Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fear, we can work with fear

“We can work with fear.” say the Underwoods in House of Cards.  Lest you think that is only a Brexit or a Trumpian problem I ask you to look closer to home.

 We have our very own Boris Johnsons.  How different is “Keep Aspen Aspen” from Make Aspen Great Again”? Fear has had unfettered success so far. Referendum 1 passed- albeit in a split election- the Powerplant has been squashed - sorry tabled indefinitely- and now the paranoia patrol have set their sights on City Hall. Government is too big!  Don’t let “them"- those evil politicians and City staff gather in one building- they will plot against “us” the public. Should the council not bend to the will of the Boris Brigade then there is always the threat of referendum. Add to this a Mayor who is on the eve of an election and those vocal “no” votes may be too big a temptation to resist.

So what’s the argument against City Hall on Galena Plaza?

“The building is too big” It’s still just a drawing and if you think it is too big then redraw the silly thing -design something which works instead of just saying “no I hate it”.

“Government is too big” Do you realize that consolidating City government in one building actually reduces the size of government? Think of it like a merger- there will be redundancies.

“It costs too much.” Sorry- wrong again- keeping City Government where it is and spreading the other departments around town will actually cost $10 million dollars more. Ten Million- hey- I can buy a house for that in Aspen!

“I want City Hall in the Center of town.” Get a map. City Hall will move- literally- across the street. If you’ve been walking around Aspen trying to find where the County offices have relocated during their own game of musical chairs you might appreciate consolidating government in one spot.  (I swear finding the County Clerk was like “button button who’s got the button?”).

“I don’t want another big building downtown!” Yeah saying “no” is easy and solutions are hard. We said no to the Art Museum on Galena Plaza and got the box on Hyman instead. How’s that “no to everything” been workin’ for ya?

The arguments  for the new City Hall? First, ask anyone who works in the current City Hall. I dare you- ask a worker bee- and they will tell you what a “joy” that building is. Then remember how you felt when you walked into the last Council meeting. Did it feel like a welcoming comfortable place where we could gather and calmly voice our mutual concerns? No?  Architecture does matter. (Grrrrrrrrr…Given…biting tongue)

I could go on and on about designing a functional building for a specific purpose and how much less it would cost in time and money

 but what good is logic when trying to counter the politics of fear?  

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Groasis update- 2016

Planted in May of 2013 with a bare root choke cherry from Cold Stream Farm this is beauty has sprouted a "shooter" outside the groasis boxx. Wow. Just wow.

The rest are still alive- which is success in this climate. 

There are two boxxes which are damaged- the sides split and they don't hold water- but even in those the choke cherries are still alive- probably because of the shade and the fact that the heavy clay soil does hold onto the water a long time once its saturated.

You can just see the green leaves inside the boxx.

A reminder that these wee little seedlings are planted, the boxx goes over them, and initial watering fills the boxx (about 3.5 gallons) and then you walk away. I've had to cage them to keep the deer away and a couple have chicken wire since the bunnies may be nibbling; but all in all you're putting plantings into unfriendly soil in a climate which qualifies as a desert, using moisture which would occur on that patch around the plant naturally plus some condensation created by the boxx and the shape of the lid. 

Here's the link to the earlier posts.

and the link to Groasis

Monday, June 6, 2016

3 years of Mooooooo

Last week of May and the pasture is looking good

 So here come the cows

Mowing the grass

After about a week of grazing and no rain the ground is showing.

They've cropped quite a bit 

My neighbors pasture on the left compared to my  pasture on the right: 
Right now the difference is a bit frightening.

Unlike the 2 previous years we didn't get rain during the grazing period and, although rain was predicted it's been 10 days of sun and no rain after the grazing. This will be a big test for the pasture. How will this viewpoint look in the Fall? That's the question.  

My hope is that enough of the old gray dead grass has been ground underfoot (or hoof) that when the rains do come (please let them come) the ground will be ready to soak it up instead of evaporating. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

E-bike letter to the editor

Responding to Paul Anderson’s motorized bike editorial The big picture on this is do you want an alternative to the automobile?

Yes, I got an electric bike last year. Why? Because it's an 18 mile round trip from the ranch to Whole Foods

and I couldn't bike up the hill to Missouri Heights with 30 lbs of food when I was 16 much less now. Besides, I want to ride something which might move faster than the bear on the bike path…. you know… since I’m carrying food in those paniers. 

(Note to self- put berries on top to throw behind you- like you’re in a troika with wolves chasing you)

Electric is a good choice for those of us who don't wear spandex.

...and it's a great way to get down to the Woody Creek Distillery for some smoked salmon  - that's Flip (Open Fire Catering) smoking the salmon on the grill- yum.