Divisions

November 29th, 2016

Oh, America.

Seriously?! trump Mr. Cheetoface Tinyhands gets to move into the White House? OK, so maybe the other option was not all that appealing, either … the Wall-Street-pandering, email-deleting Mrs. Pinchface. So this is it, now – right? It’s all over. The Endoftheworldasweknowit.

If you are considering packing your bags and moving to Canada – wait! I have a better idea: move to a swing state. If you want to help prevent a two-term Trump administration, move to sunny Florida or North Carolina, heck, even Ohio or Michigan would be better options, if you insist on going ice-fishing. While it’s still pretty unclear what the Trump administration actually means for the American people, besides an endless, weird Twitter storm from the commander-in-chief, I think it’s important to keep this in mind:

  1. most voters did NOT vote for Trump
  2. most Trump voters are NOT racist, misogynist bigots
  3. Trump is not (yet) Emperor of America … he will just be the President

The scariest thing about the Trump administration is the unpredictability of Cheetoface himself. Yet, quite predictably, he has been backpedalling on some of his more outrageous campaign promises, and instead of “draining the swamp” that is the federal government, he started assigning many “swamp creatures” to key posts in his cabinet. Eventually, I think this is going to look like any other Republican administration: easy on the rich, big on screwing the middle class and devastating for our poor planet. And perhaps with a more intense side order of incompetence and scandal. It will suck, but I think we’ll survive.

Personally, my biggest fear is that Americans will start seeing themselves as “pro-Trump” vs. “anti-Trump” without recognizing that there are actually many commonalities across both camps. Donald J. Trump is nothing if not a divisive figure. Any disagreement is a personal affront to him. And the media are not helping by painting him practically as the “antichrist” when his is really just a scam artist with very small hands.

But I think America can overcome these divisions and find a common basis for moving forward. There is a widespread desire for renewal and change among American voters. Both the Sanders campaign and the Trump campaign tapped into that desire. Yet, both the Clinton campaign and the Trump campaign ended up running very negative campaigns that made fear a main motivation for their supporters. But in the end, that divisiveness and fear-mongering is not very inspiring, especially not to the young voters.

My hope is that once we see the common desire for a political renewal in this country, we can set aside some of the political differences and maybe tackle the big challenge that is electoral reform. Even though there is so much attention focused on the election of the President, the much bigger problem is actually the Congress, where decades of gerrymandering has created mostly safe seats with little or no competition. It is there, more than at the presidential election, where democracy is slipping away in this country. Redistricting based on current population numbers and by an independent body is a critical and monumental task if this country’s democracy is to stay vibrant and relevant. It is absurd that in most states, the state legislature draws the election districts, which means basically that the party that has the majority in the legislature get to protect that majority by essentially selecting the voters. No wonder that of all 435 congressional districts only 49 were competitive in the last election.

Maybe the Trump presidency will be the motivator to finally get more Americans to re-engage and take their political destiny away from the entrenched special interests and into their own hands. The Sanders campaign was a glimpse of that possibility. Let’s hope they can keep their momentum going.

Halloween

October 31st, 2016

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Julia’s elaborate, home-made Halloween costume this year: a Kelpie (mystical Scottish shape-shifting waterhorse)

N.C. State Fair 2016

October 30th, 2016

Last weekend, we took the whole crew to the State Fair in Raleigh. It had been a few years since we last went and it was a gorgeous fall Saturday, so we had no excuses. It did turn out to be one of the busiest days at the State Fair ever, but we spent most of the time in the agricultural exhibits, away from the huge crows.

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We watched the live stock competitions … the Jersey cattle (above), Nubian goats and horse competitions. We also saw the various prize vegetables, like gourds, pumpkins, etc.

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I had a long chat with the compost folks about my black soldier fly larvae, and how to best harvest the pupae. And I had a nice chat about oaks with Hans, who is a ranger at the N.C. Forest Service.

 

Trump vs Clinton – Wahldebatte Schwäbisch

October 18th, 2016

Diese Grassdackel schwätzet ein Blech daher! Da fällt mir nix mehr dazu ei. Aber Spässle muss scho sei. Maultasche, gell!

Vergesst Zonen-Gaby nicht!

October 3rd, 2016

Farm chores

September 25th, 2016

Last weekend, I got some shit done. This is the “mother of all compost piles” … 25 wheelbarrows of manure with 100 gallons of glycerin from my biodiesel production. The pile in the back is the biggest one I have yet built. The one in the front will be ready in the spring.

compost fall 2016

I also cleaned out the horse shelter and dropped a yard of dry screenings in it and topped it off with some shavings.

shelter cleanup fall 2016

All in a day’s work :)

 

Emu Mel likes her head scratched

September 15th, 2016


Our female emu Mel likes her head scratched like the next bird. She has been with us now for a while and she has settled in pretty nicely.

Going for a bath in the pond with the horses

August 24th, 2016

A few weeks ago, we took Cleo and Madison to the neighbor’s property for a dip in the pond. Cleo loves swimming, but Madison was a bit skeptical at first. We convinced her eventually, though, and then she loved swimming, too.

Vor ein paar Wochen sind wir mit den Pferden auf dem Nachbargrundstück im Teich baden gagangen. Cleo mag das sehr gerne, aber für Madison war das ganz neu, und sie war skeptisch. Mit ein bischen Überzeugungarbeit von uns ging sie dann aber doch rein und fand das doch ganz lustig.

Goat vs emu

July 16th, 2016

Sidney the emu and Snoopy the goat are having a bit of an argument in the pasture.
Unser Emu Sidney und Snoopy die Ziege hatten neulich einen kleinen Streit.

Our new emu Mel

June 21st, 2016

This is Mel, our new emu.

Mel ist unser neuester Emu.

Mel the emu


She is still very young, maybe 2 1/2 years old. We got her from a friend in Seagrove, NC. They took her in when they found her wandering their neighborhood. Now she is settling in with the boys – Sidney and Darwin – in our pasture. For now she has her own enclosure, because she needs to learn that this is her home now. Also, the boys are not too thrilled about sharing territory with her, yet. We hope that they will figure this out during breeding season in the fall.

Last week, Mel had an adventure, when she got out and roamed our neighbor’s yards for a few hours, but luckily she did not go far. She ended up in the yard of a neighbor who has just moved in a few days prior. They were really good sports about it, too. But have you ever tried to herd an emu? Ridiculous! I ended up having to grab the bird and carry the almost 50-pound bird back to the pasture!

Doughman 2016

May 30th, 2016

Doughman 8\

Saturday, Team 11foot8 knocked it out of the ballpark at the Doughman 8 here in Durham, with a 4th place in the annual quadrathlon and fundraising event.

Doughman 8Bill Copeland, Craig Young, Gordon Keeler and yours truly were on the team. Gordon Keeler started out with spaghetti and broccoli rabe & Italian sausage from Boot and then ran 3 miles. He then handed the spoon to Craig Young, who ate spicy barbecue jack fruit arepas from Luna and then biked 10 miles, handing the spoon to Bill Copeland, who ate Motorco’s Chana Masala and ran 2 miles, and then handed the spoon to me. I ate a mini chicken salad brioche from Saladelia and a mini gougeres with cream cheese, goat cheese & jalapeños (like a little croissant with stuffing) from Mad Hatter and then I ran a mile and then splashed around in a kiddy pool a bit before heading to the dessert table for the final course.

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Cleo and Apache – part 2

May 9th, 2016

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Last Saturday, we picked up our mare Cleo from her “vacation” with her stallion Apache. The two of them had been “getting it on” for most of the week while she was in heat. Saturday she was at the end of her cycle, so it was time for them to part ways. Now we have to wait a few weeks to see if the stallion’s efforts were successful and if Cleo is pregnent.

Samstag brachten wir unsere Stute Cleo nach Hause, nachdem sie 2 Wochen mit ihrem Hengst Apache verbracht hat. Die beiden hatten eine gute Zeit zusammen, insbesondere letzte Woche, als die Stute rossig war. Samstag war die Rosse dann vorbei und es war Zeit sich zu verabschieden. In etwa 3 Wochen werden wir dann herausfinden ob all die Mühe des Hengstes erfolgreich war und Cleo trächtig ist.

Support the 11foot8 Doughman Team

May 5th, 2016

For the 4th year in a row, 11foot8 is sponsoring a team at this month’s Doughman race, the world’s premier quadrathlon. The race combines competitive eating, running, biking and watersports into an epic battle of will power and athleticism. The race is also a fundraiser for Durham’s educational community garden SEEDS. Once we raise $1000, our team will get a 5-Min head start. DONATE HERE:
https://runsignup.com/Race/32698/Donate/0XmyEiMNMRMyGYlF

More about the Doughman at http://www.doughman.org

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Copperhead migration season

May 4th, 2016

dead copperhead

Every spring, I find a copperhead snake near the house or the hay storage and have to kill the animal. This one was under our deck, and I had a shovel handy, so its demise was quick. I hate to do this, but a bite from a copperhead is not trivial and I am not going to take the chance that the poisonous snake will set up shop in places we regularly run around in shorts and sandals.

In the spring, the snakes migrate from their winter quarters to their summer hunting grounds. We have mice in and around the house and the hay shed, and there are all kinds of hiding places. So the snakes would be in great shape, but sooner or later I will run into them, and if I am not careful and step on one, I will get bitten. and that is a definite trip to the hospital. Relocating is an even greater risk than just letting them hang out. We did that once, and never again. Too dangerous. So, sorry snakey, but if I catch you near the house, I will have to kill you. When I run into them in the woods, no problem – you don’t bother me and I don’t bother you. They really are gorgeous animals and they help keep the rodent population in check. So seeing them out in the woods is great.

Cleo and Apache

April 24th, 2016

Today, we took our 15-year-old mare Cleo on her first date. We drove her to a horse farm nearby where she well be spending the next 2 weeks with this dashing tobiano Walking Horse stallion. His name is Ebony’s Midnight Rainbow, or just Apache (on the left in the pic below).

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Apache is 17 years old and he is a registered Walking Horse stallion, and he has fathered several dozen healthy foals.

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Apache and Cleo had a really good first date. There was a fair amount of running around, nickering and he did this barking noise that stallions do. But he also saw that she is not in heat yet and so he went back to eating his grass. All in all, he is a pretty laid-back fella, which is why we’re pasture-breeding Cleo with him.  Nice color, healthy hoofs and a good personality – the two of them should produce a great foal.

More pictures below the fold.

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My new Benz – 1992 300D

April 23rd, 2016

Speaking of collecting cars … this is not exactly competition for the Ingram Collection, but as of yesterday, I am proud owner of two W124 Diesel Mercedes Benz automobiles:

Benz 1 and 2

This is the new one: a 1992 300D with 241,174 miles (388.131 KM). That is slightly less mileage than my 1991 Benz had 9 years ago, when I bought her!

Benz 2 - 3

The ’91 is over 320,000 miles now (514.990 KM) and still runs fine. She’s a bit beat up after I got rear-ended last week. Julia drives this car most of the time right now, and Jacob will start learning on it soon. So I just took the insurance payout and bought Benz #2. Everything on the ’91 works fine – the damage is just cosmetic. So I will wait until Jacob is done learning how to drive, and then I’ll fix her up and re-paint her.

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More photos below the fold …

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The Ingram Porsche Collection at OPD in Atlanta

April 13th, 2016

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Flatsixes.com has a great post about Bob Ingram’s Porsche collection visiting the new Porsche Experience Center at One Porsche Drive (OPD) in Atlanta. That famous collection is based here in Durham, and I sometimes catch a glimpse of it when they load some of the Porsches on a transporter to take them to shows. And when you’re really lucky, you can sometimes see a super rare Porsche cruising down Main St.

Check out this interview with Bob and Jeannie Ingram from 2013.

Edit: speaking of Porsche, I saw this 997 GT3 RS (pre-facelift) on my way to work this morning:

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Nice day

March 28th, 2016

Birthday

Today was another day I did not get younger. But as the case may be, I got some cool toys today, too. My daughter got me a nice beer glass that is the shape of an upside-down beer bottle. I also got a pair of FPV goggles for my quadcopter. Plus a mini camera and a transmitter, so I can fly the little thing as a live-video FPV ship! So much fun! So all in all, a really nice day today!

Happy Leap Day – Oscar edition

February 29th, 2016

Happy Leap Day! And congratulations to Ennio Morricone for finally winning his first competitive Academy Award for his score for Quentin Tarantino’s film The Hateful Eight (2015).

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Morricone’s almost 60-year career in music included over 500 film scores, 5 previous Oscar nominations: Days of Heaven (1979), The Mission (1986),  The Untouchables (1987), Bugsy (1991) and Malèna (2000), and the 2007 honorary Oscar. Now, at age 86, his fantastic score for  Quentin Tarantino’s newest masterpiece The Hateful Eight has finally brought Morricone the well-deserved recognition by the Academy.

Here are 2 key pieces from this movie: L’Ultima Diligenza di Red Rock

Regan’s Theme from The Hateful Eight

 

Perhaps most iconic, though, was his work for Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Here is the iconic “Ecstasy of Gold”

We live in the future

February 24th, 2016

Boston Dynamics is at it again. I am sure we’ll get used to this, but right now it’s a bit creepy.

At the end, after it gets up, I fully expected it to go after the guy.

Faszinierende Technik, aber emotional schon etwas gewöhnungsbedürftig. Ich dachte an Ende, nachdem sie aufsteht, dass die Maschine auf den Mann losgeht.