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We had snow Friday! Not much, just a dusting but it was snow. We got very lucky as the big winter storm that edged by Minneapolis was a blizzard to our west and north. Today the temperature didn’t even get above freezing. Everything that had survived the light frost last weekend is now dead. Gardening season is done for the year.

And just in time, I received the first gardening catalog for 2017. So much fun to look through and begin dreaming for next year. It is especially fun because I learned the other day that radish seed pods are edible. I had no idea! If you have ever let radishes go to seed, you know they get lots and lots of small pods on them that hold the seeds. These pods, while they are still green, can be eaten fresh, added to a stir fry, and even pickled. They have the same flavor as the variety of radish that produced them but milder. And, there is even a radish that is grown just for its seed pods — rat’s tail radish.

Why have I never come across this bit of information before? In all the garden books I have read, all the gardening websites, all the gardening shows, never has this been mentioned. I don’t even remember how I came across it on the internet, it was a random discovery. Now I am super excited because I love radishes! And there are always radishes in my garden that get missed and/or don’t form roots and flower and go to seed. Next year I will be eating those lovely and abundant seed pods!

The Dashwoods are ready for winter. They are looking especially fluffy lately, putting on warm down underneath their feathers. Their water is now sitting on a warming pad that keeps it from freezing. The heat lamp we used to keep them warm when they were chicks is now hanging from a rafter inside the coop. It is not cold enough to need that yet. It is plugged in to a socket that has a thermostat so the lamp will turn on when the temperature in the coop drops to 20F/-6C and turn off when it warms to just above freezing. We will be adding a timer so it will only heat at night. When they are up and active during the day, they will be able to keep warm just fine except for the very coldest of days when we will, of course, have the heat on for them.

With the light snow the other day we learned we need to get a clear plastic tarp to put up on part of the run to block wind and snow from blowing in on the Dashwoods. Yesterday and today they have been out in the garden all day, roaming and scratching. The ground isn’t frozen yet so they are still plenty busy and so very happy to be out and about. They do not like it one bit that they no longer get to roam during the week. When I get home from work it is getting dark and they are starting the think about going to bed.

I must be feeling a little guilty about this as last night I had a dream that I heard a ruckus out in the chicken garden. I put on my coat and boots and walked out into a deeply snow covered garden to find the Dashwoods had gotten out of their run. I was astonished because the run door was closed and locked with a combination lock, how did they? I looked at them running around and scratching in the snow and asked Mrs. Dashwood, “How did you get out?” And she told me. I don’t remember what she said, only that she spoke to me in English with a bit of a condescending tone and all I could say was, “Oh.” My dream self was not at all surprised that Mrs. Dashwood could talk, nor that she spoke perfect English.

My silly girls have still not learned to roost. They continue to pile into their favorite corner like a litter of puppies. It means they feel safe enough to not roost up off the ground for fear of predators. This is good, but it also makes keeping the coop clean a bit more work. Chickens poo a lot at night. If they slept on the roost we could put trays under the roost that we could remove and clean off into the compost bin and reuse over and over. But since they pile up into a corner and make themselves a cozy nest in the bedding, we have to clean out that corner once or twice a week and replace the bedding.

Bookman says they just need to be shown what the roost is for. He says I should climb into the coop and show them how it’s done. I say that’s taking being Mama Hen a bit too far. They can figure it our for themselves and if they don’t, well, we just spend a bit more on pine shavings than we expected.

Cycling

Astrid is firmly ensconced on the trainer for the duration. She still gets plenty of attention, we just aren’t outdoors anymore. It’s time to test new ride snacks and how much food and water I need for different kinds of rides. Time to test my strength, build fitness and put down foundation miles to increase endurance. Also time to work more with my free weights and do those core strengthening exercises I love so much (that last bit is dripping with sarcasm in case it isn’t obvious).

Time too to have a little fun. This coming week is a Zwift stage race with a time trial lap on all three of Zwift’s courses. The event takes place over several days. Two of the stages involve hills and only one is flat. Plus, there are other women racing so my disadvantages of being a smaller rider will be lessened. But at the same time my advantages will be too. The final stage is Thursday (Thanksgiving) morning before I stuff myself with enchiladas and pumpkin pie. Should be fun!

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