It was a cool, rainy week and we even had snow mixed in with the rain one day. And sleet. We had sleet too. But in spite of the snow and sleet, temperatures remain above freezing. There are still trees with leaves. This week temperatures are going to hover around 60F/15C with a few days forecast to be warmer. It’s really crazy how mild it has been. In the just over twenty years I have lived in the Twin Cities, I don’t recall it ever being this warm at this time of the year even when there was an el niño.

With this long mild autumn, the sorrel has regrown and is looking even nicer than it did in the spring. Bookman has plans to make some pesto to enjoy with dinner one night this week. The chard is still going too. And that’s really it, nothing else in the garden any longer except the turnips which will also be made into dinner sometime during the week. If I had known it was going to be so mild this late I would have planted some late season peas and radishes. Too late now. I will have to work on my psychic abilities for next year though so I don’t miss another wonderful opportunity.

Bookman had the entire week off from work and had planned on working on the chicken coop. That did not happen because of the rain. Today, however, was quite comfortable so we spent several hours outside working on it.

Making progress!

Making progress!

We gave up trying to prime all the boards before building with them because it kept raining or was going to rain and they never had time enough for the paint to dry. It isn’t a big deal really, the wood is all treated. The primer is so we can paint the coop later and is easier to get on when you just have a flat board to paint and no corners and angles. But if we continued painting we were never going to be able to start building and building was more important. So.

We got all the upright supports done, the top cross supports for the walls and roof, and the supports for the coop floor. Next step is to figure out how to frame the roof. It’s coming along and we are having fun making it and feeling rather proud of ourselves especially since we have never done anything like this before. Now that we are really making progress, it is beginning to feel like we really are going to have chickens.

Eventually the weather will get too cold for us to work outside and then we will have to start thinking about where the chickens will live indoors. We will be getting them in March as chicks just a few days old and they will have to live in the house under a heat lamp for a while and even when they don’t need the lamp anymore they will still need to live indoors until they get all their feathers and it is warm enough for them to safely move outside, probably around the end of May. So they need a place to live that is big enough and safe from the sure to be curious Waldo and Dickens. We have a few months to get that worked out.

Since there isn’t much to do in the garden any longer, I have picked Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek back up. I wanted to share a thought that caught my attention:

beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do it try to be there.


Biking until I'm nothing but bones

Biking until I’m nothing but bones

I am very much enjoying riding Astrid indoors hooked up to the smart trainer. This week for Halloween, the folks at Zwift had a little fun and and turned all the avatars into skeletons. We all had little scarves on our heads that matched the color and pattern of our jerseys when we had flesh on our bones. They also added jack-o-lanterns on the roadside throughout the course. It was pretty fun. I wonder if we might all get Santa hats for Christmas? Or maybe our bikes will turn into reindeer?

Anyway, they recently added structured workouts as a beta feature. The one workout everyone is trying is the FTP, functional threshold power. It’s a “test” to find out how much power per weight you can maintain for twenty minutes of going all out. They structure it so you get ten minutes of warmup at a cadence of 90 rpm and then you do about twenty minutes of riding at various watts (power is measured in watts), and then you do twenty minutes all out with nice messages telling things like, you are halfway there if you aren’t struggling you should try to go up ten watts. At first I thought, no way but I’ll try. And I did it and it was hard but not as hard as I thought it would be.

After the twenty minutes is over there is ten minutes of cool down riding. Then you get your FTP. I was hoping for 160 but got 157. It will serve as a baseline for training. I will check back with the FTP workout in three months and see if I have improved at all. It’s my understanding that FTP works better than maximum heart rate for training purposes. I will have to do some research to figure out how to use that number and improve it.

I did read a really good book published by Bicycling magazine called The Bicycling Big Book of Cycling for Women. It has all kinds of general stuff about cycling like the different types of riding and the kinds of bikes and lots of good stuff specific to women like core/strength training exercises, nutrition, and how our hormones affect performance because they do and it isn’t our imagination. Very informative I thought. It’s a good book for novice to intermediate level cyclists, is written by a woman, and is encouraging and motivating as well as fun.

You know you have fallen in love with a sport when you read books about it. I’m pretty sure I’m a goner.