My View from the Ramparts: Farmhack: My latest attempt at temporary animal fencing

I’ve spent quite a bit of the past decade trying to figure out how to create portable temporary animal fencing. My previous attempts were mostly focused on cattle because that’s what we had, but now that we have sheep and goats instead, the durability needs of the solution has changed.

My latest attempt uses 3/4in EMT conduit to build a frame to support 10ft sections of sheep fencing held on by 16 gauge wire. The secret to this assembly is the handy fittings from MakerPipe that allow me to assemble the frames with little more than cutting the pipe to length and wiring on the fence.

These panels are very lightweight but strong enough to resist rubbing by our sheep and goats and our livestock guardian dogs leaning on them. Once I get enough built to show them in use, I’ll post an update. –DLH

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Science and Technology: Can we talk about pocket computers for a bit?

So, here’s the thing… I know most of us think of that digital leash we carry as being a “phone”, and I guess, in some way, because of how it was manufactured, it is in some way a phone. Except, really, it’s not.

I know some people still talk on it, but if you look at the vast majority of what most people do with that thing we call a phone, the fact is it’s really a pocket computer hamstrung by the fact we keep thinking of it as a phone.

We need to stop that.

I know it’s a radical transformation in thinking, but we have these incredibly capable devices, connected to the entire world in multiple ways, yet we insist on continuing to think of it mostly as a more sophisticated version of the thing we had hanging on the wall in the 80s.

It’s not.

In fact, it is so much more than just a phone that calling it that refers to the function that is almost an afterthought compared to all the things it can do. It’s a camera. It’s a GPS. It’s a wireless messaging device. It’s a word processor, game console. video conferencing device, shopping portal…

In fact, it’s a computer. One you carry in your pocket.

If we stopped thinking of this device as a phone and started thinking of it as a computer, I suspect the way the technology would develop would be freed from the fetters of when it was only a phone and become a companion, or maybe even a replacement, for the thing sitting on our desktop or in our backpack; a device geared toward connecting us to the world and allowing us to create in ways we can only imagine right now.

Can we do that? Because I’m ready for it? Are you?

DLH

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Education: More on rethinking education.

The last time I posted to this blog, I opined that I believed it was time for us to rethink the purpose of education. More than two years later, I am more convinced than ever that premise is true.

From my view, the modern education system is a weird chimera of the classical notion of creating a well-rounded person by versing them in most or all of what was known at the time and the industrial notion of creating a class of workers with an interchangeable skill set. While there are arguments for both of those notions, the extremes to which we have taken them in the last few decades has left an education system that is broken and rotting from within.

I believe the fundamental purpose of modern education should be to equip every learner to be able to understand, use, and manipulate the vast store of information freely available to anyone who wants to access it. What that kind of education will look like will be different for every person based on their unique strengths and weaknesses.

As a result, I also believe the notion of massed group education by age and grade is also obsolete and needs to be replaced by a system that focuses on developing a student’s strengths and buttressing their weaknesses.

Yes, that means, in order to do what I am suggesting, we would have to replace vast swaths of the education system as we know it. Likely, that would mean reimagining teachers as managers for students who are, to a great degree, educating themselves with guidance. It would mean focusing the money part of education on developing coherent guidance for each student. It would mean dismantling the mass industrial model in favor of a focused individualized one.

Further, this new model would have to focus on all the things currently lacking from the industrial model. It would get kids outside as much as possible. It would emphasize physical and emotional development as much as it would academic and social development. It would focus on making students lifelong learners and thinkers over making them complaint workers.

I understand this is a pipe dream in the current climate, but the radical reform of education in some form is almost inevitable. If we start thinking about it now, maybe when the time comes, we’ll be able to make something good happen.

DLH

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Walking along the narrow road: Pondering what’s next

I established this blog with the intent of it being many things. Along the way, I’ve doubted every one of those things and, as a result, have not moved forward on any of them.

I return to ponder what I meant and mean to do and come to this conclusion: I am a faithful layman eagerly walking my path to higher things. I don’t speak with the authority of a pastor. I am not an expert. That, however, does not mean I don’t have thoughts I wish to share.

My hope moving forward is to cast what I write here in that light: an individual Christian’s journey toward heaven. I want to share what I experience so that, perhaps, others can be encouraged by it or, if need be, encourage or correct me where I am going wrong.

The goal is heaven, and we are all part of the same body. I am a writer, and I believe writing can be my contribution to the whole. God grant me the wisdom to do exactly that.

Amen

DLH

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Food: Our love affair with food

I’m sure you’ve heard some version of the old adage, “eat to live; don’t live to eat,” and while it’s a great sentiment, it doesn’t help us at all with our modern love affair with food. It’s easy to bemoan the realities that have lead to that end, but what we really need is a fix.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, food is too often an entertainment and a salve. What I have discovered is the bulwark against that behavior is keeping it simple in the kitchen.

When I say keeping it simple, I mean exactly that. Most of the time, if I go into the kitchen to make something complex, I get discouraged or bored, and default back to the kinds of foods that make me sick in the long run.

What I’ve been doing over the past couple of years is collecting a goto list of simple, direct dishes that I can prepare in a short amount of time and that satisfy my need to eat. I hope to document those dishes here in future posts.

DLH

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