Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Zip Me Up, Jaque


Mind the peasants. They have jackets.


From the French for jaque, a kind of tunic, possibly based on the generic term for French peasants. Maybe even some of your more distant relatives.

A short, tight-fitting, sleeved coat, waist-length to hip-length, worn on the upper body, as is proper for such garments. If only a shell, it keeps out wind and some cold by forming a bubble of retained, body-heated air next to the body, but can just as well be insulated. May also be breathable, non-breathable, windproof, waterproof, or a combination. Or not. Confused yet?

Example: Jane put on her jacket to keep out mosquitoes and found that it worked. Since it was camo, she instantly became invisible.

And...The outer skin of a potato, sometimes worn as clothing, if the potato is big enough, though less useful in bear country.


See tabs at the top for definitions and books.
Have anything worth adding? Then try
Me? Recently drenched in butter and covered with sour cream. The cat now likes me. Worse has happened.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Instant Coffee

Instant Coffee

1) An industrial food having "speed of preparation and long shelf life" but few other redeeming qualities.

2) Dehydrated coffee that can be brewed simply by adding hot water.

3) The beverage variant of freeze-dried food, but not made from pet droppings. Made instead from the dried body fluids of ticks and fleas removed from pets that have been misbehaving.

The bugs are first separated from the target animals and squashed.

After that, the solid parts (feelers, eye stalks, scratchy little feet, shells, and abdominal plates) are removed, and the resulting fluids are dried.

No matter how bad it tastes, it's still high in caffeine, and that's the point. Since this product contains no water whatsoever, it is a useful backpacking food, or a food-like substance, or a drug, or whatever it is.*

The best way of consuming instant coffee is to take a deep breath, put a tablespoonful of the powder on your tongue, and then wash it down with warm water before you resume breathing, or before you start retching, whichever comes first.

If done properly, you won't have to taste a thing but will still get a nice buzz. Which may, of course, turn out to be incipient esophageal Lyme disease.

* Word on the street is that caffeine was developed by plants as an insecticide, so if you're drinking this stuff, it came from bugs that were, however briefly, insecticide addicts.


See tabs at the top for definitions and books.
Have anything worth adding? Then try
Me? Not instantly tasty either.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Half Bench

Half Bench

This is a stretch of trail where half the width of the trail tread (the uphill part) is dug out of the original hillside and the outside half of the trail tread is created with the excavated material, which then gets compacted to make it walkable. (And safe, mostly.)

The finished trail tread is part original hillside and part fill, doncha see. This is a way of creating trail tread consisting of equal parts dirt and good intentions. Hard to get right. But then there are sometimes big immovable objects in the way, so what else can you do?

A half bench trail is built half on firm old ground and half on new packed fill, and is a good fit for half-fast hikers.


See tabs at the top for definitions and books.
Have anything worth adding? Then try
Me? Recently unearthed. Again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Glacial Drift

Glacial Drift

Ice dandruff. Frost droppings. Phase-change dust bunnies.

What glaciers leave behind when they become airborne.

It can be anything, but — wouldn't you know — it's most likely to be sand, gravel, gritty sludge, cobbles, small boulders, medium boulders, large boulders, and giant boulders.

Some of this stuff comes from whatever it is that a glacier is pushing around, some falls into streams flowing under a glacier, some collects in ponds or lakes near or beneath a glacier, a certain amount comes from a glacier's back, and, that.

"Glacial till" (another name for this stuff) falls directly out of the ice (as it melts, just before it gets all liquid and runs away downhill or before it evaporates into the sky and flies away on teenytiny molecular wings), and so glacial till isn't nicely layered or sorted by size and weight the way stream debris is by water flowing at different speeds.

And, what's more (Yay! Love this stuff! Free facts!), even in otherwise glaciated country there are areas without drift, such as the southwestern quarter of Wisconsin, a pretty heavily glaciated state (and home of the Ice Age Trail, for crying out loud). There, in the southwest, undisturbed streams have sluiced, ice-free, for hundreds of millions of years and have cut the landscape into myriads of narrow ancient valleys and ridges. And there is no glacial drift at all, because the land there has never been invaded by glaciers. True! Ever so true!



See tabs at the top for definitions and books.
Have anything worth adding? Then try
Me? Just got my semi-annual scraping. Feels good.