Sunday, August 21, 2005

Tour de Lentil

Yesterday I went on a 100k plus bike ride, and I didn't die.
I took part in the Tour de Lentil which took place in conjunction with the National Lentil Festival in Pullman, WA. We started at 9 am and took the long way from Pullman to Colfax. From Colfax we braved the rolling hills of the Palouse region to the city of Palouse and then back down to Pullman, 62 plus miles in all. At the start of the race, I was surrounded by a sea of spandex and fancy racing bikes. I stood out like a sore thumb with my baggy shorts, bulky skate shoes and backpack. There were only a few of us non-cycling team riders, which became especially obvious not too long after the ride had started and we were left in their dust. It wasn't a race or anything, but it appeared that way. It was my first time riding such a long distance in one day on my bike, and I definitely wasn't prepared for all of those murderous hills...but I tackled and conquered them anyway. Besides the handful of people who dropped out along the way, I came in dead last with a laughable time of about 7 hours. But I didn't care, I was a first timer and those hills really did a number on me. The last few miles were a bit scary. I was getting dehydrated, and the only water I had was still ice and melting very slowly. Colors started to fade and I was feeling like I was going to pass out. With four miles left to go, I layed down in someone's front yard under the shade of a big tree and took a 20 minute rest. As soon as I saw Pullman in the distance, my energy seemed to come flooding back as I cruised down the hill into the city. I had made it, my first 100k! Things to remember if I do the ride again: a) bring more fluids, b) wear sunscreen (my legs got fried to a crisp), and c) psych myself of for those monster hills.
After resting in Pullman for a few hours, I made the 7 mile trek back to Moscow. I don't have one of those fancy bicycle computers, but I figure that by the time the day was over I had ridden at least 85 miles or more when you add in the trip to Moscow and back along with the other biking around that I did. And honestly, my legs don't feel too incredibly tired. The only pain I'm in is due to the extreme sunburn on my pasty white legs. Like Sarah Contrary says: "It was just a bike ride."

Friday, August 19, 2005

Idea From A Dream & Bike For Lentils

Have you ever gotten the most stellar ideas while sleeping, awesome inspirations that come to you in your dreams? When you're laying there half awake, they seem like pure genius. Later on, after you've been awake for a while and are able to think a little more clearly, you realize that your ingenious ideas that came to you in your dreams are actually pretty lame. Last night's dreams allowed me such an experience. I dreamt up a gardening technique that just might help out with starting cold season crops (such as spinach, broccoli, leeks, etc.) from seed during late summer weeks while the soil is still warm. After all, in order for said seeds to germinate, they need the soil to be cool, but the long summer months leave the soil nice and toasty. After the seeds have sprouted, the deadly summer heat should be a thing of the past, and the seedlings should be able to flourish into the fall. So how can you cool down your soil? Why not get a bunch of bags of ice from the grocery store or gas station and spread them out into a shallow trench you've made in the soil. Cover the ice up with the surrounding soil and let it melt for a few hours. Later, sow your seeds and mulch with straw or leaves or whatever. Once the seeds begin to sprout, clear away the mulch until the seedlings are established. Isn't that a great idea?!? Actually it's pretty stupid I guess....But it could work.
Tomorrow I am hopefully going on a 100km bike ride (that's 62 miles!). It's called the Tour de Lentil and it's part of the National Lentil Festival in Pullman, WA. Yes, there is a celebration for lentils, which leads me to believe that there must be a festival or celebration for just about everything. Anyway, I'm really excited about it, so I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. Time to go tune up my bike for tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Rebirth of the Small Family Farm:

A Handbook for Starting a Successful Organic Farm Based on the Community Supported Agriculture Concept by Bob & Bonnie Gregson
This booklet contains the "true tale" of two 40 somethings who went through a mid-life crisis and decided to quit their jobs as corporateers and become organic farmers instead. They explain how they began with virtually no experience as farmers and over the course of a few years were able to turn a two acre area of land into a profitable endeavor. By sharing their story and revealing their trials and errors, they hope to motivate and assist others in doing the same thing with the utopic vision of small farms popping up all over the place and surrounding urban areas in an effort to make food local again. In order to turn a profit, they eliminated the middle man for the most part and sold their produce directly to consumers through a subscription-based system and at an on-site produce stand. This is a very informative and helpful booklet for anyone considering a career as a small farmer. It could also be inspiring to those that don't already know that they want to be a small farmer. I really appreciated their reasoning behind farming organically and selling locally, and I liked how they referred to the farmer as a "junior partner" with the earth. We must work together with nature in order to live in harmony, but we also must realize that we are only second in command for without nature and her miraculous processes, we are nothing.
This booklet costs $12 plus shipping from Acres U.S.A., PO Box 91299, Austin TX 78709, 1-800-355-5313,
Oh, and expect to see many quotes from this booklet in future issues of The Juniper.

Friday, August 05, 2005

To The Many Dedicated Readers Of This Blog...

Okay, so that title is a little sarcastic and a definite exaggeration, but who cares?
I am planning on updating this blog more often and I'll tell you why. I am currently writing material for the next issue of The Juniper (issue #5, and it should be out in a month or two) and I am realizing more and more that space is going to be a major issue. I have to keep it small so that I can keep it free to readers and cheap for me to print, yet I am finding that I have more and more stuff to say along with piles of information that I want to pass along. It's rough knowing that I don't have the money to make this thing big, nor do I really have the time right now unfortunately. The first three issues included reviews and recommendations; the fourth issue didn't due to lack of space. The fifth issue won't have space for them either, so I decided that all (or at least most) of the reviews of zines, books, etc and recommendations for websites, products, etc. can be posted here. I hope to post something new each week. For those without internet access or who choose to boycott or avoid the internet at all costs, I will print a few one sheeters of the reviews and recommendations to tack onto some of the copies that go out. That way everyone will have a chance to read them if they'd like to and those who don't want to bother with them at all will also be much obliged. This idea is good for me because then maybe my blog will get a little more traffic, which means it'll actually become worthwhile for me to have this stupid thing. So anyway, look for the first post real soon. bye now..........