Thursday, October 27, 2005

Prince Charles and small farms

I saw a snippet of an interview with Prince Charles on BBC World on TV tonight ("Prince Charles shows the BBC around his organic farm"). There is a much fuller video version of the interview at the main BBC site. At the moment, the link is on the front page in the Video and Audio section, "Prince urges action on climate change in exclusive interview." [Update 10/28/05: The video link can now be found on this page.]

The interview is somewhat mis-titled; it is about the prince's organic farm and his views on the importance of small farms to save rare breeds of livestock, produce artisan foods, and pass down the knowledge of previous generations. He also emphasizes the importance of buying and eating local foods.

Listen to the interview if you can!

[Update 10/30/05: Prince Charles will be interviewed on 60 Minutes tonight.]

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Two car-free days

I hope to be able to report that by the end of today I will have gone two days without driving my car. Yesterday I rode over to Whole Foods to pick up something for a friend and a half-gallon of organic milk for myself. I think it is around five to six miles one way, the longest ride bike ride I have taken thus far during my reintroduction to bicycle riding.

(Free idea for the online map and directions companies: I'd like to be able to enter my own route and have the software figure out the mileage. When I entered the Whole Foods destination, the route I was given was via the freeway, which was not the route I rode.)

Then I rode over to my friends' house and went hiking with them. The ride home was a little slower than it might have been given that my legs are not yet used to all this activity.

During my travels yesterday, I also used more than one gear! I have been rather intimidated by all the gears and had avoided shifting them. But I definitely felt their benefit! The one time I did something wrong and knocked the chain off the cogs, I was able to fix it easily and keep riding.

Today, I was ready in time and organized enough to be able to ride my bike to church. I even strapped a bucket onto the rack that I needed to return to someone. Then I rode over to Path to Freedom to pick up my weekly vegetable order, and home again.

I still need to figure out the clothes issue. I managed to find clothes that were OK to ride in and suitable enough for church. But coming home after mid-day, I was rather hot. I live UP a hill, so the ride home is the hardest part.

Next challenge: Riding more during the week because riding intensively only two days on the weekend is not the best. I need to see if I can figure out a bike/bus combination until (maybe!) I can work up to tackling the twenty mile one-way route to work.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Stormy weather

It's rained for the past two nights. This early afternoon the sky is greenish-grey with overcast clouds as I look out the windows across to the trees in the golf course.

[Update 15 minutes later: Now I can barely see out the windows because of the rain streaking them.]

Friday, October 14, 2005

Be not afraid

Once again, Leah in her bungalow kitchen has written a thoughtful, pertinent post, this time on the subject of fear and its antidote, joy. Read the poem she quotes. Then read the article to which she links, "The Market In Fear," by Frank Furedi.
Fear has lost its relationship to experience. When confronted with a specific threat such as the plague or an act of war, fear can serve as an emotion that guides us in a sensible direction. However, when fear is promoted as promiscuously as it is today, it breeds an unfocused sense of anxiety that can attach itself to anything. In such circumstances fear can disorient and distract us from our very own experiences. That is why fear has acquired connotations that are entirely negative.
Study what the writer of the gospel of Matthew has to say about fear. Read an (abbreviated, I think,) article about "The Disposition of Joy." Join other Lutheran women in learning to Act Boldly!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bike pannier

This past week, my bike shop ordered in a pannier for me to check out. I'd looked at wire baskets, including collapsible ones, but wanted to see how the nylon bags worked. I ended up getting the nylon pannier—and I really like it.

The bag easily hooks onto and slips off the back rack, with a ring on an elastic band that slides onto a short bar on the bottom of the rack and two hooks that slip onto the top of the rack. So when the bike is parked, I just take the bag with me, as it has two handles on top to carry it.

The bag is resizable via the cinch ties on the side and can be opened up to carry at least a grocery-bag size worth of items.

Yesterday I was able to keep my resolve not to drive my car at least one day a week. I put my books into the bag and rode down to the church for the women's breakfast and Bible study. Then, after I came home, I strapped a box of blankets on the back of the bike that the church women had made some time ago and delivered them to the local chapter of Project Linus. The blanket-making volunteers were having a work day at a nearby church.

It was such a satisfying feeling to be able to run my errands on my bicycle, the happy feelings augmented, no doubt, by the extra surge of endorphins from all the exercise.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Post vacation

I had a wonderful vacation in Northern California, but already there is so much to do upon my return south. Yet there is more to mull and remember and be thankful for. Like beautiful weather and the time to sit outside and just enjoy a chance to sit and soak in the lovely day. Most of my reflections will be offline, but I have some fun pictures to show here and, hopefully, a more substantive post or two.

Animals were a theme of the week. The chickens next door were regular visitors.

On Saturday, we visited the California farm of the Farm Sanctuary organization. Here are a couple of the rescued goats.

There were many more animals and much to ponder.