There are so many Japanese beetles this year! I spent over an hour knocking them off plants today and feeding them to the Dashwoods. The number of beetles even made it to the news. According to the the University of Minnesota ag extension folks, it’s a metro-wide problem. Springs haven’t been cold enough the last few years to kill them off. They suggest this might be the new norm and we should expect to deal with an increase in other pests too. Stupid climate change.

The Dashwoods aren’t complaining about the beetle snacks but I have better things to do with my time like weed or pick beans or zucchini or bush cherries.

We tried an experiment the other day. Everything in the garden has gotten pretty big so we let the Dashwoods in and kept an eye on them. They left everything alone until they scratched in the potato patch and found a potato! Their freedom was short lived and they have once again been banished to the chicken garden.

Bookman and I had a couple days off together, a long four-day weekend to celebrate Bookman’s birthday. It has been so very lovely. We’d get up around 6 a.m. without the help of an alarm, have a leisurely breakfast and then go out into the garden and weed for an hour or so. Back in the house for a leisurely day. We got the supplies we need to replace the arbor and gate with the rotting posts. We ran errands and did chores. We biked. We ate lots of cake. We read. We went to a bookstore. Good times! I could really get used to a whole bunch of days like these.

We also took Astrid back to the bike shop for some fit tweaks. With the new handlebars and everything my saddle began hurting me in places it shouldn’t. Turns out it was mostly because I had worn it out from so much riding! I got a new saddle and am feeling fine once again. I also got new tires because I had worn those out too.

I’ll be giving Astrid a good cleaning and tune-up later this week to get her ready for my big race on Saturday. I have to attend a pre-race meeting Friday afternoon where they will go over the rules and give us our numbers and GPS trackers. My race starts at 6 a.m. and I think there will be a link on the race page for live GPS tracking. I have 17 hours to finish the 200 mile/322 km course. It’s early yet but the weather looks like it will be around 77F/22C with a light breeze and a chance of evening thunderstorms. A perfect day with incentive to not dally so I can finish before the rain arrives!