Moving to HTML5

Since this site is partly to give me practice with web development I have updated the entire site to HTML5.

HTML5 is still a draft specification, but most browsers work with what I need and those that don’t (i.e. IE) can be fooled into doing so. That trickery does depend on JavaScript though, so if you have the combination of IE and disabled JavaScript you are probably screwed.

Anyway, some of the improvements to HTML5, apart from the most famous video and audio tags, are the semantic tags that give structure to a document. This structure allows computers in particular to identify parts of the page with greater precision and determine the relationships of content. If you want to learn more about this you should read the excellent Dive into HTML by Mark Pilgrim. In particular the chapter on the semantic changes was very useful.

There are probably a few broken styles here and there, but now that the structural conversion is done I will probably start modifying the look of the site. So don’t be surprised if it looks totally different next time.

Depths of winter

Our girl is well past her second birthday.

And of course birthdays are a time for contemplation.

Or watching some TV.

Maybe with a few snacks.

Now the seasons have changed. The long walks in the summer sun have gone and in their place have come quick excursions in -15C temperatures and blowing snow. In Lilli’s opinion these aren’t so much fun, especially when you have lumps of ice and snow stuck to your belly!

On the sunny days it is nice to be out, although this year there isn’t much to hunt and the snow is so deep that even that isn’t as much fun as last year. Even four leg drive doesn’t help so much.

It is a little easier in the back yard now that there is a fence and Lilli can run free. Although this winter it sort of limits the possibilities for running.

So it is usually easier just to keep an eye on the neighbours.

Sunday, 09.08.2009

The last week and a half of our summer holidays have been spend putting up a fence around the yard. The main purpose is to keep Lilli in, but it will also keep the rabbits, deer, and mooses out of the yard.

After a bit of investigation it seemed that the cheapest and easiest solution was a plastic coated welded wire fence with tanalised wood posts. So after some planning and measuring we made a trip to a couple of hardware shops and bought some wood for the posts and several 25m x 1m rolls of mesh. Good thing we have a big car!

A pile of wood

The most of the time up till now has been spend putting in the fence posts. Each post is just over 1m tall with 50cm in the ground. So that required a lot of post holes. At first I tried to find a post-hole digger which seemed to be quite common everywhere except for here. After a fruitless search for one of those, or anything else, I eventually found a maakaira, which is basically a manual ground auger.

Tool of torture   Torture is over.   Full on torture

It looks quite a bit easier than it actually was. Back-breaking comes to mind. The best that I managed was 10 holes in one day. Athough other days we managed up to seven, but that included putting in the posts as well. The ground around the yard varies quite a lot too. Nearer the house it is hard compacted clay full of stones. The stones jam the auger and need picked out by hand. Further down the yard it is basically soft muddy dirt full of tree roots. Those need cut by hand as well. So, generally it is slow work, and we have had the best weather so far this summer with clear skies and around 25 deg every day. Cold beer helps a lot! Oh, and did I mention the endless stream of mosquitoes and horse flies?

Many holes to go   The first post!   The 9th post!   Posts in a row.   Many posts, not in a row.

Putting in the posts wasn’t so bad, just a lot of packing in the dirt back around them. A few of them are concreted in, expecially where the gates will go.

Now that the last of the posts are in (around 50 of them), it is time to put up the wire mesh. Unfortunately we have run out of summer holiday time now. So the rest will have to be done after work or at the weekend. But in a couple of hours we managed to put in the longest run of mesh. So hopefully the rest doesn’t take too long. Being a green mesh the fence itself is almost invisible as well, which is nice for summer at least.

A fence!   A nearly invisible fence

We also bought some hinges for the gates yesterday. They are all basic lift-off farm gate style hinges, but I just noticed that one of them is missing the hinge mounting for the gate post. So we have to go all the way back to the shop again tomorrow… Hopefully it is still there, they were exactly the hinge type I was looking for.

Water

Lilli has a thing about water. Not that she appreciates getting a bath very much, but moving or running water is the most fascinating thing ever.

That means the lake across the road is her favourite place. It is impossible to go for a walk without her wanting to visit either the jetty or the local beach.

The jetty, being the closest is the object of greatest attraction.

Of course it is easier to get wet at the beach. Paddling is okay, but swimming doesn’t seem to be so interesting.

From white to green

The snow has long gone, but the need to dig and hunt hasn’t. Unfortunately it is a bit of a dirtier habit now.

Lilli 30, Voles 0.

But after a hard day digging it is important to relax in front of the TV.

Breakfast TV is the best!

With the changing of the seasons it is always good to take in a bit of sun.

Ahhhhh, the sun.

Losing a bit of hair also helps with surviving those hot summer days.

I think there was a cat there.

And it is always critical to know where the summer food is coming from.

Hmmm, ribs!

Saturday, 06.06.2009

Nothing major going on, but a few garden things and a bit of repair work.

At the back of the vegetable garden we put in a raised garden made from peat bricks. And in that we planted some asparagus. Our vegetable garden is starting to grow as well now. Even the potatos are coming up.

Asparagas garden   Chip in the ground...

The flower garden has also been cleaned up and the brickwork repaired. The bricks are too light to survive the winter freezing, so I tried cementing them in place to see if it helps. The garden itself was cleaned up and rearranged. Hopefully it can stay this tidy.

Here a brick, there a brick.

Our fruit trees are flowering again, although apart from a few cherries, I doubt if we get much. The first of the trees in the picture (an apple tree) was almost complete ring barked by moles during the winter. But their damage didn’t go so deep and it doesn’t go completely around, so hopefully it survives. It seems to be doing okay at the moment. The next is our cherry tree and finally our little pine. The pine was looking pretty sad for the first couple of years after the house was built and the ground around it was disturbed, but it seems to be growing quite strongly now.

Not much cider coming off here.   9 cherries last year!   Our very own Christmas tree.

In with the new

You might have noticed the new FriendFeed box in the menu block. That is where basically everything online is agregatted into one place. There you can find my entries on Twitter, Facebook, Kevätkartano, and anything else I do online. If I add something new I’ll include it in FriendFeed.

If you use an RSS reader (Google Reader, Thunderbird, Firefox, etc) then the easiest thing is just to use the FriendFeed RSS feed instead.

Noisy lakes

It seems that frozen lakes can actually be quite noisey. Not just crunching and creaking of ice, but much, much more.

When the conditions are right, rapidly changing temperatures, snowless ice, no wind, the entire ice sheet can resonate when minor cracks form. We discovered this a couple of weeks ago when it was a calm evening with the temperature dropping past -12C. There were very strange resonate boings coming from the direction of the lake. The noises were so loud at times that we could hear them up to 200 metres away from the lake edge. But standing on the jetty it was a different matter. The noises were coming from all directions all across the lake, just seconds apart. It was a very strange sound and quite freaky in the dark. They sounded so odd it was hard to imagine they were natural.

But as we found out later (thanks to Google), it is known, if not that common. And here are a few examples.

Frozen lake

The lake was over 20cm thick at the time and extremely clear. That is easily thick enough to walk on, which we did the next weekend a couple of times. The lake even rewarded us with a few extra boings as well.