day 2979: a new haircut and glasses for school.

day 2979: a new haircut and glasses for school.

hanging out at the playground during unicycle lessons, i noticed odin’s new haircut ( he requested a “spikey” haircut and even wanted to try out gel?! ) and glasses that he picked out for school make him look all growed up!

he’s getting to be such a big boy. i don’t have to try very hard to look at him and see a teenager. ack!

he only has about a foot to grow before he’s taller than his mother. sigh.

day 2979: first day of unicycle lessons!

day 2979: first day of unicycle lessons! I.

right before we left for vacation we were walking by odin’s school playground and noticed a bunch of kids on unicycles. as it turns out, they’ve been having classes there every wednesday night over the summer and odin definitely thought it was something he’d really, really, really like to learn. and you know what? i’ve always wanted to learn how to unicycle too, so we made a plan to start going to lessons after we got back from vacation.

unfortunately in the few weeks that passed, the instructor of the class left town but some of the kids have decided to keep teaching the classes themselves which is some excellent initiative for kids that aren’t much older than odin.

the first step to learning how to ride a unicycle involves getting used to balancing and pedaling by slowly moving along while holding on to a fence. according to the kids, you’ve graduated from the first level of unicycle training when you can move along two panels of the fence without holding on at all. usually it take about a month of once-a-week practice to gain mastery over the fence.

day 2979: first day of unicycle lessons! II.

watching the other kids do bunny hops and ride backwards and forwards is just the right motivation for odin to quickly graduate from holding onto the fence.

day 2979: first day of unicycle lessons! III.

what luck! holding hands with poppi is totally within the rules of beginner unicycling :-)

one day odin will find something that is difficult to learn, but unicycling will apparently not be that thing. after one day of practice he was already close to being able to move along two panels of the fence without holding on. it’s highly doubtful that he’ll need the whole month to graduate from the first level.

his poppi on the other hand, well that’s another story…

maybe one day we can bring the darth vader bagpipe unicycling tradition to viroqua.

the squatty potty

i have a friend who has long claimed that squatting while pooping is the au natural way to, er, go and that instead of getting a special squat toilet you can get the same effect by squatting on top of upside down paint cans placed in front of a regular toilet. “uh, huh. shooooore. who is going to do that?” i thought. much to my surprise, i ran across the the squatty potty which has a great educational video touting the benefits of squatting and their product which has positive amazon reviews ( lacking, though, in the expected potty humor ). if you need more convincing, the squatty potty site links to medical case studies which confirm that the, “sensation of satisfactory bowel emptying in sitting defecation posture
necessitates excessive expulsive effort compared to the squatting posture.”

my ancestor photoblogging in the 1920s about the 1630s.

my ancestor photoblogging in the 1920s about the 1630s. I.

on a trip to my ancestral homeland in machias, maine my mother showed me one of many photos she has been entrusted with that tell the story of her mother’s side of the family which have been handed down from matriarch to matriarch. they are simply incredible.

they were written by a woman named grace who, i believe was a cousin to my grandmother’s mother ( my mother will correct me if i’m wrong ).

my ancestor photoblogging in the 1920s about the 1630s. II.

this one tells the story of elaie(sp?) fuller berry means who daughter of william berry jr, descendant of william berry who was the a member of founders of portsmouth, new hampshire and newburyport, massachusetts. she was also the direct descendant of benjamin berry who was the first white child born in machias, maine and his father, was one of the “original 16″ founders of machias in the 1630s ( i fail at geneology because i can’t quite decipher the relationship between william and benjamin berry ).

william berry came over to the colonies from devonshire with the “mason colony”, led by john mason in 1630 settling in what would become portsmouth. she claims they brought the first cattle to new england and notes that the mason colony “had the contempt of the [massachusetts] colony which said they came to fish and not to pray.”

ha!

given my love of taking photos and telling stories, i think i really would have gotten along nicely with grace.

earth, wind and fire. or, the sunnier side of biodiesel re-re-visited.

earth, wind and fire. or, the sunnier side of biodiesel re-re-visited.

it’s august which means it’s time for yet another photo of the high-oil sunflowers that are pressed for biodiesel for an organic valley sustainability program. some might recall my photos from last year and a few might even recall the original, popular sunnier side of biodiessel photo from five(?!) years ago.

this year is extra exciting because nestled amongst the sunflowers you can now see the two wind turbines that are part of wisconsin’s first community wind farm that were put up in a partnership between organic valley and gundersen health system.

the two wind turbines are expected to generate about 5 megawatts of energy which more than offsets organic valley’s cashton distribution center and our la farge headquarters.

McKayla is Not Impressed with The Dude.

McKayla is Not Impressed with The Dude.

i’m not sure which is weirder – seeing a giant picture of me next to the coffee station at organic valley drinking coffee from my “the dude” cup, or the fact that it’s part of the McKayla is Not Impressed meme ( the speech bubble next to her says, “i can’t believe i came in second place to “the dude” ). or the fact that it’s not the only giant photo of me around work.

i think this is all a grand conspiracy to get me to deal with why i hate seeing pictures of myself.

16 miles on the LSD!

phew! 16 miles on the long slow distance (LSD) run which averaged in the high 10 minute miles and i only stopped once! LSD runs are done at an “easy pace”, 1–3 minutes per mile slower than your 10k pace. so that’s about right -at this point i can just about keep a 9 minute mile pace over a 10K. so i’ve got 8 weeks to turn my 10K pace into my LSD pace if i have any hope of breaking the four hour chicago marathon running time.

it’s theoretically plausible to get to a 3:45 running time, but it’s going to come down the wire. not exactly record setting times, but i’ll take what i can get after a 9 year break.

the long lost pasture butter cheesecake recipe finally published.

the long lost pasture butter cheesecake recipe finally published.

a casualty of time, i never got around to properly blogging the recipe for my pasture butter cheesecake but the fine folks who put together organic valley’s rootstock publication did use one of the photos i took and published the recipe in the latest issue along with my “award-winning” double chocolate hazelnut ice cream ( using another photo i took for a recipe i never blogged. gah, i need more time in the day! ).

if you can’t find a rootstock near you feel free to ask your local magazine shop, bookstore, or grocery to order it :-)

i think you should be able to grab the full sized image for easier reading here.

maybe someday i’ll get around to blogging the entire process of making the cheesecake…

on drilling a hole through a tree

i’m getting close to starting to build The World’s Most Awesome Treehouse(s). after talking with some builders, i’ve decided to drill a hole straight through the trees, run threaded rod through the hole and bolt the tree house supports to the threaded rod ( i’ll have more on the plans soon ).

but how do i drill a hole through a 24 inch tree? our local hardware store only has a 15″ auger bit. i found 3/4″ x 17″ auger bit and an 3/4″ x 18″ bit but nothing close to 24 inches.

can i make a clean, straight hole with this 54″ long cable bit?

update: a friend pointed me to this 3/4″ x 24″ auger bit which might do the trick although it’s a bit spendy.