Harvest Creations: Keeping Sanity in Your Protected-Range Brace


Warning:  If you are at all upset by the processing of poultry meat, please read no further. We raise our animals humanely and ethically dispatch them, with gratefulness in our hearts and minds. We encourage others who maintain meat in their diet to support ethically raised meat supplies, either by raising the animals themselves or supporting farmers who do. Much of the problems with meat consumption these days are because of inhumane agri-business.

The 2016 hatchlings all grown up.

The 2016 hatchlings all grown up.

We raise ducks for their eggs. It’s some of the best protein, Omega-3, and good-for-you food you can get fairly easily. Drakes don’t lay eggs. One drake in our brace, Joe, was a rescue and he will always be the Daddy of Duckville here at Thrasher Studios & MicroFarm. He chases the wild birds and squirrels and alerts his ladies to aerial predators. This will be his job until he passes of natural causes. Domesticated ducks can live upwards and past a decade. Joe has been with us for three years now. (Photo of Joe) He’s got a long time left with us, if all goes as planned.


Mama Buffy with the Clucklings while Joe is in the background checking them out.

This past spring, we could not break Ms. Buffy, one of our chickens of being broody. And we only had two female ducks and duck egg demand has gone up considerably in our community. We’re more than happy to supply families with their duck egg needs where we can. So, it became clear that having Buffy hatch a clutch of duck eggs would be the easiest way to break her of her broodiness (Buffy has been in a pattern of broodiness for more than a year, so this was kind of our last ditch effort). Also, let me tell you having a hen raise chicks — or clucklings as we called them — was super easy compared to incubating eggs indoors and having the hatchlings all alone. Mama was so attentive and protective and I never worried. Our clutch was four eggs and all of them ended up being viable. We ended up with two females (Riker and RoLaren) and two males (#2 and #3).

Living in peace until puberty hit....

Living in peace until puberty hit….

When the clucklings were integrated into the brace with Joe, Jayne, and Inara, things went really well (seemed like the ducks knew that the babies were there the whole time and got used to them fast). But as #2 & #3 entered sexual maturity, things went downhill. Most drakes have a harem of up to five ducks and each drake should have about five females to mate with to keep the peace. When you have seven ducks and three of them are males, they fight constantly. As with our last dispatch season, we tried to rehome the ducks, but most farmers and duckkeepers are in the same spot we are — they need to keep everyone happy and safe. Fights break out, and as we found during our butchering process — #2 & #3 had been fighting hard and had injured one another unbeknownst to us. Also the ladies stop laying eggs because they are stressed with the over-mating happening. Our duck egg customers, as well as our own needs, were unfulfilled and none of the ducks were happy. It was time to harvest duck meat.

Our dispatch cone.

Our dispatch cone.

We had to wait for a calm wind day where it was cool to do this. Finally this past Saturday fit the bill, no pun intended. Here’s the process, along with my thoughts and lessons.

What you need:

  • sharp paring and boning knives
  • compost bucket with a small amount of water in it for blood catch
  • container of bleach water for sanitizing
  • pvc pipe snippers (preferred), hatchet or ax
  • empty cardboard box for feather catching (We used a copy-paper sized one per bird)
  • container for offal (basically guts you won’t use)
  • bowl for giblets (internal organs you can use)
  • giant pot (which will always be your dispatch pot) and a means for heating it (we used the burner on our bbq, you could use a camp stove — that works well too)
  • one brick (aka 16 oz. box) of paraffin wax per bird
  • a table with cutting board is very helpful
  • A flat piece of cardboard or old cooking tray to place bird on after wax dunk
  • pot or large bowl for carcass
  • ice and sink
  • refrigerator for aging carcass
  • a roll of paper towels or shop rags for cleaning hands and surfaces
  • A helper
  • dispatch cone/old feed bag with corner snipped off at an angle
  • A way to hang the bird for plucking (we don’t have this yet, but the Chief Engineer is working on it
  • A space outside to do this.
  • Clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and potentially bloody (why do you think butchers wear those leather aprons?)
  • A cool, windless day. Cool to minimize bacteria from growing on your meat and windless because, well, feathers.
  • cheese cloth
  • wax paper


#2 & #3 separated before dispatching

#2 & #3 separated before dispatching

  1. Separation. On the morning of dispatching, or even the night before if you want, you need to separate your cull and keep them isolated. This minimizes stress on the rest of the flock. My separation kennel is on the other side of wood shed and garden shed out of eyesight from the other poultry. Give them water, but no food. This lets the animals clear out their digestive tract, which keeps the meat clean and the process easier for you, the farmer.


  1. A Clean Quick Cut. The MicroFarm’s Chief Engineer fashioned a dispatch cone for us the first year. You can also tack up an old feed bag and snip off a corner to use for field expediency in case you don’t have a dispatch cone. Many small hobby farmers use an old traffic cone turned upside down for this. This allows the bird to be still while you dispatch them quickly.
    Make it quick.

    Make it quick.


    Pvc pipe snippers are a dispatchers best friend.

    This is where a second set of hands, an assistant is necessary. As you put the bird in the cone or bag, be aware of their claws. I always seem to get scratched. It’s always a reminder to me to say a quick prayer of gratitude for the gift this animal is giving me. Place the bird either in the cone or the old feed bag and take the PVC shears to its neck. The first snip will cut either artery on each side of the bird’s neck and kill it instantly. (Be sure that you have the shears on either side of the neck from the bill.) If you’re using an ax on a chopping surface through the feed bag, you’ll need to do a quick cut with a boning knife on each side of the neck. The dispatch cone with PVC shears method allows you to completely cut the head off (put in offal bucket) and let the blood drain into the compost bucket with the small amount of water in it. When you have bled out your cull, you can put that water and blood on flower beds. The roses especially love this liquid nutrients. Because my farm services people who are vegans and vegetarians, I only put the dispatch blood water on non-edible things like cut flowers. It doesn’t take long for the animal to bleed out, but do give it a good fifteen minutes. That way you can make sure you have all your other supplies ready to go, including getting the big pot of boiling wax water going. We have a tall 3-gallon one that we fill half way. Put the paraffin in and let it melt. Once the wax melts, keep the water at a about 155 to 175 degrees F. You don’t want it to scald, just coat the bird. But first, you need to pluck.

There are other ways to pluck, but they require equipment that's not feasible with our number of drakes to cull.

There are other ways to pluck, but they require equipment that’s not feasible with our number of drakes to cull.


  1. Pre-plucking. You need to take the headless carcass and pre-pluck all the feathers as best you can. Start with the tail feathers. You can save these separately if you want, because many crafters and artisans would love to have these feathers for their artwork or craft. Same for the wings, which you can snip off at the elbow joint and put aside. Don’t spend time plucking those as there is little meat on it. You just want the stubs of the wings on your carcass at the end. Keep the feet intact on the carcass for now, you’ll need their help for the wax dunking. The pre-plucking takes the longest part of this and that’s why if two of you are working at it, it can take as little as ten minutes total. At this point the bird will be going into rigor, too. Don’t be alarmed, this is part of the process. It won’t stop the plucking process. Pull the feathers opposite from the direction they are going. Put the feathers you pull into the cardboard box. We’re fortunate in that our refuse service takes yard waste/compost. These are perfect for that receptacle at the end of processing the bird. Get as many of the feathers as you can. But it doesn’t have to be perfect — that’s what the wax water is for. If someone wants your duck feathers, bag up in a garbage sack and put aside. I haven’t had this situation yet; but, I have a fellow farmer who saves her duck feathers for a crafter that makes warm clothing out of it.

Wax Water Dunk is exactly as it sounds.


  1. Wax Water Dunk. This is a trick I learned from my father, who is an avid duck hunter. Many folks skin their ducks, but I like to have the skin to help keep the meat moist during cooking. Also, duck fat rendered is such a good cooking/baking ingredient. You don’t want to miss out on that. Take your wax water and put it on the ground somewhere that if wax water leaks out it’s no big deal (a grassy or gravel area is where we have done), take the carcass by the feet and dunk the whole bird in the water and let it sit there until it’s fully coated in wax. You’ll be able to tell. Then place on the cardboard sheet and let sit a moment for the wax to harden. Then peel the wax off and all those little tiny feathers and remaining tufts you couldn’t get comes right off and you have a great smooth carcass. Rinse off with warm water and get ready to gut. (When you’re done processing the birds, let the wax pot cool. Once cool, scrape the wax and save for the next harvest day. Dump the water in a weedy patch.)
Take your time with this. Do not nick the bunghole or bile duct. Important. Don't ruin your meat harvest.

Take your time with this. Do not nick the bunghole or bile duct. Important. Don’t ruin your meat harvest.


Everything should come out in a nice neat package for you.

  1. Gutting. This is the trickiest part and I advise you to watch someone do it. Fortunately, YouTube is full of great videos of folks disemboweling ducks. I especially like this video on how to gut.(6:22 starts the disemboweling part.) Put on nitrile gloves if you’re a little squeamish. I use my bare hands, just remembering to wash when I’m done. It allows me more feel as I do this delicate part of the processing. But I make a big “V” cut from the end to avoid the bunghole, using the breast bone as a guide. Some folks (like in the video), make a separate cut to pull off the oil gland on the back. I make a big giant triangle cut and take off the bunghole and oil gland all at once and put in the offal bucket. Once you have that you can pull out the innards. They mostly come out all at once. Save the extra inner fat, liver, heart, and gizzard and put in your giblets bowl. I use that for either giblet gravy or making dog food. Be very aware not to slice into the bile duct. It’s this little green gland that looks like a giant pill. Do not puncture that or squeeze it. Gently cut it away from the bile duct from the liver and get that sucker in the offal bucket. I have found that the liver detaches from it very easily without the need of a knife.
    Ready to age and then freezer-pack.

    Ready to age and then freezer-pack.

    However, if the connecting tissue is a bit tougher, gently use your very sharp paring knife to cut the bile duct away from the liver. DO NOT CUT THE BILE DUCT.  Just cut the connecting tissue. If you cut the bile duct, that would be bad. And ruin your meat. It also will make you puke with its smell. Worse than cutting into the bunghole. I only know this from watching other people on YouTube having done this. I’ve been fortunate to not have any bile duct or bunghole accidents.  Like in the video, the lung tissue is very difficult to get out.

    Use all the parts you can. That shows the universe your gratitude for your harvest.

    Use all the parts you can. That shows the universe your gratitude for your harvest.

    You’ll be rinsing the inside of the cavity when you’re done, so don’t stress too much. A good rinse brings out all the lung tissue. Snip the feet at this time and set aside for stock or feeding to chickens (They’re omnivores, after all. Cats & Dogs love them, too. Unless you don’t want your cat/dog to want to eat your livestock, save it for a friend’s pet who lives far away. Some folks also use them for talismans and protection craft. They can be frozen for crab bait, too.)

  1. Rinse & Rest. Now rinse the carcass inside and out and rest in an ice bath. I use my kitchen sink for this. This past week, while the first carcass was resting in ice bath, we dispatched a second bird, following all the steps above. Meanwhile freezer ziploc the offal and fat for rendering or set to cooking for poultry, dogs, cats, or gravy, and lard. Some folks like the liver for Pâté. We’re not fans.



  1. Aging. Next you need to line a baking sheet that will sit in a refrigerator (some folks can use a flat surface in the garage if the temp doesn’t rise above 40 degrees F). Line the baking sheet with cheese cloth, put the carcass on it, cover with wax paper and let it rest 48 hours up to five days in the fridge. Then freezer pack and put in the freezer. This allows more blood to drain from the carcass and lets the whole rigor process go through so your duck meat will be tender when you cook it. You may have to change the cheese cloth after the first day. Be sure to do that. Rinse the bird before freezer packing it, pat dry, and pack for the freezer. We use a food saver system for the carcasses to prep for freezing. Looks very professional.
This is why you need a non-windy day to dispatch on....

This is why you need a non-windy day to dispatch on….

There you have it, for those who have been asking for this blog post (you know who you are). I hope I didn’t forget anything. Oh, the Chief Engineer says that you can use a leaf blower to blow any feathers that escaped from the box back into a pile for cleaning up. We just blew them back into the duck range yard. Wild birds pick them up for their nests. They’re not stupid. They know warm when they see it.

Last year we ate the duck as part of our Imbolc celebration in February. We have two this year, so we may get to have one sooner. Or maybe I’ll share with someone. We’ll see.










In The Weeds: Money, Keyloggers, and PayPal*

I made a mistake when I purchased something for someone. Buying them something wasn’t the mistake. My mistake was that I entered in my credentials on their computer, and they had this nifty little key-logger on their machine, unbeknownst to me. A keylogger is a program that logs every key stroke made on a machine and records it for posterity and usually maliciousness. My credentials were compromised and fraudulent purchases were made by that individual before I found out. However, I was smart, because I used PayPal, and, they helped me take back my credentials, and my money. All was good. PayPal has a back door, if you will, for users where you can deauthorize purchases — especially revolving subscriptions — right on their home page and your account page with them. It’s genius and I’m so grateful for it. (If you need an explanation on how to actually access that, message me and I’ll walk you through it. I’m still learning how to do blog images sans expensive photoshop, although I think the one I did post isn’t too shabby.)paypal


Had I used a bank credit card, however, that may not have been the case. It’s for that reason I try to use PayPal as often as possible. When I’m purchasing online, there’s no credit card needed. However, I do have a debit/credit card attached to my PayPal account and I can use it like a bank card, but with the better security controls for the owner of the account. Recently, a friend of mine bemoaned that when they purchase something with a debit or credit card, that it takes 7 to 10 days for that return to appear on their bank statement for said card; whereas, it takes just moments for the money to disappear from their account when they purchase it. That wasn’t the case for my PayPal situation. So, good on PayPal. But, if it takes a bank nearly two weeks to clear a return on your account, can you imagine if I’d entered in my bank account card on that keylogged machine? I shudder at the thought.

Also, if the person has Google enabled where credit card information or other credentials are stored, they could potentially have stored that information on their machine and then if they are hacked or don’t have good network or physical security on their machine…well, it’s just as bad as a keylogger. Next time, I’ll just purchase the gift on my own device. Way smarter. Way safer. And if I get hacked, well there’s no one to blame but me, yes?

This post is focused on having you learn from my mistake. Unless you are the administrator on a network or own a machine with robust security software on it, you should never put in your credit card information on someone’s machine. Keylogger programs are a dime a dozen and easy for civilians and hackers alike to procure. Your credit card information is some of the easiest and most damaging information to hack. How are you paying for things? Because of the extra security, I prefer to use PayPal, especially in the cyber world.




*PayPal has not paid me to write this.


In The Weeds: 6 Reasons Why You Should Care About Digital Security


I came to the digital and/or information security world in a Kevin Bacon sort of way. Six degrees of separation, if you will, got me here. In those reasons and events I found out why I should care. So as the story teller I am, I’m going to tell you stories in all my In The Weeds explorations into the InfoSec World. To begin, here are six vignettes on digital/information/cyber security that made me realize how important it is. However, they are not in any order of importance, because, as you will find, everything is important when it comes to digital security.

  1. No One Is Safe. As with any kind of security, it is not absolute. You can only do your best to follow guidelines for protection; but, absolute safety is a misnomer. Even if you have tons of resources, as I found out the hard way, you are at risk. I’m a former soldier and federal government employee. It’s one of the places I learned about cyber security because I worked for a branch of the military. It’s also where my most private data, to include security clearance paperwork that included other people’s information was hacked. This wasn’t my fault. I couldn’t have prevented it. However, the government set up a monitoring program and I log into it weekly to make sure that my private data hasn’t been compromised.p1169723902-11
  2. If It’s On The Internet, It’s Not Private. Personally, I’m an open book for the most part. I’ve gotten better about not wearing my emotions on my sleeves, but many people who navigate in the online world, have their heads, or rather, their data in the cloud(s). That Instagram photo, or Snapchat, or even your device photos automatically sync’d to Google or iCloud are at risk. One of my children’s classmates had an issue where a compromising photo was snapped in a fit of hormonal teenage impulsiveness. It was deleted off the device, but then the cloud app was hacked. The image they thought was gone forever was not. There’s unending news stories about celebrities or politicians doing the same. No one is immune.
  3. Don’t Pass On Updates. During my freelance life I dabbled in web design and web content. It’s an ugly tennis-match role to play, especially for small businesses. Twice I advised small businesses that their security on their web site was either weak or non-existent. Both of them had very embarrassing pay-for-click hacks attached to their sites seemingly moments after I warned them the software wasn’t up to date, or the site had ZERO security. No, I wasn’t responsible. Sure, it can be annoying, to have automatic updates turned on. They don’t always come at the most convenient times; but, if you’re a person who uses computers or the internet like a toaster, it might be your best bet. Or if you’re like me and constantly get interrupted by teenagers, pets, or the good-idea fairy, you might want to turn auto update on. Granted, that can be a vulnerability, too. But, that’s for another article.
  4. Back Ups Are Paramount To Breathing. I’m not talking about a document you have – although, if you don’t back up to the cloud or a secondary thumb drive or encrypted drive for something like say, a short story, or a letter to your local municipality, you may be sorry. However, little harm is done. I’m referring to those that deal in data. Spreadsheets, inventory, and the like. Individuals may not deal with that heavily, but we do sometimes store sensitive information on our machines, that maybe we should back up elsewhere. My friend’s laptop was hacked and ransomware was put on it (her son used her machine and wasn’t careful online). She had a document on it that had ALL her information, passwords, account numbers, etc. It was there so that if something happened to her, her executor could access her online presence. She thought she was being smart. If she had that document on an encrypted drive, she’d be better off. Password management tools are available, but refer back to item number one on this list. Again, that’s another article. Friend’s identity was compromised, and it was a long six-plus months before she got everything straightened out. But, the amount of time and resources to straighten it out could have been saved if she’d had an encrypted thumb drive to store it on and placed it in the family’s safety deposit box (the latter suggestion is awkward when passwords change, however. But that’s another post).cyber-attacks-hicube-infosec
  5. Computer Systems Control Just About Everything. Power Grids. Satellites. Air Traffic. Smart Homes. Smart Phones. Smart Cars. Heck, we pay our bills online, and order our coffees online. And every computer system is hackable. Every one. Protecting the vulnerabilities (because with every hardware or software update, new ones are discovered) is a full-time job for many a IT geek. I often think back to my days on the ground at the Pentagon following the 9/11 attack. Nothing worked. No cell service. Electricity was out for a good chunk of the Pentagon. Air Traffic was stopped. Communication reverted at moments to old-school military hand signals, or radio waves. It was spooky. Then in the winter of 2006, my family and I lived through The Big Blow. A wind storm so powerful here in the Pacific Northwest that millions of people were without power, for longer than anyone could have imagined it. We enjoyed 15 days without power. Five kids in the house not being able to watch tv, play video games, even chat with their friends (we are a household that hasn’t had a house phone since about 2005) was not a pretty sight. I remember my husband commenting that this is what would happen if someone hacked the power grid. It was an eye opener. At one point I drove into a section of Seattle that got power before the rest of us slobs so my oldest girl could charge her cell phone and I could do laundry. It’s an experience I won’t soon forget. Sure it was a first-world problem, but it was a problem all the same.


    The famous German Spy Mata Hari

  6. Intellectual Property and Industrial Espionage is a Thing. As a former soldier, I was trained to recognize espionage. On a national level it’s such a concept I viewed as rather Hollywood initially, especially since I never witnessed it outside of the example cases the Department of Army or Defense used for training (those whose main mission is to prevent such a thing would say their programs and strategies work). When my spouse and I got together one of the main focuses of his job at the time was to protect the company he worked for from those who would steal its design and operational secrets. I was a bit befuddled that the same tactics on both sides (bad guy/good guy) were used in the corporate world, too. He wore khakis and Hawaiian shirts at the time, and not fatigues. But the fight was the same.

Most list-articles you find online have an air of authority that sometimes is difficult to vet. These are just my stories, but I can tell you they are truth with great authority. Now tell me your stories. What event in your own history made you realize that digital security is important? Are you currently dealing with something? Write about it here. Who knows? Maybe your story will provide a new In The Weeds exploration.


Harvest Creations: Oodles and Oodles of Zoodles


I can’t eat pasta any more. My DNA is skewed towards diabetes; therefore, carbs are like a silent killer ninja in my bloodstream. Although I’m in no danger currently, if I were to continue to eat now as I have my whole life, I would be there very soon. Getting Old Ain’t For Sissies. Just sayin’. So, to the rescue are things like spaghetti squash, ribbons of butternut squash, and the easiest of all: zoodles, which as one might guess is Zucchini + Noodles = Zoodles. However, no carbs here. You make the “noodles” out of the zucchini and replace them in your favorite pasta dishes, and then wa-la! Squash, diabetes! The beginning of 2016 we made a no-sugar life a priority. That means that this years crop of squash will help us with any “carb” cravings we have. 1zoodles

My microfarm is having a weird year because our summer weather has been waves of mini-hot followed by the weather that the greater Seattle area is known for:  cool and rainy. But the zucchini are really starting to come in and I’m in dehydration mode with the zoodles. You can make long-flat lasagna-style noodles (easily done with just a regular vegetable peeler or mandolin slicer), or you can grate and make like a broken spaghetti style (great to make zacaroni and cheese!), or if you have a fancy spiralizer, you can have curly fettuccine and the like. I don’t have a spiralizer yet (I had one, but its design lacked what I needed, so we returned it).

I dehydrate because like many garden veggies, zucchini hold a lot of water – again one of the reasons its healthy for us to eat for our 75-percent-made-from-water bodies. So it’s important that before freezing for future use, a bit of dehydration is a good thing. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way to store like you would dry pasta in the cupboard/larder. But, if I do, you’ll be the first to know.

I initially followed this recipe: Preserving Zoodles . I did find a few things I needed to change for my particular set up. Also, I haven’t tried the oven method. If you plan to do it that way, please tell me how it goes.

I have a decade-old Ronco 5-tray dehydrator. It’s nothing fancy and was first procured for dehydrating foraged mushrooms. I also use it for fruits and herbs and things like siracha salt. So, I can only speak for how I have to do it with my dehydrator. Your mileage and dehydrator may vary.


As much zucchini as you can handle (about one garden-variety zucchini per tray – not the wimpy sized ones you buy at the store), washed, ends cut off, dried (I always soak my produce in a sink of cold water after a gentle scrub in running water with a tablespoon of white vinegar).4zoodles

A grater (I used the one on my food processor)

A dehydrator

Paper towels or cloth napkins

Time (mine took 7-9 hours; so be sure you are going to be puttering around the house and have time to do this).


Dampen cloth napkins or paper towels and line your dehydrator trays. Grate your zucchini. Put in large chunky handfuls into your dehydrator trays with the zoodles. Do not do too thin; but, also beware that if you have a dehydrator like mine, you’ll need to stack trays on top and they need to stack level and securely.

5zoodlesOpen the dehydrator top to open (see photo). After an hour being on, you’ll want to toss the zoodles and rotate the trays. At seven hours I had to up it to about every 30 minutes to toss the zoodles and rotate the trays. The point is to make sure they dry evenly and don’t get too crisp. When the zoodles are no longer wet to the touch and feel like an al dente pasta, remove and put into freezer bags or food saver bags and store in freezer. To use, toss straight from freezer in boiling salted water and cook about two minutes. Add your favorite sauce, and you have guilt-free pasta.

Alright, hope you can enjoy doing this, too. Right now I need to go harvest more zucchini. Hope farm stand folks want some zucchini this week.




In The Weeds: Taking The Digital Path Less Traveled


My husband just got home from Def Con. It’s this mysterious place he’s been going to many a summer that I couldn’t (mostly because we have five children between the two of us and one of us had to keep the home network safe). Before the annual conference — that this year attracted a record number of people, 22,000 — he gets all geeked up and works on hacker puzzles, and bones up on the latest and greatest in the information security world. It’s clear to me that this is his Mecca, and these people, his tribe.

1defconWhen he returns, he’s just as amp’d up and full of new tricks of the trade, as well as tools to keep the digital world safe. The first year he came home with a lock-picking set and that’s when I learned that it isn’t all 1s and 0s when it comes to digital security. Because of his interest and sharing of said interest, I was able to break into my bedroom when I’d accidentally locked myself out. I ruined two insurance cards doing it, but the feeling of badassness of being able to hack the door knob – oh, and learn it’s weaknesses still sticks with me today. Oh, and changing the locks to something more secure and wondering why it bent to my will thrilled me beyond measure. It wasn’t criminal – it was my own property, but the unraveling of something meant to keep me out just made me excited to learn more.

Over the years married to my spouse, my interest in digital security has only heightened. But, it was only in the recent weeks leading up to Hubby’s departure to DefCon 24 that I realized my interest was deeper than just being an observant writer/journalist and a supportive spouse. I wanted to learn more. Hubby’s a good teacher, but he also works full time in the digital security world and has been for nearly 20 years. I started following certain InfoSec folks on twitter (and they followed me back!) I have Google Alerts to bring me information about vulnerabilities and other key words in the hacker world. I have been reading articles for years and continue to do so. My InfoSec bookshelf is beginning to rival that of my writing and farming shelves.2defcon

Clearly, I’m on a quest and journey to delve deeper into this subject matter, world, culture, and tribe. Like everything I do, I’ll write about it. Not that stepping off the precipice of the “civilian” cliff into the world of InfoSec isn’t scary. I am anxious about things like DDOS attacks, the whole GamerGate attitude flying into my face because I’m a woman, to potentially putting my husband’s work in jeopardy, for there is some not so nice aspects to this world  — think MR. ROBOT, or ZEROES, or LITTLE BROTHER, and the like.

However my need to explore and gain knowledge really trumps that anxiety. I’m interested to answer questions like: How much stronger are passwords with numbers? Or how do criminals use stolen credit cards without leading cops right to them? Why do nerds prefer command line over a GUI? Why is curiosity a crime? When you buy hardware, is it yours to tinker with? Take apart? Replicate? Improve? Why is (insert tactic) important? How does it work? What are its hidden assumptions that lead to unintended flaws? Regardless the subject, the hacker community is much more about the mindset than any technical detail and I intend to peel that metaphoric onion. Right here on this farm that has a server in the garage. Can you straddle the analog and digital world successfully? I intend to find out.

So, from one nerd/noob to another, you can follow along and maybe you’ll learn something. I know I will.