Photo of yellow flowers, seen on NW 122nd west of Rockwell in OKC

In an effort to do more reflective and thoughtful writing and commentary (rather than impulsive content sharing on social media), I’m going to aim to do a post a like this every few days (maybe eventually daily). The stuff I’ll be sharing will be mix of stuff, partially for my own memory but also because I think it might be of interest to some readers.

Being creative with the Shmita Year concept of Judaism

Over the last week or so, I’ve been listening to several episodes of the Judaism Unbound podcast that are a part of series they are doing on creative approaches taken to the Jewish concept of the 7 year cycle of the Shmita year, a time when Torah teaches that Jews are to: (1) let agricultural lands lie fallow for a year (but open for the poor to glean any crops that grow “volunteer”), and (2) forgive outstanding debts owed in the community. Of course, like many Jewish traditions there are very different opinions on whether and how these traditions should be upheld, with most Jewish rabbinic authorities saying that the obligations of Shmita are no longer binding, particularly on Jews in a diaspora context, but with others (including both rabbis and layfolks) saying that we should still seek to find some way to observe this tradition, particularly given the need for focused time to care for the earth itself and to release people from debts.

Since this year (5782 in the Jewish calendar, or 2021-2022 in the Western calendar) is a Shmita year, I’m thinking about how to observe this tradition, given the fact that I don’t farm (other than a small vegetable garden) and I don’t lend people money very often. Still mulling over some ideas, especially as to how to do this in a communal sense in some way.

For now though, here are a few links with more thoughts/commentary on creative Shmita practice:

The airwaves are coming alive

For any other ham radio operators out there, I’m curious if other people are having the same great experiences of late. I mostly run weak signal modes (FT8, FT4, WSPR, etc.) at QRP power levels (5 watts or less), which means I’m using to making a few contacts here and there, but mostly doing a lot of waiting to be heard. But… the last week or so has been something else all together. I’m making contacts much easier and according to PSKreporter, I’m often being heard much further than I would normally expect. For instance, last week here’s where I was being heard during the daytime on 20 meters:

Obviously this won’t be impressive to many who are operating with higher power, but for me, operating with only 5 watts and a make-do antenna, I’m ecstatic that I’m being heard across both the Pacific and Atlantic, and I hope that these radio propagation conditions continue.

Continued adventures on the E-bike

I’m riding a lot on the E-bike. Averaging at least 10 miles a day, but often more. Yesterday I got in more than 30 miles, as I had really nice ride to the Four Counties Corner area (one of only two county quad-points in Oklahoma, that is a spot where four counties meet), after which I continued on to Piedmont where I visited their very small but nice public library (FYI — they have no residency requirements to get a library card!), ate lunch outside on the picnic table at Sonic and then rode home.

Speaking of the Four Counties Corner, I discovered that there was actually once a town located here known as Lockridge (it’s name coming from the fact that the town site was on top of a ridge and was close to the meeting of four counties, so “LOCK” being an acronym for the first letters of the names of the four counties: Logan, Oklahoma, Canadian and Kingfisher), so I of course had to create a new wikipedia article about the place.

Four Counties Corner (Lockridge), Oklahoma in 2021

Fall is also definitely here with some vegetation just starting to turn colors (but also still a lot of flowers blooming). Here are a few recent pictures from my bike rides:

Seen on NW 122nd, west of Rockwell in OKC