Sun, 10 Aug 2008
One of the things I need to do before I'm ready to build a house is simplify. I've got a lot of accumulated junk — physical and mental, real and virtual — that I need to sort through, decide what is important, and get rid of the rest.
As far as the virtual goes, I need to simplify the tools I use: the software I use to maintain my web site and blog, the tools I use to process e-mail, and so forth.
As far as real goes, I need to get rid of actual physical objects: things I don't use, things I don't need to need to use.
The mental is much harder, but probably more necessary.
I suppose in part it is because I simply reached the maximum level of frustration with my previous set of tools that I could stand, and have had to start looking at alternatives. (Unfortunately, this happened with a number of things all at once, so I'm looking for replacements for several of the tools I use constantly.)
In part it is simply because I need more practice writing. At one point in my life I did a lot of writing, and fairly easily. Of late, it's been harder and has happened much less. I need to get back into practice.
I'm slowly figuring out more about pyBlosxom, and will eventually end up with a reasonable set of blog tools. This evening I've been figuring out more about statically rendering my blog, which ought to overcome the noticable lags when accessing my blog. I haven't switched the actual blog over to static rendering yet, but I'm getting closer. So far the incremental part doesn't seem to be working.
I considered moving to awb, an AsciiDoc-based Website Builder, but I still find the reStructuredText markup slightly nicer. If only there was a good reStructuredText to DocBook path I'd have no qualms at all.
Recently I've decided that I want to build a house. I've been reading various books about different construction techniques, and this weekend I wandered over the family farm, once with my Dad and once with my friend H.H. looking at various possible building sites. The most picturesque sites, unfortunately, are rather remote, and would involve long, long driveways and long runs of new electric lines. There are several locations closer to electricity and the road that would be nice building spots, but some are closer to neighbors than I'd prefer, and another is someplace already in use by the farm, so there's not anything that immediately jumps to mind as perfect. I plan to spend a lot of time over the next year observing condiations at each of the better sites.
I'd like to use a many materials as I can from the family farm in the construction of the building. I'm considering building a cob house, which has a number of very attractive features, but which depends heavily on the local soil for construction material. Cob houses need a clay-sand mix. Almost all of the local soils have plenty of clay, according to the soil survey, but rather than sand the rest of the soil is mostly silt, which seems like it would be a problem for Cob. I can probably obtain sand relatively economically to add to the mix, but will the existing silt make the mix too weak? That's what I have to find out.