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Painted Lady caterpillar

How did Sunday get here so fast? I’ve been on vacation all week and enjoying myself immensely. There was lots of time spent in the garden. Time reading. Time doing stuff I have been meaning to do but didn’t have time for. Also cycling. And sleeping in — ha! — not really because I get up at 5 a.m. and without an alarm I was awake every day by 5:30. I guess technically I slept in.

All the cherries have been picked from the tree. We have enough for a pie Bookman will make probably for Independence Day. Yeah I know, it’s supposed to be apple pie but apples aren’t in season right now and cherries are.

We’ve been picking greens from the garden — lettuce, mustard, arugula, sorrel and kale. The chard isn’t quite big enough yet. I also started picking peas.

I spent lots of time weeding and doing some thinning of carrots, chard, radishes and beets. I am rather disappointed several radishes have gone to seed already and hardly any of them are making roots of eating size. I generally have great luck with radishes but not this year. It could be they did not like the early heat and all the rain. I will seed more at the end of July in hopes of getting some in fall.

The cabbage plants are growing, no cabbages yet. The beans are all doing magnificently. The zucchini had a growth spurt as did the pumpkins. The sunflowers are gaining height by the day. Unfortunately it does not appear any of the tomato or peppers we sprouted are going to make it. First we accidentally scorched a number of them in the heatwave and a day after we planted them in the garden we had a hail storm and torrential rain. There are a couple of each barely hanging on but they aren’t really growing bigger, I think all their energy is going into staying alive. I have no hope for them but am ready to be surprised. So I seeded buckwheat in the tomato and pepper bed.

Buckwheat is one of those multi-purpose plants. It grows fast and shades out weeds and if you cut it down before it flowers it makes a fantastic green manure. The leaves are also edible as a salad green when young and cooked when bigger. If I let it go to seed, the flowers attract pollinators and the seed can be ground up for flour or cooked and eaten like rice. Also, chickens supposedly love buckwheat as well, both plant and groats. It’s a win all around!

Not chickens but Waldo in the bathroom sink

Friday Bookman and I finally solved the mystery of how Marianne kept getting into the garden. She wasn’t flying over the fence, we knew that. All we knew was she was stealthy. I’d be out weeding and I’d hear a rustle under the roses or an apple tree and I’d look up and there’s Marianne, happily scratching away. Lucky for us she is an easy one to catch. And we caught her so often she resigned herself to being scooped up without a fuss.

Friday I was in the house and looked out in the garden to see her beneath an apple tree. I went out and put her back in her own garden, then stood back and watched and waited. In less than five minutes she was squeezing back into the garden. We have a lattice gate and unbeknownst to us a couple of the lattice pieces were loose on the bottom of the gate. Marianne had discovered this and figured out that if she pushed them just right in the right place she could squeeze through. All the other Dashwoods just stood there watching her and none made attempts of their own, for which I am grateful. Her secret revealed, we have fixed it so she cannot get through the lattice any longer. She is not pleased about it and keeps sticking her head between the slats trying to get through. Poor Marianne.

My big 200 mile/322 km bike race is just over a month away. Yesterday I biked out to where the race starts and rode part of the course for a total of 145 miles/233 km. I saw a pheasant, a baby turkey, swallows, gold finches, lots and lots of roadkill recent and petrified, corn, cows, horses, a sign in someone’s yard that said “We can see Russia from the White House,” lots of big houses in the process of being built on what used to be farmland, and rain. I knew there was a chance of scattered showers but one never knows whether the chance will become reality and if the reality will find one in its midst.

Waiting out the t-storm with tired allergy eyes

It found me. Luckily when it started raining I was only a mile or so away from a little roadside cafe. I pulled in and Astrid and I sat on the covered porch as the thunder rolled by. I took the opportunity to fill up my water bottles and have a cup of coffee to warm my insides because it had gotten chilly out. After about 20 minutes the thunder was over but it was still raining. It was already getting late in the day so I zipped up my windbreaker and set off. Of course it immediately began to rain even harder. It was about half an hour before it finally stopped. My feet were drenched but the rest of me wasn’t so bad.

I was looking forward to being home. Around 105 miles/169 km my right hip had begun to ache. It had stopped while I was having coffee but back on the bike started up again within five minutes. I am scheduled for a professional bike fit on Friday afternoon where the fitter will take all kinds of measurements and do motion capture and make all sorts of adjustments to Astrid to make sure my hip doesn’t ache, my feet and hands don’t go numb, and that I am all around more efficient on the bike and not wasting energy and effort. Should be interesting!

I did have a little accident towards the end of my ride. I lost focus for a second when I glanced down at my Garmin and skidded on the asphalt trail edge. I fell hard. I scraped up my leg that was almost healed from my gravel race two weeks ago. I bruised my knee. Scraped my hip. And I lost a lot of skin on the back of my left hand. I think I also must have jammed the handlebars into my hand when I went down because I have a big swollen lump on the back of my hand. Nothing is broken. Everything is just raw and badly bruised. I spent last night and most of today draped in bags of frozen vegetables. Needless to say I will be taking it easy for a few days.

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