Friday, December 3, 2010

Asian Soup

I don't do so well with cookbooks and recipes. I often seem to leave out something or jump ahead and get things in the wrong order. I once left the eggs out of a quiche. What I like to do is make up something from ingredients on hand. Rummage through the icebox and pull out the things that might go together. I do the same thing in the super market, walking the isles thinking up something to cook and forgetting two things on the list. It's what I did last night for this soup I made tonight. I don't think I've ever bought bok choy before.

I write it down here for those who like a recipe or at least a starting point for personal variation.
Asian Soup

2 T. dark sesame oil
2 large garlic cloves minced(that's a great word isn't it?)
T. minced fresh ginger
1/2 lg onion thinly sliced
2 medium carrots cut thin diagonally
1 stalk celery cut like the carrots
1/2 lb. sliced baby portabellas
    - I was thinking shitakes but balked at the price
1 baby bok choy roughly chopped

Saute these in your soup pot.

1 qt. vegetable broth
    -you can buy it by the qt. I used a powdered variety.
1 lb. tofu cut in medium cubes
A bunch of water.
3 T. soy sauce
2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. asian hot sauce
    -or some kind of hot sauce. Our asian one is a little sweet.
black pepper

Cook for a while and then add:
Some kind of noodles.
    -I picked up some fancy stuff in the asian section but it looked like it was made of the usual stuff so I bought a very thin short noodle in the regular noodle aisle. A rice noodle might be a better choice.
Cook 'till the noodles are done.

Note: I made up these amounts using my best guess at what I splashed and poured.

I served it with a flatbread and it was good. I kept thinking it might need just a little something else but I couldn't think what that might be.

Any suggestions?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Love Spreader

I was talking to my dog the other day. I said, "Lucy, c'mon make yourself useful. Bring in some firewood. Go get us some food. You gotta earn your keep. Geez, what do you do around here that's useful anyways?"

She looked at me with baleful eyes and said without rancor, "I spread the love. I'm a love spreader".

I had to admit that's more useful than most of what I do.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A New Website
This is a screenshot of a website I created in 2001 to share my creative efforts on the web. After the initial excitement of getting something online (OK I was the only one who was excited) it has lain fallow, mostly neglected with little new content and little traffic. For the past two years I have used a blogging tool to share things on the web instead of the website.

Website design has changed dramatically in 10 years and this site was long overdue for an overhaul. It was "hand coded" in Notepad using tables and frames for layout, font tags for styles, and rollover images in navigation, very old school. It worked but was static and difficult to add new content.

The look of the new design is minimalist, a reaction to what feels like noise on the web. I wanted a quiet place. We now surf the web with blinders on, just like TV, filtering out all that is unwanted or enduring video ads before getting to the "free" content. The new site has an admin page where I can add content via the web which should greatly encourage its upkeep.

For those interested here is a primer on website design today that includes the specific tools I used.

HTML(Hyper Text Markup Language) is the basic language of the web and provides the hierarchical structure of data that is interpreted by browsers. First publicly available in 1990, version 4.01 is currently the standard. HTML 5.0 was published as a working draft in 2008 and is slowly being adopted. With more "drag and drop" and WYSIWIG (what you see is what you get) editing tools available you don't have to know this language to publish on the web but it sure helps.

CSS(Cascading Style Sheets) was first published in 1996 and is very cool. Separation of content and presentation is the accepted practice now and CSS makes this possible. Layout, colors, borders, and all manner of text manipulation can be controlled down to the last pixel. Erratic at first as browsers interpreted differently but now most have adopted the W3C standards.

Server Side Scripting  Few websites are just static text pages linked together as they used to be. Most alter what is displayed depending on varying parameters. It might be a user's set preferences, the date or location, or just the latest and greatest content. When a web page is requested a script runs on the server, usually in conjunction with a database, before delivering the custom page. I used PHP. Others are ASP, Perl, ColdFusion, and Python. PHP is free and there is a tremendous wealth of information, tutorials and scripts available from countless people who like to play with this stuff.

Database: I used MySQL to store information about all the gallery images. Title, dimensions, descriptions, comments and tags to facilitate searching are all stored so I can find and display images depending on certain criteria. MySQL/PHP is the most popular combo in use on the web because it's free and works well. Facebook uses it.

Client Side Scripting: Javascript. As the name implies this scripting happens in the end user's, or client's, browser using the end user's resources. On the plus side this usually means fast response - no waiting for the round trip to the server to make the change. On the downside the designer has no control over the user's resources; i.e., old funky browser, old slow computer, javascript turned off. Javascript used to be pretty complicated and unreliable  but recently Javascript Libraries have been made available that have taken a lot of the pain out of doing some pretty cool stuff. I used jQuery for one small feature. MooTools and YUI are others. JQuery has excellent online documentation and many scripts are available for free.

AJAX(AsynchronousJavascript and XML) I did not have a function needing Ajax but include a description here because it was such a buzz word in the web world for a while and has widespread use. It is a kind of client side /server side hybrid, using several technologies to make requests to the server for additional data without reloading the entire page. It makes for a more dynamic and interactive user interface.

RSS(Really Simple Syndication)
Also known as "feeds". Another way to vary your site's content is to get it from somewhere else. I am using it to display the last three entries of the blog I write which is hosted on If you "subscribe to a feed" you get back an XML file of that feed's content. This XML (Extensible Markup Language) can be "parsed" or read to separate the data from the XML structure to display it on your page. There are many tools to do this. Some free services online - you enter the URL of the RSS feed you want and it coughs up some code you can paste in your site. Feedburner is a Google tool. I tried Feedinformer which was easy to setup and worked but choked my site as it waited for their script to give me the goods. Too slow. I found a PHP script (magpierss) to do the job -  more complicated to set up but much faster.

Embedded Objects
Many sites now offer embed code as a way to share their services. This code places a box on your page that draws its content from the service. I am using YouTube to display a channel, or playlist, of my videos. Anything I add to the channel on YouTube's site will show up on my site. I'm also displaying a digital "book" with embed code from


Fancy Fonts
Web text has basically had 4 fonts for designers to use: 2 serif, 2 sans-serif. Anything else had to be done with images which are slow to load and do not scale. With the implementation of CSS3 that is changing. You can now host whatever fonts you want and apply them with CSS. I downloaded 2 free fonts from FontSquirrel  which also has documentation on how to do it. It's not perfect - you can see the site flinch as the fonts are applied.

CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart)
CAPTHCHA is the name given to those squiggly letters and numbers you have to figure out and enter in the box before you send in your form. It is generally not a good idea to put your email on a website because Spambots (as these applications are called) harvest emails for malicious use. Keeping your email only on the server side and accessible only after solving the squiggly puzzle prevents this. I found a PHP based open-source script (Secureimage) that seems to work well. It even provides an audio track to help those poor humans trying to figure it out.

Mobile Devices
     The bane of web designers has always been the lack of control over the viewing medium. It looks perfect on one platform, browser, resolution, type size and falls apart in another. Now we have gorgeous 20" monitors and teeny-tiny cell phones trying to view the same site. I found a PHP script that tells me if a mobile device is requesting a page. I can then redirect to a suitable format. Luckily in my case a few lines of CSS were enough to make it workable.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Three Sisters

three sisters on holiday at the shore
a time away from husbands, work, children
on the boardwalk in a small shop they buy matching hats and dresses
laughing and teasing as they do so, slipping into old familiar roles
after supper they walk barefoot for miles on the beach
arm in arm, leaning into each other, sharing their stories, cherishing each moment
knowing it will never happen again

maple, sycamore, walnut
9-12" tall
they are hollow, the hat crown a friction fit stopper
the dots are inlay
each contains the scent of a different perfume

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nodali Llama Speaks


I am an ambassador sent by the Universe. You are an embarrassment!

Your house is burning and you fight amongst yourselves!

The water that gives you life is being poisoned and you fight amongst yourselves!

The air you breathe is fouled and you fight amongst yourselves!

The ice caps are melting and you fight amongst yourselves!

The frogs and bees and fish are dying and you fight amongst yourselves!



I have spoken.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Night Blooming Cereus

Friday night friends invited us over to watch a flower bloom. Not your usual invite but sounded like a party to me. Turns out it's an annual event to watch their Queen of the Night strut her stuff on the one night a year she does.

We arrived about 8:30, the plant in center stage on the picnic table with 5 flowers beginning to open. By 11:00 they were fully open and the air scented with their perfume.

They've had this particular plant for about thirteen years and most of the time it's an ugly thing. Gangly stems and leaves, turning dull brown in the winter. It is a member of the cactus family and is native to the Sonoran Desert.

But one night each summer, in June or July, its flowers open as night falls and then close forever with the first rays of morning sun.

Here is a time lapse video of the flower blooming.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Measuring Door

On a lake in Maine is a summer cabin, a place called Moxie Ledge. It has been in one family for nearly 100 years. Handed down from its first buyers to their six children, it is a vacation haven to brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and uncles, in-laws and spouses, cousins and more cousins and all of their friends.

And the door to the kitchen has been used to measure them all. It is a record of family growth through generations. The oldest notation I could find was 1924.

Click to enlarge.

I picture a circle of children waiting their turn to make their mark upon the door. Some names are oft repeated, the mark a little higher with each successive  summer. But there are so many different names it did not appear to be exclusive, not family only, but instead inclusive, welcoming to all, just like this place.

View from the porch.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010



"We're all vulnerable. Mix the wrong feelings together, the right kind of bad with the wrong kind of good, and you'll wind up with a total breakdown."
-Lewis Carroll
 Alice in Wonderland

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Thirty Year Quilt

One of Margy's best friends, Robin, married Lou in 1979. Thinking of a wedding gift for this special friend Margy decided it would be nice to make them a quilt. She had a lot of sewing experience and inspiration from a family heirloom but had never made one.  She bought a book, decided on a star pattern, and with her mother bought material at a Lancaster Amish fabric store. And so it began over thirty years ago.

What happens in thirty years? Margy finished college and then a masters degree. She bought a house and gave birth to and raised two children as did her friend. She named her daughter Robin. She got a job and then another and another following a shifting career path. And all the while she worked on the quilt when she could.

It was carried about in a yellow plastic bag, the ever growing star, the diamond shaped pieces. Each band a different color, each band 16 more pieces than the last, 800 in all, all stitched by hand. As the star grew it became a little celebration to move to the next color.

About three years ago the star was complete. Only thing left to do is the quilting. She bought the rest of the material, the dark blues and cotton batting, the white/light blue backing. I made a quilting frame for her which replaced the ping pong table. This is a big quilt, 8 feet on the short side, king size. And so for countless hours she worked away stitching the lines of the star and then a wave pattern out to the perimeter.

As this summer approached Margy's family planned a gathering in Maine not far from where Robin and Lou now live. We would of course stop to see them. Could she finish the quilt in time? Three days before we left the last stitches on the outer binding were made. Break out the champagne.

We often make plans with good intentions. The saying goes the road to hell is paved with them. Along with feelings of accomplishment Margy is a little relieved to have finally followed through on this one.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Repairing Things

It's gotten harder. Before, if you had the inclination and some aptitude, you could take apart many of the appliances, machines, and gadgets that we use and take a look. You could fiddle with the levers and cams and gears and springs and attempt to simulate its operation to see what was not operating as it should. You could tighten or replace a loose screw, clean and lubricate sticking parts, bend a lever to get more travel. In a pinch you might even make a replacement part from stuff you have in your shop.

But now, as electronics has been incorporated into nearly everything we own, you can't see what's going on. It's happening inside this black box, this module. If you are skilled in this work, and you have the right information, you know what is supposed to go in the black box and what is supposed to come out. If there are several black boxes chained together you must discern which box is the faulty one that needs to be replaced. And too often, much to your dismay, it may not be available or costs more than the entire item you are trying to fix.

Most of our electronic toys are made on robot assisted production lines. Robots are fantastic at assembly but not so good at figuring out what is wrong. Humans must still do this, an expensive proposition that more and more often will not be offered. Replacement is the norm. Repairing things used to be our first consideration but not so now days because even if you could get it fixed it won't have a frobnozzle that moobangs like the new ones do. It won't have the latest features. So into the land fill it goes.

A week ago I repaired this knife. Knives are old school. Very old school. With my years of experience and highly developed troubleshooting acumen I quickly detected what was wrong. The handle was falling off. This is a favorite knife in the household, one we've had for 30 years or more. The blade is regular steel, not stainless, that seems to hold a keener edge. The handle was ebony, I believe, but had become split and chipped at one end. I ordered brass rivets and found a small piece of cocobolo. An evening's work and it feels nice again. This tool might now go on to the next generation.

Friday, July 2, 2010


When you climb in your car you are king of the jungle. You are the hunter who is not hunted. Armed with firestones and windshield beware all who cross your path. You are mowin' 'em down.

In our cars we barely notice the carnage but on a bike one gets a more intimate view that is hard to ignore. A steep incline with a known deer carcass is to be avoided if possible. When sighted up ahead one tries to time the pass to a long exhale. The stench is enough to make you cheer on the carrion eaters. C'mon buzzards! Let's go crows! Make haste maggots! Get this thing outta here!

The numbers, though unsubstantiated, are big. In the US one million vertabrates a day. They correlate to rodent and animal populations gone unchecked by natural predators. No more are wolves and big cats and eagles who would cut down on the traffic.

And then there is our pets.  Estimates of 26 million cats and 6 million dogs annually. You could fill a tanker with the tears from all that heartbreak. 

a turtle, a cardinal, a red fox puppy

Apart from pets the ones I find most distressing for some reason are turtles. Maybe it's the imagined crunch of the shell.  Or the fact that it seems it could have been avoided. It isn't like they darted out in front, or ran willy-nilly back and forth like a chipmunk. Maybe it happens at night. Maybe I've hit one and thought it was a stone.

Louden Wainwright lll knows about roadkill. Tell us about the Dead Skunk Louden.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pennsylvania Mammals

Pennsylvania might rival a rainforest for variety and number of small mammals. Here's a list of over 70. When the creator was drawing these up she was in the zone, the juices were flowing, the drafting board must have been hot from the friction of frenzied sketches, the production line was smokin'. You can picture her as a crazed artist working straight through into her sixth day, unable to sleep, glassy eyed, cigarette in hand; the ideas will not quit.

Here's just a sample:
The skunk. Walk softly and carry a big stick. The skunk goes about its business unafraid, conscious of its power. A harmless looking creature armed with the ability to accurately spray a highly offensive fluid up to 16 feet. An odor so strong humans can smell it a mile downwind. Up close it can make one temporarily blind. What other animal does this? A beautiful animal with black and white striped fur. I'd love to see a skunk, a zebra and a panda riding in a bright red convertible. That would make such a cool photo.

The opossum. Let's make one with a pouch to carry it's young, a marsupial, the only one in North America. It'll be ugly as sin with a pointy nose and teeth and rat like tail. It'll eat anything including its own dead. But then give it a coat so silky the lady in the mink stole is envious. Wait - that's not enough. Make it play dead as its only defense. Scientists still don't quite get this. An involuntary response to attack that makes it go temporarily comatose and an anal gland emit a putrid flesh like smell. That'll make 'em leave you alone.
The porcupine. Hair, fur, hair, fur, I don't know, what else have we got. Needles! That's it! I'll cover it with needles. I'll even put them on the tail so it can smack a dog in the nose with 'em. And I'll put little barbs on them so you can't pull 'em out. Heh, heh. And I'll give it a sweet friendly face and make it waddle like a fat clown. Jesus, seems almost sadistic.
The beaver. Let's see, most of them are living in holes, there must be something else. How 'bout one that takes down trees with its teeth and uses them to build a dome like house. And they'll do it in a pond with an underwater entrance and they'll make the pond too by building dams and hold it all together using mud like mortar. They'll have webbed hind feet and a paddle for a tail. They'll mate for life and store food for the winter. They'll have a beer fridge and.. nah, that's too much. A good artist knows when to quit.

*images from the web

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lady Luck and the Missing Blade

Accidents are a strange phenomenon. In the aftermath we try to piece the sequence of events back together. What led to this, what was missed, how did this happen, who was to blame? Why didn't I do this instead? Or that? What if..... if only I had....

We've all had them in varying degrees of severity. From pinched fingers and broken bones to those that leave damage for a lifetime. Some are so bizarre and catastrophic that there had to have been something in the air just before their occurrence, something that you think would be perceived with just a little attention.

And maybe this is true for all the ones that didn't happen, countless moments we don't remember. We hesitated. We stopped. We anticipated and stepped aside. We paid attention. The accident didn't happen.

Yesterday I went out to the wood lot to get another load of firewood, work that has a good deal of accident potential. I took down a fairly large standing dead white oak and dropped it right where I planned, a little victory I don't take for granted. Then went about the business of cutting it up and loading the truck.

The first 20" of the butt end was too big for me to lift. I rolled it back up on the stump for a place to work and with a maul buried the one wedge I'd brought. A good start but not enough for stringy white oak. I'd have to come back with another wedge or the splitting maul.

At the house I unloaded the truck. Son Dylan had just arrived and brought with him a splitting tool he prefers, a Fiskars splitting axe. I tried it out on some red oak rounds and was duly impressed. Light in handle and heavy in head with a sharp blade. The wedge like shape keeps it from sticking like a regular axe and often one good swing was cleaving sections from the round. I put it in the truck with another wedge and headed back to the stump.

I freed the wedge and worked a while with the new tool making nice sized billets for the stove. But then there is an instant that I can't quite recall. I am swinging the tool and then it is in the ground between my feet and my ankle bone smarts. I realize the tool has glanced off and was a mere fraction of an inch from embedding the blade in my ankle. I don't know how I missed my mark on the piece I was splitting, I can't picture it. I do know that in that instant it was only Lady Luck standing between me and my carelessness. I get a chill thinking of the damage I could have inflicted.

When splitting wood the axe or maul is raised high above the head and brought down with force. The hand nearest the head slides down the handle. The key to doing this safely is bringing the wrists down near the ground on the follow through so that in case of a miss the head goes into the ground instead of pivoting back to you. I know this. I have demonstrated it to others. Why did I not do this?

This was an accident that didn't happen. A little swelling, a little black and blue. It will be forgotten. Lucky me.

Be careful out there.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Farmer Black and His Big Whites

I'm Farmer Black and I've been growing these Big Whites for the last five years. I work for Hyper Genetic Plants, Inc and I have to keep a low profile 'cause I know there are people who don't approve of the work I do what with all the goin' green and buy local and such but, you mark my words, someday when the SHTF those folks will be beggin' for the food I make.

Take these here Big Whites. Why they are a scientific miracle they are. They have this super tough skin, it's almost like some kind of plastic, and it protects the fruit inside so they can be shipped all around the world with no harm done.  And it'll keep fresh as the day you pick 'em for a solid two months. No refrigeration needed. And the best part is when you slice into one you got the reddest, juiciest, sweetest watermelon you have ever tasted. You get just one of these babies and a pig on a spit and you got a picnic for a crowd!

And growin' em? I tell you they are a farmer's dream come true. You see they put out some kinda chemical that kills everything but themselves so you have absolutely no weeds, no competition,  no spraying all those expensive poisonous chemicals or nothing. Them green folks oughta like that. Only problem we still got is it seems to get in the runoff so the farmers downstream are raisin' a stink.

But as soon as we get that little wrinkle worked out we'll let the world in on this wonderful creation. I'm hopin' it's soon too 'cause they tell me then I'll get to work with the Super Whites or maybe even the Gonzo Whites. The Gonzos are 4 times the size of the Bigs and twice as sweet if you can imagine that. Something that sweet be enough to make you beg for lemonade.

Anyway keep your eye on your local grocery 'cause any day now one of my big girls will be sittin' on the floor of your produce section. Yep, any day now, I'm pretty sure.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

My father and mother live nearby in a retirement community. Dad will be 95 on the 30th. He says of the pending birthday, "You can pile the gifts in the corner".

I dropped in on Dad today to deliver some cards and give well wishes. I took this picture. The pictures on the wall are of his father, mother, sister, and grandfather. His father died when Dad was just 9. His sister lives in England.

I consider it a true blessing in my life that I had a father who was a role model but not an overbearing one. He was supportive but not directive, available for counsel but expecting his children to find their own way. He was honest and could be trusted completely.  He was not overly demonstrative in his affections or praise but neither was he critical or judgmental. Raised by a mother who did not believe in corporal punishment he likewise did not strike his children.
And though I don't think many outside the family saw it, he could be very funny. This sense of humor is now what carries him through the trials of old age.

I think it is not uncommon for sons to spend much of their lives trying to win the approval of their fathers. I am grateful my life has not been saddled with this burden.

Thanks for everything Dad.

Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Go Fly a Kite

I love this kite. My sister gave it to me for Christmas twenty some years ago. It is hand batik, made by an artist known to my sister's friend. Someone named Sarah who sold them on the craft circuit for a while. It is signed and marked 3/10 meaning #3 in a lot of 10, not dated March year 10. For many years it hung on our wall as art when not in use.

Today was a good day for it, a steady wind around 8 mph. Not too much like last weekend. A very stable kite that goes up easy and meanders back and forth. When the wind stalls it does not dive but kind of floats, waffling, till it's picked up again.

The next time someone tells me to go fly a kite I can say I just did that.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sunday Chimes

I admired these big chimes for a long time before I bought one. I loved the sound but love the silence too and wondered if I'd regret the purchase. Would it be too much, displacing bird song and crickets, and all the other sounds that grace our place?

But it turns out it takes quite a bit of wind to get them going and the wind it takes makes enough noise in the trees that the subtle sounds are lost to that anyway. The chimes may be silent for a week or more.

This Sunday as the wind blew most the day it sounds like church around here, the ringing gong, the rustling leaves wave upon wave of applause.

Will the congregation please rise?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


This is among a small group of pieces at the Walter Museum in Baltimore in a room labeled Ancient Americas. It is dated 200 BC from what is now Mexico. This and several others of similar origin were a notable contrast in that they were lighthearted and playful. I imagined human beings 2000 years ago laughing and smiling, maybe telling a joke or funny story.

We are so smart now. Our minds are filled with facts and figures and all the how-to-dos and our time with doing, doing, doing. Our phenomenal machinery makes waste the world it strives to conquer.

Have we learned anything? Do we know anything more than our ancient ancestors? Are we looking in the right places? Are we asking the right questions?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

You made your bed ... lie in it.

For a long time I have thought I would make a new bed frame. The first one I made of construction lumber and plywood over 35 years ago. It served us well through a foam mattress and then a futon. When the futon became two valleys the frame was discarded with the mattress. Since then it has been box springs raised off the floor with a generic steel frame, no foot or head board to speak of.

Now, as we look once again to improve our sleeping surface, I thought I would finally get to this project. But as I started I couldn't get excited about any particular design. I discarded the one I thought I would do that was based on the trim and built in cabinets in the room. I looked around for inspiration, Greene and Greene, Shaker, bent lamination with spindles, craftsman style.  There is some beautiful work out there but nothing clicked. I suppose it's because half the fun for me is thinking something up.

I knew I had some big 8/4 cherry boards in my stash that would be nice to showcase in some way. Hey, here's an idea. How 'bout just a big board floating in space, no bedposts or anything. Minimalist headboard. Nothing more, nothing less. That'd be cool wooden it? Now I'm getting excited.

There are some good reasons for bedposts. You can hang your hat on 'em. You can put notches in them if you keep score. (OK, that's not a good reason). And they give structural integrity to the foot and head boards. Wood has great strength across the grain and tremendous bearing weight on its ends. It's what trees are good at: stand up tall and bend and sway but do not break. But wood splits along the grain, or lengthwise, more easily, as we witness in trees struck by lightning or damaged by ice storms. Bedposts support the weight of the bed and it's occupants on 4 small points and provide cross grain strength to what might otherwise be a flimsy headboard.

So eliminating them from my headboard presents a design problem. Or maybe not. It may have been strong enough with these heavy boards without all this fuss but the diagram below shows what I thought were potential places of weakness and how I dealt with it.

Stress A is simply where there is the greatest leverage. I thought two near comatose bodies sucking up java leaning back against 30" of unsupported boards would exert a lot of force at this point. I re-enforced this by edge drilling a 5/8" hole through all three boards and inserting 2 steel rods.

(Click image to enlarge.)
The top board is supported by 3 short 5/8" rods. (Sorry, no magic. But it looks like it's floating doesn't it?) I thought the back side of the holes(Stress B), less than a half inch of material, might bust out. To strengthen this I first ripped a 1/4" thick strip from the top board and set it aside. I inlaid 1/8" steel plates at each hole and then glued the strip back in place to hide them. This also covered the holes for the long rods.

Our new sleeping surface is this memory foam stuff that has gotten a lot of hype. I recently heard some very negative reports regarding these mattresses. We had slept on it several times and liked it. I surveyed friends who have had them for years and finally decided to give it a try. Some say that because they are so expensive owners convince themselves that they're comfortable whether it's true or not. Well that's certainly what I plan to do.

One last thing, the long rails of this bed.  I marked a board I thought would be good for two matched bed rails  probably 10 years ago, passing over using it in who knows how many other projects. And now here it is doing what it was destined to do. My peers and I, we are getting a longer view. It's OK if it doesn't happen right away, that doesn't mean it won't happen. It might happen later.