just a few photos of some of the high-oil, organic sunflowers suitable for use in the production of biodiesel. the field is owned by cropp ( organic valley ) and is near our distribution center in cashton, wisconsin.
the sunflowers are part of cropp’s sustainability program ( you can view a few of my other sunflower pictures from years past on that page ). cropp farmers who plant on the farm benefit from the high yield of oil (80–110 gallons per acre) as well as the 1200–1500 pounds of feed meal per acre as well. we even have a mobile press that can travel to a farm and produce oil from a harvest ( yes, that’s another of my sunflower shots on the side of the press. ).
feed and fuel from the same field!
i believe this field will be converted to biodiesel to provide fuel for company tractors and trucks.
i don’t really know why i haven’t uploaded more of my sunflower shots over the years, since folks seemed to enjoy the original “the sunnier side of biodiesel” photo.
so, here you go internets! maybe someday i’ll get around to uploading all the other photos.
trust me, you’ll want to view this panorama large, in the lightbox.
i’m a little less pleased with this panorama, but hey, sunflower panoramas are like pizza.
even when they’re bad, they’re good.
( pssst, lightbox edition. )
certainly a candidate for HDR imaging, but i totally flaked out and didn’t shoot any brackets.
it might sound morbid, but whenever i walk into a voting booth i invariably think of all the people who have died defending our freedoms, including the right to vote and all the people who have died around the world attempting to get the right to vote.
it seems like the least i could do is to stay informed of the issues to make the best decision i can with a mark on a ballot.
by the time i cast by ballot right before the polls closed over 1,600 people had voted in the controversial kapanke recall which is easily 4 times what would be considered a normal turnout in a mid-term election.
it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out. i saw a lot of unfamiliar faces at the voting station, including the elderly man in the booth next to me who had appeared to have never voted before.
amusingly ( or not ), despite the new sort-of requirement for a driver’s license and signatures on paperwork, kris voted after me and discovered the kindly volunteers had mixed up our ballot numbers and names which could have possibly invalidated both our votes.
for father’s day, possibly to balance out the ice cream maker i got for my birthday, kris and odin gave me a nice little saris bike carrier which means we can now go on fantastic Bicycling Adventures outside of the five or ten mile radius bike routes we traverse in town.
this is A Big Deal. we’ve wanted one Forever since we haven’t really had an easy way to transport multiple bikes in the jetta.
so, today, odin and i decided to hit the elroy-sparta state trail which is about 35 miles from homebase. i intented to go on a leisurely 5 or 10 mile ride.
odin hatched A Different Plan when the nice woman who sold us a trail ticket mentioned there was a fantastic tunnel 9 miles down the trail. 9 miles! that’d be at least 18 miles total. muuuuuuuuch longer than our previous record bike ride of 8 miles. but odin said he was up for it.
so off we rode.
after nine miles, up a 3% grade for much of the route, we finally reached The Tunnel Entrance. it was pretty neat because you could feel the cold air coming from the 3/4 mile long tunnel well before you see the entrance.
i probably shouldn’t have been surprised that odin rode the 9 miles like it was a trip around the block. i, however, was huffing a bit 🙂
note, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
and, if you can stand shakey-cam, you can watch us walk the entirety of the 3,810 foot tunnel. i was warned that it would be dark and thought the little light on the front of my bike would adequately illuminate our way. it provided just barely enough light which made for quite a interesting walk considering there was far more water dripping from the ceiling than i anticipated.
for some reason the video camera got stuck in “macro mode” ( maybe because of the water droplets on the lens? ) so it’s a little blurry, though i think it adds the right artisitic flair 🙂
at the other end of the tunnel we found a sign which told the story of the making of the tunnel. apparently, workers struck an overhead spring which explains why there was so much water dripping from ceiling.
coming back through the other side of the tunnel we were surprised to run into a guy who climbed to the top of the tunnel entrance.
the video camera didn’t adjust to show his face which is probably good because i think he was smoking something that’s not legal in most states unless you have a health condition 🙂
while we were biking i told odin how awesome it would be if we ran across a little shop that sold ice cream sandwiches and lamented the fact that there was probably no chance my dream would come true.
lo and behold, we did run across a little stand that a nice old man set up in his backyard.
i think he thought it was pretty neat that we were out for a father and son ride and offered to take our picture just as we prepared to dig into the very muchly appreciated cold and creamy gift.
we’ll ignore that look on my face.
at one point on the trail there’s a cool standstone formation ( or at least i think it’s sandstone ) that appeared to be frequented by local teen-agers ( lots of names scrawled in the sand, remains of a bonfire and some empty adult beverage cans ). it’s at about miles 15 on the return route and when odin said he wanted to stop and rest and climb to the top i was only too happy to oblige.
( i couldn’t resist taking one more of odin sitting on top of the sandstone and it didn’t have anything to do with me wanting to “milk” every minute out of the rest stop. honest. no, really. )
aaaaaaand, we. finally. finished. all. twenty. miles.
we talked a lot during the ride about judging how much energy you had left and told him many, many time we didn’t have to bike the whole route all at once. but maybe that was all about me and not him.
he finished with a smile and said he could have probably rode 40 miles. or maybe 50.
and, as his style, he said he said he couldn’t possibly thank me enough for taking him on The Best Bike Ride Ever.
epilogue: sparta, wisconsin is the self-described “Bicycling Capital of America” because the traile we rode was the first rail bed in wisconsin to be converted to bike trails. i’m not sure that warrants the title ( why not the “Bicycling Capital of Wisconsin”? ) but it’s a fun little bit of appropriate trivia.
normally, i have a serene vista over several miles of the 8,500 acre kickapoo valley reserve. today, not so much, with a snowstorm blowing through on april 19th!
after all was said and done we didn’t get as much snow as i’ve seen in the past around this time of year, but it sure looked mighty impressive ( although this might still be the The Last Snowman of 2011 since odin is now visiting grandparents in da UP ).
oh, yeah. and, yes, i do know and appreciate that i have a mighty nice view from my desk at organic valley hq 🙂