Sometimes downtown Frederick is shut down for events like bike shows, like this one I randomly discovered on my way to Denver Pop Culture Con; I snapped this from the passenger seat of our car, but I’m usually walking in downtown. Our town is full of interesting and lovely sights and I often stop to chat with the gardeners around town to compliment them as I admire the fruits of their labours. Sometimes they give me seeds from their flowers or invite me to come back and harvest some when it’s time; of course I’ll be sure to repay the favour when my gardens are established, because that’s what neighbors do, and the more flowers the better! I like to take pictures of what I see around town, because it keeps the memory of my mindfulness adventures fresh, and I can pull up my photos on days when I am physically unable to take a walk, or on dreary snowbound February days when I badly need a dose of spring and summer. The photos below are from one such garden taken when my husband and I walked down to Crist Park for the inaugural Finale Friday event put on by the Town of Frederick to kick off Memorial Day.
It’s been a cool and wet spring here in Colorado. Springtime in Colorado is my favourite season. It’s slow to arrive: winter is lingering, and February/March is usually the time when the Holly King reigns supreme. We typically get a lot of snow those months. Historically March is the snowiest month of the year for Colorado, but this year we all squinted at the sky and glared at the Western Monoliths of the Rockies with suspicion because March was Extremely Dry. Because I grew up in Southern California, I absorbed the lifestyle of Drought Living through my pores. Water conservation is something most people in SoCal just do, because during the 70s and 80s we were indoctrinated into it with a very thorough conservation teaching program. Much like America was taught during the Energy Crisis of the 70s to turn off all the lights when we left the room, not idle our cars, and just SAVE ENERGY at every possible turn, in California in the 70s and 80s when the Drought was really bad everyone was bombarded with Water Conservation Tips everywhere we went. Here in Colorado several years ago, Denver Water handed out stickers with their water bills to customers during the height of our drought, for customers to remind themselves of a few of these conservation tricks: “Take 5 Minute Showers”, “Only Flush Every 3 Times”, “Use A Cup To Brush”, etc, to stick on toilets and in shower stalls and on fridges, just like in the 70s the electric companies would hand out stickers to put on light switches saying “don’t forget to turn out the lights!” Growing up in a land where water is imported from multiple states and precipitation is counted like a miser counts ha’pennies, water conservation is second nature. Denver Water implemented watering restrictions the month of the Hayman Fire for the first time since they had restricted watering for a four-year period from 1977-1981; prior to that watering had only been restricted twice before. Three periods of restrictions, and only one of them was due to drought conditions. The other two were due to lack of infrastructure/supply; one could argue that the 1954 restrictions were due not so much to the drought as the misjudged planning city planners did after the 1922-1936 restrictions and infrastructure planning and changes done during that boom. One of my family friends worked for Denver Water his entire career, in the planning department. He has photos on his wall from some of the big jobs in the infrastructure changes they did underground in the 70s and 80s after the second watering restriction period and infrastructure upgrades. (Read this history, on “Surviving the Worst Drought in 300 Years”for more fascinating information you never knew you wanted to know). The Denver Water tunnels are MASSIVE. The water running under our streets is not seen until a pipe bursts or one of those ubiquitous sewer drains gets clogged and then suddenly it’s an inconvenient and dangerous mess because the water is not where it’s supposed to be. Those tunnels need to be massive because it takes a LOT OF WATER to keep as many people as there are in the Denver Metro Area clean, sanitary, and properly hydrated. Where I grew up in California, there was an open-air aqueduct that shunted our water through my patch of desert; that aqueduct brought water that came (mostly) from Colorado to the farmers and residents of the Inland Empire and eventually to the thirsty and hot citizens of the LA basin. Californians were constantly reminded of where their water came from, and that they absolutely had to conserve it, or else they wouldn’t eat. During particularly hot and dry years, when at least half the state was burning and we were all convinced the extra baking of the flames would be just enough to set the tectonic plates of the San Andreas to ticking so they would finally crunch up and set off The Big One, most people in Southern California gladly stopped watering their lawns and put bricks in their toilet tanks and brushed their teeth without the water running and took showers with their partners. Because cooking with your water was infinitely preferable to growing plants not actually suitable for a climate that baked in the hot dry sun most of the time; xeriscaping was more or less born in southern California during this time.
I don’t often like to tell people in my daily conversations, or right up front, that I am an expatriate Californian. In Colorado there is a culture of disdain and hatred for Californians. I can’t say it’s undeserved. After all, I myself left The Golden State when I was 23 because it was quite literally killing me, and I knew the only way to save my life was to remove myself completely from the toxic social environment of the place. I had tried every single avenue of escape from the abusive family and their entrapments already, and once made it as far as Georgia and a marriage based on rape, lies, fraud, and ultimately a false accusation of assault that landed me in jail. If I had been a more empowered and more educated young woman, I would have left Georgia for someplace else and not allowed my parents to tell me my only option was to go back to California under their protection and guidance. At 19 I still had an awful lot of learning to do, like most of us when we are that young and scared. A lot of time has passed between then and now, and Colorado is going through many of the same growing pains California experienced during my early life. Living here now is almost like experiencing déjà vu while housing subdivisions go up all over and the HOAs use their collective corporate power to dictate laws counter to the laws of the land; as people comfortable in their long-standing lifestyles and ideological roles get shocked into confronting new races and religions and cultures and lifestyles moving into established neighborhoods or rural towns that were not prepared for such an influx and don’t know how to adapt; watching leaders and legislators and law enforcement big and small try desperately to reconcile the old and the new. None of this is new to me, but the constant refrain of “Colorado is becoming California” just makes me wince. I left California because of that precise toxic attitude. Californians are extremely self-absorbed people. They are always racing to The Next Big Thing. The reputation California has of searching and waiting endlessly for The Big One, the One Thing that is going to Change It All, is very well-founded. The people of California who want to do that sort of thing stay in California, for the most part. Unfortunately, California has just about run out of space, and it’s an ecological disaster. The center of America has quite a lot of space, and ecologically speaking has quite a lot to offer when it comes to sustainable resources. It’s no surprise Denver (and to a lesser extent the rest of Colorado) has taken off in multiple tech markets. The population of Denver and it’s surrounding cities has boomed over the past twenty years faster than it has since the silver mining and fur trapping days. All those people have to live SOMEWHERE. They have to be fed, and watered, and given good things to do. And they have to be legislated; in America we legislate ourselves. In America, we have this fantastic free market system that allows us to grow and adapt our government, market, and society as needed. It’s just extremely surreal having left one state decades ago, only to end up in a completely different state after traveling the world and country learning so much, to see almost the exact same thing happening all over again.
Fortunately, I wasn’t the only person who learned a lot over the years, and in my little corner of Colorado I have the opportunity to meet people from all over the place doing all sorts of things to make life in this crazy, fast-paced new Colorado easier, without a lot of the pitfalls and mistakes I saw happen in California in the 80s. Almost all of the people I meet have the same goal: to help others. I don’t get out as often as I like, because my physical illness gives me no warnings when it is going to strike me down. I could be lithe and almost skipping one day and unable to walk the next. I could manage a full meal one day, and everything I smell the next could trigger hours of collect calls on the porcelain phone. And my mental illnesses, although managed well with therapies, medication, and constant vigilance…are still illnesses, and I have learned that if I don’t have the mental or emotional spoons to go to something I really wanted to, it’s the same as trying to go somewhere with pneumonia: I will make myself infinitely worse by pushing it. Since I have in fact forced myself to go somewhere with pneumonia and ended up in the hospital being force-fed antibiotics via intravenous bag, I know that is a very bad idea. It pays to learn from one’s mistakes. But when I do have the capacity to head out and experience community life around Colorado, I make the most of it. These are my people. These are my neighbors. My husband and I chose Colorado to be our home for a great many reasons. There is always something to do here. We have always lived on a shoestring budget: when we lived in Connecticut we once saved for two months to make a trip up to Boston to go to the Boston Museum of Science. We got lost in Boston; it was the first argument of our marriage and to this day we laugh about how we drove in one huge circle around the museum trying to get there, but it was worth it and then some because it was our son’s very first science museum trip and although he was a toddler he was enchanted by absolutely everything. Except his toddler leash; that was when I realised my extremely adventurous son somehow knew he was being restrained and Would Have None Of It. As soon as I clipped it on, he refused to budge. As soon as I unclipped it, he took off running. Since we have been here in Colorado, we have lost count of the number of museums we have visited that are either free or low cost; sometimes traveling museums have come to libraries and we have been able to see things and meet people we never dreamed were out there, such as a local Lego collector who travels around to different libraries and museums sharing his love of Lego. And let us not forget the treasure that is SCFD free days: parking and exhibit viewing might be a bit hairy on those days, but free admission to so many museums, zoos, historical sites, and other nonprofit places throughout the seven counties that participate in the Science and Cultural Facilities District tax is well worth the fraction of a penny per dollar spent in those counties. And then some.
Something else I am seeing an awful lot of in Colorado these days are farmer’s markets. When I was a teen in California one of the few good memories I have of my father is going to farmer’s markets. There was a big one every Saturday in the parking lot of my high school and sometimes, if he wasn’t too hung over or stoned or raging in fury about one thing or another, we would drive over and spend a few hours roaming the stalls to get some groceries for me to turn into the next week’s meals. Sperm donor taught me how to cook, because my mother did not really know how to cook and she has always hated to do so. Meals growing up in my house are not the things to write home about. I was taught the art of cooking so I could cook for my father, and I had to learn the culinary arts both thoroughly and well the first time, else the belt or worse. The only good thing about having him for an instructor was he had pretty good taste, and understood the value of quality materials. If I did not use those materials properly, or if I chose to perhaps peel the garlic in my own way, or if I took too long (or if I was too quick and allowed it to get cold and had to reheat it), out came the belt or whatever again. But I learned how to cook and I learned how to select materials, and at least sometimes I got out of the prison of the house on a Saturday to gorge myself on the bazaar of the Pasadena Farmer’s Market. Seeing farmer’s markets pop up in rural towns all over Colorado is like Christmas in July. You never know what you’re going to find. It’s one big tent city of presents. From the farm to you, those farmers and craftspeople come to market just to bring us presents. Last week in my Royal Crest delivery box they delivered an entire directory: the 35th Annual Colorado Farm Fresh Directory (Your Guide to Farmer’s Markets, Roadside Stands, U-Picks, Restaurants, and Agritourism Activities)…go paperless with their website. Somebody bring me my fan, because I’m swooning.
The Town of Frederick started a new thing this year, by combining our weekly farmer’s market with a monthly good old-fashioned hoedown. We used to have our farmer’s market every Thursday, and if I was lucky we would remember to grab some cash and walk down and pick up a few things once a month. My brain does not remember events unless I write them on my calendar, in my planning book, tell every other family member about said event so THEY can be my backup brains, and write at least one post-it note and stick it on the kitchen cabinet next to the sink. Preferably at least two post-it notes, one stuck on the bathroom mirror. This is necessary for appointments also; when you have cognitive malfunctions as part of your illness repertoire you take steps to make sure your faults don’t sabotage you. Along with faulty memory, that shoestring budget is still in play so a monthly trip to the farmer’s market is usually all we can squeeze out of the grocery budget. Farm fresh meats and produce are sometimes more expensive than store-bought, because the overhead of a small farm is a lot larger than that of a corporate farm and it’s JUST THE SMALL FARMER absorbing it all. I am more than happy to cut a chunk out of my grocery budget to buy some farm fresh salsa from a local farmer once a month, though. It goes back to observing local farmers since I was a girl, sometimes talking to field hands, once in a great while getting to ride a tractor or pitch a fork of hay or kiss a cow. The farmer’s markets in our towns these days are there for more reasons than because the farmers want to make another buck. They are there because our farmers want you to meet them, and they would like to talk to you also. They would like you to know where your food comes from, and how much work it takes to get it to your table. They would like to know who these people are that are moving into our rural communities. They would like the people moving into their rural communities to know who they are. Frederick is poised to be a bridge between the farming community and city folk, because it is a bedroom community, with a lot of housing developments going up in a previously rural-only area, with city families from all over the country moving in as the surrounding cities expand exponentially: a prime learning opportunity for people all over our nation to really see first-hand the food basket of our nation in action.
Colorado is a very purple state: it isn’t red and it isn’t blue. A lot of people, like me, really are tired of the whole colour scheme to begin with and just want everyone to get to know everyone else as neighbors and communities without the obligatory colour/party label getting in the way first. Throughout my life as a legally registered voter, I have changed party affiliation so many times I don’t even know how many times and to which parties I have signed up with. The only reason I have a designated affiliation at this point is for obscure legal reasons I am uncomfortable and dissatisfied with. I allow others to decide how they will label me that way, but I always insist they keep those labels current with the things I put out into the world. I have limited control over how others perceive me, the same as the rest of us. The best way to keep that perception up-to-date and genuine is to get out there in the world when I can, and share what I experience. Frederick is not a bustling metropolis, but I sure do like it. I meet the most interesting people, and generally speaking after meeting me they realise that what I look like is not what they expected me to be like. That includes the teenagers who drop their trash on my neighbor’s lawn, and get an earful for littering. (They almost always pick it up, though, even though they grumble about weird crazy porch ladies).
The inaugural Finale Friday for the 2019 season took place on Memorial Day weekend and my husband and I made it a date. I forgot about it until one of the town folks posted a shot of the event on Instagram, and we headed right down since we had the delicious luxury of a Friday night to ourselves. We are usually camping over Memorial Day weekend; that’s our family tradition, to head out to the wilds and avoid the crazy trumped-up Memorial Day craziness and have our remembrances privately, but this year the weather was too chilly for my fibromyalgia flares so we stayed home and used the money on bills (isn’t being an adult fun?). We had about $20 in our budget free, in cash, so we took ourselves on a spontaneous date. Walking around our town is something else we do, both for our health (I am not fast: if you see me strolling the town, I am usually using one of my canes, and I probably look lost because I often stop) and because it’s really silly to use a car to go maybe six blocks. The walking helps with my pain levels most times, but I have to take breaks and stop and stretch. I usually take a picture or three on my walks, because I almost always see something that makes me happy. Many of my neighbors have beautiful gardens, happy dogs, delightful yard art, or are themselves wonderful people. The town itself is dotted with Interesting Things. The habit of mindfulness goes with me everywhere. Every time we pass one particular yard, I sigh in adoration; their whole place just oozes peace and joy. The few times I have talked to the woman who lives there she has beamed at our compliments and been very gracious in her thanks. And it feels nice to compliment your neighbor on her lovely flowers as you are out for a stroll, doesn’t it? Maybe she would be surprised to see her flowers featured in my article. She shouldn’t be; they are some of the best flower gardens in town.
It only takes a few minutes to amble down to Crist Park, where Finale Fridays are held 4-8pm on the last Friday of the month throughout the season. The shindig combines farmer’s market, live music, family activities, and community meeting grounds. When we got there several folks were doing yoga in the park (a free class being put on by the Carbon Valley Rec Center), and not a small part of me wanted to go join them, they looked so serene and comfortable. All sizes doing those forward bends, too, which made me inspired; Frederick is a pretty open and comfortable place for everyone and the grounds of the park make it inviting for even bony, constantly achy people like me. The town had a bubble tower going for the kids and those of us who delight in the Three Impossible Things Before Breakfast philosophy, and a sweet folk band called Pennies on the Track was playing in the gazebo. Check out their page for their upcoming gigs around town; it’s updated regularly and these chaps love to roam around. I got their cd, which they were handing out gratis, because I knew my son would love them…and I’m pretty fond of folk mandolin myself. I got to eat some Peruvian food, a treat I haven’t had in decades, from some jolly folks on a food truck. If there is one thing I have always loved about the people on food trucks, it’s their joviality.
I neglected to charge George’s battery so I only had my phone to take these shots, but the next one I get to I will be sure to take him along. My husband and I had a wonderful evening strolling among the pavilions and chatting with folks. One of the reasons we fell in love with our house in Fort Lupton was its location in a small town, but Fort Lupton did not have the community that Frederick does; it’s still very lacking in that, to my dismay. It was only the library in Fort Lupton that had the camaraderie and sense of community outreach we find here pretty much everywhere in Frederick. From the post office to the corner store and the police to the utilities, everyone I run into is very community-oriented. There are always people walking their dogs around town. The greenbelt pathway is strung with an assortment of people all year round. There is one resident I give an inner salute and smile to who rides his bike down to the golf course on the regular, toting his clubs behind him in a handy-dandy wooden wagon. He rides a sporty red trike. Our little town smashes up against Dacono to the south and Firestone to the north; the Tri-Town area often collaborates in the interest of community involvement. When Erin Martinez lost her house and family in the gas explosion last year, all three communities banded together to organise relief and support for her and her remaining family. When Finale Fridays end, Firestone is gearing up to start their movie for their Food and Flick Fridays so the folks attending the market and shindig can mosey on down to one of the parks in Firestone for a free movie. I feel a lot more connected to the people and businesses and actual place of Frederick than I did in Fort Lupton not for lack of trying on my part, but the city itself. Our city planners and administration team in Frederick is doing a pretty swell job of rolling with the rapid growth and shifts in infrastructure needs. I am fortunate to live close to the high school, and my best friend has kids in one of our elementary schools. It really matters to me how my community is doing, because even though my kids are adults now, they aren’t the only kids in the world: those kids who walk by my house every day matter, too. And so do all the classmates of my friend’s kids. We should all be as concerned about how everyone’s kids are faring just as much as we are concerned for our own when it comes to the sanctity of their education. When I saw the tent for the “I Have A Dream” Foundation I perked up, because I have heard intriguing things about this organisation. The hubs and I chatted with a few of their volunteers, including their Thunder Valley School Mentor and one of the mentee’s dads. These mentors are sponsored to follow an entire class of kids from kindergarten all the way through graduation, helping them focus on their education through various outreach activities. The lady I spoke with is very committed to her kids, and says that if she ever chooses to leave them for some reason she would make sure her replacement was equally committed; these mentors and the other volunteers for the Foundation are AmeriCorps volunteers or, in some cases, subsidised through grants given the Foundation. I have loved everything about AmeriCorps since I first heard of it many moons ago; it is a lot like the Peace Corps but much more flexible. I have long felt that if our citizens could barter their services towards our infrastructure like the AmeriCorps does for better service from the government, we would see a lot more get done. But teaming up the knowledge of groups like the SeaBees, the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and AmeriCorps would probably produce an awful lot of interested volunteers if some credits on permitting fees and home improvements for tax purposes were offered in exchange. The volunteers we met for AmeriCorps at the Finale Friday event were enthusiastic about their participation in the program; I have done a lot of volunteering over the years, and I understand their fervor. It’s quite an experience. But the real proof for me was hearing the Random Dad tell our resident mentor how phenomenal his son is doing lately, and actually seeing the pride and love in his body when he talked about how his son’s improvement was a process under the program. I never saw his son; apparently he was engrossed in the bubbles. I was just ecstatic to learn about this program in my town, because it means that when those kids leave Thunder Valley and head over to the high school, I will probably see some of them walking by my house every day. And I will know they were mentored by a really swell gal through a really swell program.
My husband dipped into our grocery money while we were there and splurged on a beef tongue. Every once in a blue moon I will get a tongue if I find one and we have the dosh in the budget. It’s difficult to find quality tongue because it’s not your standard item, and not all tongue is created equal. It’s not cheap, either. And it takes a goodly while to prepare because you have to remove the outer layer. I had been watching and listening to Jennifer, the proprietress of Boulder Beef ,talking about her meaty wares to other customers as I checked out her pavilion and read the materials at her stand. It was therefore no surprise to me when the hubs interrupted to ask if she carried tongue. It was a little surprising when she pulled two out of her freezer for him to choose from right on the spot. The hubs was giddy with delight. The hit to our grocery budget was worth it, because he prepared that tongue that Sunday in our traditional way and it was divine. He even used some for his favourite leftover snack, a tongue sandwich. And tried his hand at creating a fusion ramen dish with some more: wow, what an amazing dish that was! My husband and son have a pretty serious gluten intolerance, so we get bulk gluten-free ramen noodles from Costco, and lately they have been experimenting with the zillions of ways one can furnish an entire balanced meal in a simple bowl of noodles. Who would have thought beef tongue ramen would be such an amazing bowl of ramen? Boulder Beef is a free range cattle ranch everyone would be happy to patronise. Jennifer’s grandfather was a cattle rancher in Nebraska, and he weathered the Dust Bowl; he came here to Colorado and taught his trade to her dad, who taught it to her. He still does all the haying on the ranch. Her teen helps too. And her husband, when he isn’t too busy doing his actual job of welding for giant jobs like the new Top Golf going up down by Costco. It’s a real, honest, family endeavour. And she pampers the dickens out of her cows. Because happy, healthy cows make the most delicious beef. Happy, healthy cows eating the diet they evolved to eat. Jennifer will talk your ear off about her cows. She will also work with you to create a package custom to your needs; her website has the listings of all her available cuts and prices and you can pick and choose what you like, contact her in whichever way suits you best, and arrange how you would like to pick up your product. All cuts are individually vacuum sealed so thawing is a breeze. And most interesting to me, the meat from Boulder Beef is USDA certified: Jennifer goes the extra miles (literally) to take her cows to one of only six USDA-certified butchering facilities in Colorado, and she has to go extra far out east on the plains to get there. There are, in fact, more butchering facilities between her and her chosen facility, but they are not USDA certified. She must call the year before to reserve her spot because they run out of spots so quickly. For a state with so many ranchers, this is an uncomfortable realisation. Facilities without USDA certification cannot be inspected and verified free of pathogens or infections such as e. coli or other harmful bacteria or viruses under our regulatory agencies. Thus, if you buy beef and get sick, there is no way to trace HOW you got sick, and no means of either legal repercussions for the butcher or the farmer to make conditions better. There are also no means of recording the illness, the contamination, or the incident in official records to track it in order to maintain accurate information flow. The United States Department of Agriculture exists to be a repertoire of such information as well as regulate outbreaks of illness that could potentially damage our food supply as well as the people who eat it. By ensuring that her beef is processed in a USDA-certified butchering facility, Jennifer is giving her customers the guarantee that it is sanitary and should someone become ill, it can be traced and taken care of. A USDA-certified facility also guarantees that the animals are treated humanely and with dignity, and Jennifer makes sure of that. She really respects her cows. We don’t eat a lot of beef at all, because it is both very expensive and not the best thing as a diet staple. But we are omnivores. And rather persnickety ones. Speaking for myself, having extremely persnickety guts means I eat what stays inside. That beef tongue stayed inside. Thank goodness.
But what about the farmers? A farmer’s market should have farmers, right? The first markets of the season don’t usually have much in the way of produce here in Colorado. In May our fields are just getting going; a Front Range spring is unlike spring I have experienced anywhere else in the world. We start prepping the earth in February when it starts warming up, for the early crops. But the real growing doesn’t get going until around April and May, when all of a sudden everything starts bursting forth like a time-lapse video. The early produce will be on the stands in June, but the May markets are all about introducing themselves to the community. I was drawn to one of our local farmstands by the basket of flowers they had on their table, because it was burgeoning with foxglove, and I am powerless to resist foxglove. The Seelie and Unseelie alike will come running if you ring the bells of foxglove, and I will come running if you just show them to me. It’s like shiny things to magpies. And then I noticed their name. Wozani Farm is run by Liz and Rainer Linnemeyer out on Godding Hollow Road in unincorporated Weld County in Frederick, and they are living their dream. As soon as Liz started talking to me I knew they came by the name of their farm honestly; it’s hard to differentiate a South African accent from an Australian one unless you have heard both a lot, and I have. Liz’ bubbly lilt drew me in as much as the foxglove, and my eye kept wandering over everything on their table. I wanted to pick her brain about everything. She and Rainer chatted with my husband and me about their little slice of heaven on earth and I need to share with you exactly why you need to support their lovely farm. This wonderful little family moved from in town out to their farm not too long ago, and they are going gangbusters out there. Driven by a deep-seated Christian faith and openness that is often lacking in today’s Christians, they have poured their hearts and souls into nurturing not only themselves and their family but the land and their community. The blog on their website is very well written and simply joyous. Their recent post on the planting of their lavender has me quite twitterpated over future visits to my best friend, who lives fairly close to them off Godding Hollow: I can already smell the intoxicating scent of that lavender on the breezes. Do they know what a gift they have already given every single person in their entire neighborhood with free lavender-scented air? This family has an Instagram page where they invite input from their community for such things as how they could make their farm a better venue for children’s parties, as well as just showing off their adorable goats (could we possibly convince them to do goat yoga?!?!). And chickens. They are hosting classes on chicken keeping 101, and you can sign up for them on their website. They will be hosting free farm tours throughout the season as well, and I encourage all comers to give it a whirl. Seeing how farms work is very important. And the next tour these wonderful people are holding happens to be for an hour during our town’s annual hot air balloon festival, Frederick In Flight. Every June our town hosts this festival, and it is tremendous. This year you can take a break for an hour and tour Wozani and then head back to the festival for the 5k. Wozani means “to come” in Zulu; previously I have discussed just how important the people of South Africa are to me, and after talking to Liz a bit about South Africa I could tell she had some powerful feels about her homeland as well. Rainer and Liz are deeply influenced by one of the oldest Dutch farms in South Africa; while Dutch and Zulu have had a horribly fractious history, the farming practices the Dutch brought to the Zulu have helped the people tremendously through scientific learning. I look forward to learning a lot from the Linnemeyers, and am very happy to have their farm as part of our community.
I truly enjoy life and my adventures here, and sharing them is part of that enjoyment. Our town is an eclectic collection of people, and I rarely meet anyone who makes me feel unpleasant or unwelcome. It is a stark contrast to other places I have lived, and that is why I plan to stay here. I watch out for my neighbors, and my neighbors watch out for me. I know if my trash can blows away, someone will fetch it for me because we will fetch theirs. And we will always find companionable company at the shindigs the town puts together.
I took a ridiculous number of photos at the 2017 Frederick In Flight event but never published them anywhere but my Facebook page to my close friends; here are a few of them. This year unless my body betrays me I plan on being out at Centennial Park taking even more for the entire event, because capturing this was one of the most awe-inspiring things I have ever witnessed, and the exuberance and joy of everyone around me was almost tangible. Plus…Spider-Pig.