Posted by: David | July 10, 2008

July 4th Weekend

Yeah, I know, that was last weekend. It’s been a busy week at work. But I’m finally getting around to writing this post …

I managed to get in bicycle rides all 3 days. I’m breaking in a new Terry “Fly” saddle (the economy model). Friday the 4th was just a quick shot down to Henniker and back. Saturday was a bit longer ride, but one with a destination. I had to get up to New London in order to tend to my friend’s cat, a 14-year old boy cat named Pichu. My friend was away for a week and since I work in New London, I took my lunch hours during the week to spend with Pichu, giving him his quarter can of cat food, checking the endless bowls of kibble and water, and scooping out his litter box. I brushed him a few times too and he gave up lots of fuzz. Toward the end of the week there were a few cat fuzz tumbleweeds on the living room floor.

Sunday was a longer ride with a friend that I posted about last summer . This is the guy who rode his bicycle across the country solo upon reaching his 60th birthday. (See “Oregon to New Hampshire-Bicycle Odyssey” in my blogroll.) We met in Bradford and briefly discussed directions and routes. It’s really amazing how many bicyclists are so random when it comes to choosing routes. We decided we could go about 30 miles, see how we felt, and then continue or turn back. I suggested my “default” route, the Henniker-Hillsborough loop, which I could do “with my left hemisphere tied behind my back”.

Route 114 cairn v. 3.0 remains standing. This angle nicely shows its daring style.

It was a beautiful day, and I think we made it all the way to Henniker before my riding companion’s beeper went off. This was a Sunday morning, he was not really “on call” but having the pager and cell phone and all … We changed up the Henniker Hillsborough loop by riding along the river to Hillsborough and then back roads to return to Henniker. We were back in Henniker when the route-changing call came in. A car needed to be picked up in Concord, so now we would have a destination. I was drawn to some bright colors by the roadside while my riding companion talked on the phone.

I’m not sure what these are, but took a picture anyway. Oh wait, I DO know, they’re flowers!

So we got into Henniker and headed south to Weare, then east to Concord. It was a hot day and there were lots of motorcycles on the road. The road dust was sticking to my sweat. We took a slight detour off the main routes to ride along a nice (but short) little paved bike trail. It runs right alongside the interstate for a bit and I’ve noticed it from I89 hundreds of times but never ridden on it.

Interstate 89 southbound lane is just beyond the trees at left of frame.

The bike route comes out on Silk Farm Road, which we took over to Clinton street. We rode down to the new cross road that goes from Clinton over to Concord Hospital. Apparently this road had just opened a few months before and took many years to materialize. It’s a nicely engineered road and surely cuts a few minutes off the ambulance route from I 89. We rode up the steep Rum Hill road just to the east of the hospital complex. I was getting a little tired when a duck called to me from a trashcan.

Or maybe it was a goose.

The colors of this tree’s leaves caught my eye. This is a beautiful Concord neighborhood.

So we stopped at the house, loaded up the bikes on the rack, went in to take on and leave off some liquids, then headed back up to Bradford in a nice car with a GPS display that showed our progress. It had been about a 50 mile bike ride and it was nice to relax in the air conditioned vehicle. I should have slept much better than I did last Sunday night.



  1. I thought your photos were sublime, even the goose duck, until I came upon the photo of the tree with all those orbs of human souls hovering around it. Have you phoned Coast to Coast to report these?

    You sound like the greatest cat sitter in the world. If I ever get a cat and then have to go anywhere, you’re the only person I’d want for the job. I would fly you to Texas and pay you top dollar. Top. Dollar.

    Thanks Wendy- you’re too kind! I think that those were Sprites hovering about the tree. Though they could be souls, since the hospital is right nearby and that neighborhood is highly populated with doctors and other medicos. Some call the neighborhood “pill hill”.

    I like cats. What can I say?

  2. Great stories with excellent photos to add to the festivities. Sound like you had one hell of a holiday.

    We call cat tumbleweeds auxiliary cats. In case one of our current cats fails to maintain it’s level of catness all of our affection falls to the auxiliary cats.

    Good thing that hasn’t happened yet. Those auxiliary cats are SO skittish.

    Auxiliary cats! I love that! Our current cat is mostly an outdoor cat, during daylight hours anyway. We keep her in at night so foxes, wolverines, fisher cats, coy dogs, or the American Pine Marten don’t eat her. So we don’t have too many auxiliary cats. Your primary cats probably work very hard to make sure that you don’t permanently favor the auxiliary cats, I’ll bet.

  3. The tree with those red leaves could be a prunus pisardi. The other tree I know the Latin name of is eleagnus angustifoliae that probably does not exist where you are; to newcomers it looks like an olive tree, has similar narrow long leaves that are silvery on one side, reflectors of sunlight, and dark green on the other. I ought to write a post with photos of olive trees.

    Some years ago the European Community paid the farmers here to PULL UP their trees and DESTROY their vines. You got so and so much for each thing destroyed. This was AFAIK (this means as far as I know) to reduce the cost of farm subsidies.

    I have had a terrible migraine for more than 24 hours, and can barely read because of the pain in my eyes, and have come to this blog to see whether that helps. And it did! (momentarily)

    I’m sorry about your migraine cantueso. That is a terrible affliction.

    I think the tree was some kind of ornamental maple, but I don’t really know. I would love to know more about olive trees. I wish we could grow such things here.

    I don’t know what to make of subsidized farming. It seems to me that if people cannot make their proper living farming, then they should find something else to do. Why must the trees be killed?

  4. My daughter finally remembered the name of a jeweler who uses raw diamonds. But the pieces he makes are expensive she said but I thought I would leave you the link anyway.

    Is that duck the head of a cane? It looks like one. Did your grab it? A duck cane would be cool. You whack someone with that duck head and you could do some serious injury.

    I see the orbs or pixies in the tree. I’m glad to see the cairn is still standing. I still haven’t gotten any rocks to build a cairn but it is on my to do list. It’s #3. Steal rocks from someone’s yard to build a cairn”.

    I will happily put you in my “Idiot’s Guide to Dumbasses”. Of course, I will have a whole dumbass chapter on myself too.

    Thanks Joan for remembering about the raw diamond question. I looked at and it was helpful to clarify what I have in mind. I wasn’t expecting to see so many colored stones. The kind of rough diamond I would like to see in as simple a fixture as possible would be a white or light yellow stone of natural crystal shape. Such a stone would need to be large (over 2 carats) and expensive. The Todd Reed stuff is … well I don’t want to be mean about it but … hideous. D’OH! Sorry that WAS mean! It’s got a nice Middle Ages Royalty look to it. Hideous. But anyway thanks again.

    The duck head drew my eye because of your cane collection. It was a broken umbrella. If I was on my touring bike I probably would have tried to take it with me. It’s a nice neighborhood, and I find the trash is usually better in nice neighborhoods.

    I don’t really need 3 chapters as I said before. It would just be repetitious. Which would make me look even more of a dumbass than I actually am. Accuracy is important here, right? πŸ˜€

  5. [[[[[ multiple brackets and small font and a whisper: I have to do my 3 months tax report end of small font, end of whisper ]]]]]

    The olive trees and the cows and the vines had to be killed to reduce over-production. I think it did not work. Now even the greatest wines are hard to sell. However, right now I also can’t remember what the reasoning was. Must have been pretty complex.

    As to the olive trees: I wonder what they would look like if I could see them as they are, instead of seeing what they mean plus what they meant.

    [[[[OH crap! I thought you were done with that tax stuff!]]]]

    Something is fundamentally wrong in a world with starving millions where farms are destroyed or deactivated for the sake of the market.

    I would like to see an olive tree filled with ripe olives. πŸ™‚

  6. You said: “It seems to me that if people cannot make their proper living farming, then they should find something else to do.”

    I believe there aren’t any farms in Europe that can compete with the US farmers. The farms here are much smaller, and the ones that are very large are on inhospitable or semi-desertic land. Until very recently Spanish farmers worked without machines, one with just a donkey, the other one with a mule. In a typical Swiss town they had two harvester machines, one for the farmers belonging to the Socialist party and the other one for…..

    I have always tried to understand currency problems, but about the globalization = free trade problems I know nothing, and information would be hard to come by because until recently this was an ideological problem mainly.

    Now that oil is 1000% what it was 10 years ago, the problem becomes one of facts and figures.

    If European farms were not subsidized, all would disappear. And so what? All dependent on the US wheat production? And what has been happening to that recently?

    “Macro” Economics Is Lost On Me Too. All I know is that money is like another form of matter that has its own physics. It seems to attract itself to itself. Big “agribiz” as it’s called here in the USA is a two-edged sword. I know nothing, as I said. I only hope that the movement toward decentralized local farming continues to grow.

  7. (I had conjectured that an “auxiliary cat” is a stray cat that comes to my door when hungry and is welcome if my own cat has gone astray.)

    Cantueso! This is the first time I’ve seen you smile! πŸ™‚

  8. I agree with you about the Todd Reed stuff. It’s garish. I also would prefer the simpler setting to show off the diamond.

    That duck head would make a great cane. My trash is definitely trash. We recycle probably 75 % and what’s left no one would want. But rich people’s trash is another thing. I think I could do a whole post on rich people’s trash. We have a lot of rich people here. I could photograph all their trash or when I get my video camera I could video their trash and have narration too. I might come across dumbass trash at the same time. Thanks David.

    The diamond crystal that I picture is so nice that it would never escape being graded and faceted. For the moment I’ll settle for a herkimer diamond.

    I’m always looking for the trash! Mostly on the side of the road. I did find a music mix CD last weekend and I’m trying to determine what the “mixer” had in mind. If anything. I sure don’t have anything in mind when I make a mix CD other than that I like all the songs …

    That would make a fun post topic too- great idea. Perhaps a trash meme could be developed?

  9. I would love to sit up in that Concord tree and observe the world around me. I know that’s weird but it’s true.

    Another weird thing: I absolutely LOVE the idea of you sitting around brushing a cat…HAHAHA…so precious! πŸ˜‰

    I’d like to take a picture of you up in that tree! You could talk to the sprites, or orbs, or whatever they. You could ask them: “WTF ARE you, anyway?”

    My friend’s cat was grateful for the attention. And the great thing about cats is that they saturate quickly. A dog will “let” you scratch its head until you scratch right through to its brain! The cat flicks its tail at you and walks away. Or in my own cat’s case, drools on you then walks away. Whatever. My friend’s cat actually didn’t tolerate the second brushing as well. Also, my friend gave me a bottle of Van Gogh vodka for my trouble.

  10. An awesome way to spend the long weekend. Thanks for posting it!

    You’re welcome Adam. Thanks for your comment. This last weekend went by much faster. But the college gives us Friday afternoons off in the summer, so it’s almost like a long weekend. Bike rides Friday afternoon and Saturday and rest on Sunday.

  11. The olives are now small, hard, and green. They will be ripe in December. In December the men will go out to their fields and beat the olive trees with long big sticks to make the olives fall. It is very hard work. Some elderly men wait all year for this job. It is extra money so little that some farmers don’t harvest their olives anymore.

    The longer the olives are left on the trees, the darker they get. They turn dark violet.

    The olive flowers are minute, a very very pale yellow or just white. To become edible olives have to be placed in salted water.

    Mmmmm. Thanks. I’m salivating. I’ve never met an olive I didn’t like.

  12. I checked. It is just salted water and is called salmuera. Of course there are many variants and people add garlic, onion, bay, peppercorns.

    But like many other things and even some people, olives are mainly imagined.

    I love those too!

    The Imaginary Olives

  13. (I mean even to find out, as I just have, that the legendary “salmuera” is simply a salt solution, is simply H2O plus as much salt as will dissolve in it, whaty was that? A cultural shock en miniature.)

    I’m not culturally shocked. Olives are so yummy because they’re so salty!

  14. Looks like the pic of the paved bike trail was taken while in motion…very brave of you.

    We have pug tumbleweeds at home. I affectionately refer to them as Zoe’s babies (mainly to talk myself out of vacuuming).

    Yup, good eye Allison! It wasn’t brave so much as it was stupid. But I like the motion effect in that shot too.

    Pug Tumbleweed- 1998 Light Middleweight Champion Omaha, Nebraska. Where is he now?

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