Hatching Free Range Ideas

Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Garden Prayer Wheels

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2011 at 11:21 pm

In Tibet, there are large prayer wheels along the streets (I’ve read). Passers by spin them as they walk, revolving the prayer scroll inside which then spins into the universe the idea of hope and compassion.

We have a new garden. I’ve written about the hope that new gardens bring, but I want this garden to have every chance it can to thrive. So we’ve made Garden Prayer Wheels, with a scroll inside that says, “Bloom, Thrive, Grow, Nurture, Sun, Rain” and Eric added, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” I spin it now, even though nothing is planted. There will be one on the top of each fencepost.

We’ve developed several prototypes and are about ready to figure out production, with the assistance of some of our professionally very crafty friends.

Here’s the water source for the garden, a catch pool from the roof. Why buy a large plastic rain barrel when you can work four weekends to make some thing that does the same thing? Okay, yes, it’s more attractive. And it’s nice to know that if I needed to, with the help of Eric and his concrete mixer, I too could put in a swimming pool, which this might be at some point depending on how hot the days become and how it takes for the creek to warm.

Oh, and here are a few photos of the kids. Beans, cucumbers, squash and peppers.


How does your garden grow?


Back at school. Dental school, that is.

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm
The following is a guest post from Tim Hayward. It made me laugh out loud so he said I could share it. It starts below.
I don’t have a blog so here is my entry.
I just got back from another dentist visit in Houston. I am getting work done at UT Medical School. So far it has been very good, though today something went slightly wrong. After a fairly lengthy physical procedure, I asked “Isn’t there a chemical option for treating this?”
Dr. Bentley: I was thinking about that. Megan, go back there and get a bottle of Chlorahexidine. There is a bottle on the counter in back.
Megan goes off to get the bottle. Dr. Bentley writes a prescription for it and leaves.
Megan returns with the bottle,carefully reading the label.
Megan: it doesn’t say how much you should use.
She pours me a cupful.
Tim: This really looks thick. (tastes it) and it tastes terrible! (Tim takes the whole terrible tasting cup and swishes it in his mouth for the required 30 seconds)
After tasting, complaining then rinsing for the 30 seconds I asked to see the label.
Megan: Why?
Me: Because I think it contains surficants.
Megan: Whats does that mean?
Me: Detergents. Dish soap.
Megan was a Baylor girl… I said “hell” earlier. Maybe she is just preparing for childrearing. She didn’t bring me the bottle. Then I saw an exact duplicate bottle underneath the clogged hand sanitizer dispenser in our lab cube. Yup, same taste.

Moral: The doctor, the student, the manufacturer and I all made a big mistake. However, their mistake didn’t have the impact that my mistake did. I am the only one of the four who swirled hand sanitizer around in his mouth for 30 seconds.

Happy Valentine’s Day

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Market your invention

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm

I attended a presentation by this guy at the Alamo Inventor’s Club. First, that’s a very interesting mix of people, from scientists with serious patented devices to people who are thinking about the world’s need for a better mousetrap. My favorite of his ideas was that you don’t innovate toward the unknown. You innovate right next to an existing product. Easier, faster sell. So for those of us trying to come up with time travel, we’d be better off coming up with a new type of pendant watch. See how easy that is to explain to the market?

Here are my notes:

Stephen has a great understanding of the machinations of the market, at a very practical level.

Last night, he shared his tips generously, but really what he was doing was promoting his new book and he offered a special offer to each person who went to Barnes and Noble and bought two books, which, if he reaches the 2000 number between March 21-28 he’ll get on the front table. See, first books get almost nothing from publishers toward promotion. See what I mean? Practical market savvy. If he’s really savvy, he’ll be able to tell that I talked about him and write me a comment. Let’s test it.

We need a different kind of spiritual leader

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm

How about the Dollywood Llama?


Thank you for being part of my Tribe

In Friend's doing cool stuff that you can share, Make something on February 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I just watched a great presentation by Seth Godin, one of the gurus of social networking. I want to share four sets of points that he made, but you might want to watch his much more elegant presentation of the idea, which you can do here. Consider this the Cliff Notes version. And just like the Cliff Notes versions, the original is better.

1. Tribes are the new change engine. From factory to TV now to tribes. What we do now is to find things that need change and figure out how to change them.

2. Finding your tribe. Ask yourself: Who am I upsetting? Who am I connecting? Who am I leading?

3. The way change happens is a cycle that looks like the one at the top of this post.

4. Leaders challenge the status quo, build culture around the challenge and commit to making change happen.

Godin leaves a challenge with the audience (and by extension now, with me and you) at the end of this talk, “Create a movement.”

So, who is your tribe and what is your tribe changing?

Clothesline story

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I had lunch with two friends yesterday. One said, “you need to post more frequently on your blog.” The other said, “Are you writing a book? You have all these good ideas. . . ” She let the sentence drift away, but in my head I heard, “But you never do any of them.”

This posting is for them, but it makes me think again of what happens to ideas if they don’t become something. For me, and maybe for all procrastinators — depending on how well you know me and how cynical you are today — ideas continue to take shape until they become something. Incubation, Brenda. It’s not just a word.

Enough of the bully pulpit for the day. Here’s a story. It’s a big file and you’ll have to download it to look at it, but the story behind the story is. . .

Somewhere that Mom lived, before I was conscious of where we lived, she had a clothesline and a neighbor. The neighbor didn’t like looking at Mom’s clothesline, empty except for the clothes pins. The neighbor wanted the clothespins removed with the clothes, which in all my conscious recollection of Mom’s continued clotheslines, she never did.

Mom never liked those little clothespin bags that women of the 40s and 50s made out of coat hangers and some very meshy, country patterned cloth.

The neighbor said that the pins made her think of little birds on the line. I don’t know why that was an issue either. I like the idea of a loads of little birds lined up along a clothesline when the clothes aren’t there. In fact, that’s the only time you want to see little birds lined up on the clothesline, as anyone who has hung clothes during juniper berry season knows.

But, I loved the story so much that I said, “That would make a great children’s book. You do the pictures and I’ll write the text.” This idea incubated a very. long. time. The date on Mom’s journal that includes the pictures is 1983.

It’s a big file to download so be patient. Not as patient as Mom had to be.

Enough. Here’s the story book.

story v 2d