The weather is making it really difficult to believe it is November, but I’ve decided to just go with it and try to not be too freaked out by the weirdness of it. Climate change in action? Probably a little bit. But there is also a “Godzilla” el niño in the Pacific that is a major contributor as well. The combination makes part of me very happy because, wow, November and I spent time outdoors today plenty warm in a sweatshirt. The other part of me is worried and a little angry because this is just not right, not normal at all and nobody seems concerned, too busy running around and believing we are somehow lucky. Humph.

On a happy note, I jumped with joy the other day when President Obama said no to the entire Keystone Pipeline project. I want to thank the farmers in Nebraska for all their lawsuits that slowed the entire review process down and gave a lot more people time to comment and protest and government officials, including the president, time to seriously consider what an oil pipeline running across the U.S. from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico would mean in terms of climate change and immediate environmental impacts. So thank you Mr. President. You made me squeal with joy, clap my hands and do a happy dance. My eyes might have gotten a little teary too.

Then there is the news that Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Senator Jeff Merkley from Oregon have proposed legislation to stop the government from issuing new leases on public lands for fossil fuel extraction. The “Keep it in the Ground Act” would also end all current non-productive leases for fossils fuels on federal land and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific. It would also prohibit offshore drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic. It is a bold move and Republicans, many of whom don’t “believe in” climate change, are already saying the bill has no chance of passing. It is unfortunate but not surprising. Nonetheless, the fact that anyone is even proposing such legislation is a huge step in the right direction.

Turnips and a radish

Turnips and a radish

Closer to home, I pulled the turnips today. One huge one and three radish sized ones and an actual radish that’s a bit deformed. Bookman is going to boil them and mash them up with a potato to have with dinner tonight. Yum.

We do not rake our leaves up from the yard. We rake them off the sidewalk only. This year we are putting the sidewalk leaves in the chicken garden. Remember it is all sand? We covered it in wood chips in August but those take so long to decompose. Now we are adding leaves. And since it has been windy these last couple of days and the neighbor across the alley from us has a huge tree in their backyard that dropped its leaves, a good many of them blew over and caught themselves along our new chain link fence. I raked them all off the fence and deposited them in the chicken garden while thanking the neighbor’s tree for the donation to our soil-building project.

Bookman and I spent quite a lot of time today looking at pictures of rafters on the internet and discussing physics and geometry. We are ready to frame the roof on the chicken coop and run and since we are building it as a green roof we have to account for extra weight. What’s the best and easiest way to build five rafters? Lots of rafters are notched on the end of the board that sits on the structure’s frame. Do we need to do that? Also, how steep do we want the pitch of the roof?

Geometry in action

Geometry in action

We decided from roof peak to frame would be a foot which means the roof pitch is not super steep but steep enough to provide decent drainage for the green roof. So then we had to do some geometry. Kids, if you are sitting in geometry class thinking, this is so stupid, I will never need this in real life, let me tell you that you are wrong! So we worked out the math and started to cut and drill and we changed our minds about how we wanted to build the rafters from mitered triangles screwed to the frame to notched rafters sitting on the frame edge. And we got ourselves so turned around upside down and backwards that we decided to stop and have some chocolate chip cookies.

The cookies made everything better. We decided to go back to our original rafter plan of making triangles that attach to the coop frame. Much easier than figuring out how to make notches. By this time though we had worn ourselves out so we called it quits for the day on coop building. Our building progress today was conceptual rather than actual but we have to have the concept down before we can make it reality. Now we know what we need to do and how to do it so next chance we get should go more smoothly.

That’s the idea anyway.

Something bookish. I am very much looking forward to Richard Mabey’s new book The Cabaret of Plants becoming available in the U.S. The Guardian had an essay by Mabey recently in which he talks about plants and the environment and much of what he talks about is in his book. Things like how beans use echolocation to find their poles and mimosa shrubs have a greater memory-span than bees. I am all agog. I must know more! Please book, hurry up and get published!


Just a quick note about how indoor biking is going: great!

Achievement unlocked! I did a metric century on Zwift yesterday (100km/ 62.2 miles). For that I get a special jersey my avatar can wear to let everyone know about it. It was actually harder to do on my trainer than on the road. When I am riding outdoors I get to coast on the downhills and get to rest at traffic signals. On the trainer I am pedaling all the time, no stopping. I did stop halfway for about two minutes to run to the kitchen and get a couple energy bites. But golly, did I work! And sweat! Even with a fan blowing right in my face the entire ride I went through both my water bottles, something I only have ever done on the hottest days of summer. But it was good and it was fun and I got lots of kudos from other people riding at the time. The next big goal is an imperial century (100 miles/ 161km). I wonder if I can do it by New Year’s?