Monday, January 06, 2020

Photo Catch-Up and Keeping the Wild Places Wild

I thought it would be fun to post some of my favorite photos from the past year.  Part of the reason I gave up posting regularly on the blog is that I've felt conflicted about sharing photos of the places out here.  So many wild places are becoming trashed by Instagram and other social media outlets, I've become a bit cagey about listing specific locations in the photos I post to Facebook and Instagram.  And while I don't think my Facebook friends are going to come out here and trash the place, I wonder about this effects of this blog which anyone can access.  Colorado's Front Range has experienced enormous growth in the past 7-8 years and while there are many reasons I have to wonder about social media's influence especially on Boulder's growth.  I wonder if I'm partly to blame and I'm particularly loathe to call attention to where I'm living now.  But I do love to share the beauty of this area.  So for now I'm going to post some photos but keep some of the locations vague.

Colorado's only natural geyser

Morning Walkies

Somewhere along the Dolores

Somewhere in the San Juans

Mesa Verde and Various Other Archeological Sites

Somewhere in the La Platas

Does my ass make this bike look fat?

First sunset of 2020

I guess all of that hardly catches me up but it'll do for now.  More personal farm stuff later.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Fall of the Vegans

I know, I disappear for over a year then start back with a post that seems strange and irrelevant.  But somehow I couldn't let a whole year go by without a post and this issue is somewhat relevant to me and my current life so here we go.

It seems a strange topic given all the current mainstream hype for veganism and the various products you can buy.  Veganism is hitting the mainstream with a vengeance thanks to funding (investing) from Silicon Valley/Bill Gates and his cronies and Hollywood stars including James Cameron and his 'Game Changers' movie touting the 'benefits' of a vegan diet for athletes.  However the reality of a strict vegan diet is now starting to hit the early adopters in full force.  Perhaps most notably Tim Schieff, outspoken vegan activist/parkour athlete, has finally admitted the extreme toll the diet took on his health and athletic career, including the demise of his America Ninja Warrior career, and has started eating meat.  He was supposed to be included in the 'Game Changers' movie and they even shot footage of him but his health declined and he began eating meat before the movie was finished and he was taken out.  Of course they don't mention that in the movie because it's not an objective, scientific look at the vegan diet and athlete performance but rather pure propaganda.  Chris Kresser does an excellent job of debunking this film here:  And yes, I'm aware of the debate/response to this also on Joe Rogan and all I have to say about that is that Chris Kresser is just too nice of a guy to deal with the aggressive, slithery James Wilks.  I'm more interested in science and truth than I am in debating skills and ability to dodge the questions at hand.  And given that this is a photo that his wife proudly posted on Instagram of her vegan shopping haul, I'm not inclined to take dietary advice from this guy.

Anyway, examples of high profile vegans finally throwing in the tofu abound.  There's a nice summation of them in this Vice article:  The short version is:  Person gets sucked into vegan ideology, starts a YouTube channel gushing about how awesome they feel on a vegan diet, lots of videos about what they eat in a day, lots of high horse moral posturing about animals and the environment, health eventually starts declining and videos start trending toward spirituality and other topics as the re-branding subtly begins, then finally the tearful confessional 'Why I'm No Longer Vegan' video.  And there will be a lot of tears.  Then the puzzled response of, 'I can't believe you all are so hateful and judgemental', when the inevitable backlash hits the fan.  And of course more tears.  Then the cheerful 'starting my life over anew' video complete with re-branding and maybe some more tears but probably not.  There's at least one high profile vegan already starting the re-branding, we'll see if he lasts out next year before the tearful admissions start.  It's tough though, at $5900-$9500 a pop for a spot at one of his spiritual retreats he's going to have to be strategic about it, perhaps playing up the, 'I'm human, I made a mistake, sorry, let's focus on the re-building and starting anew' theme he's so fond of.  Given all those early adopters who've finally had to cry uncle this year he's got plenty of templates to follow.

Why do I care?  For the most part I don't.  Except when it comes to the kids and the pets.  There's a nice compilation here of fascinating and horrifying tales of people who were harmed by their vegan diets and finally gave them up, some after allowing their health to reach shockingly poor states.  Some suffering irreparable damage.  But the most heart breaking thing about this gruesome compilation is the list of babies and children who were killed or maimed by their vegan diets.  Never mind the pets, especially cats, that ex-vegans have admitted to killing with vegan diets.  Ideology is an ugly thing when it's inflicted on those who don't have a say.

I suppose the only good news here is that strict, ideological, militant vegans are in the very small minority.  A quick Google search puts them at about 0.5% of the U.S. population.  Also, 85% of vegans and vegetarians eventually return to eating meat and at any given time there are many more ex-vegans than vegans.  There are also those vegetarians and vegans who aren't really.  In fact most of my 'vegetarian' friends eat fish and/or chicken yet still call themselves vegetarians.  The only explanation I have for this is Virtue Signaling.  They like the idea of vegetarianism and they identify with it but can't quite pull it off in reality.  Or perhaps they truly don't understand the technical meaning of vegan/vegetarian.  There's no such thing as being 90% vegetarian, it's like being 90% pregnant.  It's a binary thing but many people don't use the terms properly.  And most long terms vegans cheat.  Because, ideology.  The diet is unsustainable but lying about it seems more ethical than betraying the cause, never mind the social shunning and financial loss for the 'gurus' and 'influencers' (Rich Roll's net worth is estimated at $8 million).  Taken to the extreme, if the Catholic church will lie about and protect priests who rape children is it such a far leap to imagine a vegan will lie about eating an egg or some salmon now and then?  Which is fine for them but not so fine for those who adopt these diets thinking that they're sustainable and healthy in their strictest forms and drive their health into the ground in an attempt to be true to the cause (again, see link above for those disturbing stories).  There are myriad examples of crazy, hateful vegan rhetoric but this one is perhaps my favorite, "Always trust a junk food vegan over a health vegan, you basically always know the junk food vegan is in it for the animals. It’s always the health ones that ending up shoving eggs/fish down their throats and become ex vegans I swear".  That quote is from a 'certified personal trainer' who runs an online coaching business.

Again, these folks are an extreme minority and it's a self-correcting problem.  Mother Nature and Darwin will have the final say.  More concerning is what's happening in the mainstream.  People cutting down on meat consumption and gobbling down Impossible Burgers under the guise of improving their own health and that of the planet when the exact opposite is the case.   Marketing over truth.  Virtue Signaling.  People like the easy, feel good solution.  At the expense of human health and planetary health.  I'll put my grassfed beef, lamb, poultry and eggs sourced from farms within 10 miles of my house up against an Impossible Burger any day.  In fact a study has done just that, showing that Beyond Burgers dump carbon into the atmosphere while grassfed beef from regeneratively managed White Oak Pastures Farm is actually a carbon sink, putting more carbon back in the ground. Here's a link to an article about the study.  The article contains a link to the actual study, I can't figure out how to link it directly.  Interesting to note is that the study was commissioned by processed food giant General Mills who is actually trying to find ways to work with regenerative farms.  Presumably because we supposedly have 60 more industrial agriculture harvests left in the country.  The UK has an estimated 30-40 years left.  Returning to holistic, regenerative farming methods is the only option we have left.  And while not everyone can have these guys in their backyard, they can support local farmers using regenerative practices over soylent green.  Eat Wild has lists of farmers in the US and Canada, Polyface Farm has started shipping and White Oak Pastures and Butcher Box also provide mail order meat.

Happy New Year to all.  I'm off to feed the cows.  I'll probably have more posts next year, we'll see.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

The Big Move

Yeah I know, the blog went on hiatus for 6 months.  But it's because I moved!  Finally!  So I took a break from the public eye, partly because it was a busy, hectic, stressful time and who wants to read about that? but also because it's a vulnerable time and on the heels of the ID theft issues I didn't want to announce I was moving and where until all the money and information stopped flying around.

Then the thought of picking this up again became overwhelming.  Where the heck do I start?  I'm 6 months and zillions of posts behind.  So much change, so much good stuff.  But I have to start somewhere so here goes.

In short we finally found a place that ticked most of the boxes and was reasonably priced.  However some serious structural issues came up at inspection and the owner, who had acted as his own contractor and was sure he knew all about building, refused to offer any money back to have them fixed.  This resulted in a lot of drama and excitement up to the wire because I got past the point of no return with selling my Boulder house and was in danger of ending up homeless.  This went on for several weeks as deadlines got pushed forward and I had to rent back my house which thankfully the buyer allowed us to do.  Except we couldn't exactly afford it but Jonny negotiated to have his work pay for him to stay a bit longer.  A lot of moving parts.  But finally it all came together and we only had to move once.  In the end the owner's realtor took the money to fix the structural issues out of her commission because I was absolutely serious about walking even if it meant being homeless.  With 2 dogs.

It was all worth it though because this is my new back yard.

The house is a bit bigger than we were hoping for but not too gigantic at 1900 s.f.  It was mostly in good condition but there was/is a lot of deferred maintenance that we have to deal with.  And some cosmetic things, like the super super creepy light switch thingies.

There were around a dozen of these at almost every light switch.  Not only were they super creepy to touch but the switch itself was deeply recessed in some of them so it was difficult to flip the switch.  I know, about as First World Problem as it gets but they had to go.  I ordered new switch plates from Amazon and after waiting for what seemed like forever, the geniuses sent me this.

I had to live with those creepy things for weeks before I finally got normal looking plates with a proper hole in them.  The struggle is real folks.

It also took about 6 weeks to get the upstairs shower working because the diverter from the tub spout to the shower didn't work and the fixtures were so ancient that it took 3 trips to Home Depot in Durango an hour away and then finally several hours on Amazon before I could find something that would work with the plumbing.

Golden Oldies

Now before somebody things I'm super snobby, I lived with almost these exact same fixtures in my old house for about 14 years before we finally renovated the bathroom about 4 years ago.  I just couldn't face it again and the faucet was broken anyway.  I finally found replacements that fit the plumbing that look identical but in brushed nickel.  Except for the shower head, I found something a little nicer but still not super fancy.  That was the one thing that didn't need to fit the old plumbing.  I also replaced the matching towel racks, toilet paper holder, etc.  I am still living with the creepy medicine cabinet that smells funny on the inside.

There was so much to do, I had to pick my battles.  The owners took every single window covering except the curtains on the 3 big windows in the living room.  Which was probably a good thing because they were using creepy, frilly, gauzy curtains that would have ended up in the landfill anyway.  Another trip to Home Depot, $675 and 9 hours of installation later I finally had blinds on the windows. 

Much of the deferred maintenance still needs to be done, such as getting the oven adjusted so it's not spewing carbon monoxide and finding someone to climb on the steep metal roof to screw in all the screws that have come loose, stuff like that.  But we have a guest bedroom set up.  And the contractor finally came today to deal with the structural repairs.  Turns out he does tile as well so I may have him come back and rip out the horrible plastic shell thingy in the bathroom and put in a proper bathtub and some tile.  Or maybe not.  He also builds barns and it turns out I have a mountain lion trotting right past my house on the way to the pond so I'll probably need a barn or loafing shed of some sorts if I'm going to have livestock.  There's a loafing shed on the property but it's on the verge of collapse.  More Hillbilly Engineering and I'm not sure it's worth throwing good money after bad to repair it.  But we'll see.

In the meantime I've been doing lots of hiking and biking and running from room to room looking at all the different views.  In the end I'd say this is worth it.

Rainbow over Mesa Verde National Park from my deck.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Lambing Day at Black Cat Farm/Boulder County Open Space

Super fun afternoon with some sheep and lambs.

Because . . . baby lambs!

Boulder County leases its Open Space lands out to farmers and ranchers and every once in a while they have some activity on the lands so the public can see the importance of agriculture (done right) to the lands.  Black Cat Farm is an organic and biodynamic (better than organic) farm using regenerative agriculture methods and humane animal husbandry.  They lease several plots of land throughout the county and raise sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys and geese, mostly for the 2 restaurants they own in town.  I've never been to them, they are WAY out of our price range, but if I was in a different tax bracket and into spending money on fancy restaurants I would totally go there.  But more importantly I'm glad the county is leasing to folks like this who are improving the land and providing the community (albeit an elite segment of the community) with good quality meat raised and treated humanely.

The owner, who is also a chef at the restaurants, was there to explain his farming methods and answer questions.  I had a LOT of questions and I enjoyed listening to the answers to other people's questions.  He was super patient and spent a lot of time and energy interacting with the public.  He had no background in farming and learned a lot from books, seminars (I think) and YouTube.

Mr. Bad Ass Ram.  I don't think he cared for me pointing the camera at him.  He kept a wary eye on me and I kept my distance (this photo is zoomed).

There were about 250 sheep and lambs in all but only 3 rams.  The rams are purebred Tunis and Karakul and the females are a mix of those breeds.  He chooses female breeding stock based on parasite resistance, mothering skills, and history of producing twins with no regard to whether they are purebred or not.  Because farmers don't breed for 'nonsense' as the owner put it (cough, AKC, cough).

There were 2 livestock guardian dogs, both of which were super friendly with the public and excellent guard dogs.

This big mushpie went up to everbody, looking for snugs and tolerating the general public's mishandling (leaning over their heads, grabbing their noses, etc., I was horrified but the dogs tolerated it).  But when a runner or bikes went by past the fence line they took off running.

The dogs are Akbash and a mix of Akbash with Anatolian Shepherd, Great Pyrenees and Kangal.  Akbash are not recognized by the AKC so have not been ruined by the show ring but Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd are so I'm wondering if the mixing is an attempt to breed some working ability back in to the AKC dogs.  I had a chat with the owner about the training they do, I've long wondered how they balance socializing the dogs to people and livestock and if it matters.  According to him the dogs will not want to stay with the livestock if they spend too much of their puppyhood with people.  One of the dogs he had was a reject from Joel Salatin's farm.  His interns kept petting the dogs and the dogs would consequently hang out where the people were rather than in the fields with the livestock.  The Black Cat owner was able to rehab her enough that she was useful but it was a lot of work and hard for him and his family because they had to ignore her.  He said with a puppy it's a matter of striking a balance between human and livestock exposure and there is no solid formula. 

This guy did take some time to play with a mouse.  Even working dogs need some play time.  The mouse was pretty smart and kept hiding underneath the dog.  He did get away eventually.

In all, a fun day.  I think I'd like to have sheep, they seem docile and easy to manage.  But house first, then sheep.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Tess Turns One

Happy Birthday to Tessie.  Salmon Doggie Birthday Cake all around.

And the shocking truth of no 'sit stay' at a year old.  I know.  She was so shut down as a pup that I wanted to focus more on encouraging behaviors rather than working on impulse control.  Because you have to have some impulses before you can control them.  It is becoming an issue at agility class because there are some exercises where it would be good to have a lead out.  My agility instructor gave me a month so I have a solid goal to shoot for.  That was 2 weeks ago and we're getting there.  Tess is doing much better than Ruby but Ruby is doing o.k.  We'll all get there.

Tess' birthday was actually December 28 according to the rescue but I'm not sure if that's her fake birthday that they had to give her to get her out of Texas because in Texas your 4th grader can take an AK47 to school but you can't take a dog over state lines unless it's vaccinated and the pups were too young so the rescue kind of fudged it.  And who really knows for sure anyway.  The pups were pulled out from under the house on February 4th and I think the guess was that they were around 4 weeks old.  So I'm going to put Tess' official birthday and Jan. 3rd, 2017.  Because why not.  Lola's birthday was the end of December and it was always so confusing to remember what year she was born since it was so close to the year turning over so January will make things easier to remember.

She's doing really well, she's come so far.  She loves going for walks and is very confident.  She still wants nothing to do with other dogs but so far is not reactive to them.  She ignores them and will try to get away if they get too close.  This can still change so I'm forever working on this.  I've taken her to a quiet DOCNA trial and a busy USDAA trial, both indoors at the same place, and she did great walking around.  She won't go in the bleachers which is not a huge deal.  I was mostly working on shaping her to do it since she seemed o.k. with all the other hub bub going on around her.  I got her to walk under the measuring stanchion on the ground with the measure part up high.  She took treats from some strangers.  She was excited and confident outside around the grounds, there was lots of yummy goose and horse poop.  I don't mind the horse poop but too much goose poop can be toxic so I had to limit her time in those areas where it was bad.

She's doing well at agility, still sometimes alarm barking at people but it's easier now to stop her.  This week we worked on front crosses and the teeter and I've got some video footage of her.  She looks so very slow to me, even trotting at times but the exercise had so many turns.  It felt like it was more about me learning the handling and timing than her getting to run.  She's so handler focused in part because of the type of handling work we've been doing.  I need to get her out to the practice field and let her go on some extension type exercises.  But I haven't been to the field in over a year, maybe two because I can't reserve it just for myself and Tess will be scared if another dog comes, no way she'll do anything.  I'm always taking a chance that I'll get something set up then have to leave.  I was so sure I'd have my own place by now.  Maybe I'll take some jumps to the dog park super early, that way if someone comes and I have to leave at least I didn't waste any money.  Hmmm.  I did have an agility friend offer for me to come over to practice.  She's almost an hour's drive away but I think it'll be worth it.  Now if only I can remember to contact her to set something up.

A short clip from Wednesday's class.  There's an example of her alarm barking at the start.  She's doing it more to get my attention than because she's scared.  She knows the guy she's barking at and he's given her zillions of treats over the past few months.


I was super pleased with the teeter.  She doesn't like putting her back feet on the planks but we've been practicing 2 on/2 off on a short plank in the living room propped against the couch and she thinks that's a great game.  Now to get her over her fear of heights.

Overall Tess is doing well at her one year mark.  She's always going to be afraid of new things but at least she's happy, comfortable, confident in her normal routine. 

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Waste Of Time, Sitting Still

I somehow managed to put my back out on Friday and spent the few days before and after New Year's mostly lying on top of a heating pad with walks interspersed here and there.  The spasm finally started to let up enough in the past couple of days to let me go to agility class and take more frequent and longer walks.  Being sedentary is really bad for a back spasm (and my sanity and motivation) but so is fighting through the pain so I've been working my way through it the best that I know how.  Probably should have headed to the Rec Center to use the sauna or had a good hot bath with Epsom salts but it's only been a day or so that I've had enough mobility to drive.  I'll hit up the Rec Center tomorrow, maybe even swim a bit of the masters workout if I feel o.k. but of course not fast.

I think it was a combination of shoveling snow then shoveling again a few days later then a weight workout and then finally a masters swim workout that had a sprint set of kicking with a kickboard that finally broke the camel's back.  The few days of bitter cold didn't help either.  Thankfully the sun is out and we're back to normal winter and I'm hoping I'll be completely back to normal activity by next week.  Should probably hit up the chiropractor, I haven't been in about 6-8 months or so and that's not helping either.  Insurance doesn't pay for it anymore and the schlep out to Louisville has become more and more irritating as traffic grows ever worse.

I should probably have a nice long list of goals for the year and I do have some but hmmm, I'm feeling uncharacteristically unmotivated.  The big goal would be to get a new place but that's not something I can completely control.  Other than deciding to make some compromises which I'm only a little bit willing to do.  The one compromise I feel comfortable with, though not happy about, is being open to a larger house.  We accidentally looked at a place that was almost perfect - 14 acres, a decent location and reasonable distance from neighbors, awesome water rights plus a pond and a creek running through the property.  A huge outbuilding.  The house was super nice and even had a sauna, but . . . 4200 square feet!!!  Crazy.  There was just no way.  The price was good too but no.  Neither of us could wrap our heads around the size of it.  But we may have to consider places up to 3000 square feet when 1400-1700 would be perfect.  I hate big houses, they cost a fortune to heat and insure and who wants to clean all that when it's only 2 people?  No thanks.  But unfortunately it seems like the larger pieces of land in the better locations with good water rights have big houses on them.  Makes sense I guess, the richer people would own the bigger, better plots of land and the rich do like their big trophy houses.  I'm optimistic though that this spring will be it, the right place will come along.  This works out better for the guy who wants to buy our house so I'm feeling like it's all going to come together this spring.

So once again it's difficult to come up with goals with so much uncertainty.  But recently I heard someone say, 'Don't wish your life away', to a 7 months pregnant woman who was living for the day the baby would finally be here.  And this is good advice, even for such a woman.  What's that other saying, 'Every day is a gift that you can't give back' or something?  Was an REI commercial I think, or some sportswear company.  Because, you know, t.v. commercials provide the best life philosophies.  But in this case it wrings true, at least for me right here, right now.  I don't want to take another year off of everything in anticipation of maybe moving.  So I suppose now that the haze of back spasm pain is mostly lifted I should come up with some sorta goals, or at least a sorta plan for the year that's flexible enough to accommodate a possible move.  Yeah, I'll let you know when I figure that out.

In the meantime I'll continue with agility foundation class.  It's still too early in the process to set a goal for trialing.  And I have the problem of I'm not sure if Tess will be able to trial and Ruby, well, Ruby can't do USDAA because even in Performance she'd have to jump 12" and that's just too high for her.  She can jump 8" in DOCNA but ugh, DOCNA.  I could almost put up with the boring courses but one of the owner's of DOCNA felt empowered by the current political climate to start posting racist bullshit on Facebook.  And I have a zero tolerance policy of racist bullshit.  I figured out how to turn it off my Facebook but ugh, I'm not sure I can hand money over to them now.  So I might be through with DOCNA for keeps.  AKC is also out of the question.  I don't think I can go back to NADAC with the super boring courses and weird rules and equipment standards.  I live in hope of UKI.  Or maybe screw trialing, so expensive anyway.  But maybe I can come up with some smaller specific goals.

I'm also not sure about going back to triathlon racing.  On the one hand, having a race on the calendar forces me into more formal training.  On the other hand, meh, maybe I'm happy enough doing my own stuff and can muster some discipline to be a little more organized and do a bit more than I did last year.  I like having goals though.  But I'm bored with all the local races.  Hmmm, maybe I'll plan on being fit for racing but keep the schedule open and travel last minute to an out of town race as my schedule permits (or doesn't).  I don't know, these 'goals' seem flaky and I hate flaky.

Think I'll go play with the dogs a bit then fire up the heating pad again and have another think on it.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Weekend Update

So much time has gone by since last post, not sure where to start.  I was part of the Equifax breach/identity theft thingy and sheesh what a pain.  As a result I retreated from social media.  I doubt the thief has found this blog and there isn't much useful to thieves stuff here that I can see but who knows?  The internet is an increasingly creepy place.  I also pull back from Facebook this time of year anyway.  The whole Christmas/holiday cliche thing grates on my very last nerve and the fewer pictures I see of dogs in antlers and awkward photos with Santa the better.  Now if only there was a way to avoid the horror of treacly X-mas music in the grocery store . . .  Anyway, yeah, I'm a holiday grouch so it's best I just keep my head down and away from my poor Facebook friends who are into it all and we'll agree to meet up again after New Year's.  Or maybe not.  Can't say I miss it one bit so maybe I'm finally done with Facebook unless I need some quick info. about something because it is handy for that.

Anyway, Tess!  She turns a year old in a couple of weeks.

Photo from Nov. 26

She seemed to go through a fear period the last week or two but this week seems much improved.  She was happily going up to the instructor and assistant at agility class this week whereas last week she was fear barking at them.  A couple things were different this week so it's hard to say if it's environmental or a true shift in confidence.  Both she and Ruby are doing well in class and I'm enjoying it.  So thankful for a great facility and instructor.  She's been great working with Tess' fear issues, not necessarily a given skill with agility instructors.  I love the One Mind methodology but wow, it feels like I'm starting all over.  Really fun though, I love learning new stuff.  The instructor told me she can do online instruction for me when I move and it occurs to me that One Mind has online classes as well so I won't have to give it up.  We have snow today, finally, and I've spent the day binge watching the One Mind videos.  So much stuff, it sometimes feels overwhelming, like these dogs will never ever learn it all, let alone me.  But I'm eating that elephant one bite at a time.  Patience patience patience.

Speaking of agility, I have videos from class, some are up on YouTube and I can post them on the blog.  If anybody is for sure interested, leave a comment and I'll post them.  Otherwise I'm debating with the idea of whether or not to put them up because I'm not sure if this super basic foundation stuff is interesting to anybody.

 Not sure how she manages to carry that Jolly Ball around like that.

Something else that is starting to feel overwhelming is all the homestead stuff.  I've been pouring over these books:

Finished 'The Resilient Farm and Homestead' by Ben Falk and currently slogging my way through 'The Permacultre Handbook' by Peter Bane.  Both of these books are very dense and yet touch on most topics very generally.  They're a great way to get a general idea of permaculture principles but don't have a lot of specific information to guide you through setting things up.  Unless you want to know how to grow rice.  Ben Falk has lots of stuff about how to grow rice.  In Vermont!  I looked at a piece of land that I joked would be good for growing rice but the realtor said it was too cold in Colorado to grow rice.  Now it may be possible but it's not for the meek.  All I can say is that if anything, Ben Falk convinced me that I don't want to take on growing rice.  I don't even like rice all that much.

I haven't even touched the 'Holistic Management Handbook' by Allan Savory yet.  The other 3 are from the library so I need to hit those up first but I bought that one for myself since the library didn't have it.  They do have his 'Holistic Management:  A New Framework for Decision Making' book which again has more general information about his theories but is light on the details of setting up an actual, specific grazing system.  The book I bought should do the trick.  Allan Savory is amazing, he is going to save the planet with livestock.

Coincidentally, an interview with him popped up on a health themed podcast right about the time that the TED talk popped up somewhere else, probably related to Joel Salatin, who credits Allan as his inspiration.  He's a fascinating guy.

Anyway, my head is spinning with it all and I don't even have a place to move to yet.  But I suppose I should learn as much as I can first.  And there is so much to learn.  The more I learn, the more it smacks me in the face just how far removed I am (and most of us are) removed from our food.  I watched a video on how to kill and process a chicken and realized I had no idea or appreciation for what is involved and this was common, everyday life just a few generations ago.  Never mind killing and processing a sheep or a pig.  I'm saving those videos for another day.  But at the same time I'm beginning to realize that even if you raise animals humanely for food, their 'one bad day' can be made even worse if you send the animals away to have someone else do the 'dirty work'.  The most humane thing is to do it yourself, provided you are sure of what you're doing.  I'm not sure I'm there yet but I'm starting to feel a certain responsibility towards getting there.  If I'm going to eat meat, shouldn't I fully own it?  But maybe I should focus on getting some land first.

I've been doing a LOT of hiking, so many photos, don't know where to start.  Maybe with yesterday's buffalo since I'm already yammering about livestock.  These were taken during yesterday's bike ride, in the 60's with bluebird skies.  On December 20th.  So not normal but may as well take advantage of it.

Typical East Boulder County.

Some nice lenticular clouds over the foothills.  We've had many other days in the 60's these past few weeks with way more dramatic clouds but I never seemed to have my camera with me at the right time.

Meyer's Gulch Hike

Boulder's iconic Flatirons from a climbing access side trail at Chautauqua Park.  We did a little exploring on some unmarked trails to escape the weekend crowd.

Button Rock.  Kind of an odd hike, the first part was on a dirt road then there was a dirt trail eventually.  An odd mix of man made structures (the pictured dam) and nice surrounding views.  It's nearby and we'd never been there so we wanted to check it out.  It was interesting for a one-off but I don't think I'd go back.

Looking back at photos I realize I didn't take that many.  Lately I've been leaving my camera behind or in my backpack and enjoying things as they are in the moment without worrying about documenting everything.  So many of the hikes were places I've been to a million times so I didn't feel the need for yet more photos of the same old same old.  Looking forward to having a whole new world of trails to explore, if only the right house would come along.