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Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Fat girl biking: A come back tale.

In Fat Girl Biking on July 28, 2012 at 21:48

In August of 2009 frustrated with bus commuting, i bought a bike. I rode that bike 8 miles to work and 8 miles home every weekday.I fell in love with my bike. I started riding it everywhere. I decided that the next summer (2010) i would do the STP. The STP is a 200 mile bike ride from Seattle, WA, to Portland, OR. I had little less than a year to train. I started going on long rides over the weekend. I was up to 60 miles a day. It felt great. But then i got doored. I was hurt for a while, but i got back on the bike and continued to train. Until i got hit by a car.

I had no major injures, but i pinched some nerves on my spine. The pinches nerves would make my arms and legs would go numb randomly and shoot out random pain signals. I stupidly tried to brace my fall with my hand and fell on my wrist. It wasn’t broken but I had trouble gripping things for long periods of time. It took me about a month to recover to the point where i thought i could go on long rides again. As it turns out i jumped the gun. I could no longer go 30 miles, let alone 60, or the 100 that would be required of me each day of the STP. There wasn’t enough time left to get strong enough to complete the ride so i backed out. Most of my biking partners went on with out me, and i cheered them on from seattle, and tried not to be too sad about having to back out.

I went back to riding my bike to work, but i noticed that i wasn’t as fluid as i had been. I was sort of skittish. I was afraid that i would have another encounter with some driver that wasn’t paying attention, or in my case some one turning and not paying attention to people in the cross walk while trying to beat a light. It took me a while before i rode my bike for fun. But i was still sad that i had not done the STP, and i was ashamed to try again for fear that i would fail. By 2011 i was mostly back to normal. I rode to work, i rode to fun. Then of course, hit again.

Technically the car didn’t touch me. It sped up to squeezed past me on a narrow street leaving me with nowhere to go but down. They continued to drive away without stopping. I was left on the ground wondering if i had all my limbs. I did, but my bike seat was broken, and one of my gears was twisted and no longer useable. All this added to the countless times i was almost hit, nearly doored, or yelled at by people in cars (simply for being on a bike) it started to feel like people in cars were mounting a war, and i was loosing all the major battles.

When i moved into this house with Ben i also got a new job. The roads around here are too pot-holey to bike, and the time i had to get to and from work really isn’t enough time to bike. I started driving. And after 9 months i felt myself becoming a car person. I don’t want to be a car person. I missed my bike!
So a few weeks ago I went out with a friend. I ended up riding about 20 miles. Not bad for a first trip out after a 9 month break. My ass hurt like hell, but i was glad to finally be back on my bike. I came home and informed Ben that we would be going to the store to get what was needed to get his bike running. There was an adventure with getting him new tires (it turns out he’s got some weird sized rims, and we spent half a day trying to force tires on that were too small) and weeks of stalling, but today we went out for our first ride together (ever).

He hasn’t been on a bike in years. I tried to let him make the pace but it was difficult to slow down to his speed. I ended up riding a bit ahead of him and slowing down every now and again to let him catch up. If i lost sight of him in my mirror id stop and wait for him to pass me, and then start up again. I wanted to try and push myself on this trip but i had to take into consideration that Ben wouldn’t be able to do 20 miles, let alone the 40 i wanted to do. We ended up doing 12.5. We stopped when he needed to, and took a long rest half way. It took us about 2.5 hours. I think he hates biking now. My wrist still has random fits of pain every now and again, but my ass has almost back to the biking butt it once was. Now i just have to figure out how i am going to pay to get my gears fixed and we will be back in business. Heres hoping for a total lack of asshole drivers (or non observant car door openers).

A week of firsts.

In garden, Gardening, Grain mill, Hand-made life, photos on July 22, 2012 at 22:13

I sent Ben up to the top of the tallest ladder we have. He came down with about 16lbs of cherry plums.We also harvested the first two sacks of our potatoes this weekend. While we did get 3.5lbs, i have to admit that i expecting tons of potatoes. I think i planted too many seed potatoes into each sack. But we shall enjoy what we grew and we now know better for next year.

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The potato harvest brought with it our first meal made entirely of food from our back yard.

Potato fritatta with some baby onions, and the last of the peas sauteed in their pods.

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Also from this weeks kitchen:

zucchini onion corn fritters, with potato salad and broccoli

zuchinni corn brocoli onion fritters

And with my lasted thrift store score ( a nearly new ice cream maker) Spice cream! ( cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg soy milk ice cream) and gingerbread cookies made from spelt ground in our bike mill.

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This was my first try at ice cream. I couldn’t find a recipe that had things in it that i wanted, or ingredients we had in the house so i made one up. Next time i will add less sugar. The texture was wonderful when we tried the ice cream straight from the maker, but it got a lot harder once we transfered it into the freezer, and the texture became a bit more icy. I will have to find out if this is something i can stop or if it will happen if i don’t use “cream”.

This week in the kitchen

In Hand-made life, photos on July 15, 2012 at 22:08

Chickpea curry, yogurt curry roasted cauliflower (from the garden), and black nile barley.

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Pickles

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Hard poached eggs on a bed of sauteed dandilion greens; kohlrabi greens; with shiso, tarragon, rosemary, and lemon thyme; roasted kohlrabi with ginger, sunflower and hemp seeds; and some polenta….

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Cherry butter

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Making summer last all winter long.

In Hand-made life on July 13, 2012 at 20:11

I have been sitting by the window for days wondering what scent was coming in from outside. It smells vaguely of flowers, but more like summer. While outside yesterday i looked up and realized what i had been smelling was elderflower. So the logical thing to do was to make elderflower cordial!

I picked a bunch of flower heads,
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removed the leaves and as much stem as possible. Soak overnight with some lemon zest. Strain, add sugar and lemon juice and heat until the sugar is melted, and then a little longer. and you get this!

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It turned out way darker than i thought it would. It taste yummy though next time i think i will not add as much lemon zest as the recipe called for, and maybe add the orange zest and juice it wanted that i did not add because i did not have an orange.

I have some limes turning into rocks in my fridge, and a few lemons left so ill make some lemon lime syrup tomorrow. Once we figure out how to get the plums down form the tree i shall make plum jam. But until then we shall have to eat and enjoy the things i have already canned.

Rapsberry jam, Lemon curd, Cherry jam
canning in july

In the Garden : July 2012

In Gardening, Hand-made life on July 12, 2012 at 11:06

The growing season started late. At least it started late in my dream world. We had months of gray and rain with patches of sun. Not enough to make things grow. We still have peas growing, and the lettuce has not shown any signs of bolting yet.The plums that are too high to reach are still ripening. The squash is finally flowering but is not being pollinated and the flowers are just dying and falling off. The kale, broccoli, carrots, and peppers i planted have been very slow to grow, but i am hoping that it will catch up with the new sunshine we have been getting. Most of the herbs have not done well. The mint has stayed a live and useable, but it certainly hasn’t started to take over. the basil however remains seedling like and too small to use…. The garden grows.

Cauliflower
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Tomatoe(s)!
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Potatoes!
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Beets, Onions, Cabbage
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First Nasturtium
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Corn!
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Mystery Squash
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Red Cabbage
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And i just noticed that we have an elderflower bush/tree? in the yard.
Tomorrow Elderflower cordial….
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How i spent my summer vacation in eastern Washington

In travel on July 4, 2012 at 19:04

Ben and i managed to get away for a few days the last week of june. We dropped off Armand at his first overnight camp at 5pm, and sped (a slow crawl during rush hour) away to eastern washington. I rode to eastern washington one time before, i remembered that the sky was bluer than blue in contrast to the brownish red rocks but not much else. Once we got out of the city the roads were pretty empty. We were giddy with our stolen freedom. We sang loud, and bounced in our seats as we drove over and through the mountains.
We got to our destination late and basically went right to bed. We woke up to the lovely sound of chickens and the smell of breakfast cooking. It looked wonderful outside the window, and much warmer than we were used to. But the sun is needed to make things grow, and Nerissa’s garden made me jealous. We ate the lovely breakfast that was prepared for us, played with some kids, and headed out for the day. We took a lovely walk around the neighborhood, and then down by the columbia river. The river was raging and much higher than it should have been. The sun beat down and while i was way out of my temperature comfort zone it was strangely enjoyable.
We found our way to the goodwill in Richland. It gifted us with a vintage Osterizer blender. It appeared to have never ben used. (We ended up eventually going to all the goodwills between Richland and Seattle. And we did, but the blender was the only good find. It seems that we are spoiled here in Seattle. The other goodwills that we went to were pretty crappy. I wasn’t even tempted to buy anything.)
After our goodwill adventure we went to pick cherries! I had never been cherry picking before so i was excited. I suck at blackberry picking on account of all the stabby thorns, but i picked the heck out of all the low growing cherries on the tree. Ben and Nerissa took turns on the ladder and we ended up with about 12lbs of cherries.

Exhausted from the day in the sun we settled down for the evening by making pizza! Nerissa’s potatoe, caramelized onion, and balsamic pizza was the best but the others were pretty good too. After the visiting kidlets went to bed Nerissa, Ian, Ben, and I played a wonderful game of Dominion. A long wonderful day.

We woke to more heat the next morning. Ate a lovely breakfast and headed to some more goodwills. I dont really remember what we did for the rest of the morning but i am sure it was relaxing and enjoyable. We eventually ate lunch and packed up the car for our journey back home. We didn’t have to pick up Armand until friday noon, but were paranoid that we might get stuck in traffic, or underestimate the time it would take to drive back. It was a short visit but it was jam packed with fun fun fun. Our drive home was filled with more disappointing goodwill visits, and beautiful blue skies. Although its wicked hot in eastern washington i am looking forward to our next visit in august. Thank you for being such a great host Nerissa!