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Dirt, The Final Frontier

I have begun another new, challenging and exciting journey into RF and Optical test development technology. A very hearty thank you to all who sent your kind support directly, through the ethers, and silently during my transition. Now that Summer is over I felt oddly compelled to write a brief, “What I Did This Summer” piece. So, here it is.


This was the most cherished Summer I can recall. The time I spent home with my family – simply being a full-time Dad and Husband – was fantastic, and will surely lodge itself in the top of my life experiences. But, the fact remains…there I was – faced with the reality of an unsolicited sabbatical.

there I was – faced with the reality of an unsolicited sabbatical

The Waiting Place

Of course my first instinct [and solace, frankly spoken] was to ratchet through each of my niggling wanna do’s around the home, which had been accumulating for an untold period of my adult lifetime. And yes, as each day passed it seemed these little nigglins multiplied like Tribbles might have done in the midst of a melodramatic, sci-fi marathon. Having what I [and my resume] refer to as  a “results oriented” personality, my list dwindled much faster than I had anticipated [sheesh, I must learn to pace myself].

When the list was down to the low single digits I began noticing my remaining home projects taking on a somewhat elliptical trajectory; They gathered furious speed near their intended target, then snapped clear of terrestrial orbit and continued at an even more powerful and determined pace towards the wild  unknown.

They gathered furious speed near their intended target, then snapped clear of terrestrial orbit

The first of this behavior emerged on my simple, home-grown Raspberry Pi enclosure which was designed to be printed on my CEL Robox 3d printer. The enclosure design began to grow and started soaking up features like my Amazon shopping cart collects items on a quiet Sunday night. The next thing I knew, I had embedded a 7″ LCD with touch screen overlay and the rPi plus controller boards all in one box. The cable routing got totally wonky, trying to allow for external displays to and from the rPi. You can see the printed prototype on DadsLifeHacks. I’m now into my 2nd (and final?) prototype.

Then a much more mundane demand beckoned – A garden space.

Dirt, The Final Frontier

My young boys refer to our hydroponics experiment as the “Magic Garden” [I know…seriously folks, we’re just growing tomatoes and peppers here]. But there is something profound about dirt. When so much of our daily life is steeped in technology, dirt does not beg attention like the demanding buzz of an incoming email or text message. Dirt is very complicit and doesn’t have any particularly pressing agenda. It then occurred to me; we need a “real” garden, outside, in the dirt. I began looking around our modest homestead plot in New England for a garden space. Nonesuch appeared. Then, while I was working on a fairly simple landscaping and erosion control project on my list; again the elliptical arc of an otherwise simple project began to stretch towards infinity. A retaining wall. Can’t be much to it, right?

Au contraire, mon ami!

Next time…Just Throw it Over the Wall