Swimming After decades, I’m back in the water. My 20+ year competitive running career ended with knees that needed to be preserved for old(er) age. I was swimming from age 4, competitively in high school, teaching swimming to kids, then surfing, lifeguarding. Still surfing until the 80s, when I got into running. Looking back, I went from the ocean to the mountain—Mt Tamalpais—running its trails, including the Dipsea Race about 15 times.
Like a dolphin, I’m back in the water, and realize how I’ve missed it. I’m wet about 5 days of the week now—ocean, lagoon, bay, rivers, ponds, or creeks (waterfalls). I love to swim, especially in beautiful spots, feeling the pull.
I swam butterfly in high school, was never much of a freestyler—just didn’t have the stroke down. Well, in the ’90s we started taking our kids to the Ann Curtis School of Swimming in San Rafael. Ann was a gold medalist Olympic swimmer from San Francisco in the ’40s, and all of us swimmers idolized her.
One day, when the kids were taking their lesson, I asked if she’d give me a lesson. Well, yes, something like $35. She gave me 3 exercises to do that she’d been taught by her coach in SF, Charlie Sava. When you take a stroke, leave that arm out until you bring your next arm around and touch it — then take the stroke. Another trick was to have your thumb brush against your side as you pull past your body. My stroke straightened out in 15 minutes and I was stylin. She got really excited. Since that day, I’ve had a relatively smooth freestyle, and never feel better than when I’m swimming.
Left, Kirsten Dirksen of Fair Companies was here last week, filming our homestead. Click here to see her impressive lust of videos, many on tiny homes and owner-builders.
Close encounters with animals A cottontail was scampering across the trail Tuesday evening, so I froze. So did she. We stayed like that, eyeball to eyeball for maybe 30 seconds, then she scampered off with flash of white tail. Then yesterday I came close to a young strong buck on my bike, stopped, and more animal/humanoid eyeball contact. Admiration on my part. Deer rotate their ears, like sonar dishes. Finally he scampered into the bushes, where there was another buck about his size. Buddies.
Foraging I’m getting my kayak/clamming operation together. Got 10 horsenecks, 40 cockles. Boy, is it hard to get the skin of the necks of horsenecks—any suggestions? We Cuisinart up the white meat, add fresh corn kernels, dip in flour and egg, fry in hot oil. Last night I had a salad of crunchy cattail shoots along with our own cucumbers.
Irrigation I’m working on installing a new jet pump and pressure tank for our shallow (15′ deep) well. It’s been a hassle—haven’t got it working yet, but determined to.