Saturday, September 8, 2018

Notes from the back room - a little break

It's a great morning.

a few nights ago

I'm on a streak - eleven straight days of riding a bike. Last night my wife and I took a ride on rain-damp streets. We don't get out like that enough these days. There was a bit of racing - she won, but so did I. I heard her laugh. I saw mischief in her eyes.

Anonymous coffeehouse art

We've been getting rain lately, nice slow rains. Last night I read the opening pages of The Grapes of Wrath. The way Steinbeck builds the drought - a slow but powerful build and something we've seen around here enough in recent years. So every rain is a relief and a gift to be savoured. (And it's always good to be reading Steinbeck.)

More anonymous coffeehouse art

Life ain't easy, not for any of us. But it's sure nice to have days when the the joys outweigh the stress and the mundane drudgery of chores and jobs and obligations. Lord, it's nice to count the blessings.

May you know peace and joy today - no matter when you read this.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Okay, I admit it. (The Personal Carbon Reduction fight at 50)

As the Mesquite Hugger, I don't have the fight in me I once had. My beliefs haven't changed, but my desire to fight has been rather flighty. As an environmentalist, as a Christian, and as a human being, I still want a better, safer, healthier world for all, but my arms are sure having a harder time holding up a protest sign.

Yes, I'm still on a quest for personal carbon reduction. Reducing the world's dependence on petroleum and coal will not solve all of our ills, but it's a big step in making a more livable world where we can all live and breathe, and maybe even hate each other less.

Getting older has a few perks - my wife bought me a powerful new PCR tool.
(Thank you, my love!)

I turned 50 this week. And true to form, I've been introspectorating my role in this life a little too much. These days I devote a lot more time to keeping the bills paid and caring for the people around me. (To be fair, they've been working at taking care of me more too.) (I've also had the attention span of a gnat with a bad caffeine habit.)

For the fall season, I am pushing to be healthier and stronger. Less gas, more pedaling. Less solitaire, more Steinbeck. Fewer carbs, more Seeger, Guthrie, and Ochs. Less computer, more compassion. Less batter, more Bible. (You get the picture.)

All this is to say I'm not dead yet and I'm working out to get back in shape for the fight.

May we pedal, compost, reduce, re-use, heal, and fight our way to better place.

And may you know peace.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday Pics the Mesquite Hugger

It's Friday! I thought I'd share a few pics for the faithful.
Never a dull sky around here!

This Benelli e-bike was parked outside the coffee today.

4 snowy egrets and a black-capped night heron in one pic!

The first new Nissan Leaf I've spotted in the wild.
May all the goodness appear in your path too!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Somewhat idle hands and keyboard...

Sometimes you reach a point where you're just trying to pay the bills, to keep the people around you happy, to have clean underwear to wear each day, and to keep the rain barrels mosquito free. That's been me lately.

Green stuff? Yes, I am plugging away there too, but more in a maintenance mode than a Mr.-Wizard-new-project-every-week mode.

Basil loves the olla!

The food-is-free planter is looking pretty good, but it's needing a little shady roof - have you ever seen a sun-burnt bell pepper? The front porch olla-planters are doing well with potatoes, tomatoes, and whole lotta basil. We picked up a rosemary plant to add this weekend.

Now you've seen a sun-burnt bell pepper!

Consuming less and recycling the rest? I'd give our household a C+. We have been taking reusable cups and shopping bags with us more consistently, but we've been eating out a lot and there's a lot of waste in the restaurant world.

A successful work commute to and fro yesterday

I'm riding the bike for most of my under-4-mile trips and I'm riding the work-in-progress-e-bike to work a few times per week. I am wishing I had bought a quality e-bike a year or two ago rather than spending so much time, money, and precious garage time piecing the current e-bike together, but it has been a fun project. The coolest part of the project has been learning to build (and rebuild twice) a lithium battery pack.

Even though lots of tempting stuff has popped up lately, I have been successful in not bringing any new projects home.

As a matter of fact, a few projects have even left this year. I don't have the nerve to call myself a minimalist, but I have been doing some minimizing, and that feels good.

The nicest green(er) upgrade has been retiring Rambo, the old Dodge pickup and replacing it with an eight-year-old Ford Escape Hybrid - by far the nicest vehicle I've driven in years. I feel pretty darned good when I'm able to keep it in electric-only mode while running about. Not a perfect solution to burning less gas, but a definite step up.

Life is good. The blogging is slow.

May all your greenliness roll smoothly along!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

In Case You're Missing the Wheels (Shameless 2WheelsMaybe Plug)

Head over to 2WheelsMaybe and see some of what you've been missing!

Just look at the fun stuff you've been missing:

Okay, I'll quit bugging you about it! May you have a wonderful, carbon-neutral day!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Scott Pruitt is out!

My heart leapt a little as I read the news.

No, I don't think the world is an instantly better place, but once in a while it's nice to see the obviously corrupt being deposed by their own actions.

But it wasn't his blatant attacks on the health of our planet and all of those who live here that brought him down. It was his lifestyle of graft and deception that did it.

Actually, the president lauded the fine work he's done in his short time in office. Ugh!

So, no, I don't think we'll see any EPA improvement.  I just think the next guy will be a little smarter and show a little more discretion.

But it's still nice to see a really bad guy take himself down.

May we live in a healthier world we work together to create.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

I rode the bike today...

(Shots from several commutes over the last few weeks)

It was a beautiful morning! Very little traffic. A cool (but light) breeze. The bike was working well. My knees were working well. I rode a few miles on Sunday. I rode to work on Monday. I hope to ride tomorrow.

My wife and I saw an OmniMax movie last night - part of the BBC Blue Planet series. And it had astounding footage of all kinds of creatures. And it offered up some optimism for the future; however, like all modern nature documentaries, the ever-present villain was man-made environmental destruction.

They're too small to see here, but there's a cow bird,
a snowy egret, and a green heron in this one.

And that makes the bike rides even better. Every time a person chooses to travel by bike (in place of a single-occupant car) we all breathe a little better. I know it's very simplistic, but my greatest hope in all of this is to have thousands of people making incrementally better choices about petroleum and plastics and pollution. I know that would have a massively greater impact than just this one dork joyfully riding a bike as often as possible.

The view over the handlebars this morning
May you joyfully make a positive impact!