Sunday, February 22, 2009

Walk to Rivendell - Week 8 Report

After I posted the photograph of the abandoned mini-digger, several friends mentioned that they were interested in old machinery. As I am too, I promised to do a post of some of the things that have been left lying around. Some of these artefacts have been until recently in use; some were simply abandoned when the Soviets moved out in 1992. I think they are beautiful. Maybe you will too.

On a clear sunnyday, which is what it was
Tööstuse 25 (It means industrial space.)
can seem like an outdoor sculpture park for

Industrial Archaeology

Spirit Bridge – It’s obvious that it

once carried something.

What does it transport now

Troll Cave -
I imagine this is
where the trolls who

work here now live.

If you look closely, you can see

the Trolls enjoying their break

in the sunshine.

Bosses will be bosses and
all good ghosts they need
somewhere soft on which
to place their scrawny buts.

WALL-E's cousin Mel was

devastated that he didn't get

to go to Hollywood to see

His cousin collect his Oscar.

Back in the real world,
farm animals waiting
for their dinner.

In places like this, the line between
what is real and what
is ephemeral is very fine


3 days walked

Miles = 13.2

Kms. = 21

Totals walked 101.8 / 163.6

Still to go 356 / 573

In relation to Frodo &Co:

Climb zigzag path to brow of hill on west side of Barrow-downs

. Turn more east than they intend and enter the Barrow-downs, a place of great dread.

Our friends will be facing great danger – What will I be facing next week?

So we don’t forget: Sunshine on birches

Monday, February 16, 2009

Walk to Rivendell - Week 7 Report

Week 7 Report – Island Husbandry

I’m posting this after only three days of walking as I have enough miles and I want to try and get back into the ‘post on Sunday’ schedule. I also don’t have a whole lot to say. This gray end of winter has fogged over my brain.

However, this time of year, even with the snow still hanging on, Islanders are turning their thoughts to preparing for spring and the intense, short summer season that will follow soon after. One part of these preparations is clearing brush from roadsides. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to eliminate the juniper, (genus juniperus ) kadakas in Estonian.

One of the 1st development projects I was involved in here, was about encouraging local farmers to return to raising lamb for meat. The enforced switch to dairy farming during the occupation had allowed juniper and other invasive tree species to colonise the roadsides. Sheep in the past had eaten the younger shoots of these plants providing a cost effective means of control. Now the buggers were out of control.

Raising lamb for meat is now well re-entrenched here on Saaremaa although I think this had more to do with the spread of anti-beef feeling at that time (1998) because of mad cow disease. It makes me happy, as roast whole lamb is one of my favourite things in the whole foody world. This is from a lamb roast in the back garden of the Kuressaare Organic Restaurant ‘Mahe Köök’, where I have been known to occasionally work.

Last week I mentioned the new paved, lighted bicycle and walking path that connects my area with the new clutch of supermarkets. Here too, the cleaners are in full swing.

Finally warm sunshine on winter trees makes me believe in spring.


3 days walked

Miles = 13.2

Kms. = 21.3

Totals walked 88.6 / 142.6

Still to go 369 / 594

Company leaves the path and tries to turn north.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Week 6 Report

Many apologies to anyone who looked for this on Sunday. After a great start to the week, with over 3 miles on Monday and Wednesday, by Thursday I was feeling distinctly rocky. I had succumbed to one of the seasonal lurgies affecting the world and his wife in this part of the world. It’s hardly surprising as the weather had continued so grim and grey, that even had I felt like going out I doubt that anything productive would have been accomplished.

Saaremaa Orc

HOWEVER, one of the great things about living on an island is the changeableness of the climate. Monday of this week arrived on a wave of bright sunshine travelling arm in arm with the golden disk of a full moon in Leo. Lion people don’t really need warm weather. (I hate hot temperatures.) But we need light! So Monday was almost as perfect as it gets - AND the hours of daylight are increasing. The good news continued into Tuesday. The day was perfect for photography - I was off to the forest where I haven’t been since mid-January.

Through out most of the winter the forest paths that I usually walk on have been torn up, dug up and riddled with ruts and piles of jagged grey stones. The Presiding Powers had decreed a major improvement program of the paths in the Kudjape Tervise Radad. As well filling holes and depressions, the trails have been widened; boulders and tree stumps in the way have been dug up and disappeared.

To the Magic Forest,

over torn up roads and new;

the ugliness will fade, I hope.

The earth will heal herself

The new trails are now so wide that I began to wonder if the PP are not planning to asphalt them. As much as I value the new hard surface, lighted pathways to the Supermarkets, I would be dismayed to see these forest pathways turned into super highways for bikers and cars.

Another concern is that it seems a mis-distribution of resources. I have lived here for 12 years now. Twelve years in which the communities along the north coast of our island have been waiting for their turn to have the main road along the sea blacked topped. In many places it still is not. The dust in the summer is horrific.

As well as being unfair to the residents, it has now become a detriment to our tourism businesses. Many tour busses, especially those travelling with guests from the cruise liners use that road. There is really no acceptable alternative route to get from the Suvi Sadam (ship port) in Ninase to the important sites of Kaali Meteor Crator and the Angla Windmills.

It seems to me, we need to have that important North Coast road properly surfaced before we pave over our forest paths.

So, Lord of the Rings: Since the last report I have finished all three books. Frodo and Sam have accomplished their important task and been rescued. Last night I made a third attempt to watch the 1st movie in the series and lost. The three movies together add up to 10 hours of yelling and screaming, fighting the slavering orcs and assorted other disgusting beasts. I think I must be getting old. I give up. There’s too much of it.

On the other hand I am already planning to re-read the books after the summer. I raced through them this time because I so wanted to find out what happened next time I’ll go much more slowly.

Hope in the snow

Week 6 STATS

Miles walked – 15.6

Kms. walked - 25.2

Hours walked 7 hrs 05 min.

Days walked - 4

Total distance covered – 75.4

Equivalent Hobbit location

Enter tunnel under Hedge to reach The Old Forest. The path disappears.

Our friends are leaving the world they have always known and heading out into the for-real unknown.

Tree Witch

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Walk to Rivendell – Week 5 Report

For no reason other than that I like it, I begin this weeks report with a quote from the ‘Lord of the Rings, Book II, The Twin Towers

‘Gandalf laughed, ‘A most unquenchable hobbit!

All wizards should have a hobbit or two in their care –

to teach them the meaning of the word, and to correct them.’

This has indeed been a week of trials and testings. For 6/7’s of the week the weather continued to display its unremitting grey face – so much so that I ran out of ways to describe the egregious colour: slate, steel, dull, grim, dirty – all had lost the power to convey the mind-numbing quality of this endless non-colour. Finally, unable to work, to string effective words into sentences, unable to sleep properly, to answer simple e-mails from friends, I became convinced that I was immersed in a fog of true Tolkien dimensions, and almost fell into the Bog of Grievous Despair.

Fortunately, Saturday brought with it clean crisp cold air and brilliant sunshine. I told the housework what it could do with itself and prepared to hit the road.

I have been calculating my mileage on the basis of a previous measurement – that I could walk 4 kilometres in an hour. I determined to verify this by walking from marker post to marker post and checking my time. Indeed on the way out my supposition proved ‘spot on.’ On the return journey, tired legs and frequent stops for ‘photo-ops’ demanded more time. However…………… I made it, though that last mile was hard.

I shall be very glad when spring brings the end of the snow and ice so I can walk in lighter shoes. My sturdy winter boots are HEAVY!!!

So, time for some STATS:

Week 5:

Am more than halfway into Book 2 – The Twin Towers

Total for week – 13.8 miles / 4 walking days

Total walked to date – 59.1 miles

Location in relation to Frodo & Co.:

Well stuck into the area of the Marish with fields, meadows, hedges, gates, and drainage dikes. Soon to be at Farmer Maggot’s