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Maple leaf on my deck

Maple leaf on my deck

We are on a weather rollercoaster right now as the season changes from summer to fall. The leaf-watching color report has become a regular weather feature. We haven’t progressed much here in the Twin Cities but up north is beginning to look pretty.

Mrs Dashwood cracks us up on a regular basis. She gets so intensely focused on scratching and looking for morsels that she doesn’t notice the other three have wandered away to another part of the garden. When she finally looks up she is alone and has no idea where everyone went. Instead of going to look for them, she stays put and gets worried. Then she makes this call that sounds kind of like a goose honk that is super loud. We imagine she is yelling, “Hey! Where’d everybody go?” Most of the time the rest of them are too busy to pay attention and ignore her — kind of like when you were a kid out playing in the evening with the rest of the kids on the block and it’s starting to get late and you hear your mom calling but see how long you can ignore her before she gets mad.

Marianne and Mrs. Dashwood

Marianne and Mrs. Dashwood


What generally happens is she keeps going on and on which prompts me or Bookman to go outside to make sure everything is okay. Then she comes running over to complain about how she is being ignored. And then the other three scurry over and begin chattering about how they are all there and were just about to come over if only Mrs. Dashwood had waited another second or two. Eventually Mrs. Dashwood stops scolding because here they all are, back together again. And then they wander off in pairs or as a whole group.

Margaret

Margaret

All four of them are laying. Margaret’s eggs a medium brown and I am hard pressed to tell the difference between hers and Mrs. Dashwood’s. Marianne and Margaret aren’t very regular yet so we generally end up with about three eggs a day. They still aren’t full-sized eggs though. It’s harder work to lay an egg than I expected it would be and it seems to take awhile once one of them gets in there and hunkers down. When she is done she comes out of the coop clucking loudly to let eveyone know she laid an egg. If the rest of the Dashwoods are around they join in and it sounds like they are congratulating the layer and having a little celebration party — you go girl!

Bookman and I have been enjoying Alan Titchmarsh Love Your Garden, a BBC show that makes us cry every time. The premise of the show is Alan and Co. go in and turn a mess of a garden into something beautiful and meaningful. The lucky person is nominated by friends or family and always has a story — a vetern who lost both his legs in Afghanistan, a 90-year-old woman who was a Land Army Girl and can no longer bend over to tend the bends — that kind of thing.

Virgins bower

Virgins bower


It is so much fun to watch the transformation because Alan and his team are incredibly creative. Like in one show they turned an old five-drawer file cabinet into a planter. Take out all the drawers, lay it on its side, paint it and fill it with soil and plant it up. Bookman and I got excited by this because we have an old file cabinet. So now we are thinking we might transform it into a planter next spring for our deck. We have also been inspired to reconsider the layout of the vegetable garden which has become a hodge-podge of mostly randomly shaped beds as we have expanded things over the years. We are full of ambition now, but we’ll see how ambitious we are once it is time to begin the actual work! Unlike Alan we don’t have a big team of helpers, just ourselves and the Dashwoods.

Cycling

No outdoor cycling adventure this weekend. My allergies are so terrible right now I stayed indoors and rode on the trainer. Next weekend, however, I am planning a ride to Marine on St Croix and William O’Brien State Park.

While I was riding on the trainer Saturday I watched a great documentary on netflix called Inspired to Ride. It was about the Trans Am Bike Race during its inaugural year. The route begins in Astoria, Orgeon and follows the transamerica bike route across the country concluding 4300 miles/6,920 km later in Yorktown, Virginia. The race is unsupported, meaning you don’t get a support team to make your food or carry your gear or extra bikes or clothes or anything. It’s just you and your own resources (you are allowed to buy food and camp or stay in hotels or get repairs done at a bike shop along the way). It’s pretty crazy and amazing and inspiring. Also, it made me cringe too as the riders talked about all the pain they were in but at the same time I totally understood why they kept going. The winner that year completed the race in a little over 18 days.

Bookman asked me if I wanted to do the race. While I admit there is something appealing in the challenge, I think I would rather do the route as a tour instead of a race that way there would be time to enjoy the gorgeous scenery. That’s what I say now. I have the right to change my mind later. If you want to know what ultra-distance cycling is like and what kind of people do it, give the movie a watch. It’s only about an hour and a half of your time and maybe you will be inspired to ride.

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