Chronicles of Suburbia

Chronicles of technology, travel and life in suburbia

Suburban farmer – drip irrigation

Drip system

As a 10th generation city slicker (OK, I have only family lore to go by, which has it that my ancestors were given land in some faraway town by the then king who had established a new capital there in 1707), I had no experience of farming. Forget my own family, growing up, I didn’t even know a relative who had either lived in a village or had been a farmer. Only recently when I found myself reading up on irrigation systems, I realized how ridiculous the whole situation sounded. No, I wasn’t going to grow rice or wheat in a fit of survivalism. It so happened that over the last couple of years, the garden in my backyard had blossomed, largely due to the prodding of the family and to a lesser extent due to excellent help I can get around here. With some agricultural success behind me, I decided to extend my garden to the first floor terrace and eventually to the whole terrace of the two-storied house. I started with lantana (considered weed in some parts of the US, I was told) in large pots over the front part of the terrace, but soon realized that that part of the house was not very accessible for watering the plants. However, if I built a drip irrigation system for the plants, not only would it solve my problem but also that I would get to play with fun things like programmable water timers. That seemed like more motivation than enough and off I went farming. In a series of posts, I will write about what I have been doing to build a fully automated drip irrigation system.

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Home network on steroid

I suspect that my friends and family think of my home network as over the top, but why anyone would not want to have a gigabit ethernet network at home is beyond me. How on earth is one going to do digital video streaming inside the house on measly 54Mbps dished out by 802.11g ? Given my plans for video streaming and the builder already had data cabling plans, I decided to go all the way and build a gigabit network connecting all parts of the house instead of relying on wireless only. Besides, boys need toys.

Here is a chronicle of what I did to build the home LAN.

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Hello, world

For years, I lived in very urban areas. I could walk to a coffee shop in my sleep and order a bagel or a croissant with my morning latte, or, speed dial takeout of six different ethnicities. All that changed a few years ago when I bought a house in the suburbs and moved there, mostly because it was the sane thing to do financially. It wasn’t even a suburb then, there was actually a chaupal shaded by a peepal tree in the neighborhood where the erstwhile village folks hung out in the evenings. It meant that I drove 5 kilometres for a decent restaurant or even a haircut and that calling the supervisor was no longer the remedy for all breakages at home. I learnt basic home improvement work as a kid watching my father’s perennial construction work around his house, so eventually I started putting those skills to some use around my own house. Of course, I have always been a DIY-nut when it came to computers. Anything less would be demeaning given my computer science background. Recently when I decided to finally brave the internet spotlight and actually be on the social networks (what led to that is a separate post altogether), I thought I would start by writing about my oddball projects. After all I have benefited tremendously from other people’s writings and this would be the best way to give back.

So, from now on, I will write about projects around the home, the neighborhood and when I am in mood, about my work in the area of computer science. Maybe even books and history when I am irritated.

P.S. If you never have heard of Kernighan and Ritchie, chances are that you will not get the title of this post.