ENERGYWISE … I do enjoy the consumer/member newsletter that SMPA has been sending out with their monthly electrical bills these days. It’s good to keep up on all things electrical, since energy – its use, transmission, generation and relationship to climate change – is one of the critical issues of our times … I read with interest the May issue with its explanation of proposed rate changes. Brad Zaporski had given a great overview at one of our quarterly Tri-County Meetings with Ouray and Montrose Counties a few months back. But, not being fluent in technogeek, nor even a pretender to truly understanding electromagnetism’s kilowatts and gausses, I had forgotten most of what Brad had patiently explained. The rate change piece in the newsletter was very helpful, until I got down to one of the final paragraphs, where I was told consumer/members would get to choose whether to go onto a demand meter when they found themselves using 20 to 40 kilowatts (kW) of power. I looked at my bill. Nowhere did I see kW mentioned or listed. I looked through the newsletter. Nowhere was it explained how kW translated to kilowatt hours, which is how SMPA measures our usage and bills us. We get to choose whether we want to go on demand rates when we’re between 20 kW and 40kW of usage. But how could we choose if we had no idea if we were in the target kW range or not? “We’ll let you know,” was what I was told when I called SMPA for clarification … SMPA is having several “community education forums” around the region to catch people up on the rate changes being proposed. They sound like a good idea to me. But you might want to ask a few questions about the demand rate and how to know when you reach that 20-40 kW threshold of use.
ENERGY PIG … My mea culpas (when starting these confessions) for my using too big an energy footprint for just one & a half persons (being a half-time single dad) have been (over the course of a year) transformed into (restrained) hosannas as I’ve managed to ratchet down my Cloud Acre energy demand, cutting my usage in half, from a an average of 1,343 kWh per month three years ago to an average of just 598 kWh per month this year– saving tons of carbon (theoretically, not released into the atmosphere) without ruining my quality of life. In fact, even at my modest means, in a dilapidated bungalow that lost 25% of its value in the Downturn, I’m still a One Percenter to the World’s 99 … So, whether hosannas or mea culpas, it’s important that we all re-examine our lives and energy habits, and occasionally take those leaps of faith that precede important changes ... Or, as Utah Phillips once told a crowd of us at a Bay Area Folk Festival in the Seventies, “Every so often you have to wake up and jump off a cliff.”
WHITETOP … It seemed a few years ago, whitetop wasn’t the problem it’s gotten to be in Norwood. But now it seems to be everywhere … Although I find very little on the county roadways – thanks to Sheila Grother’s effective county treatment program … But private property owners have let the pernicious little intruder get firmly established, and acres and acres now fly the early spring white flag of blossoming Lepidium draba (formerly Cardaria draba) … Thanks to untreated properties just to the north of me, across Highway 145, I’m finding more and more plants popping up in my potato fields. And I’m seeing it in town as well as all across Wright’s Mesa.
GARDEN SHOW … ACE of Norwood held a garden show this past weekend at the Livery, and I got to sell a bunch of my heirloom seed potatoes and buy some lovely flower and herb starts. I hope they make it a spring tradition from now on.
THE TALKING GOURD
Indian paintbrush leant to you its hue,
but for your feathered tip dipped in snow –
that white surrender flag which tailed you
reflecting high-beam blaze of headlights’ glow.
A lightning strike had nothing on the streak
that was your flying flash across the black:
the hot pursuit of strong against the weak –
a ruthless race, a bracing brave attack.
But Vulpes vulpes is not Volvo’s match.
The cleverest of foxes know that some
predators kill without intent to catch,
so train their ears to strain for tires’ hum.
You curled your tail around your pelt and died
as first light knelt upon the mountainside.