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Michael O'Reilly
Works at IT Guy by day. Maker, photographer, and writer, elsewhen. Lately plays ukulele.
Attended University of Texas at Austin
Lives in Austin, TX
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Michael O'Reilly

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PVC Chicken Feeder

I built this test chicken feeder out of 3" PVC pipe. We just pull off the top cap, dump feed into the vertical pipe, and then the Y-joint at the bottom stays filled as the chickens eat. We put it out this morning and a lot of the food has been consumed as of this afternoon, so it appears to work just fine. We think two more should give the six chickens enough feeding spots that they won't constantly be fighting over it. Well, hopefully...

The next thing to build (after the additional feeders) is a PVC watering system. More to come!
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mark montagna's profile photoTracy Baker's profile photoBrian Holt Hawthorne's profile photoStan Bush's profile photo
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+Stan Bush A "rooster" is a chicken. Just as a hen, a pullet, a cock, and a cockerel are all just different names for ages and dpw exes of chickens. If your covenant says no chickens (the age/sex neutral term) you can't have a rooster either. But, like I said, you could have guinea fowl, ducks, geese, or other poultry. Most covenants say "no livestock".
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The Worst Holiday Task

Easter egg hunts are fun, but the single holiday task I dread more than any other each year is the washing of the plastic eggs when they're unpacked from the attic. If someone were to start a business and charge me a reasonable fee to clean all my plastic eggs I'd be a happy customer!

On the plus side, the eggs sure are colorful. Happy Easter, everyone!
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george Trout's profile photoAyesha Arshad's profile photoCandace Pflum's profile photoSarah Lester's profile photo
13 comments
 
You too, +Candace Pflum!
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Michael O'Reilly

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Who Needs A Coop When You Have A Woodpile?

It turns out our chicks like the woodpile, as it's both a handy roost and has yummy bugs. It's like breakfast in bed! On the other hand, the coop and run should be ready for habitation tomorrow, so hopefully they'll like that, too. :)
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Linda Dean's profile photoGray Embry's profile photoJessica Peters's profile photoBrian Holt Hawthorne's profile photo
27 comments
 
Actually, before I started keeping chickens, I always thought they were dumb. Now I know that there are dumb birds and smart birds, just like people. We have one old 4H hen who is now going on 11 years old. Smartest critter I ever met. The dumb ones either got et by a fox before they stopped laying, or got kilt by me after they stopped laying,
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Michael O'Reilly

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Got Six Hour Lines To Vote? Better Ban Restrooms...

Here's one for the Voter Suppression files. Lawyers representing disabled constituents in Miami inquired about whether restrooms at polling places would accommodate the needs of the disabled. Rather than ensure that (or apparently even check whether they did), the (Republican-controlled) Election Department announced that in order not to treat the disabled unfairly they would no longer allow anyone access to restrooms at polling places. Given that the same department has cut numbers of voting booths in poorer neighborhoods, resulting in lines up to six hours long, the banning of restroom access seems like yet another push toward keeping all those poor (and Democratic-leaning) voters from casting their ballots.
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Van Ly's profile photoMichael O'Reilly's profile photoMark Stone's profile photoDenise Case's profile photo
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Van Ly
 
+Denise Case I'd stop drinking and eating the day before to vote for you and your sentiments. But spirits like you would have compromise and lose your true self in the money, money, money making media of democracy sure to get elected. 
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Crossvine In Spring

A few years ago my wife planted crossvine at the bottom of the cedar beams holding up the shade sails in our back yard. Over time it's grown up the beams and has started to spread onto the sails themselves. Spring has now arrived, and this year the curtain of crossvine flowers hanging from the shade sails is really spectacular. Those are some of the more colorful flowers we have in our yard.
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Ronda Reed's profile photoMichael O'Reilly's profile photoKitti Molnár's profile photovincent golden's profile photo
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Thanks, +vincent golden. :)
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Have him in circles
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Michael O'Reilly

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One Indicator Minimum Wage Should Be Higher

The summary: There is no county in the United States in which a person working a minimum wage job can afford a decent one-bedroom apartment plus utilities.

The longer story is that minimum wage has failed to keep up with inflation over the past four decades, leaving us in a situation where millions of full-time workers require government assistance for food and housing. Government assistance has effectively become a handout to corporations by enabling them to pay workers so little that they wouldn't be able to survive without the programs. However, some people don't like the idea of raising the minimum wage and don't like the idea of providing government "handouts" either. Unfortunately it's one or the other unless something changes in the system.

My own preferred solution, as I've mentioned before, is to get rid of the minimum wage and get rid of Social Security, Food Stamps, Welfare, Unemployment and pretty much every other government assistance program you've ever heard of and replace it all with a Guaranteed Basic Income. I have some suspicion that the folks who don't like minimum wages and government assistance programs won't like that one, either, but I'll keep on hoping.
The federal minimum wage doesn't cover fair market rent anywhere in the United States.
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Jeremy Albright's profile photoblueming monicans's profile photoMichael-Forest M.'s profile photoduane attaway's profile photo
18 comments
 
I very much look forward to seeing the results of your experiment, +Michael-Forest M.!
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Michael O'Reilly

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Predator Defenses: Dog Tested, Michael Approved

Yesterday we were in the front yard trying to locate various brightly-colored eggs someone had misplaced there, and unbeknownst to us one of our (big) dogs was enjoying himself a little too much in the back yard. Apparently he heard the chickens making noise in the coop and was interested in getting in there to have some fun of his own. He managed to chew a good bit through the cedar baseboard and tried to dig under the wall, but was thwarted by the hardware cloth that we buried around the perimeter.

While I'm not exactly happy that he did this, and will do my best to discourage him from doing so in the future, I was gratified that the time and effort to trench around the chicken coop and run seems to have paid off and the barrier is effective. Fortunately the baseboard is screwed into place to help secure the hardware cloth, which has the happy benefit of making it pretty easy to replace the piece. So the baseboard is repaired and the hole is filled and hopefully the dog is discouraged that all his hard work is undone.

Tough luck, dog!
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dariush toba's profile photoMurphy Jacobs's profile photoGretchen S.'s profile photoAnn G's profile photo
10 comments
 
That was the plan, +Gretchen S.. I'm just glad the plan held up under testing.
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Michael O'Reilly

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It's Been A While Since I Juggled

I realized this morning that I haven't juggled in quite a while. I believe I'll see if I remember how this weekend.
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Michael O'Reilly's profile photoLeonard Suskin's profile photoSerenity Crawford's profile photoryon mabey's profile photo
3 comments
 
You're likely a better juggler than I, +Leonard Suskin. :)
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Enjoying The Blood Moon

Last night's lunar eclipse didn't reach totality until after 2 AM my time, so I went to sleep around 9 PM and set my alarm for a bit before 1 AM. Hopefully that'll keep me from being too much of a zombie today at work. Still, it was definitely worth getting up to see. My younger son also asked to be woken up, and the commotion woke my wife, so all three of us got to see it.

If you regularly watch the moon, the first thing you notice during the early part of the eclipse is that the crescent isn't in the right place. Then the shadow creeps across the face of the moon, leaving behind just the dark red illumination of the light refracting through the Earth's atmosphere. That red color is what leads to the term Blood Moon, and happens during almost every total lunar eclipse. (The only time it wouldn't is when there's a lot of volcanic activity on Earth, at which time the refracted light might be more brown or gray.)

This shot was taken just after totality, which is when the moon is entirely within the Earth's umbra, though it's still clearly brighter on the lower right which is only just in the shadow. That's an artifact of having to set the camera sensitive enough to pull out the detail of the darker areas while not so sensitive that the lighter area blows everything out. Looking with just eyes at this point the whole face was clearly shadowed.

If you missed out on last night's lunar eclipse, you're in luck, because there is another one coming on October 8th, and there will be two similarly spread in 2015. That's because this eclipse was the first of a tetrad, which is four total lunar eclipses each set six months apart. This is the second of eight tetrads in the 21st century, making this a pretty good century for spotting one. It turns out the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries had no tetrads at all, so we should consider ourselves lucky. I'm looking forward to the next eclipse in six months, and I hope you get the chance to see it, too!

#scienceeveryday   #sciencesunday  
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Beckye Estill's profile photoScienceSunday's profile photoSebastián Basaldúa's profile photomo vincent's profile photo
22 comments
 
Good luck, +Melissa Caldwell!
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Weekend Progress...

Well, I haven't given a chicken coop update in a while, but this weekend marks some good progress. All the doors and the glass window are in place, two sides are skirted with buried hardware cloth, the doors between the coop and the run are done, and I've begun work on the under-roost platform. All in all it's feeling closer to done, and I'm tired and achy. I look forward to getting this finished so one of these upcoming weekends can be restful and relaxing. On the plus side, these chickens will be living in luxury!
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stala DS's profile photoAndrew Gaunt's profile photoblueming monicans's profile photoSimi Shonowo's profile photo
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It's getting that way, +Andrew Gaunt!
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IT Guy by day. Maker, photographer, and writer, elsewhen. Lately plays ukulele.
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Proving the second law of thermodynamics, one offspring at a time.
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I've been known to organize hangouts for people who want to try it, but never have because they are nervous. If you fall in that category, feel free to message me so I can include you.

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Promise pizza makes wonderful pizza from natural and organic ingredients, and also has one of the best gluten-free pizza crusts we've tried. (For those enjoying a gluten-free diet.) They're a little bit more expensive than the typical chain pizza, but I think it's worth every penny for the great taste and better ingredients.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
We love this Fire Bowl location, and get it pretty regularly. My wife is gluten-intolerant, and it's nice to have a place nearby with good gluten-free options. We're big fans of the build-your-own stir-fry options, as everyone can pick exactly the combination they like. Also, they have great fried rice with a flavor I really love.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
Mangia Pizza is different from any other place in town, and worth trying out if you like deep-dish stuffed-crust pizza. They have by far the most substantial pizza I've ever had. You can feel the surprising weight of it when they hand you the box. The pieces are so thick and filling that just a piece or two is generally good for a meal. On top of that, it tastes great. Really top notch stuff.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
The pizza is fine, but nothing to write home about. Decent food at a good price, and the location can't be beat if you work in the middle of downtown. This was a regular lunch destination when I worked down there. Just don't expect fancy dining.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
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I was pleasantly surprised to find a Mangia Pizza location in the food court section of Bergstrom Airport. I love their pizza (as evidenced by my review of their main restaurant location) and being able to grab a slice while waiting on a flight really made my day. If you have a little time to pass before your flight, you could do a lot worse than having a slice of the best deep-dish stuffed-crust pizza around.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
This beautiful and eclectic private residence doubles as an event venue for special occasions. Two levels of comfortable rooms and winding corridors give plenty of space for a good-sized gathering, and I am informed that they are renovating an adjoining area and will soon have a grand ballroom. At that point I would think the location would be perfect for dances, wedding receptions, and the like. The only potential down-side I can think of would be parking for a large group, as the site is around 16th and Lavaca and has no lot of its own. Hopefully they have some sort of arrangement with a nearby lot to take care of that.
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Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
This past week was bulk trash, and as I prepared some large metal items to go out by the curb I remembered that I always have people come by in pickup trucks grabbing the metal items and hauling them away. I figured that they likely take them somewhere to sell, so I investigated to find a nearby scrap yard. Austin Metal & Iron turned out to be near where I work, so I loaded up the metal items into the back of the mini-van and during lunch time drove out to see what was what. The guys working there were nice and helpful and directed me to the right scale where they weighed my items. I got about $20 for the things I brought, which seems pretty worthwhile since I was just going to have them hauled off for nothing. Assuming I spent a gallon or less for the gas to drive out there, I still came out plenty ahead. I can't vouch for the prices, since I've only taken stuff to the one place, but it seemed entirely reasonable to me. I recommend this if you are planning on throwing away heavy metal items.
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Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago