Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On the potential benefits of flat tires

Just because I have a car now doesn't mean I'm giving myself permission to give up biking every time it's a little bit cold or snowy. They plow the bike trails in Denver, after all, even if they don't do the roads. I successfully made the commute with no wipeouts, but did manage to get a flat tire 1.2 miles from school. Boo. And then my pump broke when I tried to reinflate the tube--the plastic pieces got a bit brittle in 6-degree temps--and left the tire completely emptied of any air that had previously been in it. So I walked (and ran, now being late for professional development) the rest of the way to work. And once I got there, I was reminded of just how much I love my coworkers. Two offered me rides home, one ran home over lunch and brought back two bike pumps, another tracked down the pump from the school gym, and another, after looking at my 4-times-patched tube, ran to the bike shop down the street and got me two new tubes. And one more, stopping by to make sure I had everything fixed, offered, albeit jokingly, to follow me in his car to make sure I got home. Even if I can take care of myself, it's nice to know there are people looking out for you.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The co-op

Happy New Year! Apologies for my three-month hiatus in blogging. Life's been busy (and that is a serious understatement.) Turns out I've been doing an abysmal job of finding the balance I talked about back in September. One of the many things keeping me busy (but also very much inspired) has been the realization of a summertime vision for a food co-op. It's now been up and running for about three and a half months now, and I'm thrilled with the success so far.

The basic vision: to organize a group of people who love good food and the making of it, and who care about where their food comes from, to trade homemade value-added food products. I wanted to bake bread, freeze jam, dry fruit, culture yogurt, can tomatoes, pickle cucumbers, dehydrate backpacking meals, make applesauce and tofu and salsa and granola and pesto...but I knew that as soon as the school year started, I'd be lucky to have time for even one of those things. The idea, then, is that if I make a large quantity of just one item to share, I can trade it for a variety of other foods without spending the time actually making them all myself.

After bouncing the idea off a number of friends and feeling out interest, we ended up with a group of 14 and met to flesh out visions and logistics, and the co-op was born. Essentially, we meet for a food exchange twice a month, bringing shares for everyone once and receiving shares both times. Emily went into a bit more detail about logistics in her blog, so I won't do it again here. James also set up a blog for the co-op itself, where all of us involved can post photos, recipes, questions, etc. I just posted a collection of food photos from the past several months there, so check them out if you like. And of course, feel free to ask us questions on that blog, or here. I'd love to see where this idea goes if people start running with it in different directions.