Sunday, May 27, 2007

Buffalo Creek - Again

Well, this is our favorite place to ride. We got some on Saturday, but it was a low energy day - a terrible ride for me. We got in 20, but I just wasn't up to it much. I thought I would post this picture of Tammi raging a bit. There are jumps everywhere - this is a small one and simply sweet, sweet singletrack.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sandstone Creek

I was bantering with some Louisiana boys just the other day about the word creek. I say creek - they say kreck. There’s run and kill, stream, and many others, but where I grew up it was creek.

When I was small boy we lived on Gordon Road, just down the road from Tompkins Center and Sandstone Creek crossed the road just down the hill from the house. It was a dirt road then, the bridge was red, rusty metal with boards for tire tracks. In between the tire boards was space and water below. It used to scare me to death to cross the bridge - I thought for sure we would plunge headlong into the creek never to be seen again. The boards were just too skinny to support a car, or so I thought. I was terrified and excited all at the same time whenever we approached the crossing. It was replaced in about 1964.

Tompkins Center was a branch in the road and one store then. The store was every bit a country store and it too sat beside Sandstone Creek. You could buy nails and shovels and food and beer. Everyone knew my Grandpa, who used to take me there almost everyday while getting something (for my Grandma, who never drove, ever). I most often got a candy bar - Heath bars were my favorite. I would eat all the chocolate off then eat the center like a sucker. (Sucker is another one of those regional words) My Grandfather is buried just up the hill, about 100 yards from the store.

Sandstone creek ran clear; the banks were steep and generally sandy, always surrounded by trees edged with corn fields, and then small farms. The creek started at Minards Mill, just about two miles from our house. The mill was gone, many years past, and just a dam remained forming a shallow, lily-filled lake of maybe twenty-acres. Sandstone creek ran through the fields and farms of my youth and then into the Grand River. The Grand wasn't so clear, but the creek was glorious. Its clarity exemplified the times, my youth, and the country life as it exists in most people's imagination. The barns, the woods, and simple carefree freedom we enjoyed have now been replaced.

Just down from the store the creek cut steeply into the bank and someone put a rope swing. In the summer the water was cool and deep. If you swung too far the result wouldn't be very pretty. I would have to say the rope swings in the barns were far worse. I’m surprised we survived. I don't think anyone would ever allow a swing there today.

Although, Sandstone Creek is still there, I fear it is gone forever - changed by sands of time that our modern world blows too quickly away.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Well, the deed is done. Bridger's seen the puppies - now we're unquestionably getting one. Yes, news flash - I don't know if we're truly ready, but no going back now - we're getting a dog. They are little Airedales, just like Sabatchka. We will pick him/her up July first. The mom, Kendel, had 10 puppies and they are hungry little dudes too. We don't know which one we're going to get, we kind of want them all at this point, but $10,000 for new carpet doesn't sound too appealing either. So, it will be one. I'll keep you posted on the progress as I don't think we can stay away for too long.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


I have to post about this - Tammi's done! With school that is, well at least the undergraduate degree. The news though is not that she is done, but in the style she did it.

She was three classes short of a double major, and she graduated summa cum laude. It was a huge class load and now a very long list. Summa cum laude is the highest possible category. She got two A- during school - one in some writing class and one in a painting class. Everything else was an A. This is with classes like; a year of Latin, physics, cell biology, advanced painting, two years of art history, chemistry, organic chemistry, and many others.

But, not only did she do this while being a mom to three kids (and a wife). She also was the most outstanding graduate for her college at the University of Colorado. Out of several thousand graduates, there were seven - one for each college. These seven did not go unnoticed at the graduation ceremony. This is her with the Chancellor and a Dean and holding the mace. (Just in case the Dean got out of hand)

At a separate gathering afterwards for the college , one of the faculty gave her a nice plaque and some very nice words, and everyone stopped her.

We're incredibly proud of her. She deserves more congratulations than you can possibly dish out. She starts her masters in environmental science in the fall and she is teaching two sections of environmental science labs in the fall.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Coffee table

I have some serious doubts about the coffee table design, and for the most part their are not aesthetic in nature. Although, I am still vacillating about a few things, they're minor. The most troublesome aspect is the tipping problem - despite my efforts at quantifying the exact magnitude of the the tip and weight required.

And, I've found out - rightly so. Fortuitously, Tammi & I have just run into a sculpturer through cub scouts who makes furniture. I popped him an email to see if he would give me some advice. Here's what he said - and this is great, "I am very learned on the subject of tippy tables, having built them almost entirely to the exclusion of stable ones." Tim is the perfect guy! He goes on to say:

"I do like the three legged idea, and the basically rectangular top that is responsible for those two overhanging corners that invite disaster. You might say I enjoy cantilever. I, too, have used ballast to achieve (or attempt to achieve) stability, including pouring molten lead into cavities in the wood, but in your case it seems to me that you could add additional, invisible or at least inconspicuous legs beneath the shelf, or a recessed base of a solid nature which would give you weight and an additional impediment to tipping. I hope you don't feel these solutions compromise the aesthetics of your design. It wouldn't take someone sitting on the corner of your table to upset it, indeed, leaning on one hand placed strategically would suffice. Believe me, I've gasped many a time as our kids have nearly upset the coffee table in our living room."

How perfect is that! His work, in part, is shown on his web site. Interestingly, Tim studied under several of the artists that have influenced Tammi - namely, Wayne Thiebaud & Roy DeForest. I look forward to getting to know Tim and seeing what happens with this little project.

So, I'm going to work on this a bit with Tim and hopefully we can come up with something unique and functional. At the very least, I haven't worked heavy sheet metal, or plate steel and wood together before so he will be a great asset on the connections that have worked for him. The joining of two , dissimilar items requires different kinds of connections.

Multa intersunt calicem et labrum summum.

Many things happen between the cup and the upper lip.

-Aulus Gellius
(from a Greek proverb)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Wish I did this good in school

Mingle2 Free Online Dating - Science Quiz

I don't believe this is 8th grade science, it's just a little too hard. It's a quick test - if you're a little older, ahem - like me, but are interested in all things science it's not too hard. If the last thing you read about science was in high school you might be in trouble. Have groaning.

A "D" or worse - no recess for you.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Spring has been slow in coming here in Denver, or at least our house. We sit high on a ridge south and east of Denver at about 6000 feet so spring comes at our house a bit later than even Denver. 800 feet make a big difference in terms of temperature and, in the spring, late snowfall. We received a lot of late snow (which melts in a day or two), and quite a bit cool weather. It's actually been nice to have a gradual temperature change from winter. The days have been in the mid-60's, so it might not be so cold as one might think; besides the sun at 6000 feet, whenever it shines, really puts out the heat!

Well anyway, spring is in the yard. The Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) is blooming nice big yellow blossoms. Perhaps, we'll get some small grapes in the fall. I love the red and green variations in the waxy leafs.

The xeriscape's first major group of flowers is Perennial Flax (Linum perenne). They're growing all over in nice blue patches. Its wiry, arching stems support a profusion of delicate, simple five petal, blue flowers which bloom for quite some time. And, it resists heat and will tolerate drought.

It seems the iris is up a bit early. I have a dwarf variety (Iris reticulata) in deep purples, mid-purple, and white. I have always been enthusiastic abut irises and remember them fondly in my grandmother's garden. These bloom quite a long time and the foliage isn't quite so large, so it doesn't dominate the summer garden too much. This picture reminds me of Van Gogh's Irises. It has the same qualities of the painting. Perhaps, it is just the purple. He painted a number of iris paintings after he checked himself into the loony bin. They were obviously the thing that caught his eye. Tammi says she wants to paint them too - perhaps I should keep out a close eye...

Of course, the grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum) is up too. At least what the rabbits didn't get to - that's an on-going battle. I want to rain death and destruction on the jumping, fur covered, nasty, mass producing, bastards. I can't even get started on the little rodents - my blog would get black-listed.

As you can see, I like purple and yellow. I purposefully picked plants with these colors because they are complementary colors (opposite on the color wheel). A garden is most appreciated for its color, but when picking the plants and planning the garden people seldom pay attention to that color and how works together. It's like matching clothes, or painting a room - how the color works is very important to the artistic and ascetic quality. For example; red, purple, and pink just don't work too well though they are often lumped together in a group of plantings. Besides color, leaf type and size are important. Thinking about how the eyes moves across the canvas; that is creating "waves" and "flow", is an important consideration too. That effect can range from formal, to wave-like, and even into crazy - where the effect is somewhat jarring visually. The important point is forethought.

Anyway, it's nice to see the flowers. Soon, the mountains will be blooming too - that's the true show!

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