Six and a half years ago I made my first commit to Chef. A handful of us were looking for a better way to manage servers. This week was the fourth annual ChefConf with around 1500 in attendance. Growth comes with all kinds of struggle, from scaling an engineering organization to finding decent food for over a thousand people. There’s little fame in the work I do (although many people know who I am…), both at Chef and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, The Internet has stopped.

The sun and occasional chilling breeze are alright.

I live behind the scenes in many worlds. I see fascinating parts of them. I’m never sure how much my contributions matter, but I know most other humans experience a lack certainty as well. I know some believe my list of hobbies and contributions is formidable, even as I wonder if I’m not doing enough and being passed over in different ways.

I ponder my conversation with K about limiting the weight of chores and how much disruption can be handled without toppling the spinning disks of these worlds. I count the days off and the projects that they belong to and wonder if I should be playing video games instead.


I don’t travel as much as I used to. Which wasn’t a whole lot, but it seems I used to go to more conferences. As a developer now, it’s not as important to stay up on using new tools. I don’t write on my technical blog anymore either. Because I’m not solving any problems that don’t involve code; those solutions are both the fix and the explanation. Not flying has meant my reading has taken a hit. Goodreads reported I only read a couple of books this year. I’ve read two on this trip to Seattle alone, and I think the last were another trip earlier this year.

I’m on a United flight from Chicago back to Bangor. After a hiatus, This means Continental is back, but only technically. GoJet is the operator, and the CRJ is big enough it isn’t even badged an Express flight. One of the books I finished is Chickenhawk, a memoir about flying helicopters in Vietnam. I read it on recommendation of my helicopter flight instructor. If all goes well, I’ll take a check ride tomorrow in the Bell 47 helicopter I have flown over 40 hours this summer.

Despite arriving two days late in Seattle due to cancelled flights, it was a mini-vacation. Between the heavy socialization of the fourth Chef community summit, I connected with some old friends, got some bicycle rides in, some drinking, walked around the city a bit, and caught a movie. Soon, I’ll be home again with my family.

As I caught up with one friend about what I had been up to, he half jokingly accused me of only coming back to visit to make them feel like they weren’t doing anything with their lives. I’ve been busy. I’d like to sit in the woods and read more. I suspect it’ll be a few years before Darius is old enough to allow much focused relaxation at home though.


It’s nearly summer, but I might as well go along with the seasons thing.

I’m pretty sure Darius’s first meaningful word used for communicating is “up.” She has always liked being up, but at least now it’s clear that is what she wants. Although, that isn’t always what you feel like doing.

I’ve been taking Wildland firefighting classes this year: the annual refresher training RT-130 and S-212 Wildland Fire Chainsaws. Both have been really good experiences both in terms of learning and interacting with the Maine Forest Service. If I don’t find a pack test and post this year I’m planning on posting next year.

The hoop house was covered early yesterday morning. It’s nice to have that stress off of the family. Now we’re pretty focused on building Mom + Tim’s house next door. The site contractor should start on Friday. While we’ve been doing some work this year clearing the site, this is really the start of a project that is expected to continue through the end of October.

I’ve started flying helicopters over in Belfast. A Bell 47D-1. That’s been really exciting. With my Instrument Airplane rating ahead of me I’ve started researching float planes and if I can track down an IFR-equipped Cessna 172 on floats in decent condition.

Keeping busy.


Supposedly spring is right around the corner, but we’re in the midst of sleet and snow this week. I’m not sure I really mind, although thinking about it makes me turn on Dad’s old “HappyLite,” which lives in my basement office now.

There’s this cycle of waking, working, dinner, some tv, and sleep. It’s depressing. I woke early this morning and given the weather I thought about driving to the city and running on a treadmill, but then I realized the YMCA is probably closed due to the weather. I’m aware I mostly need to get some solid work done and it’ll amplify my mood. It’s hard to break that cycle of procrastination though.

I woke up and finished reading Hyperbole and a Half in book form. One story was about a goose attack in their house, an illustrated version of this post. I laughed manically. It was preceeded a bit earlier and followed by a couple parts on depression and introspection. Hyperbole and a Half is pretty well known for folks identifying with Allie’s posts about depression.


Darius keeps growing. It’s a thrill watching her develop; moving around, figuring things out. A couple weeks ago she started carrying books over to have us read them to her. She crawls well, stands okay, but doesn’t walk yet. She’s still hilarious most of the time.

Grampie Saunders has been in and out of the hospital. He’s home now, but is having balance issues and can’t get around much. He can still walk okay with a walker, but the risk is in falling down. He’s hoping it’s hydrocephalus and a splint put in to drain it. We’ll see.

Mom and Tim are on their way out. They’re somewhere around Carlsbad Caverns right now. I expect them here sometime around the beginning of April. Having them here will make building their cottage more of a priority as it’ll be much more convenient to plan and talk about.

There’s been some drama around the fire department lately. I think we’re through the worst of it.The Chief officially made me 2nd Lieutenant at the last monthly meeting. I’m trying to get in what training I can this year, at least the two spring weekend fire attack schools. Continuing learning really is high on my needs for self-care.

I drink a pot of coffee every day, mostly in single serving instant coffee increments.

Work’s going fine. I have no idea how long it’ll continue as it is. I mean, I don’t bother trying to because the world is too complex of a system, and I don’t have more immediate plans otherwise. I do spend too much time thinking about early retirement though, which is a sign of something. I don’t know if it’s works fault, or I’m over-committed with volunteer gigs, or whatever.

Eh. I don’t regret the course of things, but I do wish I had slipped Army helicopter training in there, just to have those hours now. Not that there are probably more than like 10 helicopter jobs in the state, and I can’t move from here.

Making more time for hobbies, walks, and whatnot means finding more awake and energy filled time. Which is such a hard cycle. Eh, I’m going to try an early trip into the city soon, despite the blizzard. Hopefully some things are open.

Darius and Fire

Five months, sorry Internet. Google has forced me off google reader and I’ve landed on digg reader, which doesn’t have a feature yet that gives me only unread items in order. I find reminders of L and worry about her, like I do. Or care about her. So I write?

I’m tired, and it saps my motivation to be productive. Not like a year ago, the anti-depressant really made a difference there. It was implied post sleep study that I likely wasn’t getting a good enough quality sleep due to periodic limb movement and mild sleep apnea. I stopped bothering with the CPAP machine months ago, as I wasn’t seeing any difference. Have I always been not getting quality sleep and I just never noticed? My memories of sleep in Seattle are that it happened once the day was done. Now it stalks me whenever various responsibilities and expectations slow me down and it can catch up.

I have a daughter. She’s quite awesome. I’m confident that between her mother and me she’s going to turn out pretty amazing. I tried teaching her to drive, but she can’t reach anything yet. I’ll try again later. Life’s course continues to sway, occasionally with forceful nudging from Kate, and now we wonder about DF’s well being, our impact, if there will still be tractors in twenty years.

I passed my state firefighter exams (FF1 + FF2). They are apparently pro-board accredited so it turns out I’m nationally certified. A lot of thought goes into identity the last couple of years; Kate’s starting to examine her weaning farming as I’ve been recalibrating to this rural life. I didn’t use to plan more than a month out, and now most of my plans are for years in the future. For myself, for family, for Kate and Darius, for the land.

We’re up to 29 chickens again. 23 chicks made it from this years order of 27, and have been integrated with the remnants of others. I’ve fully surrounded the run with electric fence and it’s been successful except losing the last rooster from the remnants at first due to a hole in the main fence. I need to replace the main fence soon, chicken wire isn’t sturdy enough to be used as fence.

All in all, everything is pretty good. Which I guess is why I don’t write much anymore. Somethings still wrong, or something is wrong, but I don’t know what it is and it mostly manifests physically. Naps don’t help.

fire and brimstone

It seems I’m still having trouble adapting to moving away from my bike friends, whiskey friends, and computer friends. Plus, working from home (or the warehouse-office alone) all day doesn’t make it a ton better. Some days I see more chickens than I see people in a day. I ponder the stereotype of the hardy living out in the woods away from everyone else, and I wonder how much of that there is these days compared to “the way things never were.” I have to figure at some point isolation is a sickness.

We’ve lost a couple chickens over the last few days. I came home and found a dead chicken outside the fence, probably killed by a dog. That morning a bunch of them had wandered away when Kate opened the coop in the morning to check them. I started keeping count. We had 11. Then a day later we only had 9. Tonight I came home after dark, after picking up Dora from my grandparents. She looked under one of the cars with that look in her eye that there was something there worth chasing. I presumed it was a porcupine and ushered her into the house, but it turned out to be one of the missing chickens. Besides some loud clucking, I grabbed it with surprising ease and took it back to the coop. 10 chickens again!

Kate’s pregnant again, and due April 23rd. That’s soon, and exciting. Like much in my life, I’m living in the present and taking most of the tales of others anecdotally, as they are. Two new significant relationships in as many years.

I’ve been going to a local fire academy. I call it Fire Camp, because it’s one part fire academy and one part boot camp. I’m not thrilled about the second part, but the academy has been amazing. This afternoon we did wall breaches; breaking down sheetrock with tools and climbing through studs with airpacks on. This morning we did ladder rescues, carrying each other down ladders in a variety of ways. Yesterday was ladder raises, including extension ladders up to 35′. There have been mazes, rescue techniques including drags, lifts and various other magic. Also great presentations from fire marshalls and fire protection specialists. It’s hard to believe we’ve only had three weekends of class.

I wonder if anyone out there needs a pilot firefighter? Perhaps one also skilled with firearms, radios or repairing broken machinery? Should I list more unrelated skills?


Oh hey, looks like we tripped into fall a couple of weeks ago. The trees here in Maine are beautiful and I’m happy to have seasons again, it’s a very natural way to mark the passage of large blocks of time.

I used to write often about my troubles, and these past couple of years have had their share of troubles. I’ve considered in the past that it was mostly relationship troubles that triggered a deluge of words. It is a testament to that theory that while life has some sharp twists lately, I’ve had a solid relationship on which to stand. I’m not sure why I’m not writing more about the rest, perhaps it doesn’t seem so important to me as finding a partner was. I spent the last few years in Seattle honestly searching for someone to spend the rest of my life with. As it turns out, I found that when I moved home.

Since my last writing, we got married. Of course I’m still wading through that. How does this affect my plans and my feelings? Both toward our plans to settle down, to start a family, and other feelings towards past loves and future desires? Unsure.

I’ve been busy with work, the fair, the fire department, new friends, chickens, and… It’s shaping a whole new life.

Anyway. So much to do, I don’t feel like I have time to write but I wanted to mark at least a bit of occasion.


The last couple of days have been awfully hard emotionally. I haven’t been satisfactorily productive as a result, which doesn’t help climbing out of it. Having a laptop failure at the start of the week didn’t help. I’ve been dealing with someones anger issues, which has meant a lot of time thinking and talking about what to do about it. I’ve also been thinking about ‘the rest of my life’ which is an impossible timeframe. Usually ‘next year’ is about as far as I can look forward, so this is both hard because it always is, but also relative to my way of living.

And I don’t know, sometimes when you look over a cliff you can’t help but see the bottom.

On the upside, I found and bought another Whiskey & Co. album.

From wikipedia, “we are happiest when basking in the acceptance and praise of others.” I’ve been feeling bombarded and overwhelmed with implication that there is something wrong with how my relationships are shaped; that I’m not motived by getting to know someone specifically and that I simply like being around the people that I enjoy, and I’m okay with that. I don’t have any desire to figure anyone out and lean so heavily on what I would describe as my acceptance that the world, and people, are complex and often attempts are desired or made to make sense of them while I prefer to let them be as they are; liking them or not.

How much of a relationship can be built and had on merely liking or loving who someone is and their presence? How greatly is this tied to my interversion and/or independence? Is this calm peace or complacency? Does it matter?

It’s hard asking yourself questions that could bring a lot down.


Kate miscarried two weeks ago. I doubt I’ll ever forget walking into the bathroom to see her sitting on the toilet with a tiny fetus cupped in her hands. We brought it home and buried it in the small orchard.

I needed to pick up a couple pieces of equipment in Massachusetts and New Hampshire that Sunday, so we stayed with friends on their farm in Massachusetts that night. It was a night of strong sadness, watching over Kate’s emotional and physical health, combined with curing ignorance about the process of miscarriage and some comedic interlopers as well.

I suppose it’s been like riding a roller coaster on top of another roller coaster. As I’ve been talking to J again I’ve been spending more time thinking about change and how much of it there has been.

It’s hard to separate all the change up until Kate getting pregnant with the change thereafter. I’ve wanted children for a while and I remember talking to H about it years ago. We’re still planning on having children soon enough, perhaps once things settle back out. I suppose at the end of the day it’s just hormonal programming to reproduce, but I suppose everything is. Still, I want to be a father, and I want to be a good one.

My body is fighting me. It’s pretty terrible. I’m having terrible migraines brought on by putting pressure on the back of my skull, most commonly from rolling onto my back in my sleep. My rectum itches madly, probably from a fungal infection like candida but I don’t know. The medical profession has been effectively shrugging at me. The only test they’ve run is an ultrasound on my neck to check out a nodule, but no CT scans or rectal samples. I’ve been trying to get a second opinion, but it’s really hard to get an appointment with a doctor here.

I once had another medical problem. I knew what it was, and went to a doctor for it. I thought it was cured, but it wasn’t. I went to another doctor at a neighborhood clinic who looked at my disheveled appearance, decided I was homeless, and decided it was something else. My symptoms didn’t go away, so I got an appointment with a specialist who told me what they were all doing wrong and solved the problem. The process of getting an appointment with that specialist was so easy, I just looked him up in my insurance company database and made an appointment. Now, all the doctors “aren’t taking new patients” and I have no idea how to find someone to help me.


I bought a Chevy K3500 Chassis-Cab with a 9 foot rack body recently. Dad’s Ford F150 plow truck keeps wanting more work and the plow is a bit residential for me. The Suburban doesn’t get much use except as a tow vehicle. Living in the country again and driving every day, it makes more sense to have a car for moving people and a truck for everything else. That said, we currently have two cars (Subaru Forester and a Honda Civic) and four trucks (Dodge Dakota, Ford F-150, GMC Suburban and Chevy K3500). The Suburban and F-150 are going to be replaced by the K3500. There’s some shuffling to make all this happen though. I got the Ford online for sale this week.

I’m building a radio tower. About 75′ next to the garage to get 2M, scanner and 2.4ghz antennas up over the tree line. This is a huge project.

We currently have 21 chickens and 3 guinea hens, provided our 1 dog lets them live. I still haven’t finished fencing the coop, but I did go out and cut cedar posts in the woods and drag them by hand up to the cut road. Now I’ve just got to go get them, if I can find time between everything else.

There’s also other projects around the family land, yet to begin. I’ve got to finish working on the IH 3616 tractor so we can use it to tear down the old Ice House and also to get a garage bay back.

And then there’s work.

And having a child!