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The View from My Handlebars 8.24.13

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Urban Simplicity.

Three Views from my Handlebars…

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I took these photos while on my ride home this evening as also recorded in a previous post.

Urban Simplicity.

The view from my handlebars and a surprise I could have stepped on…

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I took the above photo on my way home from work late afternoon/early evening today. The weather could not have been more idyllic. After the last couple weeks of an oppressive heatwave this weather is truly welcomed (cool temps and low humidity). And as I arrived home today I noticed a small bright red berry peeking out from under a plant in my front yard right next to the sidewalk. The strawberries have not been doing too well this year so I haven’t looked at them too frequently…so you can imagine my surprise when I lifted the leaves and saw these. Nice. Growing food is way more fun and tasty than growing grass (I’m jus’ sayin’).

Urban Simplicity.

The view from my handlebars, 7.22.13

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Urban Simplicity.

The View from My Handlebars…Undulatus Asperatus

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I find this stuff fascinating.  Clouds, stars, atmosphere… you get it. Anyhow, I saw these cloud formations as I pedaled to the health club tonight. They look really good in the photos but in real life they were breathtaking. They quite literally stopped me in my tracks a few times (when I took these photos). I thought they might be the somewhat new cloud formation that I had heard about (first new one to be categorized since 1951) and sure enough when I arrived home and looked them up they fit the description. The phrase Undulatus Asperatus translates from the Latin as “rough waves.” I heard others describe them as like looking at waves from underneath them, and that’s exactly what it was like…these incredibly beautiful slow moving cloud-waves rolling past. Then, as quickly as they appeared they were gone, returning to greyer and less wavy clouds. To see a photo of mammatocumulus (mammary clouds) I took .last spring, see this post.

And lastly, a few words from Gavin Pretor-Pinney, author of The Cloud Collector’s Handbook…“Even if you live in the middle of the city, the sky is the last wilderness you can look out on.”

Urban Simplicity.

The View from My Handlebars and Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#491)

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It was such a beautiful day today and felt really good to be on a bike….not too hot, not too cold, sunny, and a slight breeze. Anyhow, here’s a few things I carried in my travels today:

Three framed photos wrapped in cardboard and plastic, a camera bag with a camera, a book bag with books, a cardboard box with10lbs of whole wheat flour, and a chicken sandwich.

Urban Simplicity.

The View from My Handlebars on a Cool Spring Evening…

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Despite a light rain, it was–after spending a hot and bustling day in the kitchen–a lovely evening to be on a bike.

Urban Simplicity.

Two Views from My Handlebars (jour et nuit)

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These photos are actually in reverse order…the below image was shot last evening on my way home and the above one on my way to work this morning. It just seemed more natural to have the day image above the evening one. Anyhow, beautiful, beautiful weather these last few days…perfect. And there is no other way I’d want to transport myself than on a bike or just using my own two feet. Just lovely.

Urban Simplicity.

The View from My Handlebars (and a song)…

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The artist (Matt) covering the side of a building at Allen and Park Streets, announcing (screaming) this year’s Echo Art Fair. And yes, I’m dating myself, but whenever I hear the word “echo” (OK, maybe not every time, but often), I think of the song Echo Beach, by Martha and the Muffins.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#467), the View from My Handlebars, and a single brief comment

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On the bike…two bottles of red wine, a gym bag containing wet clothing, two bags of dog food, and a jar of tahini.

The view…more construction at the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus.

This is really exciting. Click here, here, or here, if you’d like to read more about it.

Urban Simplicity.

Things I Saw While Riding My Bike Today (a photo essay)

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Firstly I have to say a couple things. Mainly an apology (if these pictures bore you). This is the most photos I’ve posted at one time. But sometimes I simply cannot help myself. I am proud of my beautiful city and it’s long history. Yes, I realize–to my friends “across the pond” who are reading this–by some standards Buffalo is not an old city, but in North America it is. Anyhow, it was such a beautiful spring morning (crisp and not a cloud in the sky) that I felt like taking a bike ride (big surprise, right?). So I packed a couple cameras, lenses, and a tripod on my bike and rode through a few of our cities oldest and original neighborhoods…the Cobblestone District, the Old First Ward, and the area around the Grain Elevators and the Buffalo River. While the First Ward is a residential area, the others are not…especially around the grain elevators. And when I went there this morning it was–not surprisingly–devoid of people; the crumbling buildings in the Cobblestone District was the same. And it felt incredibly beautiful to me…big hulking grain elevators with the sound of nature all around me. There were, for example, wild geese all over the place. It’s as if the area has regressed into an unofficial nature preserve without the help of humans. The abandoned grain elevators and buildings in the Cobblestone District were like architectural ghosts…not really living but not ready to make the transition to the other side. They themselves–without words–have a story to tell about the Queen City. I shot nearly a hundred photos this morning, and here’s a few I thought I’d share.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#465), and the View from My Handlebars

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On the bike…a gallon of extra virgin olive oil.

The view…a murder of crows overhead.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#464) and the View from My Handlebars

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On the bike…two bottles of red wine, a gym bag containing wet clothes, and nearly $40 in groceries.

Urban Simplicity.

Three Views from My Handlebars (early morning, late afternoon, and early evening) on the First Day of Spring

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Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#463), the View from My Handlebars, and a Favorite Recipe

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On the bike…A cardboard box containing an empty dough rising bucket, and three freshly baked loaves of Ezekiel Bread.

The recipe…Ezekiel Bread (to read my interpretation and philosophy of this bread click here; For pictures and directions of it being made, click here).

The view from my handlebars (bottom of post)…On Allen Street here in Buffalo on my way home from work; the beginning of yet another late winter’s snow.

 
Whole Wheat Ezekiel Bread
Makes 2 or 3 loaves
12 cups water
2 tablespoons white beans
2 tablespoons red beans
2 tablespoons spelt berries
2 tablespoons lentils
2 tablespoons barley
2 tablespoons millet
2 tablespoons bulgur wheat
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cooked beans and grains
½ cup cooking water
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
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4 cups whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 cups cooking liquid
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1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons kosher
3 teaspoons instant yeast

Boil the grains in the water in logical succession according to cooking times: first the white and red beans (about 60 minutes), when they are soft add the, spelt berries, lentils, and barley (about 30 minutes); lastly, add the millet and bulgar (about 10 minutes). The key is that after each addition the previous grain must be soft enough so that when all of the grains are in the pot they will all be equally soft; undercooked grains (especially the beans) can really ruin this bread. And as the grains cook add more water to the pot as necessary because the cooking liquid, which is full of nutrients, will become part of the recipe (keeping a lid on the pot will slow it’s evaporation). After the grains are cooked allow them to cool in the liquid to room temperature, refrigerating if necessary. After the grains are cooled drain them, squeezing them with your hands or the back of a spoon, reserving the cooking liquid.

Place two bowls side-by-side; one will hold the pre-ferment, the other autolyse. In one bowl combine the cooked and drained grains with ½ cup of the cooking liquid, 2 cups whole wheat flour, and 2 teaspoons instant yeast. Stir it just until combined then cover it with plastic wrap. In the other bowl combine 4 cups whole wheat flour, 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten, and 2 cups cooking liquid; stir it just until combined then cover it with plastic wrap (take care not to get yeast into this bowl). Allow the bowls to rest at room temperature for about an hour, during which time the preferment will begin it’s job multiplying yeast and fermenting flour, and the autolyse will soak liquid, swelling the gluten.
After an hour or so, combine the ingredients from both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the honey, olive oil, salt, and 3 teaspoons of yeast (add the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover it loosely, and allow to ferment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Deflate the dough and allow it to ferment an additional 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it into 2 or 3 pieces. Shape into loaves and place into lightly oiled pans. Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size and when gently touched with a fingertip an indentation remains.

Bake the breads for about 30-40 minutes, adding steam to the oven a few times (either with ice cubes or a spray bottle) and rotating the breads every ten minutes. The breads are done when they are dark brown and sound hollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans and allow them to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing.


Urban Simplicity.

The View from My Handlebars…

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Mayhem at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade here in Buffalo. I personally do not have an Irish cell in my body (that I’m aware of) but who could resist a scene like this when it is a mere three city blocks from their house.

Urban Simplicity.

The View from My Handlebars…

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I shot this on my way to work this morning. Those clouds looked (and still do look) incredible…sort of like a painting; like the sky was covered with a layer of cotton balls.

Urban Simplicity

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#458), the view from my handlebars, and a brief comment about a Good Samaritan

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On the bike…a nylon bag containing a camera and its charger, a canvas bag containing a book and a few papers, and two cardboard boxes containing 5lbs of honey, 10lbs of whole wheat flour, and an entire leg of lamb.
The view…is on Allen Street here in Buffalo, NY. What a lovely day; nearly spring-like.
A quick comment…so both of these photos were taken on my way home from work this afternoon. On my way to work this morning the bike was not loaded. Allen Street is narrow and slow going so I often ride in the middle of the street. Anyhow, I was at a traffic signal waiting for it to change so I could make a left turn. I was in the middle of the street with my arm out signalling that I would be turning.  Then I hear a “beep, beep” from the vehicle behind me. I turn and see that it is a large SUV.  Here we go, I thought to myself. So I put my arm out again. He beeped again. I ignored it (or at least acted like I did). The light did not change yet but I hear his engine going; he was pulling up next to me. He pulls up and rolls down his window and I fully expected him to tell me to get out of the middle of the street. Instead, he says, “Hey buddy, a couple of your bungee cords fell off your bike about a half block back.” I turned and looked, and sure enough, there they were (and they were my new ones, too). All I could do was thank him before the light changed and we both parted. The moral of this story is (fill in the blank).

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#456), and Two Views from My Handlebars

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On the bike…two bottles of red wine and a gym bag containing wet clothes.

The views…directly below is a view of Allen and Elmwood, an intersection I usually cross multiple times a day. It was/is cold and wet. Not freezing cold, but halfway freezing. The temp is just above freezing and it has been sort of snow-slush-raining for most of the evening. I was glad I didn’t have too far to travel in it. Below is an image I took as I approached my house…just raised the camera skyward and snapped a shot with the flash on to capture the big heavy flakes.

Urban Simplicity

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#454), the View from My Handlebars, and a Couple Thoughts on Sharrows

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On the bike…10lbs of whole wheat flour and a small box of vital wheat gluten (note the price of gas in the background).

The view in front of me…Mr. Goodbar (sometimes I get thirsty whilst pedaling a bike).

On Sharrows….okay, so first a couple things. Buffalo, the city in which I reside, has made huge leaps and bounds in regards to bicycling in the last few years. We have bicycle racks throughout the city, streets with designated bike lanes, and the newest addition (not that new), sharrows. These are awesome, they really are, but I seriously wonder how effective they are. The one pictured is in the middle of Elmwwod Avenue, thus indicating (I assume) that bikes should ride there…in the middle of the street. To do this, I think, would be like…well, sort of like playing a bicycle version of  Russian roulette. I don’t mean to sound cynical, but sometimes it is scary enough riding on a narrow road like this (where drivers still consistently drive 40mph/64kph–or more–when the speed limit is much less than that). Nonetheless, and as aforementioned, I do think they–sharrows–are great. At the very least it brings awareness to bicyclists as a form of transport. I’d be interested to hear what others had to say about sharrows (bicyclists and drivers).

Urban Simplicity.

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