Monday, August 25, 2008


Welcome to the SLOW FOOD NATION

...we need to remember that the fresh, unadulterated, minimally processed, locally produced foods that Slow Food Nation is showcasing were our pantry staples, before the military-industrial complex annexed our food chain a half a century or so ago in the name of progress.

Read the entire story ,Welcome to the Food Revolution | Environment | AlterNet

Yesterday, there was the hint of autumn in the air,the morning temperature was 50F = 10C. We headed out on a bicycle ride with gloves and jackets. It was a wonderful trip along one of our favorite rides to a local feature called the Goat Hils. There were fog banks along the road and everything was quiet.

Today we took Nickel (that means lollygagger pace) to Lake Goldsmith and she was feeling the autumn too. Chasing pheasants from there hides and running down the corn and bean rows. It is the first day of school so there were no children on the street when we got back for fresh fruit smoothies. It will be corn and tomatoes and who knows what other garden produce for meals this week. Forestburg melons are in at the local market and all the gardens are keeping the farmer's market a great place to be.

Labels: , ,


Welcome to the SLOW FOOD NATION

...we need to remember that the fresh, unadulterated, minimally processed, locally produced foods that Slow Food Nation is showcasing were our pantry staples, before the military-industrial complex annexed our food chain a half a century or so ago in the name of progress.

Read the entire story ,Welcome to the Food Revolution | Environment | AlterNet

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Rain in the Morning

Click the picture for a larger version

There is nothing better than rain in the morning. It has been dry and we have been hoping for a nice shower, it seems like it has rained all around us, finally it was our turn. The tail end of the cold front was just what was needed.

It started about 6am so we got up and went out to enjoy it. Carrying water from our rain barrels to give those plants under the eves a shot of rain water and wading in the gutter along the street. It rained for about an hour and we were soaked and smiling when we came it for a bowl of oatmeal and fruit.

Nothing can beat a summer rain on the plains. We only heard one rumble of thunder during the whole time. What a special treat on my parents 72nd Wedding Anniversary.

Labels: , ,


Birdwatching back in fashion with Rutland fair - Telegraph

It's not in the US but they do speak my kind of English (smirk),

While ten per cent of those questioned in th survey said they were birdwatchers, only four per cent went fishing.

This week sees the start of Birdfair, in Rutland, the world's biggest event of its kind, known as "the Glastonbury of birdwatching". Read the story at
Birdwatching back in fashion with Rutland fair - Telegraph

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 07, 2008


How slow is slow enough?

I have not posted for about a month. No good answer except that we are taking a break from the busyness to enjoy the great August weather.

We did travel to the Black Hills via Farm Island and La Framboise Pierre and got in some excellent bicycle rides along the Missouri River and a ride up Spearfish Canyon with our cousins in mid July plus a hike up to the top of Bear Butte. Several things we had not done before although it is right in our home state. They were great times but could not match what happened this morning right here on our favorite bicycling route.

After we got back from the family visits on the western part of the state we embarked on a natural foods diet as it is about this time of year that the garden produce starts to roll in. We can hardly wait for the corn, beans, tomatoes, ..., but this year we decided to go totally vegan, no refined sugar (including high fructose corn syrup that is added to nearly everything), no animal products (that eliminates dairy, eggs & meats), no caffeine (no coffee), no alcohol (no beer?), no gluten (breads, pastas & flour products). Surprisingly, it has not been that hard to do.

The diet has set the basis for our vacation from the busyness. We get out every day for an outing on our bicycles, mainly aerobic but sometimes just to be out there in the fresh air and abundance of flowers and wildlife. We had good workouts yesterday so today was one of those special days.

We took our dog, Nickel, out early for an early run about 6:30. She has been limping a bit lately so it was a short one. Carol had met us on the way back and went ahead. There were raggad, beautiful clouds with the rising sun peaking through here and there, fog was drifting out of the river valley from time to time, and the birds were singing every new song they had learned. We spotted an Indigo Bunting in a shelter belt out by the lake. It was the first one that we have ever seen along our route so it was quite a treat. There were curious little marsh wren fledglings in the ditches to inspect us and a new growth of the mid summer wild flowers everywhere. Butterflies and dragonflies above our heads and all around. A doe and her twins in the bean field and geese browsing in the newly harvested oat stubble by the lake.

The entire ride was most relaxing and rewarding. Neither of us had to verbalize that it was a day for going very slow and stopping often. We just knew. Let me explain what going slow really is, 3-5 mph is approximately the speed, but the important measure is to be going at a rate that virtually eliminates the noise of the tires on the gravel. Nothing but the sounds around you meet your ears.

We were out about 3 hours and when we returned, we fixed a blender full of fresh fruit smoothies. Fresh fruit, that is almost as good as it gets and today it was the refreshment that centered that special time together that around here is called "morning coffee." We found we don't really need the coffee.

Nature taught us another lesson this morning.

posted by HL

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


News about Cody, Wyoming, and Yellowstone Country

I never thought I would see an news article about bicycles in the Cody Enterprise: Bicycle sales rise in Cody If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.


Tourism shouldn't be passive

I have been looking at some rural tourism sites and most of the activities don't expect much out of visitors except eating, sleeping, and looking,or don't forget a pool so kids have something to do, which says something about the typical view of what constitutes a family vacation.

Here is this rural area with miles upon miles of uncrowded vistas disected by grass and gravel roads just waiting for bicyclists, but no mention of active creation of your own entertainment. Put the family on bicycles. Go for a walk.

Come on rural areas sharpen up your hosting skills, put out a country welcome and get people involved, there must be 100s of projects that need doing that teach skills and are fun if you have the right attitude, such as: tree planting, song bird banding, planting wild flowers, bird watching & identification, fence mending, weed pulling, picking sweet corn, gardening, building shelters, ...

Sorry suckers, we are not consumers. We don't want to attend, "festivals throughout the year feature demonstrations that show how things were done down on the farm in the good ol' days" when there is a countryside out there to explore, people to get to know, and lakes to wade.

Shut off the TV, forget the boring professional sports teams with the beer sponsors, get out of air conditioning, get up early and take a ride down a country lane. Believe me it beats the heck out of knocking a ball in a cup. Warning, there's no coming back.

Oh yeah. Don't confuse bicycles with something that needs a motor, petroleum fuel, and noise to make an impression. The only thing a motorcycle shares with a bicycle is that both have 2 wheels, after that the routes diverge. Read Robert Frost.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Sunday ride to Oakwood State Park

Click here for an interactive map

What I like best about this ride is the gravel roads on the return. The gravel surface reminds me not to hurry or see how fast I can go. The gravel is a subtle reminder of why we bicycle in the first place, it's not about getting there, it's about the here and now and world around us. Motorists may crave the roads and the speed, for us the road is just tool that blends movement with experience and not getting there which just ends the pleasure.

The state Park has cabins and camping so it is a nice place for an overnight or longer. There are several lakes and communities within 10-20 miles so it is a nice place to spend some time and be free of petroleum powered transport.

Go online and make reservations and check out other information.

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 04, 2008


Happy Independence from Oil Day: Will your weekend be gas-free?

Sounds like a great idea to me. Go there and find out more

Another site that all bicycle riders should know about

Our 4th of July bicycle ride was to one our favorite waterfowl observation sites at a slow and comfortable pace on rural country roads to the intersection 1.4 miles West of Lake Goldsmith shown on the Goat Hills Map.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Bicycle Friendly: Commuting with a Congressman : NPR

Bicycle Friendly: Commuting with a Congressman : NPR

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Back when we were young

Click for an interactive map of a Ride around Lake Mitchell

Back home for a family reunion. This lake was the center of lots of good times from way back when. There are so many nice houses there now...

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Beer Midge EE

A ride around the lake in Bemidji was a nice ride although I swear it must have been designed by a NASCAR driver on a Snowmobile.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 12, 2008


t r u t h o u t | Fury at Soaring Fuel Costs Spreads Around the World

t r u t h o u t | Fury at Soaring Fuel Costs Spreads Around the World

I don't usually post this kind of thing on this blog but it is the kind of event that exemplifies how important personal choices can be.

We attended an informational meeting about forming a local food coop this evening which is another part of the slow movement. Slow is a 4 letter word to those who still believe in an economic system that depends upon overconsumption.

Since this blog is about slowing down, spending less, and taking back your life, I think a world protest against high oil prices is a coming to Jesus event about the unsustainability of our current culture belongs here. It is part of the philosophical basis for making a choice to do more with less.


Nice Photos Review of Paris

Paris 2008

I found this on Webshots through a tag search of the pics from our Take a walk in the Latin Quarter, May 28 post. They were there in April.

It reminded me that I need to work on the other walks we took while we were there.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


We been road trippin

Grampa, Gramma and Saela and Martin on a trip to the Fulsaas Farm. Two new friends, Smoke and Makenzie

Careful these pic might be huge.
Click on 'em and find out

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 02, 2008


Berlin - where proximity fits bicycle culture

Imagine calling a friend in a city of 5 million people and they say, "I am at work and have bicycle. I will meet you for dinner in your neighborhood."

Everywhere you go bicycle lanes are filled with people of ages and all kinds of bicycles traveling at a broad range of speed, everyone less than 20mph. Shops and gathering spots for food & drink are no more than a few 100 meters apart

That's the capital of Germany. When I ran across this post quoting Paul Krugman (NYT) on the Carfree USA Blog comparing Atlanta and Berlin, I was reminded of the great people friendly qualities of this large German capital. As the Krugman quote says,

Greater Atlanta has roughly the same population as Greater Berlin — but Berlin is a city of trains, buses and bikes, while Atlanta is a city of cars, cars and cars.

Cars are like cancer once they move into the vital arteries of a city, take over and kill its ability to serve the needs of the organisms that it was designed to serve in the first place. The big difference is Berlin is a modern city and Atlanta is well, hooked on phony logic, just like most US cities who were deluded into believing "cheap oil meant community doesn't matter."

Think about that, 5M people, going to work on a bicycle. That implies a great deal about how a city manages its people moving responsibilities. I don't know what Atlanta might be doing but the Twin Cites of Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota have made some great strides in the past few years. The Transit for Liveable Communities is the kind of comprehensive set of alternatives to driving that is needed to counteract the diabolical ills of an automobile culture: 3 acre lots, McMansions, SUVs. entertainment news, obesity, strip malls, 2 hour commutes, need we go on?

We visited many carfree areas in European cities and as we traveled through rural Germany by train, everywhere we looked there were people on bicycles riding down country lanes or stopped at places along the trails and paths to enjoy the outdoors.

What a reminder of how so many of us have lost the capacity to enjoy what we have in our own local areas. In a word, proximity.

Proximity is what makes where you live special. What is it that you don't yet know about your place? When we value where we live, we make it better. The slower we go the better it gets. The better it gets, the more we want to make it a better place to live and discover new ways to enjoy what it has to offer.

That is how we discovered birds. Click here and look at the posts below to see what I mean.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, May 30, 2008


Wild Wales Road in Eastern South Dakota

I went to a meeting for Safe Routes to School (btw, it's about bicycling and walking). Jen went for a bicycle ride from LaFramboise Island to Farm Island.

What started out with the bird watching ride on a bicycle in the Pierre area turned into a unique view of an area of Eastern South Dakota that is easily missed if you're in a hurry. I started traveling this road many years ago before it was even paved, but I had never done it in the kind of weather we experienced on May 29, 2008. Oh yeah, I wasn't in a hurry either.

I will call this the 216 Steet road as it begins on that county road that about 50 miles East of Pierre on SDHY 34 and heads nearly straight East and after a few jogs you finish up on 214. Most people would not think of a straight road as scenic and maybe the weather did have something to do with it.

But let me say that no road is scenic regardless of how many twists and turns it may have. On the contrary, it is the topography and ecology through which it passes, although many motored vehicle drivers might disagree, in my opinion they are missing the point. They are not alone most map makers make the same mistake. Perhaps it is simply the pervasive influence of cars that go where roads takes them. Maybe that is the point after all.

It was cloudy and the wind easterly,the fog was occasionally dense enough to bring the visibility to less than 1/4 of a mile. The sloughs and pot holes all had water and ducks, the prairie sounds of meadow larks and red wing blackbirds was ever present. Sun peaked through once in a while and the views changed from mile to mile. It was a great experience resulting mostly from PDL (pure dumb luck).

I would encourage anyone heading to the river or returning on a day of "bad weather" to take their time and enjoy this special glimpse at a scenic part of South Dakota that does not appear on the tourist maps. I am guessing sunrise and sunset would be good times to go in even in sunny weather and those scenes could be captured with a camera.

It would take a more talented photographer than me to capture the feeling of this place at this time. The best I can do is an abstract view of a crumbling barn taken a couple of years ago not far from the WWR .

Why do I call the Wild Wales Road? Even though there are cattle instead of sheep and it is in South Dakota instead of Great Britain, there is a remote wildness about it that made me think of the wilderness area of Wales and a trip we made across that area in 2002. Amazing what can be found in our own backyard.

It would make a great 3 day bicycle camping trip with an opportunity to camp out in the Ree Hills, say by the Spring Lake WPA, and another night along the the Missouri River. There are no services for about 100 miles along the 216 route, the towns are along both US14 to the North and SD34 to the South. Ames and Danforth persist as place names but the services are gone. Carry some food and water and enjoy the Wild Wales Road, the remoteness makes it special.

More detail? Check the Pierre to Huron via Wild Wales Road Interactive Map and plan your own trip. Take your time. Go slow. Ride a bicycle. The planet depends on your actions.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Take a walk in the Latin Quarter

Come along with Mav & Jen as they take a walk in the Latin Quarter of Paris, the 5th arrondissement. on the left bank

We will start at the most famous English Bookstore in Paris. You know you are in the right place because the Notre Dame Cathedral is right across the Pont au Double our first stop.

Click to open an interactive map of
the Paris Latin Quarter May 2008 Walk
in a new window/tab.
It was a nice day for a walk

Stay tuned we will be adding some audio and a script soon to help you find the way. Go to the map now and zoom in just to get a taste of what's to come. Check out the other pictures. Leave a question or comment in the comment section below.

Full size pictures of the Latin Quarter Walk

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Will, George and Me--in Paris

Shakespeare's Bookstore in Paris is one of the most famous English language bookstores in the world. We browse, buy, read and attend presentations there every time we are in Paris. And in 2003, we were part of a writing group that presented some of our work there. And most of the time we just hang out and visit with people from all over the world.

I visited with the founder, George Whitman, and he invited us to stay in one of the apartments above the store--we already had digs and were leaving in a couple of days. That experience will be on the long, long "next time" list.

Click on the title to go to the bookstore webpage. There is a link to a 360 view from the front of the store.

My picture of George Whitman when we visited in May 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008


A Life Worth Living

My travel goes beyond business & pleasure

Oh sure I do both when I am in Europe. I am a poet and direct experience is the key to authentic expression, but partaking in the street scenes of the European city is a real part my life. I don't go there to get away from the prairie but to compliment the rich experience of this North American rural setting. European cities are much more to my liking than the sprawling megalopolises that US cities have become.

Use a bike to get around Chicago. Great idea if you are already on Lake Shore Drive but the buses, trams and trains hardly offer the kind of mobility that Berlin does, and Chicago is an exception at that. Davis CA? Hardly a large city. Portland? I love it, but most people still find cars essential for everyday life.

Restuarants that have people sitting outside when it's 52 degrees and slowly sipping a 3oz coffee while watching life in the street and chatting with me in their 3rd language (English) after it is obvious my pidgin is not up to the task. At 21:00 (9:00 pm) in downtown USA, wherever, forget it.

One example of the street life is checking people riding Velib bicycles that are found all over the city of Paris, not just Paris they are in many of the cities. They ride for free or a nominal cost and drop off at some other station near their destination. Let's see it took 20 minutes to go from Shakespeare's Bookstore right across from Notre Dame Cathedral to the Eiffel Tower. What a nice complement to watching migrating shore birds in a flooded soybean field in the Big Sioux River Valley that less than 2 miles on a bicycle from my front door.

It makes me want to push harder for Safe Routes to School so my grandchildren can do it here in he USA without the carbon emissions of international air travel.

Labels: , , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?