Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Save Spirit Mountain (again)

Oh look, everyone hates me. (Click on "comments.") La la, that's okay, because I hate everyone, too.

I'm not going to bother to respond over there, since I really don't need to waste my energy on internet squabbling. When I e-mailed the City Council I was aware that my message could be forwarded to local media, but I was not anticipating it being posted on the newspaper's gossip blog, and I resent being thrown to the wolves like that. Besides, I think they've all already made up their mind that I am an evil liberal hellbent on destroying the American way of life (and proud of it!) so it's not like anything I could say would change their minds about me or the proposed Alpine Coaster at Spirit Mountain.

But I will say this: This is how habitat destruction happens. It's not all big land grabs, it's not selling Gooseberry Falls and building Mall of America #2 in its place, it is an incremental series of losses. It is a vacant corner paved over for a parking lot, it is scrub and weeds razed for condos, it is a few trees cut down and the noise, pollution and disruptive human activity of a roller coaster in the forest.

I never claimed that there were any rare birds nesting near the area proposed for the Alpine Coaster, but I can guarantee that there are some birds nesting there, and many more who depend on the area as a food source, and there will be a lot fewer if the Alpine Coaster is built. Other wildlife like squirrels or voles or shrews or porcupines will be displaced. Trees will be cut down, wildflowers and ferns will be trampled, insect and microorganism life will be disrupted. And, yes, I am enough of a bleeding heart liberal animal rights wacko that I believe that thousands of creatures' right to existence trumps a few human beings' desire to be entertained for 30 seconds. If they were cutting down some trees to build, say, low income housing, or a women's shelter, or a corner grocery store, or a solar panel manufacturing plant, I don't think I would complain as much.

The environmental impact of the stupid Alpine Coaster monstrosity is probably fairly small, in the grand scheme of things, but these losses add up. Wildlife habitat and quiet places are a very, very finite resource, and I don't think they should be wasted on something this inane.

ETA, 10-14-09: Related links, some more background (and a rant) on the Alpine Coaster, and a semi-related discussion on PDD about whether or not Duluth is anti-growth.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

So, house.

It's a house. It's got an ancient furnace in the basement, and two (out of three) radiators upstairs don't work. The electrical is ancient enough that when I had extra outlets put in (because there were exactly zero outlets in the dining room or in the room I was going to use as an office) it ended up costing three times what I thought because the electrician couldn't connect the wires to my fusebox and had to put a subpanel in. It's been windy, and it feels like the windows are more for show than for actually keeping the cold air out. There is not a lick of insulation in the attic (unless you count an empty bee's nest, which I guess would provide some insulation). Nearly half the rooms in the house are painted pink, and the carpetting in the living room is among the ugliest I have ever seen.

However, there appears to be beautiful, finished hard wood underneath the carpet, and underneath the linoleum in the dining room, too. There's carved wood molding around almost all the doors, and most of the doors have antique engraved (!) hinges. The clawfoot bathtub is deep enough that I can float in it, and my hotwater heater is butch enough to fill it up with hot water. I have a view of Lake Superior from my kitchen and bedroom, and the other side of the house faces some woods and a creek. The yard is big and sunny, a little barren looking right now, but I can think of it like a blank canvas, then.

I started prep for my vegetable garden this week. I don't have a rototiller or a strong enough back to till it all by hand, and tilling disturbs the soil too much anyway, so I'm doing a kind of lasagna gardening thing with old moving boxes. Right now they're jut weighted down with leftover potting soil, but the plan is to cover them with topsoil, compost and mulch, and then plant directly into that in the spring, digging through the cardboard (which should be mostly rotted by then) if necessary.

I moved in the first week of September, and would have had plenty of time to plant trees and things, but I was too busy with packing/closing/moving/unpacking to arrange that, but now I have all winter to decide what varieties of apple or pear or plum I want to grow. I can fit a few fruit trees along the south/west side of the house, maybe something else in the front after I tear up the (uneccessary) driveway, and bushy or brambly things everywhere else. My mom got me some peonies, and I planted them along the south side of the house, underneath the kitchen window.

And now that I have posted something, maybe I can get back in the habit of posting regularly.