Thursday, January 30, 2014

Whether it’s cold or whether it’s hot, we’ll have weather, whether or not.

I am aware that my opinion doesn’t count for much except to me, but the Internet makes it possible for any damn fool to have a forum. Mostly, my personal forum is about bikes and using local resources. Coming further south and leaving the Exurbs of Atlanta means that I was not trapped in the Amazing Weather Event of ’14. Instead, I ride year round, have an abundance of fresh produce well within riding distance and I don’t have to put up with snow. This posting isn't about either.

It’s easy for Yankees who are familiar with cold weather and driving in the snow to be disdainful of a city like Atlanta being immobilized by less than 2 inches. After experiencing my first winter weather in the South I realized that showing my transplanted-Yankee-icy-road-driving-prowess was badly misplaced because of the too large number of unskilled drivers who braved the cold and ice while turning me, other drivers and assorted inanimate objects into unintended targets.

Atlanta has virtually no geographical limits to its expansion, has inadequate mass transit to accommodate the people who live within the Atlanta metropolitan area (as designated by United States Office of Management and Budget) and no means for commuting from beyond the metro area other than highways and cars. So, when something compounds the commute, like foul weather, bad things are sure to happen.

Weather projections were more than adequate for the recent “disaster” but as is often true, especially among Atlanta city officials, the fear of looking bad was a part of their decision making process. Atlanta for all its desire to be an international city has an inferiority complex and bad press is especially upsetting, or so it seems. The governor hastened to suggest that the Weather Service warnings were inconsistent, yet the entire metro area was placed under a warning long before schools and businesses opened. There was no lack of forewarning only lack of good sense. The governor feared the potential loss of revenue if business closed and gave no regard to the thousands of kids and tens of thousands of commuters who suffered.

Maybe the governor wasn’t living in Atlanta and environs for Snowjam ‘82 or the sleet and ice in January of 1988 or the Blizzard of ’93. I was. It sucked every time. Staying home might be an inconvenience and it might make the area look wimpy to snow-veteran northerners, but it keeps the roads from turning into temporary residential communities. Took me hours to drive less than 10 miles during the ’82 Snowjam, not because I could not handle conditions but because of the gridlock of cars. Kids miss one more day of school and businesses don’t open; seems better than the aftermath of this recent foolishness. The National Weather Service and the Weather Channel had everything correct. And if looking wimpy to snow-skilled Yankees is an issue just watch how they handle the next week-long 90 plus degree days.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bikes, Coffee and Biscotti

I'm not a Vegan and I've never played one on TV, nor have I recently stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

When I visit the Haile Farmers' Market I don't go with the intention of buying something from one of the several vendors offering Vegan products. I have my favorites and staples: Caprihaven Dairy Goats; Cypress Point Creamery; Tree City Coffee; Firefly Farm and Cross Creek Honey. Additionally, there's always a good chance that one of the local growers will have some appealing produce which can include Southern Peas, Romanesco, scallions, peppers, carrots and other things depending upon the season. Recently I've added another favorite; Sweet Thursdays Cafe, another cottage kitchen making something worth getting.
Sweet Thursdays cafe-Haile Farmers' Market

Sweet Thursdays Cafe, Haile Farmers' Market

Having something to add to a morning-break cup of coffee is pleasant and biscotti are frequently the perfect thing. Christy the owner and baker of Sweet Thurdays makes a damn good biscotto which is like a step back to childhood when you dunked everything . . . well . . . I did!

This week I chose two 2 packs of her Double Chocolate. Last week it was Cherry Chocolate. I have never cared much for hard bits of stuff in dunkable confections, so nuts, typical to many commercial biscottis, while acceptable, don't win full favor. I was pleased with Christy's offerings.
Sweet Thursdays' Biscottis and Tree City Coffee

Lest anyone question the relationship between Coffee and Bikes . . .
Do Bikes and Coffee go together? Duh!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Archer Braid Trail prepares to meet Haile Plantation

It appears that utility work has advanced for the extension of Archer Braid Trail from its current terminus at SW 91st Street to the eastern end of SW 41st Place where a large spool of wire is awaiting use. Trees were cut several weeks ago and excavation markings have been place on the south side of 41st Place where it meets Tower Road.

East to the end of SW 41st Place near Chapman's Pond, GRU's Kanapaha Water Reclamation Facility and UF's TREEO Center.
Archer Braid Trail's next destination

SW41st Place at Tower Road across from Kanapaha Park.
Archer Braid Trail meets Kanapaha Park

It will be very interesting to see the solution for ABT crossing Archer Road.
Archer Braid Trail meets Archer Road at SW 91st Street

ABT west to Archer.
Archer Braid Trail west to Archer

Paved trail from SW 91st end of current ABT to SW 75th Terrace, paralleling Archer Road.
East to Gainesville via Archer Road

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Coffee, Again

Maybe I am too old and I miss the point, but there seems to be something wrong in the world of personal coffee brewing. It’s not that I think I am an authority on coffee; I know what I like but I know that preferences are personal. What I don’t understand is why people are embracing top-dollar single cup coffee makers.

The most common reason for their use and popularity is convenience. Yet, the amount of additional waste created for the sake of spending less time making a cup of coffee seems to be extreme. I’m not a “tree hugger” but I have accepted responsibility for the waste I produce for the convenience of not making my own soup from scratch or food for my cat. I don’t keep a goat or cow out back so I can have milk without using having to buy plastic bottled products. Seems to me that there’s a range of convenience; some things are practical and others come closer to being a matter of disregard for reality. That the big name Keurig can be fitted with a reusable device thus eliminating the need for disposable containers makes more sense.

I hadn’t paid any attention before and was stunned when I saw the cost of the little prefilled coffee things for the Keurig; almost $10 for 4.2 ounces of coffee? Fifty dollars a pound for coffee? Does the desire for variety of choice justify paying that much for convenience? I bet it’d be much cheaper to buy some imitation hazelnut flavoring or ground cinnamon in the spice section of a grocery store.
Makes no sense for me to promote that idea that there are much less expensive single cup coffee makers; $12 versus $100. As with everything, it’s about personal preference and choice. I drove English sports cars (’66 and ’67 MGB) in a past life and there weren’t too many less practical vehicles in the cold and wet than cars with Lucas electrics.

The bottom line, as we tend to say now, is that it makes no sense to add additional plastic to our waste. My Kitchen Selective single cup coffee maker with a reusable filter makes coffee equal to the single cup French press I formerly used. Water is heated to 190 degrees. I can use as much or as little coffee of any variety. I can add flavorings if I wish. And the coffee, roasted locally, costs me $10 a pound.