Bicycle-powered juice and other wonders in Salida

It's good to shake things up a bit, clear out the cobwebs and a quick trip to Salida, Colorado for ShedFest was the perfect tonic.

Was completely taken by the young lady above who was selling recycled bicycle-tube jewelry and juice produced exclusively by bike. Note the blender. When her concoction was at the proper consistency, she strained it through a cheese cloth, a process, she claimed that preserves more fruit-and-veg goodness than putting the mess through a juicer.

Also found this. Hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn from local sheep. Plus the artist was right there spinning with her Navajo spindle, how could I not?

We bought some lovely lovely beets and turnips (Nake-id IT has gone inexplicably mad for these bulbous taproots) and a fennel bulb for a dollar. 'Bout fainted dead away at that bit of good fortune.

In town I drug Mr. Nake-id into we stumbled on an herb-and-body shop called Vital Living Herbs and Nutrition, where the proprietress makes her own lines of skincare, cosmetics and teas. Natural lipsticks made in Colorado for $10? Well, let's just say, Spiced Chocolate, is riding along in my bag from now on.

We also popped in to Beeyond the Hive, a darling retail outlet for the 100-year-old Johnston Honey Farm, and came away with a small bottle of local Alfalfa Honey. Mr. Nake-id even offered up our place as a bee ranch. We're hoping it passes muster and that next spring, we'll have our own herd.

What all of these goodies have in common is good old American energy and entrepreneurship; these items were produced by the kind of small businesses most of us identify as such. These are people who have chosen to live in a place where the economy is small, but they are finding ways to make it work.

Inspiring, isn't it? Certainly turned some Nake-id wheels over here. And devilishly easy to support.



Local tomato

Look at that fat, bulbous globe, ruddy as a drunk. And grown at 8,000 feet. By rights at this elevation it should be a stunted yellow ball.

The tomato comes from Meredith, who's been haying at the ranch. Meredith is the mother of 29 alpacas, seven goats, five chickens and four dogs. She has animals, we have grass, so this week she's been busy raking and hauling hay back to her growing herd. (A couple of the girls got themselves in the family way when "Mother" wasn't looking.)

Enroute to the ranch she stops at a neighbor's organic garden, who opens it to friends to have their pick. She's loaded us up with tender red-leaf lettuce, peppery arugala, miniature cucumbers and porky tomatoes--all tasting like earth, water and sun.

Now if we could only get our recalcitrant green fruits to ripen at home.