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Seed starting time!

Seed starting time!

What an amazing weather weekend it has been! Yesterday it was sunny and 63F/17C and today it is sunny and 57F/14C! It is record setting warmth for this time of year. The sliding glass door onto the deck has been open all day yesterday and today. Fresh air in the house is so very good. I feel like I should be out mucking around in the garden but the ground is still frozen beneath the very top layer and with all the melting snow and ice it is squishy and muddy. So I did some indoor gardening — seed starting!

I took the paper pots I made and the bag of seed starting soil out to the deck and filled up the pots. The Dashwoods all had to take turns coming by to inspect my work. The seeds I am starting are all peppers — two kinds of bell peppers as well as jalapeno, cayenne, paprika, and pepperoncini. I sprouted all of these last year and they started well but came to an early end, some through over watering and some from the shock of going outside too soon and not being properly acclimated first — my bad. Hopefully this year I will have better luck. I have my new heating mat sitting beneath the tray and warming the soil, not having to clear off the top of the refrigerator and then forgetting they are up there and tossing a bag of corn chips on them will also help them grow better too I am certain.

Mrs. Dashwood with Elinor & Margaret's butts

Mrs. Dashwood with Elinor & Margaret’s butts

Now I have to make a bunch more paper pots because in two weeks I will be starting tomatoes. I think I have some other seeds to start then too, basil and shiso and I don’t know what else. I will have to check all of my seed packets to make sure. I can’t remember everything, though by now you’d think I would!

The Dashwoods have been out and about all day yesterday and today and loving life. They are so happy for the sun and melting snow I have not told them that there might be rain tomorrow and more snow by the end of the week. Let them enjoy the moment!

Marianne enjoying some cabbage

Marianne enjoying some cabbage

Even with the snow mostly gone, the chickens come up onto the deck and look in the screen door. They can see and hear us and they come hoping for a handout. Waldo and Dickens have both come face to face with a Dashwood through the screen door this weekend. The chickens may not weigh as much as the cats, but in height and wingspan they are big and intimidating. Mrs. Dashwood was stretching and flapped her wings and sent both cats running scared to hide under the bed.

The weather is perfect for a bike ride but the trails are still icy in places and the roads are covered in grit and debris significantly increasing the odds of a tire puncture. So Saturday morning I participated in a virtual women’s race on Zwift. Out of the 55 women racing I came in 17th overall and 6th in my category. I was really pleased especially when I saw I finished only two seconds out of third in my category. There is another women’s race in two weeks when I will see if I can improve.

After the race, I biked another 63 miles/101 km for a total of 80 miles/129 km yesterday. An easy day! I am beginning to get a reputation among online cycling friends who, when they see me riding on Saturdays, text me to ask if I am doing 100+ miles. Next time I will be as I plan on doing a “double metric,” or 200 km (124 miles).

Elinor in the mud

Elinor in the mud

But that is nothing compared to what another Zwift woman is currently doing. She is trying to set the Zwift distance record by riding 1011 miles/1627 km in 72 hours. The record was set by a man in the fall who did 1010 miles in 72 hours. She began riding yesterday and after 29 hours 45 minutes has ridden 634 miles/1020 km. I keep checking in on her and giving her encouragement. Later this evening I am hoping to find her on the Zwift course and ride with her for an hour or so to offer a bit of support. When you are going that long, it isn’t just the body that gets fatigued. So much of athletics I am learning is mental and if your brain starts telling you that you are tired and can’t keep going then you are doomed even if your muscles tell you otherwise.

It’s so exciting to see a woman make this attempt. Bookman wants to know when I am going to try it. Um, never! Was my answer. Seriously, 72 hours of riding. I am not great at sleep deprivation. I’m planning on riding the Powderhorn 24 in 2018 with a friend and I am already freaking out about it. The race runs from 7 p.m. one day to 7 p.m the next day. I am not a night person and the idea of riding all night has me worried. But the person who is going to be riding with me is a night person so maybe we can ride as a team and I can sleep (they have a sleeping area) while he rides during the night and then take over in the early morning. Well, we have over a year to plan it out. Stay tuned!