Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Better Day

When you look at this it's easy to believe spring really has sprung.  And with the sun shining most of the time today and the air warming up, life is good.  This is one of my blueberry plants -- the largest and seemingly earliest one.  All three are budding, the others show some leafing out, but this one seems more ready to burst.

The spinach has perked up, too.  Survived the cold and rain quite nicely, probably even enjoyed both.  No large harvest in the offing here,  but there should at least be some satisfaction involved.

See how stunted the seedlings are?  Basil in the foreground, peppers and parsley towards the rear.

Lavender, sitting on the front porch awaiting planting outside. Not sure where this one's going, yet.

The eggplant and peppers recovered nicely from their fainting spells yesterday.

Remember this guy?  The little redwood I harvested in California that traveled across country with me? When I left Brookings he was sporting a couple of tiny roots, in his water habitat.  For the journey I put him back in the bag of forest humus, as above, and I think that set him back a bit, but never fear.

Having been back in water since I've been here, he's now sporting several (at least 3) tiny roots about 1/2 inch long, so I thought it was time he went outside where the cool, moist air is probably much more to his liking, and back into his native forest humus.

I guess what brought this decision was partly the roots,  but equally the two tiny green buds that are sprouting along it's stalk (trunk?).  I take that to mean that he's happy, despite having lost a couple of lower branches.  Perhaps I should have left well enough alone, but redwoods prefer cool, fresh, moist air and while the summer won't be cool, the pantry isn't going to be cool for much longer and it's anything but moist.  He's on my back porch where he'll get a bit of morning light, then have shade the rest of the day. Sufficient humidity won't  be a problem here!

I have a small case of 'the shoulds'.  I 'should' go out this afternoon and do something -- some digging, perhaps finish up the work I began on Saturday, or start laying out the herb garden or the monarch garden, but I'm feeling pretty darned lazy, not all that sure I want to do any of it.  We shall see.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Silver Comet Trail -- Part Deux

I knew there was a training camp here for wheelchair athletes, because there are signs at the city limits, but that's all I know about it.  No clue where it is.  Today out riding on the Silver Comet Trail, these guys passed me in a flash.  I'm amazed that this photo worked -- I had to stop and use the zoom and they were moving fast. Sometimes, I actually like this camera.

I was stopped to take a photo when I first heard them behind me and looked around. All I saw was one bike that looked like it was towing a bike trailer, but I definitely heard a human voice.  Great, I thought.  Here I am out in the boonies and some local looney carrying all his possessions in a trailer, talking to himself and probably high on something, comes along.  I guess I spent too much time in Eugene, because that situation is far less likely here. At any rate, I started pedaling not sure what was coming behind me but aware that it was making a strange noise, then these two friendly fellows flew past, said 'good morning' and clattered away.  The noise came from the wheelchair.  I admit to being rather stunned and surprised and awestruck.  The two were so close together and so perfectly aligned I thought at first that the bike was towing the wheelchair, but later I saw that wasn't the case -- merely setting the pace.  They turned off on a county road just past here and I continued on the trail and wouldn't you know, we met up at the same intersection on our return trips?  Once more, they pulled away from me quickly enough and disappeared.  Really cool!

As you can see, it's an extremely beautiful day here, finally.  Things are greening up a bit, but barely.  I think a few warm, sunny days will take care of that, however, as the trees are bursting with buds.  I had thoughts of going east on the Trail, to see what that was like, but in the end I just wanted to ride as hard as I could for as long as I could, so I opted to go west once again, but further.

This is where I turned around today -- Milepost 58.73, just a couple of miles from the Alabama state line and the Chief Ladiga Trail.  That's 6.91 miles from the Cedartown RR station, where I began, giving me a total of 13.82 trail miles for the day plus another mile or so to/from home.  Not bad for an old lady who hasn't ridden for a year or more.  Took me exactly two hours, which is on the slow side even for me, but hey, refer to the previous sentence!  I'll get there. Anyway, I do tend to stop often to take photos, if briefly.

This is what most of the trail is like -- quiet and peaceful, traversing a variety of woods and wetlands and rural homes and farms.  I can't even begin to explain how grateful I am for having this trail in my backyard (literally -- it's right across the RR tracks, although there's no access that way).  It's a gift.  Granted, in Eugene I had lots of good bike trails, too, and for a year I lived right on the river bike trail that offered an 18-mile loop plus access to other places, but that trail tends to be really crowded and far from a place for serious cycling.  Too many dogs and kids and strollers and pedestrians, unless you are out in the early morning or in cold weather.  I was grateful to have it -- but this one is SO much more!  And it's less than 5 minutes from home.  How wonderful is that!

Lovely day, lovely countryside.

Is it a turtle or a terrapin?  His buddy was less amused at being disturbed and plopped into the water.

Same wetlands, more turtles.  I was trying for some birds I saw, but they were far too shy.  This is full zoom.  I would call them wood ducks, but I'm no expert.  Lovely, graceful swimmers with beautiful tufted black and white heads.

These little blue flowers are everywhere right now -- thick carpets of them alongside the highways between here and Rome, and even out in my neighbor's back yard.  I'm not sure what they are.  Bluets?  Lovely, whatever they are.

I hatched a plan while I was out.  I know now that I can easily make the Alabama state line and the end of the Silver Comet.  One day this summer I'm going to plan an overnight trip to Jacksonville, Alabama, which lies at mile 26.8 on the Chief Ladiga Trail.   That's a total of almost 35 miles one way, which is granted a bit on the long side, but I've done longer days in recent years and I can do it again.  Jacksonville is the home of one of my writing idols, Rick Bragg, and while I don't expect to encounter him I'd like to see the town and area.  I'm sure there are motels and restaurants and it would be a fun overnight excursion.  It'll  be a great incentive to get out there and ride, as if I needed any!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ahhhhhhhh... Bliss!!

When you come right down to it, this is a large part of what this move was all about, and yes, as of this moment it's worth every minute and every mile and every dollar.  Once the frost cleared this morning I headed out on the Silver Comet Trail, westbound.  A bit nippy at first, but of course that didn't last plus I had on good thermal clothes and a windbreaker.  The sun, as you can see, was shining brightly and not a cloud spoiled the blue sky.  From here, the trail crossed under the bridge then ramped around in a circle upwards to the left and crossed over it.

Not far from where the trail leaves Main Street, it leaves the designated path and follows city streets for a short distance.  The route is well-marked, but I missed a turn that would have taken me to this and eventually backtracked to find it.  This bridge crosses a canal of some kind that goes through some really pretty park area.

Just past the bridge the trail curves and goes through the outskirts of an industrial area for a bit before reaching the big bridge in the first photo.  I'm really looking forward to seeing all this once spring takes hold and all is green.

I wish you could have heard the noise here -- it was a large wetland on both sides of the trail and the frogs were having a croaking field day.  Unbelievably loud.  Other than frogs, most of the sound I heard on the trip was birdsong, and birds were everywhere. 

The trail as it travels beyond the wetland and frogs, through farmlands and rural residential areas.  I think this is about where I turned around, my exploration finished for the day, about 3.1 miles from town.  That gives me a total of 6.2 trail miles for the day, plus getting to/from the trail and some extra while I was lost.  It wasn't a long ride, but it was enough for today.

I haven't ridden my bike for about a year now, and that's way too long.  My cycling muscles were rusty, particularly when I needed to go up a hill or over an overpass.  I thought it best to not push too far this first time.  All in all, I was out for about a hour, which included stopping at the railroad station (which is now a visitor center for the Trail) and getting a couple of trail maps.

Wonderful way to start the day.  I'm a happy camper right now!