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Big leafed aster

Big leafed aster

We had frost! Two weeks late but, hey, who’s counting? One of the best things about frost? My allergies are pretty much over. It will be another week or two before they are completely gone, but the worst has passed. I can’t begin to say what a relief this is. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you will completely understand.

The frost happened Friday night/Saturday morning. Friday evening after work I took a bowl out to the garden and picked a bunch of very green tomatoes, a small lemon squash, a few beets and brussels sprouts. If this were early October we would have simply covered the tomatoes, but seeing as how we had frost last night too and except for a surprise warm day here and there, it is not going to be warm enough going forward for the tomatoes to get ripe. So I picked them. Bookman is going to either make green tomato salsa or fried green tomatoes, he hasn’t decided which yet.

The kale survived the frost as did the turnips and chard. The asters and the mum are still going too. Everything else is done. Gardening now turns into pulling the dead vegetable plants and stuffing them into the compost bin and cutting back some of the perennials. Also seed saving. Also harvesting the pumpkins, amaranth and sunchokes. I am so looking forward to trying the sunchokes. One of the pumpkins that was done early Bookman cooked up last weekend and turned into pumpkin butter. It tastes just like pumpkin pie on my toast! We still have lots of apples to cook too. Today Bookman made apple spice muffins. Fall is definitely one of the most delicious times of the year!

I had completely forgotten what we had planted in the new little bed on our boulevard in

Aromatic aster

Aromatic aster

the spring and early in the week was pleasantly surprised to see a bunch of beautiful purple asters blooming in it. I might have even exclaimed, where did those come from? I had to check my new plant list for the year and, what do you know? I planted them! They are symphyotrichum oblongifolium, aromatic aster. I love a good garden surprise.

Chicken coop progress

Chicken coop progress

We began building up on the chicken coop today and were making good progress until the battery in the drill prematurely died. We took a break for it to recharge and even though it indicated it was fully charged, it did not last long at all. Since this is the only drill we have, we had to stop work sooner than we wanted. Very disappointing since it turned out to be such a gorgeous day. We’ve had the drill for quite a few years so I guess the battery has sustained as many recharges as it could. Time for a new battery. We will get one sometime during the week and have it charged up and ready to go by the weekend.

Biking

Last weekend I ordered a smart trainer. A smart trainer is a contraption I fit my bike on for indoor riding. The smart part is that the trainer connects to my computer and I can watch video and ride routes around the world in the comfort of my own home. When the road goes up, the trainer will make it hard to pedal my bike. That’s how it is supposed to work anyway. I was hoping it would be delivered by yesterday so I could set it up and try it out, but it won’t be here until tomorrow.

Which means I had to bundle up and ride out into the frosty morning. Now the only warm cycling kit I have invested in are arm warmers, a windbreaker and gloves. These would keep my torso and hands warm enough but my legs, not so much. I have warm clothes that I have biked in before. Seven years ago, before my current job, I used to bike commute to work year round. It was only a three mile/4.8 km ride so I didn’t need special bike clothing, I just needed to be warm when it was ten below (-23C). No need for the thermal underwear Saturday, but I pulled out my fleece ear warming headband and my knit leg warmers.

Cycling fashionista

Cycling fashionista

I am not worried about being aerodynamic so I was not concerned about the knit leg warmers slowing me down. However, if you have ever seen actual cycling leg warmers, they are usually sleek and black and spandex and they have grippers that hold them up. My leg warmers? Not so sleek. Also, gripper-free so to keep them up I had to tuck them under the grippers on the bottom of my bike shorts. A bit unconventional but no big deal. However, my leg warmers are not black. Oh no, they are a snazzy gray with blue and black stripes and scream, dork! When it is freezing cold and blowing snow in your face you don’t care about looking like a dork, you only care about not going down on a patch of ice. Plus anyone who bikes in the winter in Minnesota is automatically awarded “badass” status no matter what their kit looks like.

Not once during the summer did I think, hmm maybe I should buy some leg warmers for when it gets cold. And now it is too late. So I pulled on my striped knits and ventured out feeling a bit embarrassed. To my surprise, there were hardly any cyclists out. By the time I began seeing more cyclists I had been out for close to two hours and was happy as could be with warm legs and no longer really caring what I looked like. I felt so good I actually decided that everyone who saw me must be jealous of my stripes. Far from being a dork I am a cycling fashion trendsetter!

I didn’t want to ride out to the park reserve like I did the last couple of weekends so I decided to do the training route I had been riding most of the summer. Except I rode it in the opposite direction. If you ever want to freak out your body and your brain, such a thing is highly recommended. I was tired in all the wrong places and my brain did not know where I was in the ride since the landmarks were well known but they came during different parts of the ride than usual. My hilly segment came after the halfway mark instead of before. While my legs were more tired than usual at that point, I also didn’t have to worry about moderating my pace very much so I would have energy left for the rest of the ride. It was all so strange, but fun.

I have no idea what to expect for the weather next weekend. At this point long outdoor rides are wait and see. But I will have my trainer by then so if I decide I don’t want to be a fashion diva with my striped leg warmers I will have an alternate way to ride.

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