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Waldo and Dickens on vacation

Waldo and Dickens on vacation

One week of vacation down, one more to go. What have I been doing? Waldo and Dickens over there give some indication. My legs are beneath the quilt and they are laying on them. We are all three on my reading chaise. This is the good life.

One of the things I have been doing on my reading chaise is going through the pile of gardening books I borrowed from the library. At this point in my gardening life garden books have reached the point of being repetitive. Knew that. Knew that too. Oh yup, also knew that. It gets hard to find and learn anything new. But I keep trying. Sometimes I do learn something interesting. Like, did you know that beets, spinach and swiss chard are all in the beet family? Or that when garden space is limited, potatoes give you more calories and nutrition per square foot than any other vegetable? I also learned that building a wind turbine in my backyard will never happen. It has to be 100 feet away from any other structure and at least 30 feet taller. Like the city or the neighbors would ever let me put that up!

I have also been sorting through the chicken books I requested from the library. I figured out which one I decided I wanted to buy last February, A Chicken in Every Yard. I also found The Chicken Whisperer’s Guide to Keeping Chickens has some good advice in it. However Chicken in Every Yard is the best comprehensive book and includes everything from raising chicks to caring for sick birds.

Since I was thinking about chickens, I checked in at Egg Plant Urban Farm Supply to see if they had anything up about ordering chickens yet. They do!. I can order my chicks as soon as the end of February. Crikey that isn’t that far away! Way back I had thought we’d get two buff orpingtons and two australorps but, as much as I love the way the orpingtons look, so big and fluffy and pleasingly round, they seem a bit too docile. I want chickens with more curiosity and who like to forage and I didn’t want to worry about the orpingtons getting picked on by others. So, at the moment we are planning on two australorps and two Rhode Island reds. Of course, until I actually place the order, I might change my mind again.

Amaranth seeds

Amaranth seeds

Back at the end of September I cut off all the amaranth flowerheads, bagged them up and brought them indoors to dry. They’ve been hanging out in the basement since then. Today Bookman and I finally decided it was time to start doing something about harvesting the grain. It’s a process and the seeds are tiny but as a first try with amaranth we are pretty pleased. We haven’t finished yet, but we expect we’ll be able to fill the jar. Next year we aren’t going to plant corn so there will be more room to grow more amaranth, both red and gold varieties.

Amaranth chaff in the snow

Amaranth chaff in the snow

Which leads me to something else I did: seed inventory. I went through all my seed packets to see what I have, what varieties did well, what didn’t what I want to order again, that sort of thing. Then I went through the seed catalogs and marked what to reorder and of course had to mark a few other things new to try. I also decided that next year I have to be better at saving seeds so I don’t have to reorder so many. I make it a point to buy heirloom and open-pollinated varieties so I can save the seeds but then I rarely do mostly because I want to eat them and begrudge letting peas and beans go to seed and setting aside the biggest heads of garlic to replant in the fall. I’ll be placing my seed order mid-January so I still have time to revise what I want. Once the order is placed, I’ll let you know what yummy things will be going into the garden come spring!

On the cycling front, I rode 100 miles/161 km yesterday. It took me five hours and eighteen minutes to do it and my legs complained the last ten miles, but by golly, I did it! When the odometer clicked over to 100 I cried a little from happiness over my accomplishment, because my legs were hurting so bad, and from relief over being able to stop. I thought when I stopped pedaling my legs would stop hurting but as soon as I climbed off Astrid they started hurting even more! After stretching and walking around for ten minutes the pain went away and I was just plain tired. Today there are no lingering effects and the pain is a vague memory, so vague I am actually looking forward to doing it again sometime!

But not yet. Because now I am going to try my legs on virtual racing as well as a six-week structured workout program for building fitness. Astrid and I don’t necessarily like being stuck indoors, but Zwift is working out well for both of us.

One more thing before I go this evening. That essay site I’ve mentioned a few times? It is now live! Stop by Vocalis if you feel so inclined. Let me know what you think. And if you have an essay of your own you would like to publish, send it over! All the information including the email address is there.

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