Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Brown Canyon Dam

Yesterday was spent hiking in the upper Arroyo Seco. We were going to have gone up to the Oakwilde campground, but we detoured to Brown Canyon Dam.

After the record rains of this past winter, the pool at the base of the dam was brim full. Such fun to jump into the refreshingly cold water!

We decided that the swimming opportunity was too good to pass up so stayed at the dam rather than finishing the hike.

I found an interesting outline (.pdf) of the efforts over the years to control flooding in the Arroyo Seco. Brown Canyon Dam was built in 1942 after the huge flood of 1938.

(Thanks to Anaïs for the photos!)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Brain food

Via 43 Folders, I read an article in New Scientist about ways to keep the brain in shape. The first suggestion is to eat a healthy breakfast, which may include Marmite!
Beans on toast is a far better combination [than sugary foods and drinks], as Barbara Stewart from the University of Ulster, UK, discovered. Toast alone boosted children's scores on a variety of cognitive tests, but when the tests got tougher, the breakfast with the high-protein beans worked best. Beans are also a good source of fibre, and other research has shown a link between a high-fibre diet and improved cognition. If you can't stomach beans before midday, wholemeal toast with Marmite makes a great alternative. The yeast extract is packed with B vitamins, whose brain-boosting powers have been demonstrated in many studies.
I guess my boarding school breakfast diet was healthier than I knew!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Vegetable wars

Via Path to Freedom, a clever little online movie, Grocery Store Wars.
Le weekend

The thing about working full-time is that when the weekend comes around, I just don't feel like tackling the chores that need to be done (see previous entry). Last week's work ended with finishing a very detailed assignment that required intense concentration but not much intellectual output. So, the weekend was spent relaxing and refilling the brain.

Friday night I spent five hours watching Pride and Prejudice. I now understand Colin Firth obsessions!

Saturday I went bookshopping bookstoring, a most excellent activity for which I now have a verb, thanks to an essay in one of the books I checked out at the library stop—Lost Classics. [Edit: I had a feeling "bookshopping" wasn't quite right but didn't have the book with me to check. Now that I'm home, here's the quote: "If you live where I do, you go bookstoring the way others go hunting or clubbing: hopeful, wondering if you can still get lucky." From "They Feed They Lion—Philip Levine" by Michael Helm, p. 79, in Lost Classics.]

Saturday evening and Sunday morning I put together a lesson on the history of the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity for a Trinity Sunday adult class.

Then Sunday afternoon and evening, I read more than half of a book loaned to me by a friend called Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection, by Deborah Blum. It is a fascinating history around the famous terry cloth and wire monkey mother experiments that "proved" the importance of a mother's affection and interaction with her baby.

Well, lunch has ended, so back to work....

Thursday, May 19, 2005


It's come to that point again—many things to do and think about and a sense of not tackling any of them head on. Writing lists here has been helpful in the past, so I'll try it once again.
  • Write up entry on presence, Ascension, and Pentecost
  • Decide how to tackle house (once again)
  • Get more sleep—darken third window in bedroom
  • Plan out Adult Forum sessions
  • Bring more of my own food to work
  • Order more wool from Elann to finish shawl
  • Other projects
  • Type up minutes
  • Write up copyright procedures
  • Go walking
  • Dust off bicycle, which leads to...
  • Clean out the garage again
  • Repot plants
  • Finish writing very overdue thank you notes
  • Make appointment for smog check and renew tabs
  • Get school district information for friend
  • Mail DVDs
  • Send note re: study guide
  • Contact person re: event
OK. That's enough for now. But it all goes back to item three: GET ENOUGH SLEEP. Now I need to go buy cat food and milk at the store.

[Edit: I'm adding things to the list as they occur to me.]

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Small farms, once more

I just came across this Boston Globe article, via Down On The Farm: "Going back to the land: Young people moving in to fill agricultural niches," by Sarah Schweitzer.
As family farms are swallowed up by corporations and housing developers, young men and women, some from suburban backgrounds and families with no agricultural ties, are filling the void. They are opening small niche operations in Vermont and elsewhere in New England to grow hydroponic tomatoes and raise free-range chickens.

Some are going back to the land to escape corporate culture, farming specialists say. Some of the young farmers and farmers-to-be say they are motivated by a sense that farming can save the world or at least some corner of it. [...]

But if they are idealists, the young farmers are also business-savvy. They toss around corporate catch-phrases such as value-added and diversified. They have business plans and have taken accounting classes.
It will be interesting to see if this trend gains enough momentum to offset some of the statistics about aging farmers.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Small farm theme, cont.

A site I've enjoyed recently is Sugar Creek Farm (via Not So Virtual Homestead). The author is documenting her family's adventures in starting a small farm business—both the good and the difficult times. I love this picture of a chicken dining with the cats.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Springs of water

The family farm has its own source of spring water. I don't know all the details of the water system, but here are a few pictures.

One of the last memories I have of my grandfather is when he was in the hospital giving my uncle instructions about when and how to run the water pump.

(click to enlarge)

From left to right. 1) The pump house over the spring on the side of the hill—it was too wet to wade through the brush to get a closer look. 2) The overflow below the pump house next to the road. Fresh spring water pours out of here year round. People often stop and fill up water containers. Somebody put the two little angels there. 3) The back of the other pump house up by the main house. The back entrance of the main house is in the background, and the side of the garage is to the right. 4) Inside the pump house.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Root house

One of the many buildings on the family farm is the root house, a small one-room building insulated with walls that are five to six inches thick. The root house stores fruit and vegetables, both fresh and canned, as well as a lot of miscellaneous stuff. In the heat of summer, the root house is the coolest place on the farm, and it always smells like apples. By April, most of the apples that were stored over the winter have been eaten and most of the canned fruit consumed.

(click to enlarge)

(After nearly four years, I still check out the View: Page Source on Raspberry World when I'm trying to figure out something in html I don't know. Thanks, Susie!)