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March 20, 2010

The purpose driven puppy

Filed under: Dogs,Humor — Tags: , , , , — Marcus @ 8:36 am

* Please note, today’s post is from a guest writer, our Madison pup *

Today I would like to talk to you about a very important topic: purpose.  Purpose is an important part of any puppy’s life, and it should be an important part of your life as well.  You need to have a goal upon waking each morning – something to drive you throughout the day. My purpose, my driving force, my ultimate goal  is to make sure that everyone in the house is up by  6am.

The great thing about goals like these are they are easily measurable, plus once you have met you goal you can go back to bed for the day, isn’t puppyhood awesome!?

So having a goal is not enough. You need a plan as well. Take me, for example. I don’t care if I have to get every toy in the house out, I am determined to find the nosiest toy that hasn’t been hidden yet. Failing that, I will scratch on doors and cry for literally minutes if I have to – you must stay true to your goals, you see.

Another thing, planning is key for your goals and purpose.  Without proper planning, how can you expect to ever achieve your purpose?  Let me give you another example. In order to wake up everyone in the house up in the morning, I have to do some serious planning. You see, if I just run around trying to bark and make noise I will get picked up or foiled in some other way.  However if I lay in a really cute position and pretend to be asleep, no one will think of me being a risk to the sleepy, then as soon as they are not paying attention to me, I can strike.! You see, with proper planning reaching my goals becomes much easier!

One last thought, though. Don’t let other people tell you your goals and purpose in life are not worth it or are not achievable, I swear that some mornings everyone in the house is against me achieving my goals, but let me tell you, I never let that get in the way.  Once I achieve my goals for the day it all feels worthwhile!

Since I am first introducing Madison on the blog here I wanted to include a link to the great breeder we got her from, Amy @ www.ajjlsyorkies.com.  We looked for awhile to find the perfect breeder to work with, and there is soo much to love about her breeding program, check out her website (I host it now!), and if you are thinking of getting a puppy, get in touch with her.

March 19, 2010

Geocaching, here we come…

Filed under: Outdoors — Tags: , , , — Marcus @ 9:41 pm

So, it looks like I may have picked up a new hobby… Geocaching, I tried to write a quick summary of geocaching, but it turned out to make the hobby sound very confusing, so to quote Wikipedia:

“Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called “geocaches” or “caches”) anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container (usually a tupperware or ammo box) containing a logbook. Larger containers can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value. Geocaching is most often described as a “game of high-tech hide and seek”, sharing many aspects with orienteering, treasure-hunting, and waymarking.”

So far I have only taken the time to find two caches, but they were both “micro” caches which make them pretty hard to find, in looking at the map of caches around my house there are literally hundreds that are within walking or at least bike riding distance. Also people tend to hide the caches in interesting places that you would probably never notice otherwise, so I am learning a lot about the area by my home I would have never realized (The last one I found was in a cemetery I didn’t realize was there and it was hidden right beside the gravesite of a civil war soldier, I thought that was an interesting thing to come across).

Here are some pics of the two caches I have found so far:


This was my first find, it was about 4 blocks from my house and a pretty easy find, it took about 5 minutes to find it.


This was my second find, I just about gave up on this a few times, it took me about 45 minutes to find it, you see the bushes in the background, yeah, this was hidden back in those.


Here is a pic of the second find before I took it down to sign the log, now to get that picture I had to part the bush and find the spot it was in, also it was not hanging down nice like that, it was stuck back through the fence and resting on a branch behind the fence, it stuck out like a white grain of sand on an off-white beach.


In these tiny caches there is only room to sign your name on the log and then put the cache back in its original hiding place, here is the log from this cache.


Something else that is neat is finding actual wildlife while out searching for the caches, I took several pictures of some deer by a cache I was attempting to locate, I didn’t end up finding the cache, but seeing deer around here made the trip worth it, I will be back again soon to try and locate that cache (I ran out of time last time out).

I have known about geocaching for quite some time, and have wanted to try it for awhile, but I never had the couple hundred dollars to drop on a GPS device before, however I just got an iPhone work and I realized that it could probably do it since the newer iPhones have a GPS device built in. Low and behold, I did a quick search and found a great app specifically for geocaching on the iPhone. I can’t say the iPhone is the perfect device for geocaching as it is not all that accurate, but I think it will do fine for now, at some point though I may step up and buy a real GPS unit.

Until next time…

March 6, 2010

Creative Problem Solving

Filed under: Aquaponics — Tags: , , — Marcus @ 8:07 am


I have a routine problem in my Aquaponic unit, the lines pump lines that take water from the fish tank up to the grow beds get all kinds of gunk in them until they pretty much shut off, I have to remove the lines and clean them about every 2-3 months.

Now if you had water lines made out of flexible 3/8 inch plastic how would you clean them? Normally I just run water backwards though them from the faucet in the shower and then flex the hose while I am doing it, it takes a little while and works well enough, but it doesn’t really clean them all that well. As always while I am doing this I was trying to think of a better way of doing it, and today I came across a better solution.

Use a gun cleaning kit, I already had several, when I tried it this morning it took all of about 2 minutes to clean the lines and it did a way better job which means I probably won’t have to clean the lines as often.

So I have a better solution now, I should just keep using that right? Well there is no reason why I would have to do anything better, this solution works really well, but I am sure that every 6 months now when I have to clean the lines I will be trying to think of a better way to do it, always refine your methods.

I titled this post “Create Problem Solving” because I run into things like this all the time both at work and at home, and a lot of people I run across never seem to stand back, really look at the issue and try to come up with a better solution. The best people I work with when they come across a problem they don’t just keep doing things the same way, they know there is a better way that just needs found, whereas many other people just get stuck on a problem and wait for someone else to think of a better solution.

When I come across a problem like this I have a basic way of working through it

  1. Describe the problem
  2. Why is this a problem?
  3. Is there an easy way to correct part of the problem?
  4. What is the root cause of the problem?

Just the simple act of going through these steps sometimes will reveal an answer, sometimes it will provide a path to the answer, sometimes it doesn’t do anything to help with coming up with an answer (Normally because the answer is outside of your control). But I have yet to have this process hinder finding an answer. And even if you don’t get an answer to your problem, you will most likely get a better understanding of the process, so when you go to get help from either a coworker or tech support or whatever you will be able to communicate the problem better.

So to apply this to the issue with the lines from my Aquaponics this is how I would have answered the questions:

  1. Describe the problem: The water lines on the Aquaponics get plugged up and need cleaned often.
  2. Why is this a problem? When they get plugged up, the water can’t flow fast enough and then my grow beds will fill with water but never be able to trigger the siphon to drain the grow beds like they need.
  3. Is there an easy way to correct part of the problem? If I had something I could push through the water line it would clean it out faster and better.
  4. What is the root cause of the problem? There are two issues, #1 excess fish food gets sucked up and sticks in the water pipe, #2 algae builds up because the lines are clear.

So now you see how I arrived at my better fix of using the gun cleaning kit, and also I now know the path to solving the issue with the water lines.

Until next time…

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