Happy Father’s Day!

I’m not one of those people who thinks you have to be a parent to be fulfilled. I’m one of those people who thinks you have to be fulfilled to be a parent. It is fine to not want to be a parent – and even better not to be one if you don’t want to. Your kids will know.

I realized early in life that I didn’t want to be my dad and it was no better to be my anti-dad. I had to learn how to be me and be a dad. That took until I was 40.

I also want to acknowledge those who never had a dad. Maybe you had a father, one who provided DNA, but not a dad. Wil Wheaton says it better than I ever could, so go read this.

For those of you who are dads, happy day! I had a great day and I hope you did, too. I started with the laundry and breakfast (the usual Sunday) and then picked strawberries at our CSA farm. They’ve been growing organic vegetables for about 45 years and I’ve been buying from them for about 45 years. In 2016, they were named “Organic Farmers of the Year“. While you might not be close enough to buy from them, check out community-supported agriculture in your neck of the woods. There are plenty of excellent farmers out there. CSA, for those unfamiliar, is a way for the community to help capitalize farming and share some of the risk. We pay upfront for the season (there are variations), since farmers face major costs at the time of year when they lack income. If it’s a great year for strawberries, we get lots of strawberries. If not, we may get a lot of spinach that year. Each week is a new adventure and a lesson in seasonal eating.

When I got home I picked some rhubarb to go with the fresh strawberries. Strawberry season is short here (maybe three weeks) and there is not always a good overlap with rhubarb. I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie, strawberry-rhubarb sauce, a smoothie, a gallon of frozen berries, and my wife made strawberry shortcake. The pie still has to cool. We had a Zoom lunch with the kids and my daughter-in-law’s father. Later we re-enacted becoming a father, without the kids.

I am not a fan of single-use kitchen gadgets. One doesn’t need 37 assorted knives. An 8 inch French knife (nowadays known as a chef’s knife), a good paring knife, a serrated knife to cut bread; most of the rest are superfluous. I will admit I like a few single-use items – a strawberry huller and a cherry pitter come in pretty handy. A good rolling pin and a pastry cloth. You can tell I like to bake pies.

The Summer Solstice seemed like a good time for the New Glarus Ride. I wrote of it last year. The wild roses were in bloom this week. Dougherty Creek Road was newly chip-sealed. The sound of pea gravel striking the underside of a carbon fiber downtube is not one of my favorite sounds; but it beats the ride of many years ago when the chip-seal was so fresh that I had to throw away my tires after the ride – they were thickly coated in tar and gravel that I couldn’t get off. Usually they use oil instead of tar. The climb at the end of Dougherty Creek (up to Prairie View Road) required staying in the saddle. Luckily, most of the climb is after the turn onto Prairie View. I love when the road name tells you about itself.

The ride ends near a pizza parlor. They have good pizza and 80 beers. I looked over as I rode past. No masks, tables too close for comfort. I passed. I’m not ready to eat in a restaurant yet, not even outside. Maybe if the servers were masked and the tables farther apart. The next day I mentioned this at work, and all of my co-workers agreed – they aren’t ready, either. I guess working in a hospital does that to you.

The long and winding road – nothing beats a downhill S-bend!

Next weekend would be the beginning of Co-op Camp Sierra. Camp is virtual this year, like much of life. I’ll probably drink my morning coffee out on the front porch, as we would at camp. The ride back home to the Bay Area after camp follows the route from this song by Kate Wolf. (The title is misspelled in the video – it’s “Pacheco”.) Mentioning Kate Wolf requires a shout-out to Nina Gerber. Nina was Kate’s accompanist until Kate died, then branched out. She always played the right note and, more importantly, knew how to use the silence between notes. Highly under-rated by the general public, she is highly sought-after by other musicians.

from coopcamp.com. Not the porch for my morning coffee, but for afternoon fermented grape juice.

Bless your own damn bike.

This Sunday should be The Blessing of the Bikes at Vermont Lutheran Church. The minister is supposed to bless our bikes and we’re supposed to eat a pancake breakfast that can’t be beat, with the first taste of this year’s maple syrup, and mediocre church basement coffee.

Vermont Church

But there are no group rides, and there are no church basement breakfasts, and there are no crowds of bicyclists having their bikes blessed whether they believe in such things or not, because it’s a beautiful day for a bike ride and the road up to the church is great and the minister is a funny guy and the church members lay out a great spread.

And tonight should have been the first Wednesday Night Potluck of the season, which means Dave should have made his famous asparagus and I should have baked the first rhubarb pie of the season and we should have sat by the stone wall, sipping a beer and watching the sun set over my favorite stretch of road as we watch the last riders struggle up the hill on County F, our adopted highway.

But instead it was a solo ride, and I climbed that hill into a 20 mph wind with no leaves yet to block the wind or mar the view of the barren fields. And I got home just ahead of the rain and I drank wine with takeout Laotian food instead of beer at a picnic.

And it’s all because of this damn virus. And our State Supreme Court, in its Infinite Wisdom (and infinite is no different from nothing), has decided that the Safer at Home order is null and void, that the Director of Health and Human Services has no authority, and the state and all of its businesses are henceforth allowed to return to their pre-COVID state effective immediately, and we can gather in crowds as big as we want, and share that virus freely, because we are Americans and we are Free, and they trust business owners to Do the Right Thing because we know that business has our Best Interests at heart because what’s good for General Motors is what’s good for America and the god of quarterly profits must be appeased by human sacrifice and Give Me Liberty or Give Me a Virus that doesn’t really cause any symptoms and we only have 15 cases and that’ll be down to zero in a few days and when spring comes it will miraculously disappear and what’s a hundred thousand or so deaths among friends and we don’t need no stinkin’ rules.

The court ruled that the order wasn’t an order, it was a rule, and an unconstitutional rule at that; because this is Wisconsin and out constitution says we are “endowed with certain inalienable rights, and among those rights are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of drunkenness in a crowded bar.” So folks bellied up to the bar in large numbers within hours and you can’t drink beer with a mask on so of course no one wore masks. I shouldn’t complain because crossing county lines to get drunk in bars is what makes my livelihood. I should be in those bars, making sure everybody has their keys and that they understand that the faster they drive the less their chances of getting caught by the cops for drunk driving. The trauma unit has been quiet the past two months.

But the county I live in decided to pass its own rule within hours, so we still have safeguards here. They just end at the county line, so like in the old movies where the bad guy just has to cross the county line to escape the cops, this virus just has to escape this county and is then free to wreak havoc but that’s okay because it’s all China’s fault so it doesn’t matter if we’re irresponsible because it’s all China’s fault.

Now it’s official!

When do you know it’s spring? The first robin? The snow finally gone? The first flowers?

It’s the first Wednesday night post-ride potluck and the first rhubarb pie!IMG_0099IMG_0100IMG_0101IMG_0102IMG_0103

From a disk of dough to a finished pie! I left out the empty pan; the last step. Missing from this year’s ride was Half-fast Dave’s famous asparagus. Dave owns a vineyard but also has one of the bigger asparagus patches around. He makes a mighty tasty asparagus with garlic, cayenne, and soy sauce. Alas, he has retired from Wednesday night rides.

The weekly rides start at the beginning of April, but the peak of the season starts now! Enough light for longer rides, warm enough to eat outside afterward.

The final climb to food!

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One rider’s idea of a recovery meal:

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Time for the early risers to head home and rest up for the Blessing of the Bikes. If the rain holds off, it seems a blessing before a 4300 mile ride can’t hurt.