Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Back in the garden's writing room...for the moment.

It is finally starting to be nice enough to do my work outside in the mornings in the garden writing room:

 Today the high is supposed to be in the mid-90s. On Thursday they are calling for freezing rain and snow...for one day. Then it is back in the 70s on Friday. Yeah. Try to figure out a planting schedule around that.

I just felt compelled to comment on the weirdness of it all. I'm going back to work now, before it gets too cold to do so. Or maybe I mean too hot. Oh hell, I don't know.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The garden is a wreck

As is usual this time of year:

 My unfinished noise-reducing, composting panels, first put on hold because of my persistent recurrent head colds, then my lack of free weekends, and now so I can get some planting done before it gets too hot.

 My unfinished arbor for the fig tree I am planning to espalier in the corner.

 The dying Spanish broom that I finally cut down so it could come back from its roots, yet to be cut up and carted to the trash.

 I have nothing to say about this.

 Or this. Well, I guess I could say that I'm going to donate it to Habitat for Humanity, just a soon as I learn to use a telephone.

 The summer kitchen is still in storage, waiting for the last of the spring storms to blow through.

 Construction materials still cover the vegetable garden plot. Need to call Habitat. Really do.

Tomatoes and peppers are going in those galvanized planters. Someday.

In a fit of madness, I volunteered to put my garden on a tour this summer.

What was I thinking?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Announcing a new Bike Garden Bike Challenge

I've been super crazy busy the past couple of weeks, so I haven't made as much progress on the sound panels as I would have liked. I have made some, though, with one panel done (except for some staining of the cedar planks) and the other about half complete. When they are both done (hopefully sometime this weekend), I'll do a proper post about them.

In the meantime, I can't get this video out of my head (check out the link, but then come back here, because I have something to tell you): 62 years of global warming in 13 seconds.

I'm cooking up a new bike challenge--one that will involve using my bike more for all those short little trips around town. But I'm doing it with a twist: I'm going to see if I can raise a little money for Alzheimer's research at the same time. Moreover, I'm going to try to get others on their bikes for their own short commuter trips by asking them to join the team.

Here's how it will work:

I'll figure up a ball-park estimate of how many commuter miles I think I can ride in a six-month period (June 1 to December 31). Then I'll ask people to pledge some amount per mile, based on the estimate. In other words, if I think I can ride 400 commuter miles, and someone made a pledge of a penny a mile, then they would donate $4 to Alzheimer's research. Two cents gets you $8, three cents is...well, you figure it up. And so on, and so on. The 400 miles is a rough goal, though, and so if I were to ride more, then the amount donated would go up, which gives me some incentive to keep going once I pass the mark.

I came up with 400 miles as an estimate simply by thinking about little trips I take every day that are perfectly do-able by bike--the less than one mile commute to school, the two and a half miles to my favorite grocery store, the occasional (ok, more than occasional) trip to Rudy's Barbecue for a chopped beef sammie--and figured up roughly how many miles a week that would be. Then I allowed for things like trips out of town, illness, inclement weather that would lower that number. Then I added 15% more to that total to make it interesting. Then I multiplied the weekly number by four for a month's total, and then by 6 for the half-year length of the challenge...and then my head started hurting and so I just picked 400 out of the air.

The beauty of this is that if I fall under the mark, I will still have achieved something, and if I go over, well that's even better.

But since this is also about changing our lifestyles in response to carbon emissions, I want to get others on their bikes, too. I realize that commuting by bike is not practical for everyone. Many of us are not lucky enough to live somewhere that is easy to get around by bicycle. But the reality is that it is easier for most of us than we realize. Maybe you can't ride your bike to work, but there's this one little trip to the corner market that you make by car each week for something. With a little planning and a smidgen of will power, you can ride a bike for that errand. It doesn't have to be a lot--that's the beauty of this challenge. You figure out what is possible, throw a tiny bit extra on top, and give people an estimate. They chip in with the encouragement in the form of a pledge. Do as much or as little as you think you can bear.

And there's this: We can do it all over the place. Lubbock! Toronto! Fargo (who just lost to Lubbock in the World's Worst Weather semi-final round)! You could support the Alzheimer's cause or choose your own. It could be for MS or breast cancer research. It could go to your local food bank. Wherever! It's all good.

If you want, we can post it all here, on the side bar, keeping tabs on our progress together. It all starts June 1, so you have some time to pick your cause, plan your routes, fix those flats, load up on the sunscreen, and buy a new helmet.

Whaddya think? Are you in?