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Elinor, Margaret and Mrs. Dashwood

Elinor, Margaret and Mrs. Dashwood

This has been an amazing September weekend. Oh, what’s that you say? It’s November? That makes it even more amazing. It is 70F/21C as I type this on a late Sunday afternoon. We still have not had a temperature at or below freezing and one is not in the forecast for the coming week. The latest freeze date in recorded Minnesota history happened on November 8, 1900. We are set to smash the record. We are also set to have the longest growing season on record. Anomaly? It is hard to believe it since October marked the 15th consecutive month of above average temperatures here in Minnesota. I am beginning to suspect we don’t know what normal or average is any longer.


In the garden the fava beans are still going strong. I have mums still blooming and calendula flowers blooming and putting on new buds and marigolds too. Some of the asters were still blooming until earlier in the week but they have all bloomed out now and are beginning to go dormant. I have carrot seeds that I planted in the spring that didn’t sprout that are sprouting now.

Added to that, it has been a bad week for allergies. Usually by this time everything is frozen and I can put my allergy medication away until spring. Whatever is in the air right now has me sneezing, my skin creepy-crawly, and my eyes itchy and burning. Until this past week I had really been enjoying the extended warm autumn but with this latest allergy attack I want it to freeze already and be done. My immune system is tired and needs a break.

The Dashwoods have no idea what winter is. They live their happy, simple lives and take things as they come. They get excited to be let out of the run and into the garden or when they get a treat, they like gathering around my feet and talking to me, and now all of them push their way in front of me when I am kneeling in the garden pulling out weeds and dead plants. Bookman was having a good laugh at their helpfulness today.



Earlier in the week they discovered the sunchokes. Some of them had spread out into a garden path and they had been scratching and digging around them. One of them uncovered a root and they quickly discovered that sunchokes are tasty. So they kept digging and found more. Thus far they have only been digging for them in the path and haven’t actually gone into the bed to dig. I dug some up myself and Bookman is going to boil them up and mash them like potatoes as part of dinner tonight. This will be the first time we have had them. The patch was big enough to harvest from last year but the ground froze faster than expected and I didn’t get a chance to dig any up. This year is a different story, I just had to get my share before the Dashwoods got them!

sidewalk-leavesLast night Bookman and I watched Leonardo DiCaprio’s climate change documentary, Before the Flood. It was very good and is free to stream online at National Geographic and on YouTube. For a critique of the film from Rob Hoskins, someone who is part of the transition movement and has been working on climate change issues for a long time, see his blog post about it.

As for me, I have many thoughts about the film and DiCaprio, and Bookman and I had some discussion about each of our perspectives. I personally didn’t learn anything new from the film but what it did do for me was give me visuals of things I had only ever read about. The visuals made it all so much worse and I had to stifle a sob a few times during the film. When it was over I felt devastated. I still do. Now anger and grief and cynicism are bubbling up and fighting it out with optimism and hope. The scary thing is, I don’t know who is going to win.

Before the Flood is an hour and a half long. Watch it as soon as you get the chance. And afterwards, if you need someone to talk to about it, feel free to click my email link over there on the sidebar.


Cycling this week was lots of hard work. Tuesday I had a virtual group ride with some other female cyclists up Zwift Mountain. Wednesday I did a time trial race again and came it sixth out of seven. The race is on a mostly flat course and the fifth place guy beat me by one second but his average power was less than mine. I asked a coach I know on Zwift about how this works and what I was doing wrong and she said on a flat course my weight, which is significantly less than the men, is a disadvantage. On a flat course it is all about who can put out the most raw power, not about power per kilogram. In other words, my 170 watts — equal to 3 w/kg for me — is pretty much always going to get beat by the guy putting out 200 watts even if that equals only 2.7 w/kg for him. Unless we race by weight class, the coach told me, it will never be a very fair matchup.

zwift-bigwheelOh well. Good thing my ego and self esteem aren’t dependent on winning any of these races. I pretty much see them as pacing practice and a workout with extra motivation. And at least I didn’t come in last!

Speaking of workout, I had a super hard two-hour workout Saturday that I combined with a contest Zwift is currently having. Ride 100 km/ 62 miles and be entered to win a trip to Long Beach California in December to help Zwift distribute big wheels to kids. As part of the fun of the challenge, my avatar got to ride her own “z-wheel.” After my horrendously hard workout I had to ride another 30 miles but at least I got to do it at an easy pace.