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Showing posts from September, 2011

Another Revolution!

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... We did it! Another successful BORP Revolution fundraising ride! This year, there were more adaptive cyclists participating in the 25-mile ride than in the past. This is just a small part of the pre-ride crowd. Paraplegics, quadriplegics (riding that wild-looking super-reclined hand-cycle), folks with no legs, folks with debilitating medical conditions, blind cyclists -- they all rode! It was a blast to share the road with the BORP riders. The weather was just about perfect. Not too hot, and with a bit of a breeze. We rode the route we've done on the last two years. The year before last, I got heat exhaustion, and it's always interesting to me to revisit the spots where I hand my melt-down. Even though we weren't super-prepared for this ride, it was vastly easier than the year of the dreadful heat. As always, the landscape was glorious. Many of the vineyards had not yet harvested their grapes. I imagine that they were taking advantage of the lat

Today we Ride!

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... It's the day of the big BORP ride! Hundreds of people will be riding to raise money to provide fun, challenging recreational opportunities for people with disabilities. And speaking of "challenging" somehow I managed to catch a wicked cold since yesterday afternoon. I'm hoping that decongestants and coffee prop me up enough, so that I'm able to ride. This ride is going to be hard. But "hard" is, in some ways, what this is all about. Every person participating in this event has dealt with their share of challenges. In some way, directly or indirectly, they're living with a disability. They're moving forward, staying active, and getting out in the world. Do I need to say that it's not too late to support the great work of BORP?

One Day Remains Before the Ride

... One final day remains before our fundraising bike ride. While we've made our modest goal, fundraising overall is down this year. I know that the economy is bad, but could any of you spare ten bucks to help a disabled child? Click on the photo to the right of this essay to donate to the Bay Area Outreach Recreation Program (BORP). *************************************************************** About five and a half years ago, Robb was working in the theater department of the University of California. He was working with a student, taking down some fluorescent fixtures. Apparently, the light they were moving was hung in a non-conventional manner, and as they were de-installing it, the entire unit broke loose from their control, and swung directly at the face of the student worker. Robb did what anyone would have done: he pounced on the light, and in doing so, disrupted the balance of his ladder, and fell to the ground. He landed on a concrete floor, shattere

Urban Nature

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... Robb and I went cycling near the Oakland Airport today. We're trying to prepare for our fundraising ride next weekend . We had stopped for a drink of water, when I noticed a family hanging over the edge of a bridge, watching a school of rays. This is a pretty lousy cell-phone movie, but I don't care! I possess an almost insane love of rays and skates. I don't actually know much about them, but when I see them swimming, my heart just about bursts with joy. We saw about half a dozen (what I think are) bat rays, swimming in the channel. It was hard to tell, but Robb and I think that these animals were two or two-and-half feet across. I kept wondering what the ducks swimming in the channel thought of the rays. As far as I'm concerned, it was magical to see such dream-like creatures. The ride was pretty humbling. Somehow I haven't done much cycling in the last year. Robb broke his back (again). We had to move out 18,000 square foot warehouse-studio, wh

A Long Road

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I broke my back, for the second time, last October. And while I am doing so much better now, it only just dawned on how much of a set back this has been physically. Being laid up for several weeks led to a weight gain I can ill-afford. Because of the previous damage to my spine, my legs are only strong enough to enable me to walk very slowly for very short distances. Every pound added means greater difficulty. Lately I've been preparing for our annual ride to raise money for BORP 's program for kids with disabilities. It's a challenging 25 mile ride and I've had some success lately in trimming down and cycling more. So, am I ready? My answer, as always, is "I will be." Every once in a while I need reminding, that despite the setbacks, I've come a long, long way. Today, I found this blog post from a previous year which we might have written today. Here We Go Again! When I was still in the hospital recovering from my fall-- barely able t

The Magnolia Queen

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... Today I did an in-depth inspection of the Gloriana hive , and pulled a frame full of capped honey to give to the new colony that I cut out of the magnolia tree in San Lorenzo. That colony is small, but mighty. They've been in the their new hive box just eight days, and already they're building beautiful white wax comb. One nice thing about a small colony: there's a chance that we'll spot the queen. I swear, I never see the queens in my two big hives. There are just too many bees, and it takes so long to go through all the frames that the queen has plenty of time to vamoose. Can you see her? She's the largest, reddest bee. She's dead-center in my photograph, with a bit of space on all sides. In pouring over my photographs, I realized that the Magnolia queen is already laying eggs, and some of those eggs have hatched into larvae. She must have gotten to work the instant her retinue had built the first comb. Robb and I had assumed that this q

A Week of Bees, Told in Three Chapters

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... Here's a little glimpse into my life as an urban beekeeper. All this happened over the course of a week. I had been contacted by Rick (a semi-neighbor, who "knew" me through a gardening discussion forum) who wanted a bit of advice about his back yard hive. I met him at his house, and we opened up his hive. The colony was small, but thriving. The bees had plenty of food stores, and were raising the next generation of bees. Everything looked exactly as it should, and the bees were very relaxed. We spent a fair amount of time, exploring the hive, and were pleased with everything we saw. Just after we closed up the hive-box, I noticed a cluster of bees on the ground. I figured that Rick and I had dropped a bit of honey, and the bees were lapping it up. The strange thing is that the bees were nowhere near where we had been working. Odd. I had taken off my bee suit, and stooped to take a closer look. Well, crap. There, in the middle of the clump of bees was

A Postage Stamp Sized Panorama

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... As much as a reminder to myself as anything else, I though I'd post this picture of one corner of our back garden, taken at the end of July. The World's Ugliest Fence is just as ugly as ever. I figure that until we get the siding finished on our house, we have no right to complain about any neighborhood eyesores. We had the arborist out recently, to prune the plum tree. The plum looks great, but now we've got an even clearer view of the fence. With regards to the fence, there's also a language problem.Our neighbor speaks about as much English as we speak Spanish. So, for the moment, we're stuck with what we've got. The hops are ripening in this photo. They're the three columns of green on the short side of our little garage. We harvested the Sterling hops today, which is the plant on the left. The hops were a huge success. We placed them in one of the few spots in our little yard that gets consistent sunlight. I really need to think abo

Love Among the Green Bees

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... I finally got around to planting some cosmos, and almost instantly (like magic!) we had green bees in our garden. I had spotted a single green bee two years ago, back when we were "stealth gardening" before we officially owned our little house. Even though we didn't have the keys, we'd come over and work on the vine-covered mess that was the back garden. There was just so much to do, and I was so excited about it all. I kept hoping that we'd see more of these beautiful creatures, but they never came for another visit, until this past week. They probably don't come around until late August, and I must have missed them last year. These bees are quite small, and very fast-moving. They don't hang around posing for my camera, that's for sure. If I sit very still, and focus on just one flower, the bees come to me. There's quite a bit of backyard drama going on. The bee that I assume is the female is going about h