Confused witch hazel

I am beginning to wonder if Elinor is misnamed, if perhaps I should have called her Fanny Dashwood instead or maybe even Mrs. Ferrars.

The weather today is windy but warm enough to be out in light layers. Longing to do something in the garden, I put on my wellies and gloves, grabbed the pruners and strolled out to survey the area. Within seconds I was surrounded by eager Dashwoods. They helped me cut back hyssop and wild bergamot, prune the climbing rose and clear a bit of grass away from the gooseberries.

Last fall, Elinor proved herself to be a good garden companion, helping me weed and snapping up bugs and worms that were disturbed in the process. She would stand in front of me, watching carefully and waiting. Perhaps winter has made her cranky or she’s become more bold and so suffers from an unattractive impertinence. Whatever the cause, she no longer waits patiently for me to move my hands out of the way. Oh no. If I take too long pulling something out, she pecks my hand. Hard.

Pepper sprouts

Yes, I am wearing gloves, thank goodness. However, she still managed to give me a couple of punctures and several bruises. If I yell and flap my wounded hand at her she squawks and flaps her wings in my face. She has been pecking at Bookman for the last month or so when he is cleaning the run or trying wrangle all of them into the coop for the night. I thought it was kind of funny, a bit of self-assertion. After today’s gardening, I have stopped laughing.

Elinor’s gardening behavior is a bit of over excitement and impatience. Nothing, I hope, that I need to worry about but I will be keeping alert to make sure it doesn’t morph into aggressive behavior. With Bookman, since I am not there, it is hard to tell. It could be when he is cleaning a matter of curiosity and when he is wrangling them to bed it is likely because she doesn’t want to go into the coop yet for the night. Still, something to watch. Apparently, if it becomes aggressive, we are to “peck” back by poking her in the chest or on top of her head.

Tomato sprouts

As I was out in the garden I noticed the shrubs and trees all having buds swelling up on them getting ready for when it truly becomes warm. So exciting! My witch hazel is currently blooming. Now, this is supposed to be a fall blooming shrub/tree and in earlier years it did bloom in the fall. But then it began blooming in spring. The flowers are also supposed to be yellow and they have been for years, a pretty perky yellow. But this year they are a dark pink! I think the poor tree must be having an identity crisis or something.

The indoor seed sprouting is coming along marvelously. The basil and shiso are just beginning to poke up. It appears there is an eggplant making a sprouting attempt and some cumin too. The already sprouteds are starting to get their second leaves. The peppers are doing well, but the tomatoes are pretty wow. If all the tomatoes that sprouted make it out into the garden it might possibly be the year we are finally able to make our own sauce. Fingers crossed!

Emerging sprouts under the dome

In cycling news, I was in a virtual women’s race yesterday morning on Zwift. We all start together but each racer competes in a category, A, B or C with A being the top cyclists and C being newer ones. I race in category B. The race is actually broadcast to the Zwift community which is rather exciting, especially when I am focused and working hard and suddenly hear the announcer call out my name as being a strong B rider!

Saturday’s race turned out to be the best one I have ever done. I took second place in my category! I was quite surprised when the official results were posted and rather pleased. I’ve been working hard at sprints and holding high cadence and high power for longer than a few seconds and it is paying off. Also, I am getting the hang of how to position myself for a good start and I got really lucky yesterday to be in a near perfect position for the race opening all-out sprint.

I love racing with women. We are all competitive but in a friendly way. There is so much encouragement and recognition of effort, praise and kindness and a genuine gratefulness for the challenge, opportunity and support. No one needs to prove anything, no one has a big ego, and we all know that next time the finish will probably be different. We all give it our best for that day for that race and in the end we all have a fun time whether we finish first or last. It’s really quite wonderful.