Thursday, September 30, 2010

In the spirit of autumn...

I decided to dye my hair orange.  I really like it a lot.

Zoe likes it too.  I will await judgment from the husband, but the child also seems agreeable.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The sickness

Running is some sort of sickness, I'm sure.  Today I was determined to run.  A long run.  I had a race last Saturday, and after feeling unwell the past 2 days due to tiredness, I decided I MUST run today.

It was pouring all night.  It poured most of the morning.  I watched the sun attempt to break through the puffy grey fall rain clouds.  It failed.  Around 10:30, my mom called.  I peered out the window, It was not raining.  I told her I was bringing the kiddo up, and was going to run a loop there.

I suited up, in shorts and sleeveless shirt.  I thought this clothing would be ok for mid-sixties.  I pulled on my five fingers, got the stuff together for the kid, and peered at the sky as I threw us into the car and got moving.  It's a 10 minute drive to my mom's, and on the way, the sky opened up.  I sighed inwardly.   I kicked the wipers up to high, sang Beatles songs at the top of my lungs (I'll follow the sun, of course), and the rain was back down to a sprinkle as I pulled into the driveway.

I stepped into my mom's and the downpour I had driven through on the way caught up.  Sheets of rain made the leaves on her trees dance.  I flipped on the weather channel and sat, feeling slightly defeated.  The rain suddenly stopped and the weather channel confirmed the shower that had hit would be the last for a while.  I fled.

8 miles.  On mostly dirt roads, my feet sinking into them slightly as I went.  Trees turning, being sprinkled by trees still wet with rain, running past an old farm, clicking at horses as I ran by, admiring the low deep grey clouds... but it didn't start raining again.  I got a bit misted on during the last mile, but... it was a great run...

Tomorrow, I will plant my newly arrived garlic.
These are California Extra Select (shrug)  they smell good, look good, and will hopefully get me a lot of garlic next year.  I think I'm going to have to fill up an entire raised bed for them though... which means the purpose of the latest raised bed may change from a Perennial bed, to another lettuce/veggie bed in the spring.  We'll see what happens.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Still recovering from this cold/sinus thing.  I ran yesterday, and so today I thought I'd get out and do a bit of trail running.  Of course, running and temperatures above 80 don't agree much, so I didn't do as well as I'd hoped.  I blame my recovery and the heat, but I did make it 2.5 miles, so yay.

The leaves are really changing, the fields are doing their final bursts of colors and flowers and seeds.  I saw a garter snake slither out of my way as I ran by.  I also saw a mother and baby sitting at an overlook near one of ponds.  At least I think I saw them.  I could have been hallucinating.  It could have been me 3 years ago, with my newborn, sitting in the afternoon sun, looking over the fields and ponds.  Maybe I just hit some weird parallel dimension thing where I was overlapping my previous time-line.... Or maybe I just watch too much star trek...

I spent a few minutes after my run walking around, cooling down, and catching my breath. (and maybe restoring some of my sanity)
Some type of Aster finishing out the season.

I drove home the long way, listening to some Decemberists and Goldfrapp, and snapped a few pictures of the slow transformations happening in my garden and yard.

Sugar Maples all over the place are bursting into color quickly.

I think these will be the final roses of the season... going to prune them back soon, feed them coffee grounds and mulch them heavily.   I hope they make it.

Bumblebee enjoying my monster sedum.  Going to try to split this sucker up and put it in one of my new raised beds, along with some of my other unruly perennials.
This dusty-miller, which I thought was an annual, has come up 3 years in a row and gets more and more vigorous.  I like how it sets off the evergreens around it.  If it reappears next year, I'll have to see if I can split it.
The empty raised beds... Makes me a little sad... but hopefully my garlic bulbs will arrive in the next day or so and I can get them in so they can start growing before I mulch them with more leaves.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The end of summer... and the beginning of autumn...

It's a melancholy kind of day for me.  I woke up early and watched the sunrise from the front porch.  It was cloudy, but warm, and I just sat.  The air smelled different, felt different on my skin.

I spent the majority of the day cleaning.  In the morning, I cleaned the inside of the house, opened all the windows, turned on the fans, let the sickness of the past few days air out.  In the afternoon, I cleaned out my raised beds.  I left a few tomato plants alone that were in containers out front, but I cleared out the other beds, with the kiddo's help.

I think the changing of the seasons always gets to me a little.  I took a run this evening, trying to clear out the rest of my congestion, letting my toe-shoes hit the fallen leaves, breathing in that unforgettable scent of leaves and decay and wind and dampness that really signifies the change of the season... It's not the calendar... it's the breath of the wind on my skin, the darkness in the morning and evening, the weight of the clouds...

I do love autumn, but it makes me a little sad too.  I'm finishing the evening listening to some music and remembering autumns in the past.  It's been a good day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Harvest time and Three years old.

So, besides getting a terrible head cold this weekend, and trying to deal with that... I also harvested potatoes from my garden and we celebrated the little one's third birthday.  It's hard to believe...

I wanted to get more done in the yard and garden this weekend, but the stuffiness and sore throat and general malaise really prevented me.  Hopefully I'll shake the rest of this off today and can resume my healthy activities tomorrow... I hope... I'm also feeling lazy about not running... stupid sickness.

Red potatoes that I pulled out of the ground.  I'm going to save some of the smaller ones over the winter and see if i can re-seed them next year.  Not more than a meal of potatoes, but it's still nice to have them out of my own garden, instead of shipped from Idaho.  I'm hoping my garlic bulbs arrive soon so I can get them in before we get our frost.  It will be soon.

Lil Red-head is 3.  Crazy.  I celebrated his birthday in my own way by watching "Dirty Jobs" which is what I was watching  in the hospital while I was in labor.
The play castle instantly became a garage... but what can you do.  He seemed to really enjoy the day though, even if he was running a fever and had to wipe his nose every 3 minutes...  Hopefully we'll all be better soon!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Running 15 miles, and trying to photograph a 3 year old.

Yesterday I ran 15 miles.  I am still not sure how I managed it.  I think it helped that I took a couple of wrong roads, and forced myself to keep going.  I chose an entirely too hilly of a route, but it was such a beautiful afternoon, and the breeze was amazing that I just kept going.  I didn't have my camera with me while I ran, but I drove back some of the route today and photographed some of the views... the photos really don't do it as much justice as being there...

I'm not sure what kind of crop this is, but I love how soft it looks.  Some kind of grain?  Alfalfa?  I passed a few of these fields in the first couple of miles.
Came to a dirt road and turned up it, as it led up to the sky and I couldn't stop.  It ended up being the correct road... and just opened into this 360 view of the countryside...
At about mile 13.5 I was hurting, so I called my retrieval crew, and he met me just after I has passed 15 miles.  I was pretty sore last night and a little this morning, but I feel really good right now.

Took the little guy to a nearby playground and let him run wild.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to photograph him right now.  I am not sure how many pictures i threw out to come up with these.

Three in 4 days.  He also attempted his first photograph himself:
Was the back of the driver's seat, but he did a good job!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hiking Oil Creeks trails

I really love Oil Creek state park.  There's nothing like walking through beautiful forests, on a myriad number of trails, and realizing that this place was once clear cut and stunk of oil and was covered in muck. 
This is my favorite part of some of the over 32 miles of trail in the park. It's a long straight stretch through hemlocks running beside a gully.  My entire purpose for going hiking today was getting here and just seeing it.  It gives me this great sense of calm...
Even with dog and child in tow.
and hubby.

Overall, a great day to hike.  I love the return of cool weather.  The kiddo didn't seem to mind it either.
He loved identifying the trail markers, or "Mark-its" as he refers to them.

I hope to get out and hike and enjoy the thick of nature more as the season progresses.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yet another raised bed (I can sleep there mommy?)

No.  Not that kind of bed.  That will be in a future post about the new bed frame that will arrive at our home sometime in november, I hope...

Anyway, so last Monday, I built another raised bed in my flurry of wanting to be busy.  I'm pretty decent at building these now, speedy, if not precise.

Yes, there is a giant gap at the bottom.  This did not perturb me in the least.  I went to my trusty home depot and bought myself a 2x4x8 and fixed it up.  Filled it with dirt today with the help of my step-dad's trusty truck.  He also smashed into a deer while picking up the second load of dirt, which I now feel terrible about... luckily (and hopefully) no one was hurt, and the damage is mostly superficial.  Still. Ack.  But my raised bed is complete!  This weekend, I will plant things in it so they can establish themselves a bit before winter and be ready to grow more in spring.
Note the addition of said 2x4 at the bottom.  Go me!

I'm also going to plant garlic!  Whee!

Monday, September 6, 2010

One tough cookie. Mmmm... Cookies....

So yesterday morning, we woke up before the sun, woke up the baby, and took an hour and a half drive up to Warren so I could race.  It was cool, in the fifties, but beautiful crisp weather, big puffy clouds with lots of blue sky breaking through... a perfect day for a run.  The drive up was scenic and calm, we found the race start easily, and our friends met us up there well before the beginning of the race.

For once the port-a-johns were clean and uncrowded, and the race crew had set up a station with hand sanitizer and baby wipes, and even bug spray for the people that were running/hiking the four or eleven mile race.  They had fruit and cookies and water available, frankly, this was one of the nicest, best organized race set-ups I've seen.

It was cold, but I took off my jacket before we started, and as I started out, my hands and ears were a little frigid, but I knew they would warm up soon.  The road was dirt, with rocks, and as I was running in my vibrams, I tried to avoid the center of the road, and most of the puddles.

The course was 2 miles uphill, turn around, then 2 miles downhill.  I kept my pace pretty quick, mostly because I was running along-side 2 women who wanted to know more about my shoes.  The benefit of wearing my crazy shoes, is that I'm always getting to talk about them.... at least 10 people had commented on them pre-race.

The thick forest, the cool breeze, the conversation, let me keep my pace under 10 min miles as I continued up the hill.  I felt good.  I lost my companions as we came to the turn around... they continued on the 11 mile run, which though sorely tempted, I knew I wasn't ready for.   Back down the hill.

I high-fived my friend as I passed her going down the hill - she and her friends were only a minute or so behind me.  I opened up and let gravity give me more speed.  I felt great.  I felt only a bit guilty as I passed one woman about a half mile from the finish, and though she stayed right behind me, when I could see the final turn towards the finish line, I opened up my stride and did the patented final sprint towards the finish line.

This was a great race.  Being a trail race took a lot of the pressure off the idea of pace and competition, but I still did great, finishing 22nd overall, first in my age group with a time of 39:18.  Pace of 9:48 per mile. 

We waited for the rest of our group to finish, cheered them on, then headed out.  I changed clothing (awkwardly as always) in the car, then we went off to breakfast.

This is definitely a race I'll be signing up for again next year.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I really dislike spraypaint...

and now my house smells very ick of fumes.  Don't worry, I did use a mask, so no brain-damage for me... hopefully... well.. no more than I already have.

The bedroom radiator is done!  I think it looks amazing, so The rest of the radiators in the house may get the same treatment at some point next summer.  I'm not in a big rush... the process was a bit tedious and pretty messy.
I used aluminum foil to tape off the wall while i was spraying both the orange goop and the spray paint.  I may just get more plastic sheeting next time, but the foil was great to wrap around the nooks and crannies of the radiators.  I did get the floors a little messy, and I think the worse thing was wiping the radiator down after the orange goop was doing it's work.  Definately will use rubber/latex gloves for that process next time, and get some kind of textured rag, or more enduring kitchen scrubbers to wipe off the goop that's done it's job.  The dremel tool really helped for the intricate areas, then i scrubbed the whole thing down with soap and water using more rags and a scrub-brush with towels underneath the thing to catch any drips.

I chose a textured metallic looking spray paint to finish them.  No clear lacquer that I could find would endure the kind of temperatures these things will get to... so I picked out a rustoleum that didn't need a primer.  The smell is awful, but since it's a cool and breezy day, the fumes should dissipate fast.

I think it looks pretty fantastic.  I'll post another picture once it dries and i've removed all the plastic/drop cloth/foil.  Jason says we might leave the foil up to protect us from alien's trying to scan us through that wall.  Suuurreeee....

And here it is!  All done!