12 March 2007

Strange Weather and Sunday Biking

We spent most of the weekend working on the yard. I'm nervous about all the trees we trimmed up because of the early spring we're having. According to the experts, spring is 3-4 weeks early. That means everything that wasn't supposed to be blooming for a while is blooming now. The positive side of that is beautiful bright days.

Is there a negative side to an early spring? Well, they are playing An Inconvenient Truth for free in the Netherlands this month. That probably isn't a coincidence. Oddly, while looking for this link, I ran across another website that is trying to give away the DVD. Further exploration revealed that this is a generous plan with limited funding.

Incidentally, I heard from a well-informed colleague that What's up with the Weather is a more informative documentary than Al Gore's Academy Award winner. It is supposedly less Gore biography and more factual. For example, there are interviews with oil industry folks who talk about the benefits of global warming, like Iowa getting an extended growing season. For balance, there are also some shocking pictures of shrinking glaciers. I'll have to check it out. Let me know if you've seen it.

In true Dutch fashion, we had to get out of the house on Sunday to enjoy the warm weather. Our outing was a 25km bike ride through the Kennmer dunes national park to Parnassia on the North Sea. There's a cafe at Parnassia that's perfect for warming up and drinking hot cocoa, which we did. I was amazed that anti-athletic me survived and even enjoyed the long ride. It would have been out of the question a couple years ago. The ride itself was great fun! The national park is between Haarlem and the North Sea, which is all sand dunes covered with vegetation and scattered with ponds. I found some pictures here, but no really comprehensive sites, so you will just have to come see it for yourself.

On our way back, we passed a couple going around a corner and face to face with a big red woolly cow standing placidly in the middle of the road. Imagine images of India with traffic stopped for a lone skinny cow, except this one was red, woolly, and had huge horns. Now, can you imagine people and woolly cows sharing a path in the US? Either the people would be in cars or the cows would be behind fences. Mysteriously, in the dunes, not only do the animals roam free but no one bothers them. Of course, the gigantic horns might help there. We biked around them without stopping or being gouged by a horn and carried on home. It was a great afternoon!

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