Thursday, October 09, 2003

I just ate breakfast – a cup of yogurt, a peach and two eggs, over medium. A weird combination. I’ve been eating eggs a lot lately. Used to be I’d eat three at a time, but now limit it to two… We’ve been buying these organic eggs and unlike most organic foods I’ve sampled in recent months, I can really taste the difference with the eggs. The yolks are brighter too. “What’s the difference between brown and white shelled eggs?” Mom asked recently. The answer below is from a University of California-Davis web site:

What is the difference between a white and a brown-shelled egg?
A brown or pigmented egg shell is the result of the hen depositing pigments on the shell during egg formation. Ultimately this is determined by the genetic background of the bird. Our typical commercial egg layer, the Single Comb White Leghorn, is one of the Mediterranean breeds. Developed in Leghorn (Livorno, It.), Italy, the hen always lays a white-shelled egg. Our American breeds, such birds as the Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire, and Plymouth Rock, lay brown-shelled eggs. The brown pigment is ooporphyrin, a break-down product of hemoglobin. The Araucana, or Easter egg chicken, from South America lays green or bluish-green eggs. This pigmentation is due to oocyanin, a by-product of bile formation.

The color of the egg shell is not determined by the diet of the bird. The egg shell color is in no way related to the quality or nutritional value of the egg.

For the third time this week, I did not get called in to sub. Luckily, I’ve got a few lawns I can mow, but at my current income level we’re not putting enough money in the bank to save for our big Pacific Crest Trail trip next spring. Starting in November I’m going to get a night job in addition to whatever sub work comes along.

Yesterday I took a nice, long, enjoyable bike ride in the native American summer sunshine to Rock Cut State Park, where I rode around Pierce Lake, a man-made lake of dammed Willow Creek. On the south shore I noticed a picnic table right off the trail half-hidden in the shade of a pine grove. I stayed there a while and did some creative writing until I got tired (about five pages). I cleared a few twigs and cones and lay down in the soft bed of needles for who knows how long. I woke at the roar of a motorcycle on a nearby road. When I sat up I noticed a guy in a boat about 10 feet offshore. I slowly regained my senses as the fisherman cleared phlegm from his throat. Buuhurack!

There really is no escaping humanity around here.

Rock Cut State Park was my stomping grounds when I was a kid, but last Sunday afternoon Esther and I explored a part of the park I’ve never been to, the northwest quadrant between the service road and Hwy. 173. The horse trails took us close to 173 and then south through rolling hayfields and forest patches of small pine, alders and honeysuckle brambles. The horse paths are seriously eroded, deep gravelly channels. Horses and humans alike bypass the channels and the trail is now wide enough to drive an SUV through. Esther and I encountered a mouse that kept flipping over when it tried to escape, exposing its white underbelly. I think it may have had a stroke, because it couldn’t move its left front or back legs. We both pet it, marveling at its softness. I’m sure it’s now providing sustenance to some abler creature.

I noticed a picnic area in the park is now called “Puri Crest,” after Rockford developer Sunil Puri, the head of First Rockford Group. His name’s been in the paper recently because of the Group’s plans to allow a McDonald’s to go up right next to a subdivision. The neighbors didn’t want the fast food empire to encroach so close to their ant village McNeighborhood, and formed a coalition to fight the development plan.

Puri displays a hallmark nouveau riche behavior – a desire to plaster his name all over his empire.

First Rockford Group owns most of the land just north of Hwy 173 across from the park. This area is a hotbed of development. Winnebago County just approved a plan to extend Perryville Road north of 173, a Target, Kohl’s Department Store and Chili’s restaurant opened in the last year or two. New subdivisions dot the hilly countryside. Retail follows people. Sunil and pals’ property should skyrocket in value. And the taxpayers will fund public works projects that ultimately benefit the developers. The next big things include expansion of 173 to four lanes and an exit/entrance ramp to I-90. Someday golden arches will greet visitors at the park entrance. I wonder if the fiberboard panels used to construct chain store meccas contain traces of honeysuckle.

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