Thursday, July 31, 2008


This is a picture from long ago when it was sunny and warm in Bellingham. Today was a motorbike ride to a meeting this morning in the clouds, only to be followed by more clouds and a nice soaking rain. Riding home (well before the rain) the temp was 59 degrees and it didn't get much warmer.

So I stayed in. Now it is still drizzly and the temp is 13 Celsius. I am not sure exactly what this is in Fahrenheit, but I know it's friggin' cold for the end of July.

The people whose boat (in this picture) we were on are sailing for a few weeks around the San Juans. I hope they are doing well in this fall-like weather. Just as well though, as it hasn't rained for many weeks and everything (that doesn't get watered by me nightly) was quite parched. A good day to stay inside and catch up on work. Time to finish a business plan.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The city recently added bike lanes to one of the main arteries in Bellingham: Cornwall Avenue. Cornwall parallels my road and the bike lanes are a nice addition to the city. I personally am not impacted too much by this addition, but if it gets some people out of their cars and onto their bikes, then I am all for it. (I took this picture this morning on the way to the bank heading north away from town.)

There are many people I talk to that tell me they would ride their bikes to work, but they are a bit scared cycling among distracted drivers. I do not disagree, as numerous studies have shown that distractions while driving - especially cell-phone usage - create the same danger that drunk drivers do. And some instances have shown cell-phone users to be even more dangerous than drunk drivers. And I used to only worry about drunks on the weekends after midnight. Now they are everywhere all the time.

And while I'm on this tirade, I've read that roughly 60% of Americans are overweight and 25% are obese. Wow. One projection estimated that by 2030, all Americans will be overweight. I do not see how this can happen, but cycling has allowed me the ability to eat heartily still while burning calories. How could our society (that is so imbued with superficialities and self-image) let itself get so fat?

Enough pontificating. I have written early tonight and need to bike to the food bank to volunteer at five.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


It is much too early for it to be so cloudy and chilly. Today was one such day. I jokingly say that I am truly warm living here in Bellingham for only about two weeks of the year. They usually occur in mid-August. Kidding aside, it was a day where seemingly crummy weather is not so bad once you're in it. I did need to leave for a few errands today, and found it drizzly and mostly cloudy. I see much of the country is oppressively warm, while Bellingham lingered in the low sixtie.

This picture was taken a few months back, but is pretty much the weather today. The clouds today were more ominous though. Not much more to say. Still fighting a mild, lingering sickness. Worked, slept, worked; more sleep at 10:30pm.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Today was a day trip down to Everett and the Seattle - the Emerald City - for meetings. We met someone over in Queen Anne, a neighborhood I hadn't been to in a few years. Having to maneuver the Prius through this congestion was less than pleasurable; Seattle is such a beautiful city, even though everyone is in such a hurry and few people smile. But at least they all drive nice cars. I quickly got rid of the car share when I returned home to the 'ham. The rest of the week will continue to be quite busy, so I will find recluse in a cafe somewhere in town.

Maybe I will get my road bike out, or take the BMW R60/6 for a ride. But I'd actually prefer cycling to the motorbike. I think it is just the smell of gas and exhaust that I find unappealing. But it is quite exhilarating to ride through the country or along the bay.

I am a bit tired tonight from the 200 miles or so on I-5. Driving sucks, and I feel sorry those that are enslaved by their vehicles. And $4.31 a gallon? Are you friggin nuts? Yes, I think I am tired.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I am not a slave to my yard, but merely a servant. An I enjoy working on it, and fortunately it is tiny and quite manageable. And the house too. Taking time to hose and clean off the 80 year-old cedar siding elevated my comfort level that the house will probably outlast me.

Here is a picture taken a few weeks back down by the docks of Bellingham's burly past. I've heard this tanker is a standby for the shipping company down in Seattle. I've never seen it move.

But a Sunday spend at my moonlighting gig with plenty of time to work on a spreadsheet that is taking on a life of its own. Enough looking at a computer screen. Time to sleep.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


The most exciting thing that I did today was buy a sickle. I used one a few days ago to cut grass and it seems a bit nicer than using a weed trimmer. Of course I found a few different styles of sickles at Hardware Sales. (Where else?) And then I tackled the overgrown blackberry and morning glory vines in the back alley after a few years of neglect. A surprisingly large pile of debris accumulated that I'll need to borrow the community truck to take to the transfer station.

After a morning of reading it was to the library to return an interesting book, and to read how the credit markets are basically screwed (Business Week), and that future water supplies in the Western U.S. (due to historical precipitation cycles) are basically screwed (National Geographic). Oh joy. But most models suggest that the Pacific NW will see average or increased rainfall. Water will soon be a much, much greater issue around the world.

But funny how quickly you forget about those silly things in life when you have fresh oysters for dinner.


I am having trouble with this confusing camera versus my old point-and-click HP. This was the best picture that came out today from the copy place where I had some business plans bound. (Note the cool purple handlebar grips.)

A day of running errands and catching up. And an evening of releasing +/-1,700 ladybugs in my yard to help with the aphids problem. I realize it may take time to rid these little bugs, but at least it's a start. Next move may be lacewings, as I've been told that they are even more voracious.

It was nice (oddly enough) to feel the sprinkles of rain on my eyelids as I biked over to return a video around midnight (a few minutes back). Sometimes the drizzly weather and low clouds can seem a million miles away; other times it just reappears like a trusty old friend. The movie was A Love Song for Bobby Long, a tear jerker set in my much beloved and befallen City of New Orleans.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I spent a good chunk of the day sitting behind a computer and shuffling papers. I guess it was a down day, as I wanted to get outside, but instead was chained to a desk. But come to think of it, we did take Magilla to the dog park in the evening. And if a dog's happiness in measured by the extent of its tail wagging, then Maggie is a happy camper.

The picture to the right is of our camping trip a few weeks back along the stream where we camped. It's amazing how (when you're on the trail) you swear you'll never don this heinously uncomfortable backpack ever again in your life, but once you are back home you are quickly consumed by planning and daydreaming of your next trip.

But this might be a mellow weekend at home. Or maybe I will take my roadbike out for the first time this summer for a ride. That, or another twenty outside activities to consume my time. I am glad that a good chunk of the summer remains. It is funny how some nights you sit down for the first time to put your feet up relax, and it's after ten p.m. The winter evenings where night begins to fall at three thirty are incomprehensible.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


We had a friend stay over last night. A fun time when we had by riding down to ride the boardwalk. He was an old seventies surfer dude from Southern California and his company was quite enjoyable.

But today I had some last minute moves and took some camp kids to an organic farm to tour. It was a last minute move to accommodate these kids due to a technical glitch (I wrote down the wrong day in my hi-tech planner). But with the help of a friend of a friend (who is now a friend, I think) that owns land in the county working with organics, permaculture and biodynamics (don't ask me if you want an answer of substance), the day went quite well. And as always, I learned more about gardening. It is neat to experience such a vibrant gardening community in Bellingham.

And I do not know what setting I had the camera on. But it looks like an old seventies magazine ad for Kent Golden Lights. I took it last night on the Taylor Street Dock.


No time to write this morning. Running late and a busy night last night with visitors.

More later.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Today was a day where I had to go to a meeting in Anacortes and we drove. Since I don't drive and don't spend much time in traffic, it was nice to get out and see what I am not missing. And it is interesting to see continued road building in a time when our national, state, county and local governments are going broke and when we continue to build more infrastructure while what we have is woefully undermaintained. (Read this assessment by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Pretty bleak.) What's sadder is that the US continues down this reckless path while the rest of the developed world tightens their belts.

But back home was nice by finally getting the rest of my veggie plots planted. Better late than never. I splurged (and cheated) and bought some starts at the Public Market: zucchini, lettuce, spinach, cukes, onions, and a few others I am sure I forgot. And the lettuce and radishes are coming up. It is so neat to see things spring forth even though I am a season behind. Nice day in the mid sixties; it's actually nineteen Celsius right now at BLI, and I do not know what the Fahrenheit is.

(I hope I do not begin to get too political on this daily log.)

Sunday, July 20, 2008


So here is another picture from the cockpit of this boat from last weekend. I spent a few hours napping here on Saturday and Sunday.

But this weekend was a bit more socially intense, with a wonderful bike tour yesterday of chickens and kiwis and bees and figs. It was perfect weather (it's been in the high sixties here the past few days) and the party that followed too was enjoyable with people coming and going all night.

It's exciting to see so many people growing vegetables. And of all the places I've ever lived or visited, I never saw so many front yards turned to gardens. Some for show, and others to eat. And some a combination of both. And there are many urban gardening groups in Bellingham, including Perennial Harvest, Fourth Corner Slow Foods, Sustainable Bellingham, Food Not Lawns, Terra Commons, and a bunch others I forgot to include, or am not even aware of. Someday these gardens may play an increasingly important role in food production.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


A quick post this morning. There is a bike tour I am conducting today showing off all the local urban gardens in Bellingham. I do not know if one person will show up or fifty. It is summer in Bellingham and everyone is quite busy with other outdoor activities.

Here is a picture from the spring tour. Time to finish cooking, as a potluck will follow. And this turned into a party last time.

Now that I officially ready to begin receiving guests, I hope they will arrive. More later. Or probably I will write tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2008


My housemate just got her film developed from the trip to the North Cascades. In the middle of this picture you can see a rushing waterfall that drops probably a hundred feet. There could be seen and heard throughout our hike from the snow and glacial melt from high above. I look forward to getting back to the mountains - maybe in a few weeks. I now realize why they call these mountains The Cascades.

But right now there is much happening in Bellingham. Tomorrow (Saturday) is another garden tour (like the one we had in March) and the weather looks fine, although a bit chilly. It has actually been colder than I would expect in the summer. I like it in the mid seventies, and the last few days seems to be more in the sixties. But at least it is sunny.

And speaking of water, I like to think Bellingham is very progressive city. But today I rode to a client's up on Lake Whatcom - our city's water supply. I've never (ever) lived in place where there is such extensive development immediately on the lake and its watershed. And to further complicate things, the lake's water quality is deteriorating at alarming levels. It makes me realize that Bellingham in some ways is nothing more than an ignorant, hillbilly logging town. I realize greed has much to do with it also, as development is a huge business in Bellingham and many people with money and influence live on the lake. So building, development, fertilizers, and big powerboats are a fair trade-off for jeopardizing our city's water supply. Let our children deal with our stupidity. (Actually your children, as I have none.)

This is sad that we are destroying our water. Next to Lake Tahoe, Bellingham has the best municipal water I've ever tasted. It is funny how so many people buy bottled water that comes out of a filtered spigot from god-knows-where when they have this yummy water coming from their taps. And are willing to pay thousands of times more for bottled it. Gullible consumers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mobile Homeless

We live near a light industrial area, like a sign manufacturer, a hardwood floor company, etc., so there is a tendency for people to park their aging RVs on public streets unfettered. I call them the mobile homeless, and it seems to be somewhat common here in Bellingham. But it is interesting to meet the transient people passing through and taking a breather - sometimes lasting for years.

Sometimes these people are down and out, other times they want the mobility and choose not to be anchored to one place. It is really not much different than living aboard a sailboat, and some people have actually made a science out of living mobile.

This time of year many people pass through to go to Alaska, or as tourists to see a neat little Pacific Northwest college town. Many things happen ongoing that remind me of how neat it is to come to a town and lived the simplistic life - also unfettered. What amazes me is how people move to Bellingham from other towns and cities, and duplicate the lifestyle they fled and then replicate that lifestyle here in Bellingham. But I try not to judge. Sometimes I wish I could be a true consumer. No I don't.

Off to bed. A busy weekend is ahead. Oh, and here is a cool link to a neat blog I found while Googling rv and mobile homeless.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


These little birds were all about the bay where we anchored this weekend: Pigeon Guillemots. They would bob around on the water and take an occasional dive for a meal. A pretty modest life they lead. And while we sit in the boat and watch them and name them (both a common name and a Latin name) and study them and (try to) protect them, and all they want to do is fish for some lunch and raise a few little guillemots.

But today was a day of a huge expense on my sole means of transport: I broke my chain and I spent fifteen bucks for a new one and another fifteen for a tool to fix it. And then I splurged and spent another twelve for a new set of handgrips. Purple ones. My extravagance is over the top. But at least my handgrips are cool.

But this is the height of a beautiful summer, where you sit down to relax for the first time and realize it's 10:47pm. It was a night of gardening and realizing the wonder of planting seeds and germination. It was late planting the garden, but tonight corn, lettuce, radishes, carrots, spinach, and probably a few other seeds when into my square foot garden. I hope the squirrels stay away. They especially like to dig up the spinach seeds.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I am totally amazed how good of a dog Maggie is. She was never on a boat before, but performed flawlessly and quickly grew accustomed to the wide, spacious deck on the boat. I think I really like Magilla after all, in spite of the hairy warts on her face. Of course, she liked lazing on the deck sunning, and she was able to go ashore a few times too. What a trooper she is.

I was glad we were able to stay at an island for two days, as moving can sometimes (or mostly) be a real chore. We had good holding at Sucia, so I was entirely content staying put.

But back to the grind. Up at seven this morning, and still going at it sixteen hours later with a break here and there. A few more hours to get an RFP completed and then some sleep. This looks like a two bootleg day. A great 1970 show from the Fillmore West, but tonight I shifted to another excellent recording of a 1982 show from Montego Bay, Jamaica. Sweet.

Well, I ain't always right but Ive never been wrong.
Seldom turns out the way it does in a song.
Once in a while you get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.

- R. Hunter

Gotta run. Gotta feed the machine.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


You really do not need a boat in Bellingham. But you definitely need a friend with one. So this weekend my housemate and I (and Magilla) sailed the San Juans aboard a 42' cruising trimaran. The hosts were seasoned offshore cruisers and told many stories about their escapades and travels in the South Pacific and Mexico.

I've sailed many times on my own boat, and it was quite relaxing to know that there were no responsibilities on my part (being a guest) other than eating, napping and applying sunscreen. You see, being the skipper, you are responsible for everything from anchoring to mechanics to the crews' health and safety; as a guest, you need not do anything.

We motored to Echo Bay on Sucia Island Friday night and ended up at anchor for two nights. The sailboat had two little dinghies that were rigged for sailing also. So on Saturday afternoon,
we hung out on board and sailed around the bay in variable winds on Lulu and Sparky - the little boats accompanying the S/V Seafire. So for the next few nights, I am sure you will hear more. But tonight I need to sign off. A Monday deadline looms.

Oh, and the pictures are of the majestic Mount Baker at 10,000 feet. The second is from anchor for Friday and Saturday night.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Tomorrow we set sail on a 42' trimaran to a few of the 178 San Juan Islands. Or actually there may be more. From the New York Times:

"No one seems to agree on how many islands there actually are in the San Juans; there may be as few as 175 or as many as 786. The lower number represents those islands large enough to have been named, while the larger number includes all of the islands, rocks, and reefs that poke above the water at the lowest possible tide. Of all these islands, only four (San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, and Shaw) are serviced by the Washington State Ferries, and of these, only three (San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez) have anything in the way of tourist accommodations."

I've never been to Sucia, but it is entirely a State Park with a well-protected anchorage. And I need to get an application completed tomorrow, so I will be quite busy and probably not write for a few days. I will be leaving the laptop at home. And we are taking Magilla, so you will probably hear how she does on the water as a sailing dog.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Not much to say today. But they are removing the car parking lane from Cornwall Avenue and replacing it with a seven-foot wide bike lane in each direction. What a great idea. I personally didn’t need a bike lane, but I talk to many people who say they are scared to bike to work or school because of the traffic. Maybe the safety of a bike lane will motivate them to get on their bikes.

There are so many more people biking in Bellingham and I’ve heard ridership is way up on WTA. I hope the cycling continues through the fall when the weather changes. It’s actually quite refreshing to ride in the drizzle. I’ve skied, sailed and kayaked before where getting a wet face (or more) was part of the activities’ routine. Why would biking be any different? With the proper attire, I get less wet walking out the door in my rain gear to the garage then I otherwise used to get walking to my car.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sun Sun Sun

Yay! Today was another one of those day where I was out and about running to clients on my cruiser. It was beautiful with a nice breeze off the bay.

And as happens on many days, I saw someone I knew to stop and chat with. I am lucky to be able to bike and run into people out and about in the community. Unlike driving, biking exposes me to many more people and most are in good moods and fit in
and soul, versus being sealed in their cars with elevated anxiety and stress. And strained wallets. I fell sorry for the person that never experiences cycling in Bellingham because of the thousand reasons they think of, while their driving habits continue to bleed them.

Although only being in Bellingham for a few short years, I still thank the gods that I scored a home so close to town. I realized that sooner or later gasoline would edge into the range of being prohibitively expensive - I just never imagined it would happen so quickly. Crude oil (although it was a fluke in the marketplace) was trading around $13/bbl in 1998; today it is trading over ten times that amount. And from reading various publications - both from the industry itself, as well as outside sources - it is only poised to go higher. Rapidly changing times are not far ahead for our auto-dominated society.

Later in the day I did need to expose myself to the driving world by taking the community truck to get pick up some compost, but returned the truck as soon as I could like I would a bad video.

Monday, July 7, 2008

S/V Seafire

We were very lucky to score a passage on a boat this weekend to go to one of the 178 San Juan Islands that lie just off the coast. This vessel (S/V Seafire) is a 42' trimaran that the current owner hand built with his family while in high school. Since then he sailed this ship to the Sea of Cortez and to Tahiti with his wife and two kids and they lived aboard for five years.

Our passage will be a bit more limited, as we will sail to Sucia Island and from there I do not know. I have spent many thousands of miles as skipper of my little Catalina 25 on Lake Erie, so I will gladly relax as crew and do as little as possible over the course of the three days. I am sure that I will tell my share of nautical yarns.

This picture was actually taken a few months ago during a s freezing day. Today was much more beautiful with far fewer clouds and much warmer. We took Magilla on board to see how she would fare on board a sailboat, as she'd never been on a boat before (other than a ferry). I was very surprised. I think she will do well. Pictures and reports are sure to follow.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Today I donned my c.1989 tie-dye and went down to the park to fly a kite, and I cannot tell you the last time that I wore one of these shirts. Probably sometime in the nineties maybe?

But it was an absolutely wonderful day, weather wise. And being able to lie in the grass while flying a kite was quite relaxing. And amazingly enough, this is where a thousand people congregated last night to see the fireworks and I didn't even see a scrap of litter. I did see some pistachio shells in the grass, but that was it. Remarkable.

But I have been devoting an hour or two each day to get my yard in order. Today I got some oregano and lemon balm and planted it, along with some other types of bulbs (I forget what they are but I was told they are wonderful and planted them under the lilac). The herb garden is coming together.

Not much more to say. Time to get some sleep.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Tonight we went down for a movie and saw a remarkable sunset followed by the neatest rainbow. No matter how cloudy the day is (yes today was mostly cloudy with sprinkles and rain) the sun always seems to break through for a satisfying sunset. It's also good over a holiday weekend to have crummy weather so the tourists can see what it's like nine months a year and deter them from moving up (or down) here.

But today was a day of sheet mulching a friend's yard and getting some garlic bulbs in the process. I though that you could only plant garlic in the fall, but she said otherwise. We'll see. (But fortunately my housemate scored some garlic at the farmers' markets, so we will be adding that to our list of fresh vegetables to cook with over the next few weeks.) I also did some other planting and will concentrate on getting some things in the ground in the next week. Yeah, it's a bit late, but seeds or starters should produce a full garden still.

The most efficient use of producing food from raised boxes has been by employing the square foot gardening method, so I think I will try that again this year with an eight-by-four grid. I sure that results will follow. So far, the cost of putting out my garden this year has been zero, but I think tomorrow I will need to lay out some jack for ground cloth and fencing and a roof for the chicken coop.

Oh, and the picture was taken from the Boulevard Park a few nights back.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Here is a picture of Magilla up in the North Cascades this week prior to our hike. But she is limping today and it looks like it is her starboard aft leg. Now she is in lying on my bed making it smell like dog.

But what a perfect day in Bellingham today was. Sleeping in , followed by a perfect breeze accompanying a morning of reading, then some fresh strawberry and blueberry pancakes, a motorbike ride to visit some good friends, then gardening, and 10:30pm finds me able to relax for a bit. (I guess I didn't need to tell you my whole day in such detailt.)

But now I can see fireworks going off above the bay a mile or so away. And watching the rest of a movie I fell asleep to last night.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


So you will be blessed with some fine pictures this summer of Bellingham sunsets. My housemate is much more zealous than I with her photographic pursuits (versus my point-and-click antiquated HP) so already my hard drive is full of neat pictures of Boulevard Park. And we were lucky to see this clearing this evening, as it rained quite steady and hard, and was very chilly (mid sixties) much of the day today. But the ground definitely could have used the precipitation, so it was not unwelcome.

Tonight the sound of fireworks fills the evening air, and poor Magilla is a little freaked out. I think about my poor ex-dog that used to spend this holiday hiding and shaking (he was an abused pound puppy). I guess people find enjoyment in blowing things up. I dunno.
And by the time we got home from the sunset, it was already after ten. It is weird being so far north and at the western edge of the time zone where the days last forever. And this is in contrast to some of the rainy days of winter where dusk arrives at three thirty.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


My housemate takes better picture than I, and also grows better orchids. Maybe this is a sign that someday soon I need to get the garden planted. Soon enough, and hopefully this weekend will give me some down time to get the raised beds in order. But agriculture is so plentiful in town and I've been given the overabundance of veggies and fruits that are already being harvested, especially the berries and leafy greens. And then there is the Saturday farmers' market.

A busy day today, with plenty of things to do. And the new food bank opened, so it was a nice night to get into our new digs tonight. I sort of liked the old building, but it was sorely needed. They say the numbers are up overall for those in need of the food bank's services, but tonight it was somewhat light. And there was an abundance of local produce gleaned from local farms.

It's nice to live in a community where there is such support among local farmers and families alike helping those in need. Of course, some take advantage of the system, but most seem to be truly in need of the services provided. Thanks to the Rotarians of Bellingham for this nice building, and a really fun place to go to volunteer every Wednesday night. The volunteers there range from ten to eighty, and tonight a sweet older woman I see every week told me about her motorcycling days across the Trans Canada Highway decades ago.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Today was a day of limping around with a good sort of pain. Here's a picture taken where we pitched camp, along with the snazzy new $99 tent. When your last tent was purchased in 1989, the opulence of this simply tent is remarkable. We'll see if it takes the same beating the Eureka did. And the picture below was taken by my friend who is a photographer and lugged her gear up and down over hill and dale. Ansel would be proud.

But cycling sort of helps the alleviate the pain (don't ask me why), but when errands need to be run (and biking is generally more pleasant the busing it), I'll gladly hop on my one speed. With gas pushing five bucks a gallon, and reading more and more on the oil supply situation in the world, greater numbers of people will hopefully take to the streets. I can think of no more perfect town to bike in than Bellingham (especially in the summer). But I am obviously biased, as some do not live as convenient as I to town (up the hills), or are too fearful to ride a bike. (Yes, most people tell me that they are too scared to ride on the streets. But there is a web of trails scattered throughout Bellingham also - very conducive to biking from any point of town, as I have done.) I guess I live on the edge and if some day I get plastered by a Chevy Tahoe, consider this blog my memoir.

But back to oil today, and given my background in energy, economics and imagination, I made a prediction that gasoline will hit ten bucks by 2010. Ten-by-ten. A lofty estimate, but considering the myriad shaky factors impacting the price of oil, it is not unfathomable. And reading Twilight in the Desert doesn't help matters either. Low Batter. Signing off.