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Hello! Hello! Hello! How is everyone doing? Remember to take time to unplug and relax. You can’t be on all the time, you can’t do all the things, and there is no reason to feel bad or guilty about that. Ok? Take a breath and have a cat photo:

sleeping-cats

Feel a little calmer now? Good.

The grow lights have arrived and I unpacked them to find one of them is broken. So that has to be returned to the home improvement store and a new one ordered. Good thing I don’t need them right away, nor do I need two right away. But this is why I plan ahead! The seed starting begins next weekend with peppers and those will need the heating mat to get started. By the time I need two grow lights, the replacement should have arrived.

Hopefully.

The weather has turned unseasonably warm. Yesterday and today it was 40F/4C! The snow is melting but the ground is still pretty frozen except for the surface. This means puddles everywhere that then freeze at night. Walking to the bus stop in the dark tomorrow morning is going to be an adventure!

The Dashwoods are happy, happy, happy. While they don’t like the snow, they don’t mind mud and cold puddles one bit. They look like chickens but they might be ducks. The snow in the garden in some places is gone or is only a thin crust so they have gotten to range a bit further than the garden path. There are no bugs about yet, but that has not kept them from doing their chicken thing and scratching in the mud.

Even though the snow is melting, they still come up onto the deck and look in the window. Elinor actually got a foot in the door, she was following that close and fast behind me today. She was not at all pleased to be pushed back out onto the deck.

Bookman was taking video of them hanging out in front of the glass door and Dickens obliged in adding some excitement by slinking in for a close encounter.

As you can see, the Dashwoods don’t give a rip about Dickens.

Even though the daytime temperatures all week are supposed to be at or above freezing, winter isn’t over yet. Still, this hint of early spring with some bright sunshine has me feeling nearly giddy with excitement and garden anticipation. Will the bulbs we planted on the green roof of the coop come up? Did any of the perennials on the green roof survive? How many zucchinis should we plant this year? When will I be able to get out and start rearranging the garden beds? So much to do! It will be nice to not have to worry about building a chicken coop this year.

In spite of the warm weather, it still isn’t quite nice enough to go out for long bike rides. That means it was a long day on the trainer yesterday to begin getting ready for the MN RAAM Challenge. Even though I have a 12-week training plan from a book for a 200 mile/322 km race, I have decided to start training now. Not hard, just a gradual increase in time and distance so that when I do hit twelve weeks out I will be further along. My goal is not only to finish the race, but to finish strong.

The end of a long ride

The end of a long ride

With that in mind, I rode for 6 1/2 hours and managed 120.5 miles/194 km. Yes I was tired when it was over but I wasn’t completely out of oomph, a good sign! I kept myself from getting bored by listening to a podcast on women in cycling and when that was over, I had my workout playlist shuffling in iTunes. For a good long time in the middle of it all I completely space out.

I was in a tired, painful but giddy place around mile 110/177 km when I got a direct text message from a 23-year-old guy whose avatar I had just passed telling me I was badass. If anyone had been around to see me, I had a huge grin on my face. I texted him back my thanks. I had been starting to drag but his text was a real pick-me-up and the last miles practically flew by. A good, solid ride.

Yes, this is my idea of fun.

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