The Way is Shut

The Dads do not suffer the dogs to pass.

Easement Acres gets its share of odd projects.  And this time it’s for muddy paw mitigation.

Say it’s nice enough to leave the door open.  Say I want to enjoy the deck.  Say I also want to let the dogs enjoy the weather because I’m an awesome dog dad.  But also say that the backyard isn’t dry, and say the dogs like to run and I can’t keep grass growing back there so it’s’ a mud pit.  And finally, say that politely instructing dogs to not leave the deck has little effect.  What to do?

Simple.  Shove a kiddie pool against the stairs and wedge it with the grill.

Or, something slightly less trashy…

A gate!

Not a novel solution I suppose.  Somewhere along the line someone figured out barriers need access points and invented such a device.  But I still had to create one that fit my exact needs, so I still get man points!

Behold, my adjustable retainer! The bolt can be loosened to account for changing tolerances.
And another fine application of an existing invention.
A gravity latch. Oooooo.

The whippet has since thanked me by peeing on the floor.  But what she hasn’t realized yet is that I can also lock her in the yard, thus depriving her of deck furniture cushions in the sun once the weather warms.  We’ll see who has the last laugh then!

Naughty dog projects.



I want to shoot neighborhood cats sooooo bad.


Okay, so I just don’t want cats on my property.  I find this to be a very reasonable request.  Yet, in the internet debate over cats being allowed to roam unrestricted outside, the arguments against this practice focus on the dangers posed to the cats themselves, which is still a self-centered argument, even if it’s on the against side.  It overlooks what should be the prime reason: it’s rude to other people.

Even if letting your cat outside wasn’t inherently dangerous, it’s still pissing and shitting in my vegetable garden and digging things up.  It’s being destructive to my property and hobbies, and potentially passing infectious diseases into the produce I eat.  Under no condition would a rational person consider this okay.

And yet – there they are.

And it turns out that the problem was worse than I thought, revealed to me after my garden camera install.

…And that’s just one day.

But I’ve ranted about roaming cats before.  No need to go through that futile discussion again.  Instead, I decided to find a preventative measure that was more likely than changing a cat owner’s behavior.

Although there are other animals I wish to deter, like this skunk
…and some of the squirrel population (but it was fun to talk to them through the camera).

Instead, I invested in a motion-activated ultrasonic alarm.  I had limited expectations, but I haven’t caught any more cats on camera in the two days since I installed it!  So I bought two more.  It seems feasible that I can at last create a cat-free perimeter.  The 3rd one I’ll run at a higher frequency and see if that does anything to the squirrels.  That’d be a double win after last year’s tomato patch decimation.

And the camera worked for one of its intended purposes.  I love it when a plan comes together.


Ring 3

It’s not quite paranoia, but I wanted another outside camera.  This time, I wanted a view of the garden.  Why?  Because the house doesn’t have any windows on that side and I want to check in on the veggies.  And to yell at any deer and cats that trigger the motion alert (the latter of which I’ve already chased away with the camera’s alarm).  I’m also hoping its presence will be a deterrent to a certain neighbor who takes their dog across the property line to shit.  Doubtful.

But between the pandemic and chip shortage, the camera model I wanted, which I’ve previously installed in the backyard, hasn’t been available for a couple years now.  Then, finally last month, it appeared open to order, though it must have been backordered because I only just received it over the weekend.  No matter. I have it now.

Taking the previous installation’s lessons, I routed a CAT6 through the attic and to the garage window, where I installed a keystone jack, and connected to this a specially-ordered outdoor patch cable which ran along the eaves and to the camera.

Exposed wires are never elegant, but it’s the garage.

I also must be losing my touch with crimping cable terminals.  I struggled to the point of fury before deciding to go out and buy a different model, which worked just fine.  User error maybe.

Surpassing the other camera, this is now the longest ethernet run I’ve pulled.  And fortunately, it worked the first time.

I see you!

This makes my 10th drop to the patch panel.  And I even acquired a PoE switch since last time, thus replacing the prior single-port injector and giving me 4 powered ports.

Future expandability!

Looking forward to some nature pics.  And foiled pooping attempts.



I never was a foodie.  I always viewed an obsession with food as unhealthy.  Then I had two revelations:

  1. I don’t live in a foodie culture.  I live in an over-indulgence culture.  That I can’t order a lunch anywhere and be without leftovers is indicative of this.  When our agricultural system was streamlined and ownership consolidated, with production determined by government subsidy, we ended up with vast quantities of high-calorie and low-quality food–product that needs to be moved.  So food is cheap but not good.  We compensate by adding addictive flavor enhancers, then eating too much.  When contrasted with true foodie cultures, the ones that refuse to lower quality, we end up with small and expensive portions, that are overall lower in calories and additives, which also taste better naturally.  And we ridicule these people relentlessly (damn French!)
  2. Being descended from western European immigrants, the food I grew up with was of traditional peasant variety.  This alone didn’t make the food bad, but coupled with a lower middle class childhood, my mother’s food didn’t generally branch out into the more exotic ingredients out of basic economics.  And her own upbringing instilled the value of food being simply available, so to her standpoint being a foodie was having sufficient quantities and eating a lot.  And shut up and eat, because starving children in China.

These two points continually boost each other, and whether we blame capitalism or economic limitations as the initiator, the end result is that American middle class food culture is one of excess over quality.

But then I developed the technical skills required for cooking, and while my formative financial station kept me locked in the familiar mediocrity, my socioeconomic ladder-climbing provided exploratory means.  I realized that cooking, like any technical skill, could be quite rewarding when also risking failure (something money allows).  I argue with people on the true artistry of food preparation, but I don’t think many of us achieve that level.  We are not chefs.  We are cooks, executing known techniques to output a palatable result, which is not to say that the process is easy to learn, or not fun and interesting.

But enough of my sociological babble.  That was just an intro so I could show what I’ve been up to on the food front.

…which amusingly begins with peasant food!

Potatoes, onions, blood sausage, sauerkraut, and dumplings.  That’s pretty peasanty all right.  Filling and hitting all the macronutrients.  This was mainly to try the blood sausage, which I had never had before.  Like liver, it was unsurprisingly very rich and iron-y.  It was okay, but I don’t think I’ll get it again.

Next up, bread, which I don’t think qualifies as peasant food.  It predates that, being a standard subsistence food for humanity and the reason for agriculture’s genesis.  Well, that and beer.  Both cereal crops though.

But, this is no simple bread.  This is sourdough, and a wild strain at that.

Bread freaks go on and on about this–about how sourdough yeast is unique to the geographical region and by baking with it, the essence of said region has been captured.  However true that may be, it sounds a little too fanciful for some damn bread.  But it still holds an ounce of coolness, that I now posses the knowledge to create bread sans commercial yeast.  And unlike commercial yeasts, this one had a much stronger flavor.  I’ll try to keep that mother alive (the yeast one–the other one’s on her own).

And next, some more smoking successes.  While I can’t claim the other dishes on this table, I did smoke a turkey for the first time, to positive reviews.  I don’t know where exactly turkey fits in on the status scale, because it’s a holiday tradition food, so maybe it’s exempt altogether.

Turns out that smoking is indeed a viable cooking method.  I’ll try frying one of these years.

And last, also smoked–some more bacon.  Pork belly might have originated as low class food, but with its popularity and prices today, I think it achieved haute cuisine.  Noveau riche, perhaps.


Prior attempts were good, but this batch seems especially tasty.  Maybe that’s because of the meat slicer acquisition.  Uniform pieces make me feel professional…and bring back nightmares from a certain prior job.  Worth it.

Thick bacon!  Not that sissy store crap.

There we have it: good food, normal ingredients.  And while much of my cooking may have peasant origins, I can at least claim proper execution and variations in method.  But more importantly, I’ve learned to appreciate the result, not the quantity, of the final dish.  Perhaps I’m a true foodie after all.



No not that kind.  Although arguably consuming copious quantities of cured meat products is just as bad for your long-term health.  But my death will likely be from cancer, stroke, or cardiac arrest anyway; and I’d prefer the last option.  So really, I’m just ensuring my selection bears out, even if I have to accept the inevitable sooner than I’d prefer.

Or I might accidentally drop my shotgun.  Who knows?  Life is my oyster (which is a meat I can’t eat, sadly).

Anyways–meat that I can eat!

Background: of all the ways I can cook meat, I lacked a reliable way to smoke it.  And while Alton Brown’s various cardboard concoctions appear effective on TV, I prefer something a little more permanent.  And less flammable.

Enter my bday present!

It’s electric!

After all, smoking is done at low temperatures, so I see little value in charcoal or propane, aside from mad pitmaster bragging points of course.  Nay, I’d rather let a thermostat do the work for me while I attend to other tasks.

And so far, it’s worked really well.  It might not be authentic, but no one’s yet argued the point while stuffing their faces with delicious smoked delicacies. such as salmon!  Chicken!  Ribs!  And…



Definitely better this way.  Smokier.  More nitrates, too!  Heart attack coming first!

Need to try leg of lamb, pork butt, and beef brisket next.  Take a deep breath.  It’ll be hard to move here soon.