Author Archives: Jonathan

About Jonathan

Jonathan is a geospatial systems integrator, cross-country runner, husband and father. For as long as he can remember, he has been fascinated by systems. This blog explores the integration of building systems and surrounding site systems such as vegetation, hydrology and wildlife.

Dame’s Rocket and Bittersweet Nightshade

The botany books and Internet searches have helped to identify two more wildflowers in the backyard:  Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) and Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara).  Dame’s Rocket is “prohibited” in Massachusetts due to its non-native invasive behavior.  (It that sounds … Continue reading

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Chelidonium and Garlic Mustard

It’s Spring and flowers are beginning to bloom in the back yard.  Flowers provide one of the easiest ways to identify a plant.  I now know two of the plants that are filling up the woodlot by name.  One has … Continue reading

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The model grows up to the rafters

Tonight I finished the framing all the way to the top of the house and added the back porch.  The below two images show the framing alone and then the structure with walls filled in. Next, I’ll finish modelling the … Continue reading

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Archaeology under the staircase

In the back corner of the front hall closet, I discovered a small square section of the wall that had been cut out and then nailed back together. I pried it out and peered into the space below the staircase … Continue reading

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Modeling the first floor’s structure

With the foundation and its framing in the SketchUp model, there’s something to hold up the first floor. So I’ve modelled the floor (including holes for heating vents), the framing of the exterior walls and the interior walls (see below). … Continue reading

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Modeling our building using Google Sketchup

Our property’s value is split unevenly between the land and the house — the land is worth much more than the house. On paper, at least. To the people who live on the property, though, the house gets the lion’s … Continue reading

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Rectifying local maps from 1876 and 1881

Barbara, our neighbor who has lived here for several decades, very kindly invited me to photograph two of her historic maps of this locality, one from 1876 and the other from 1881. The maps show roads, buildings and significant topographic … Continue reading

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Unearthing more old jars and bottles

Many more jars and bottles have followed the initial discovery, all coming from the same, but now larger, 3′ x 3′ section of the woodlot, shown below. Below are a few examples of unbroken glassware with design patents imprinted on … Continue reading

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Archeology in the backyard woodlot

The very back of our property is a small woodlot. While most of our land is level or gently sloping, the woodlot’s terrain is uneven and lumpy, as if the trees and vegetation grew on top of piles of trash. … Continue reading

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What is neighborhood ecology?

What is the carrying capacity of my neighborhood? Beginning with my own property, I’m investigating whether my neighbors and I can sustain our lifestyles exclusively on the resources already in our neighborhood — sunlight, rainfall, flora, fauna, buildings, etc. I’m … Continue reading

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