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Ben's blog

  • Freedom rangers

    25 of them and they all made it through the bowels of USPS. As I introduced them to their new living quarters, I dipped their beaks into the water so they knew where it was right away. They were all quite thirsty traveling all the way from Pennsylvania.

    We ordered them from Freedom Ranger Hatchery (have a link), they were excellent to deal with.

  • Machetes have a bad rep,

    but they can clear some serious bush.

    This whole area was reclaimed along with the ancient logging road leading to it. This is where the chicken coop will go, rotating the fenced-in area for the chickens with the garden each season.

    I wish I had a picture of what it looked like before.

  • The garden this year

    Nothing major but pretty decent.

  • All fixed with a few finishing touches

    All it’s missing now is a window but I’ll wait until after we moved the coop to its new location in a couple of weeks.

  • Bear

    That sac of shit ripped open the coop like a can of tuna, -1 chick :

    A day working in the rain later, it’s structurally sound again.

    Reinforced the front panel & added extra locking throughout.

    Painting will have to wait for more clement weather.

  • New place to hang out in

    The chicks still fit through the fence which is a problem since they’re getting chased by the big chickens. We can’t keep them in the coop all the time so here’s their new protection/containment.

    This will be used as shelter during the warm days by the meat birds.

  • The pecking order

    We introduced the chicks to the 4 grown up chickens today. They shared the same quarters for weeks now and were able to get used to each other. Of course the big ones went immediately after the small ones to establish the pecking order.

    It always breaks my heart but that’s the way it is. All I do is make sure one of them doesn’t get all the attention. Natural as it is, I’m still angry towards the big ones, especially considering they too were small before. I can’t help but grab a plastic rake and establish my pecking order if they go too hard on them. This has the double advantage of satisfying my need for justice while reinforcing my place at the very top of said order. All the chickens respect the crap out of me now and make way around me. That’s right, I’m the alpha-chicken!

    Which is good because Rhode-Island reds are not shy at all which causes problems when locking them up every night among other things. It’s a healthy reminder that they are on the wrong end of the plastic rake.

    No pics or video, I was too busy containing this ruckus.

  • Markov chains music generation

    Here’s a project I’ve had on the back-burner for many years. Following the natural progression of generating stuff based on Markov chains, I decided a while ago to port the algorithm to music.

    Music presents many challenges that I haven’t been able to address well so far. As a result, what the algorithm produces always had a bitter unfinished aftertaste to me, hence why I haven’t published anything about it for years.

    • Music is multidimensional, time is relevant and needs it own analysis and subsequent generation
    • The interconnectedness of different instruments from the piece is important as well.
    • Random generation even based on Markov chains fails to produce any structure. The pieces all sound like a long solo without chorus or any other repetition that would give us what we strive for: anticipation. In other words, it’s perfect for jazz.

    I’m hoping that publishing this will give me the kick in the nuts necessary to keep improving it. Without further ado, here’s what I have so far.


    Future improvements:

    • add to corpus
    • clean pieces analyzed of noise
    • try to infuse structure
  • A successful introduction

    I installed 2 colonies today and everything went extremely well. Having done this once in the past really helped; I knew how to read the bees better and kept them very docile during the whole process.

    The second package introduced into the top bar hive

    [flv:http://ben.akrin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/IMG_1285.MOV.flv http://ben.akrin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/IMG_1285.MOV.flv.jpg 688 387]

    The hives in all their glory

    A close-up of the new Langstroth hive this season (up-side down because iPhone)

    [flv:http://ben.akrin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/IMG_1304.MOV.flv http://ben.akrin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/IMG_1304.MOV.flv.jpg 688 387]

    Busy figuring their new place out

    [flv:http://ben.akrin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/IMG_1292.MOV.flv http://ben.akrin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/IMG_1292.MOV.flv.jpg 688 387]

    The weather kept me on my toes but fortunately left us alone for a good while. The rain poured heavily a couple of hours afterwards, I hope all the bees found their way inside before.