Early Summer along the Suwannee


After spending the morning working up a sweat, what better way to cool down than to pop across the street and catch a rope swing into the Suwannee River?

This trail is through a property owned by the local water management district, and it is literally across the street from my land. During a normal flood season, there are parts of this trail that are under more than ten feet of water. During the 500-year flood that hit a few years ago, some of these trees were entirely underwater.

...what can I say, it's heaven.

Netflix and Hurricane Electric's IPv6 service

For a few years now, I've used Hurricane Electric to get a native IPv6 tunnel to the internet. I've also been using Netflix streaming since it was first introduced. Life was good.

Netflix, on behest of its content suppliers, has started to crack down on folks using VPNs or proxys, because they're often used to work around artificial geographical restrictions.

A day or two, that blocked proxy list grew to include Hurricane Electric's IPv6 service, which I make heavy use of. Despite a US billing address, being physically located in the US, and using a US tunnel endpoint, Netflix treats me as an eeeevil bad person.

Their only advice is "disable your proxy", which is not an option as I have IPv6-attached servers that need to remain online.

Netflix's applications don't provide a way to utilize IPv4 only, which basically means I had to figure out a way to force netflix traffic to travel over IPv4. Ideally, I'd block the IPv6 AAAA dns lookups, but there's no simple way to do that.

However, one can just null-route the entire Netflix IPv6 address range:

    ip -6 route add blackhole 2406:DA00:FF00::/48

This will, after a little delay, cause Netflix to fall back to using IPv4, and all is well.

Ironically, being able to avoid this sort of BS is one of the reasons why Netflix was such a compelling service, but the balance is tilting back towards piracy providing a better overall user experience. Part of me hopes that the stats show a nice correlation between making legal services less useful and piracy rates going back up.

Addendum: About a year ago, my ISP (Comcast Business) rolled out native IPv6 service which by all acconts works quite well. Unfortunately, they don't offer a static IPv6 allocation, which renders the whole thing useless for my needs.

Starting points

As I mentioned earlier, the house on the tick farm came as-is, in a partially renovated form. This is the view from just inside front door:


Aside from some formerly exterior walls, the place is stripped to the wall frames, with only doors, baseboards, trim, old HVAC ducting and most of the old wiring remaining. I need to finish ripping all of that out before I can do any new work.

The windows off to the side are in what used to be an outside wall, before the Florida room was enclosed. I started by knocking them out:


In the process of opening this wall up as much as possible, I'll be pulling off this "exterior" siding and resuing it as needed on the outside. I can't proceed with [re]moving most of the interior walls until I get some professional advice on just what is truly load-bearing, but in the mean time I'll finish the demolition.

In parallel, I need to replace all but four windows, close off the useless exterior door in the florida room, and patch up the siding as needed. I'll probably stucco the whole exterior eventually.

I will need to chase out a nesting cardinal and perhaps a squirrel two before I install soffits under the eaves, but after that, the windows, and a little bit of siding patchwork, the place will be weather- and critter-tight and the next phase can begin.

My general vision is to split the main house roughly in two, with a large master bedroom suite occupying the north half. The southern half will be opened up, built around a largeish kitchen, although the exact details depend on how clever I can get with the load bearing walls. The current finished section will probably become an office.

There's a ton of work to be done, and it'll take a couple of years before it's all done, but the results will be well worth it.

The Peachy Free-Range Organic Tick Farm


On March 27th, I closed on a 30 acre spread in rural Suwanee County, Florida. It's within spitting distance of the Suwanee River and two different springs, far enough north to be in the deep south.

The land is teeming with wildlife of all sorts. Even the small clearing around the house has numerous gopher tortoise burrows, plus many smaller burrows and birds nests from finches to hawks. Foliage-wise, there's loquats, pears, figs, grapes, blackberries, mint, bamboo, and what the locals call sparkleberries within easy reach, and much more if I want to venture into the heart of the tick farm.

Speaking of the house, some decades after it was built in 1951 it was relocated here, and mostly gutted for a renovation that never materialized. About 400 of its 1250 square feet was finished into the form of an efficiency apartment, with modern-ish wiring and a full bathroom. The rest is mostly bare framing and trim, leaving me a nearly blank slate to work with.

The well water is clear and sweet, and the high pressure combined with the dialed-up water heater made for some blissful showers after long, sweaty days.

I buried Isabella's remains, and planted a grapefruit tree on top. Every time I go back I'll plant something more -- I want peaches, pecans, walnuts, [key] limes, cherries, confederate and night-blooming jasmine, honeysuckle, english ivy, a proper thicket of blackberries and raspberries, and a rose garden for good measure.

I've never considered myself particularly ambitious, but what dreams I've had have always started with a large chunk of land somewhere beautiful.

I've finally found that somewhere, and if I play my cards right I'll be living there this time next year.

I'm really looking forward to what happens next.

Ghostly Morning


One morning last weekend, I woke up to thick fog that did not lift until the sun was well into the sky.

Taken along the northern shore of Mill Dam Lake, in Ocala National Forest.

Farewell, Isabella


Isabella wasn't so much as my cat as I was her human. She was a very un-cat-like cat, somewhat uncoordinated and not terribly bright, but fiercely loyal and always happy to see me.

Ciao, Isabella.

...Thank you for fifteen (and a half) wonderful years of companionship.