.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

It's the Pits....

It's always nice when you don't have to spend extra money on hobbies. From comes this suggestion:

How To Grow An Avocado Tree From An Avocado Pit

The big caveat is that like many other fruit trees, avocados grown from seed don't necessarily turn out like their parent, and it can take 3 to 15 years to find this out.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Story of The Star-Spangled Banner

Just about every American knows the words to the first verse of the Star-Spangled Banner, but do you know the story behind it?  I spent six months in Baltimore in 1976, so I was well acquainted with it, but this is still an inspirational video.

Friday, June 2, 2017

For Musical Masochists...

Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade was born on June 2, 1740.  In honor of his birthday, I present you with the two most painful pieces of music I have ever heard:

There are many, many recordings of Steve Reich's Music for Pieces of Wood, and I could have tortured you for hours with all of them.  They do sound pretty similar, though, leaving you with the question, is the ringing in your ears meant to be part of the music? What makes this video particularly excruciating is eliminating the human element, just seeing the pure geometry of the passing notes.

John Cage's Fontana Mix is quite a different beast.  He did not notate it in a traditional manner, so different performers can have radically different realizations.  What makes Max Neuhaus's interpretation so ear curdling is that his primary "instrument" was a speaker and microphone, which he manipulated the feedback between.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Flea Be Gone

The weather is getting warmer, so that means nasty buggies are coming out.  Plenty of ways are available to poison them, but you have to be careful they don't poison you or your pets -- even if they are natural.