On eating locally in winter | By Umbra Fisk | Grist

 Another sustainable living piece. In case anyone notices, these stories catch my interest and go into the mental filing cabinet as I plan for that move to the mountains in a few years...

Eating locally in New Hampshire, though -- let's think about the specifics of that quest. For one, you'll need to adjust your diet (I may be presumptuous in thinking of turnips as outside your normal purview). For two, what is local to you? Is it Strafford County? Is it New England? In the winter you may need to broaden your concept of local to include not only your food's producers, but your food's purveyors. If none of the producer-related steps above work or entice, switch your winter focus from producers to locally owned grocers. In an era of megastores and giant corporate foods, all businesses in the local-foods chain need your allegiance.

Source: On eating locally in winter | By Umbra Fisk | Grist | Ask Umbra | 20 Nov 2006

Morning walk...Monday

One of the carry overs from when our children were all in school is my vacation schedule. Ever since my employer switched from sick days and vacation days to PTO which combined the two, I've tried to save a couple of weeks worth of days till the end of the year...Just in case. That means that I've usually scheduled the Thanksgiving week off along with the week between Christmas and New Years (making use of the Holidays to stretch the time off).

So on this my first morning off, I went for a morning walk as the sun came up. I must say this is the time of the year that Texas (at least my portion) is actually livable. Clear skies, morning temperatures in the 40's, a little bit of frost on the grass...You have to love it. As I walked the only companion I had was my breath steaming out ahead. That's the first time that's happened this fall on a walk.

I see that the Blue Jays are back for the winter. Now, when I make that statement you have to understand that we always have Blue Jays here but during the winter they flock. So during this time of the year you will see flocks of Blue Jays move through the yard looking for food. Soon they'll be joined by the Robins. Yea, I know what you're thinking. Most of you associate Robins with spring. Down here they are winter residents. The flocks of Robins can be quite loud as they move on their daily feeding circuit. From woods to fields to woods again. This is also a good time of the year to sit in the back yard and listen to all of the wrens and finches feeding in the Hackberry trees scattered around the perimeter of our oaks.

A photo from my walk...

mustang bayou

Mustang Bayou Fog

Leonids - missed them I did, or maybe they just missed me

 On Friday the 17th Fred posted the following;

Leonids: Time in the Dark

This is a timely selection from Slow Road Home. Tonight you can begin to look for the Leonids to zip past, a few or many, depending on which experts you listen to. But maybe it is more about just going outdoors. At night. With expectations. Happy hunting!
I left a warm bed, got dressed in every piece of clothing I could lift and carry, and stood outside in the dark for a half-hour this morning. With my neck craned, spinning slowly in circles, I waited in the cold to see the grand show of the Leonid Meteor Shower. My toes are still numb an hour later, and I need to find a good physical therapist to do some mobilization on my stiff sky-watcher's neck. Was it worth it? Yes indeed.

So, when something woke me at 2:30 am Saturday morning, I pulled on a long sleeved henley grabbed my hat and boots and headed outside to see what was up. It was brisk in the pasture out back, a bit hazy with a low hanging fog...There was lots of dew on the ground. Once my eyes adjusted to the dark, what there was of it, I started scanning the heavens. Sadly, I wasn't able to see more than 3 or 4 streaks at the edges of my vision in the 15 to 20 minutes that I hung out before heading back to a warm bed inside.

Every time I make one of these treks into the cold and the dark I think of the John Denver song, Rocky Mountain High, and the lines:

It's a Colorado Rocky Mountain High,
I've seen it raining fire in the sky
The shadows from the starlight are softer than a lullaby.

Those lines and the story he once told about he came to write those lines after camping through a night of a meteor shower on a mountainside in the Rockies. I don't know if it was the altitude, the particular shower or the power of the herbs, but John Denver was definitely impressed by the "fire" raining down around him that night.

On Sunday morning before sunup I tried again. I had even less luck then. Oh well, there's always next year...and the next.

Source: Leonids: Time in the Dark

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