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Denver

An ode to clay soil

Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Gardening By March 16, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

An ode to clay soil

Everyone in Colorado has clay soil. Okay, fine, maybe not the whole state, but most of the front range, particularly the Denver Metro area, is clay. I’ve lived all over this town and never have I dealt with anything else. It’s clay, clay, clay everywhere you go.

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Weather Rant

Climate Justice and Environmentalism By February 21, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

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Colorado weather forecasters are calling for somewhere in the neighborhood of 8″ this weekend, and everyone is flipping out. I don’t totally get it, having lived in this state almost 30 years (my parents took me to live in St. Louis for a few years as a small child, and I spent a couple years elsewhere in the Army, but other than that it’s all been here, and I’m third generation native), I remember a time when an 8″ accumulation was considered on the high side of modest snowfall. I remember having to drag my ass to middle school after the blizzard of ’97 with 3 feet of accumulated snow on the ground. Now when not even a foot is called for, everyone calls it #snowmageddon and clears out the grocery stores (I snapped the above photo of the line I had to wait in at the grocery store when I went to get diapers yesterday). We’ve gone soft in this state I’m afraid.

It probably shouldn’t be surprising, we just don’t get snows like we used to anymore. The last really big blizzard we got was in ’03, 4 – 6 feet of accumulation depending on where you were (it’s worth noting that the light rails were still running for the first few feet of that, I took one). That sort of snow wasn’t super common growing up here, but it did happen. My kids will probably never see snow like that. They get that on the east coast now. Everything is topsy turvy, it seems. When it’s been almost a decade since we last had a real blizzard, and in that time the main population growth has come from people moving here from places where, yeah, a few inches of snow is a disaster, then I guess it should be no surprise that we’ve gone a little soft. On top of that, I am pretty convinced we’ve cut funding for snow removal or something because I also remember driving in the blizzard of ’03, and there are times now that the roads are worse at 3″ of snow than they were then at 72″. The only explanation for that is that snow removal was better then than it is now (and maybe there were fewer idiots freaking out on the roads back then, I don’t know).

But hey, I don’t like cold and snow either, so I’m just as willing to stay the hell away from it as everyone else. Luckily this snow fall (sorry, this is not a blizzard, it’s not a blizzard until we’re measuring in feet, not inches) is happening on a weekend and most of us won’t have to go out in it. And considering how everyone was preparing to baton down the hatches like a fucking hurricane was coming yesterday, I doubt there will be much in the way of commerce going on so I hope the staff at retail establishments is minimal (having worked as a pizza delivery driver, however, I know those poor souls are doomed, I’ve delivered pizzas in far worse snow than this, in a Ford Focus, no less. No one cares what the roads are like when they want pizza delivered hot to their doorstep). You won’t find me out there making snow angels and building snow forts, no way. I hibernate when this shit falls. But I also get really pissed off when I hear people complaining about it.

1. This is nothing, so shut your wimpy hole. There are plenty of people in New England right now, not to mention those of us here who remember what real winter used to look like in Colorado, playing the worlds smallest violin for you and your forecasted eight inches.
2. What the hell is there to complain about? We’ve hardly gotten any cold and snow all winter. We had several weeks of 60 and 70 degree weather back there, for Christ’s sake! My tulips started growing!! It’s not like this is the hundredth snow of the season, it’s not even the tenth! This has been a fucking easy and gentle winter (like last winter, and the winter before that) in which cold and snow didn’t even really start until mid February (it used to be February and March were the snowiest months of winter, not the only months of winter), so please STFU.
3. We need snow and cold!!! We need it for our ecosystem to function properly. And not just our ecosystem, but the ecosystem of pretty much the entire mid to south west portion of North America (yes, the whole continent) depends in a large part on cold and snow in the Rocky Mountain region. People all over this continent face massive drought and ecological disaster when we in the Rocky Mountain corridor don’t get enough winter, which means fires, food shortages, and death. We know what it looks like when we don’t get enough winter. We have seen it, over the last decade. It is not pretty. It looks like ever more numerous and massive forest fires. It looks like whole forests wiped out by pine beetle kill. It looks like increased pesticide usage, crop failures, and drought. It looks like rising rates of insect borne diseases. We have seen it, and I guess I kind of feel like, since we know what not enough winter looks like, we should be grateful for what little winter we are still getting. We should be down on our knees praising the heavens for whatever amount of snow we’ve been blessed with, which is, I’m sorry, not nearly enough this year. I’m not saying we should all be skipping outside singing songs from Frozen, but at the very least, could we refrain from whining about how unfair it is that we should have to suffer through a tiny fraction of a season we actually desperately need for our ecosystem to function properly? How out of touch could we possibly be?

In my frustration, I posted the following rant on Facebook.

I’m going to be that asshole again and say it, this snow is good. We need snow. We need it for agriculture, fire protection, drinking water, and for our ecosystems not to get all fucked up. And not just here, in Colorado. Thirteen states, several tribal nations, and many parts of Mexico are to some degree dependent on the snowfall we get here in Colorado for their water supply, including California, you know, THE STATE THAT MOST OF THE NATION’S FOOD COMES FROM. Food needs water to grow, yo. And it’s not just water we need, we also need cold temperatures. Cold temperatures kill off insect larva so that there are fewer insects in the summer time. Insects like pine beetles, Mosquitos, and various pests that kill our crops. Warmer winters mean greater pesticide usage, more dead forests, and more West Nile and Lyme disease, just to name a few consequences of not having enough cold and snow. If you like eating, not having insect borne diseases, and not breathing ash all summer, you should be grateful for this snow. I don’t like snow and cold any more than anyone else, but our ecosystem has it for a reason. So maybe instead of bitching that our weather is finally supplying us and much of the western part of North America with this much needed weather, get comfy in your home, drink some hot chocolate, spend time with your loved ones, and enjoy getting a hibernation break. If you have to go out in this for work, bitch about your cruel corporate overlords who force that upon you, not the weather. And the next time it’s unseasonably warm in the winter, instead of skipping around chirping about how beautiful it is, get pissed, because it is not normal and it is not okay and something can and should be done about it. Take it from this third generation native, February and March are normally our snowiest months, not our only snowy months. At the very least, if you can’t handle one or two 8″ snowfalls at the very end of what used to be winter, be grateful you didn’t live here back when we used to get real winters, and no one freaked out unless we were calling for more than 12″. This state has gone soft.

(Note; we did get what I would call a medium blizzard in ’07. I forgot about that, which is weird because the National Guard was called up and I was a part of it. Granted, we were called up to help cattle ranchers in Lamar, primarily. Denver was expected to for the most part handle its own shit during that, but it was a blizzard. Still, it’s been 8 years since then, almost a decade, and I don’t think we’ve had anything I’d consider to be a blizzard since then. We used to get at least one blizzard a year. I’d say we need at least 2 feet of accumulation from a single storm to call it a blizzard.)

(Another note; if you are going to order pizza in this kind of weather, for the love of humanity and all things good and holy, please turn on your porch lights, shovel your driveway and sidewalks, and tip appropriately. That’s at least 20% or $5, whichever is more. If delivery to your door in a snow storm is not worth that, get off your lazy ass and you drive to pick up your freaking pizza. All delivery places also offer carry out. I have seen people seriously injured on icy sidewalks and had their cars totaled in the effort to get you a lousy pizza during a snow storm. Show some gratitude. No one owes you a pizza.)

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People’s Climate March

Activism, Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Community, Current Events By September 8, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

I’m sure everyone has heard of the People’s Climate March taking place in New York City September 21st, and for a brief moment in time, I thought I would be able to attend it.  That would have been a dream come true for me, but unfortunately, due to some medical appointments I have to keep having to do with the surrogacy, I am unable to attend.  

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Curry Avocado Egg Salad

Home cooking, Recipes By August 5, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

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I’ve never been a big fan of egg salad until I had high tea at the Brown Palace last spring and had their delicious curry egg salad tea sandwiches. I told myself I would have to recreate it but never got around to it until I was inspired by my friend Jen who was making a roast pepper and curry egg salad recently for a meal during her Whole 30. When she posted about it, I made my own version that very day and it was great!

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Interior design for function over form

Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Community, House keeping, Social Justice By July 22, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments
If I were to live in a tiny house, it would be a fancy one like this.  Picture obtained from http://tinyhousesmallspace.tumblr.com/

If I were to live in a tiny house, it would be a fancy one like this. Picture obtained from http://tinyhousesmallspace.tumblr.com/

Lately, I have been reading about tiny houses and dense living conditions. Living in a tiny house has a lot of benefits, both personally and environmentally. The smaller your house, the less you spend to heat and cool it, the less you spend on utilities, the less crap you tend to accumulate. Smaller houses are cheaper, and use fewer resources both in building and maintaining. It also frees up more space in your yard, you get more yard out of a smaller property if your house is taking up minimal space.

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4H

Educational Activities, Parenting, Social Justice By May 26, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

4H

When Elijah was born I knew right away I would never put him into Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts were not inclusive, and for all I knew Elijah might be gay. More than that, I didn’t want to support an organization that was bigoted towards LGBTQI people. It just doesn’t match up with our family values. Even now that they have made the move to allow gay scouts in the program, I am still offended at their refusal to allow LGBTQI troop leaders, as if they think anyone who doesn’t fit into their narrow gender/sexuality binary is a child molester.

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Garden plans 2014

Food Producing Animals, Gardening By February 23, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

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It snowed today, and I’m thinking about my garden. Curled up under a heated blanket, with Freja asleep in my lap, and Elijah snuggled up next to me watching Iron Man, today is the perfect day to get started. This is what homesteading is all about. A good garden is the cornerstone of a homestead.

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Allergen friendly Super Bowl snacks

DIY, Recipes By January 29, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , 2 Comments

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Well, the Broncos are in the Super Bowl, and honestly, I don’t really care that much, I’m not into football really. I’m just hoping that if they win the fans don’t riot too hard (as Denver sports fans are known to do) because we’ve built up our city so nicely over the past ten years or so and I’d hate to see it trashed by a bunch of drunken sports fans who are so proud to be from the place they are for some reason destroying.

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The National Western Stockshow!

Uncategorized By January 26, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Denver is the home of the National Western Stockshow, an event I have never in my life attended because I’m not into the whole country western, cowboy thing.  But as my interest in homesteading has grown, my interest in the Stock Show has slowly grown.  When Elijah and I heard there was a 4H day at the Stock Show, we decided to go.

It was fun, and much less stinky than I anticipated.  The best part was getting to spend a day just the two of us, something we don’t get to do super often.  Also the petting zoo.  Oh my God, baby pigs are so cute!

Here are some pics!

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Two weeks down

Recipes By January 21, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments

We are officially at the half way point of eliminating dairy, wheat, and corn, and I’m happy to report that I’m not seeing much of a difference for Elijah. In fact, Jeremy and I are not seeing differences either (besides some weight loss, which I know I made a big deal out of that not being the point, and it’s not, but it is something that has happened since starting this). I’m happy because it gives me hope that maybe these foods will not be a problem. Of course, I realize that there are still some health concerns with some of these foods, and I am learning that we don’t need them, so I may be interested in still minimizing them in the future, but it will be nice to know that if we splurge on some noodles one night, none of us will be afflicted with any immediate bodily harm. I honestly don’t know why anyone would assume this lifestyle permanently without an actual allergy forcing them into it. It is isolating from society, and just kind of a bummer all around.

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