Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wind and wealth on Nantucket




Every year for many years, we have traveled to Cape Cod and the Berkshires for vacation. Having heard from many people that Nantucket is beautiful, we decided to check it out.

I gotta say, I was disappointed. The admittedly gas- and money-guzzling ferry ride was quite nice, as evidenced by the sunset above, but next time, I'll save both and stay on the Cape. The scenery was okay, but I've seen more beautiful landscapes on the outer Cape.

Perhaps that's because the most beautiful scenery on Nantucket is all owned by private residents? While there, we saw the book Cape Wind in a bookstore. The book tells the story of the attempt to build a wind farm off Nantucket, and the efforts of wealthy property owners (here's their organization's web site), including Ted Kennedy, to block it. So far, there's still no wind farm.

What's ironic is that, as we were hiking a conservation area on the island, the sound of our voices was joined by the sound of frequent private airplanes flying in...at least 30-40 over the course of our 2-3 hour hike.



Now, I'm not an expert on wind energy, and in fact, I think that the best solution to mitigate the effects of the current and future climate crisis is to produce less and consume less, on an individual, societal, and global level. We should put our collective efforts into making that happen, rather than plundering our earth's resources even more for energy that is bound to run out at some point.

Meanwhile, though, it does make sense to seek cleaner sources of energy as we work towards that goal, and wind makes some sense to me.

And doesn't it seem rather self-centered that the very people who utilize the most energy, to fuel their private planes and maintain their 7,000 square foot homes, are in opposition to a new source of energy?

You see, they don't want to see the turbines in the distance, or to have their sailing disrupted. The property owners did recommend, however, that it would be fine for a wind farm to be sited in the Berkshires, another of our vacation spots.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

The state of patriotism



One of the highlights of vacation was a performance of US by Alexandra Beller, the gorgeous woman above. She performed for the Berkshire Fringe Festival, who described the show as "a provocative and politically charged performance marrying text, song and virtuosic dance. Using rich theatricality and vigorous physicality, award-winning creator/performer Alexandra Beller (former member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company) explores the relationship between a country and its citizens. The performance questions issues of morality, humanity, dissent and forgiveness."

The show was set up in the round, with the audience surrounding the performer on stage, and she brought us into the performance in a way that made us consider our own relationship to our country and our fellow citizens.

Here's an excerpt:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Because I said so

Okay, I know I said I'd have vacation reports, but I have been swamped since I got back!

In the meantime, if you're a mom or ever had a mom, you should watch this...she's condensed everything a mom says in 24 hours, into a little less than 3 minutes, to the tune of the William Tell Overture. It might make you laugh or cry, depending on your own experience with and/or as a mom. (I know a lot of dads who will probably be able to relate as well!)

It's worth listening to all the way to the end.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Back soon

Just back from 2 glorious weeks of vacation! Full reports to come!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Blog break

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I'll be taking a break for the next couple of weeks...check out some of the blogs on my sidebar while I'm away!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Urban farm update

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The chickens definitely make this feel more like a teeny tiny farm than a garden (the word "garden" sounds so rarefied).  They're in the gangly adolescent stage...more of their feathers are coming in, and they're starting to jockey for status.  They've started doing something that we call "chest butting."  They'll run towards one another and butt chests...I don't know how else to describe it.  I'm guessing this is one of the ways that they sort out the pecking order.  It's not clear to me how it's going to end up.  Sarah (above) is definitely the smartest, but Ella (the brown one) is the oldest.  


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Billie is just kind of an oddball and she likes to follow Sarah around, so I think it will be between Sarah and Ella. It all kind of reminds me of the social dynamics of human adolescence, but with a lot less angst.


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I cut a bunch of flowers yesterday...

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This gerbera daisy started as 2 flowers which then grew together...you can see how there are 2 stems fused, and the petals on one side are larger.

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And the vegetable garden is thriving...I've started a running list on the sidebar of how much I've harvested so far.

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More flowers, veggie, and chicken pictures at my flickr set.


Fireworks from the garden



Bee balm with most of its flower petals plucked (to be dried for tea).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Knitting in a post-Katrina world

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If you're like me (and you may not be, in this instance at least), you can easily remain insulated from the latest news about car accidents, kidnappings, fires, and weather disasters. That's because I don't watch TV. And by that I don't mean that the TV's on but I don't pay attention, or I turn it on in the mornings while I'm getting ready for work. I mean I don't watch it. I put in a yoga video or a movie now and then, and that's it. I will save why for another post.

Back to such news items...many of them fall in the category of gossip. (There is a famous quote about that but I can't recall the quote or the author at the moment!) To me, news is something that impacts a large group of people and/or has policy implications. To focus on personal tragedies is not only exploitive of those suffering, it also diverts our attention from matters such as energy policy, war in Afghanistan/Iraq/Iran, loss of civil liberties under the current administration, you get the picture...

But sometimes I miss something that I really should know more about. Yes, I know there have been floods in the Midwest. But it took the following letter posted on Ravelry to really get my attention.

Letter from Carol Anderson of Cottage Creations:

Eleven years ago, Cottage Creations collected hundreds of items for the Red River flood that inundated Grand Forks, ND. Working with the Salvation Army, Paul and I and our friends, the Morrow’s, delivered hand-knit items there. The event was heart-wrenching-people were so appreciative. I’m sure many recipients were comforted simply by knowing someone else cared. I’d like to repeat the drive, this time distributing hand-knits to communities along the Cedar River (35,000 displaced in Cedar Rapids alone) and nearby tornado-ravaged Parkersburg. I will work though proper channels. After talking with Red Cross or Salvation Army people I’m sending out a plea to my fellow knitters for the following items: mittens, caps, scarves, afghans, prayer shawls, baby blankets, dishcloths, socks, infants, children’s and adult sweaters. If you’d like to participate-one or two articles is quite sufficient, mail or UPS any items to me before November 1st.

Please attach a card to items with the following information:
1) Name of item

2) Size, if applicable
3) Fiber content (most items should be machine washable and dryable)
4) If desired: your name and address and any word of encouragement.

Questions? 641.324.1280 or
cotcreat@rconnect.com or address above. Thanks..Carol Anderson

Send to:

Post office address:
Cottage Creations At the Farm on Deer Creek
Carpenter, Iowa 50426
UPS or Fed Ex address:

Carol Anderson
4562 Zinnia Ave. St.
Ansgar, IA 50472

A while ago, I wrote about knitting for others. In a climate-warming and post-Katrina world, where weather disasters have become almost commonplace, I want to remember that the people experiencing the disaster don't suffer fewer disruptions in their lives just because it's the fifth one of the year.

So, I'm going to make it a goal to send at least one item in by November 1. How about you?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Introducing Hendonist Confections



Unlike Hedonist Chocolates, Hendonist Confections caters to the discriminating hens in your life. Cousins Marilla, Ariel Cluck-Cluck, and Lorraine brought Billie, Ella, and Sarah some treats. The girls had a little "meet and greet" with our friends, and their chicken cousins sent some goodies with their humans...




(I bet you can tell which family of hens were named by a five-year old...she's the older sister in this post.)

Fortunately humans like strawberries, too...with a little extra sweetness.


The girls are growing...new pictures soon!

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