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:

More about the Doughman at

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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).


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


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.


More photos below the fold …

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The Ingram Porsche Collection at OPD in Atlanta

April 13th, 2016

Books-are-signed-by-the-Ingrams-and-Vic-Elford 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


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).


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.

More winter weather

February 15th, 2016

The last few days have been pretty chilly around here. Sunday morning it was a brisk 15 Deg. F (-10 °C) and the waterfall at the little fishpond was almost frozen.

Kühl war es hier die letzten Tage – minus 10 °C am Sonntag morgen.

Pond Feb. 2016

Sunday night it snowed and Monday we had freezing rain.

Sonntag Nacht dann Schnee un Montag Eisregen.

Ice rain Feb 2016

For tomorrow, they are predicting mid 50s (14 °C) and upper 60s (19 °C) for the weekend. So long, Winter … right?

Und Morgen? 14 °C angesagt und dann am Wochenende fast 20 Grad. Tschüß, dann, Winter … oder?

Madison Feb 2016

The blizzard of 2016

January 31st, 2016

Jan 23 NC was hit by a “blizzard” and we had 2-3 inches (10 cm ) of icy snow. Here are some shots from my quadcopter the day after.

Evidence of a (new) Ninth Planet

January 20th, 2016

The solar system appears to have a new ninth planet. Today, two scientists announced evidence that a body nearly the size of Neptune—but as yet unseen—orbits the sun every 15,000 years. During the solar system’s infancy 4.5 billion years ago, they say, the giant planet was knocked out of the planet-forming region near the sun. Slowed down by gas, the planet settled into a distant elliptical orbit, where it still lurks today.

The claim is the strongest yet in the centuries-long search for a “Planet X” beyond Neptune. The quest has been plagued by far-fetched claims and even outright quackery. But the new evidence comes from a pair of respected planetary scientists, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, who prepared for the inevitable skepticism with detailed analyses of the orbits of other distant objects and months of computer simulations. “If you say, ‘We have evidence for Planet X,’ almost any astronomer will say, ‘This again? These guys are clearly crazy.’ I would, too,” Brown says. “Why is this different? This is different because this time we’re right.”

Read more …



January 1st, 2016

Most of 2015 went really quite well, but the last few months of this year did pack a bit of a wallop for us.

Julia Graduation

The highlight of the year was in May, when Julia graduated from Middle College High School as valedictorian of her class. She got to speak at her graduation ceremony and she did a very fine job with her speech. In June, Jacob and Julia visited their uncle John in New Hampshire for 3 weeks. And in August, the day after Julia’s 18th birthday, Laura drove her to D.C. and helped her move into her dorm at American University.

Julia was very excited about studying at American and living in Washington, D.C. She received a nice scholarship from AU, that includes special programs and access to a nice dorm. She got along well with her room mate and Julia quickly settled into her new life as a student in the big city.  But in October, she caught a nasty virus and then she got quite sick. First we were tying to help her from the distance, but eventually Laura drove to D.C. for the weekend, to make sure she was getting good medical care.

Right before all this, I found out that my dad needed an operation, and so, on fairly short notice, I bought a plane ticket to travel to Germany for 10 days to be around for the operation. The day Laura came back from D.C., I left for Germany, thinking that all was under control. My dad’s operation went well, and he was recovering nicely the following weekend, when it became clear that Julia was still not doing much better. To make things even more interesting, I started running a fever and my resting heart rate was over 100. So I went to the ER in Müllheim, where I was diagnosed with pneumonia. Two days later, I dragged myself back home. Not an enjoyable journey.

After I got back home, Laura drove to D.C. again, to bring Julia home. It had become clear that she was not going to get better on her own, and that she had to take a medical leave of absence from her University. In the meantime, I had to undergo a variety of medical examinations to find out that I had Pericarditis, probably caused by a viral infection, and that there really was nothing to be done but ride it out. Which I did, and eventually I got better.

So, we’re all better (or recovering) and no permanent damage was done. But this fall took it out of us – especially Laura, who had to deal with two emergencies.

adjo3An unqualified positive development this year was Adjo, the cat Laura adopted from the animal shelter. Adjo has been a real joy to have around. She is making herself useful by hunting mice in the basement, and she has been quite affectionate. She seems to be enjoying life “on the farm” and is even no longer perturbed by the goats. What’s more, our older cat, Koklo, seems to enjoy Adjo’s company and she put up with her kitten shenanigans.

We wrapped up the year with a party with some friends and neighbors at our place, tapped a keg of Foothills Sexual Chocolate Stout, lit a nice bonfire (despite the wet wood) and lit a fun set of fireworks we had purchased in South Carolina, during out trip to Atlanta in July.

So, at the beginning of 2016, things are alright around here, and we’re really counting on 2016 to be a good year.

Holiday cheer up in the air

December 28th, 2015

My Christmas present this year was a little Syma X5C RC quadcopter with a camera from Amazon. This is a fun little quad, as long as it’s no too  windy outside. With a little practice I managed to get some pretty nice aerial shots of our little farm without crashing the quad into the trees.

Diese Weihnachten bekam ich einen kleinen, ferngesteuerten Syma X5C quadrokopter von Amazon. Das Ding macht ganz schoen Spass wenn es nicht zu windig ist. Wit etwas Uebung konnte ich sogar einige Luftaufnahmen unserer kleinen Pferdefarm machen – ohne den kleinen Schrauber in die Baume zu fliegen.