Sunday, October 30, 2011

our flock

Well, we finally expanded our flock, thanks to Barnhenge Momma, so I thought I'd give you the run-down on the full flock...

Our first, Ginger, is a Buff Orphington. No clue on her age, as she was a random grab from B-Momma's flock. She is a little bossy, but all bark and no bite. She aggressively hoards her treats, going so far as to run away from Mac with them. She is occasionally broody, sitting in the hen house for weeks on end, on eggs that have no chance of hatching. Ginger has survived two hawk attacks with us so far; she's the most visible of the two, so it's not surprising. Her eggs are light tan in color, with very weak shells and somewhat runny whites.

The next is Mac, a Barred Rock. B-Momma and I made Able-Bodied Boy and B-Husband go back for this breed when the boys originally selected Ginger and another chicken from their flock. She is just so beautiful! Mac's fairly quiet and docile, but will get very noisy if Ginger is being broody and she's forced to wander the yard alone too much. She's gotten a little territorial with the new birds, but has settled down well. She also went and laid by Ginger's side after Ginger's first hawk attack, until Ginger was ready to head back into the coop. She gets skittish in open spaces, and will run/fly surprisingly fast to get from one side of the yard to another. Her eggs are slightly darker than Ginger's, with very tough shells and bright orange yolks.

The new little ones. Always together :)

This is Babs, our new Araucana. She is quite skittish, and sticks close to the other young one at all times. Her ear tufts are already quite apparent, and I love all the red in her feathers. Her eggs, once she begins laying in the spring, will be some shade of bluish-green!

This is Bunty, our new Silver-Lace Wyandotte. She should grow up to be another very beautiful bird, with silver-tipped black feathers. Her eggs will probably be similar in color to Mac and Ginger's.

This is Bella, a Blue mixed breed hen. She must eat every egg she lays, cuz we've never seen any of hers before. She is always gentle with the other chickens, never running fast near them or scaring them. She loves just sitting and watching them. And eating their poop and abandoned treats.

This is Able-Bodied Boy, a Buff Homo Sapien rooster. He's the main caregiver, making sure his girls have plenty of food and water, and a sturdy shelter. Also collects the eggs in payment. He's not as loud as most roosters, but does scare away hawks quite well.

I love and am so grateful all these wonderful chickens in my life :)

Who are you grateful for: furred, feathered, or otherwise?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Sunday, October 23, 2011

lessons from the savage 40

"They don't call it The Savage for nuthin'"

  1. Endurance vs Tolerance. When training for a big event, I thought my biggest hurdle would be my body and it's endurance. But really, it was endurance of the mind - or tolerance, as I call it - that was the greatest lesson. Several days after the event, I went to my usual yoga class. Normally, I struggle a bit in some poses, take easier variations if my muscles are feeling weak or tired, and only push as far as I think I can go. But this week, I got into those challenging, muscle-aching poses and gave myself a mental *shrug* - the pain will end at some point! Rather than punking out, I knew that my endurance was much more than I ever knew, and my tolerance for the mental and physical pain was much higher too. I was actually sore after yoga, because I actually pushed myself further than I had in a very long time.
  2. Chipotle is heaven. My brother introduced me to the one near his place, as he would go there after triathalons to gain back all his calories. A couple of weeks ago, when we all went to DC for a day of cycling and sightseeing, we went afterwards. And last week, we accidentally discovered one near the ride and I just could not help myself. Best. Burritos. Ever.
  3. Ice. Able-Bodied Brother talks about icing his muscles after an event or major training. I had never felt the need, never had muscle cramps or felt bad after my training rides, so I always just shrugged this off. After we got home last week, I took my shower and then had a little nap. When I got out of bed, I was in so much anguish. Not targeted pain, or cramping, but just overall muscle fatigue and aching. After 15 minutes of moaning and groaning, I finally decided a cold bath could not possibly be any more horribly painful than what I was already experiencing. Damn, was that water cold and awful. But three minutes later, I could walk and had no aches or fatigue any more. Who knew? Oh, wait, my brother. Gotta listen to him more often.
  4. The Savage 60. This time next year, I'll be ready ;)

Any other tips from experience for me to take into next training season?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl

ps. my scalp is doused in tea tree oil and wrapped in a towel. it burns, but i've read it could help alleviate the flakes for a while. will post about that soon!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

a view fro.. *huff huff huff*...m the top

I survived!!!! In numbers...

The Good
44.7 miles
3:49:30 time on bike
Average speed 11.6mph
Max speed 31.7mph
~3000 vertical feet of climbing
6th ride on my new bike (photos below!)
0 Dismounted walk-ups (awesome considering I have been known to walk in the past!)
11 mile mark (post-detour): was welcomed to join a group of men, who all stayed together until mile 19
1 Able-Bodied Boy meeting me at each checkpoint
1 Chipotle burrito afterwards!

The Bad
0 partners in crime to ride with, talk to, motivate/be motivated by, struggle alongside
20-30mph winds, in the face for most of the first 20 miles
1 Chain jump
2 episodes of tears welling up (did you not read the !!3000!! feet of climbing and !!20-30!! mph winds???)
5 mile mark: already winded
11 mile mark: got diverted for 1.5 miles with other confused riders
25 mile mark: almost gave up

The Ugly
7:00a - my phone thinks it is 1969 (aka, no 3G service, rendering it useless at mile 11 when we were lost and could have used a map)
2:00p - on the way home, we stop by Verizon and they need to wipe the phone to fix it. Ugh.

Ok, so maybe, in the moment, my phone being out of service was not the worst part of my day. When you crest a steep hill at 5mph, looking forward to the downward slide and rest of coasting at 25mph, and the 30mph winds mean you fight to go 6mph down the hill.... that's when you want to quit. But I guess the ride was a bit like childbirth... you forget much of the pain after you make it to the end.

Let me put this in perspective. The biggest hill in my county, "Burden Hill", is 90 vft of climbing. Based on that, I'd guesstimate that my 40mile ride two weeks ago was probably about 300-400 vft of climbing total. Do you remember the number for yesterday? Yup, 3000.  3000.  After the first 5-10 miles, I had already done all the climbing I could have possibly ever done in a single route in my area. And I still had 30miles to go, further into the hilly countryside. Tears. Do you blame me?

Basically, I went from 5mph up the hills to 25mph down the hills. All. Day. Long. With 20-30mph winds coming from the front and the sides. Which means, when you're going 25mph down a hill, and the winds are, say, 20mph in your face, it whips you around a bit. Being on a new bike, with skinnier tires than I've ever ridden on before, I felt very unstable. Add concern about road debris (winds = leaves and nuts and sticks) which is sitting in filtered, shady sunlight (is that shadow a rock or a hole or just a shadow?!?!?), and memories of my August accident (and the scars and still-remaining knobs on my leg and chin), and other riders who don't call "on your left" and would rather just show up unexpectedly in your field of vision, and sharp curves in the road (15mph speed limit?!?! I'm going 25!!!!), and cars that may at any moment overtake/pass or come around a curve in front of you.... it was pretty much sheer terror for that first 25 miles to the checkpoint. Tears.

Ok granted, I only welled up twice. The rest of the time I was too distracted. But on those rare flats where you can go 10mph (normally 15+, but there's all that wind, ya know?), you begin to reflect on just how fucking stupid you think this whole idea was. By the time I got to the checkpoint, I knew for sure that I wasn't going to attempt the 60mile route. That additional 20miles would have added another 1500 vft of climbing, half of which would be continuing into the wind. Nope. Sorry. And I even questioned my ability to finish the rest of the 40. But I rested and got enough of a boost from Able-Bodied Boy, texting friends, and one of my rider buddies, that I figured the last half would be mostly downhill, and mostly with the wind at my back (or sides, but at least not in my face).

I was right, and even the first 10 miles of the 19 back were mostly down and mostly without any wind issues. I saw hardly any other riders (save the groups that offered to help when my chain jumped) and hardly any other vehicles. It was peaceful, without any navigational issues, and only a few wicked hills (including one in a wind tunnel, which I promptly cursed).

So, all in all, I survived, thanks to the support (in spirit) of friends and Able-Bodied Boy sticking around to help see me through. 40miles of the Savage Century, whew! Next year, I want to do other rides. I would love to do the 75mile Bike to the Bay (as originally planned), which is all flat/downhill. Able-Bodied Boy has his eye on some routes in our area (browsing them as I type, in fact). And I may try the 60miles of the Savage.

Until then, the cycling season is over and it's back to Dance Dance Revolution to keep my legs in shape over the winter months.

What hills have you conquered lately?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl

ps. i learned a lot about pre-, post-, and during nutrition and body-care. i'll have to share that at some point!

Friday, October 14, 2011

the savage

This time tomorrow, I'll either be limping the last few miles into a 60-mile finish, or I'll be scarfing some fajitas after a 40-miler.

I'm scared. I'm nervous. I'm pumped. I'm prepared. And I'm probably a bit unprepared.

Will post all about the event, and the journey to get there over the last couple months, when I have recovered this weekend :)

Anything big going on with you this weekend? You could always join Able-Bodied Boy to cheer me on at the Nottingham PA pit stop!

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Thursday, October 13, 2011

caving in

I'll admit it. I used shampoo this week. First time since March.... :(

I've been having a problem with flakes. And with a busy life. And I couldn't figure out what the problem was. Washing too much? Not enough? Vinegar balance? Baking Soda balance? Too much grooming? Hair not drying fast enough? Seasonal issue?

In any case, enough was enough and they weren't going away and I thought maybe, just maybe the soap would magically whisk it out of my hair and magically fix my scalp in that way better-living-through-chemistry and don't-mind-the-side-effects sort of way. And anyway, I had to get to work.

Part of me thought, I'm going to regret this. And part of me said, This better not work toooo well.

In the end, it was a balance. It did help get the flake build-up out. But it didn't solve the scalp problem. So my approach going forward is this:

  • wash as little as possible (I was definitely washing more often than my original twice-per-week I had enjoyed)
  • wash it according to the optimal instructions and proportions I found earlier in the year (I had been fudging it)
  • stop looking at/touching/worrying about my scalp (I swear it knows)
  • wear my hair back less (I had started pulling it back more often, to hide the flakes, but that gives me a headache by the end of the day and I wonder if the pulling doesn't add to the scalp stress)

Otherwise, to be honest, I'm pretty damn proud that I've gone this long with only that one little lapse (and only shampoo, not conditioner). And I probably don't have any more/less flakes than before, which is a little disappointing, but I'm taking the long view on this and hope that everything works out in the end. I'm not opposed to "natural" shampoos, but I'll come to that if this ends in the experiment category, rather than the lifestyle change category.

Look at me, blogging! Sadly, my blog-reading time has gone down. What have you been blogging lately? Will you comment with a link to a favorite post of yours lately, for me to read?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Monday, October 3, 2011

welcome back!

Ok, I admit it. The oppressive heat and summer chaos got to me. I dropped the ball for a couple of months, but let's get back in the swing of it, shall we?

Things I really want to tell you about in future posts:
  • We finally got a new mattress! After a dramatic summer of me sleeping alone - first on another (better) bed, then in the hole of our bed while Able-Bodied Boy was away - we finally had an opportunity to seek and ultimately buy a new one. Stayed tuned for what we decided!
  •  The chickens are coming along nicely, but we've certainly learned a few things and had a couple of dramatic events lately (HAWK!). We'll be adopting a couple more in the coming months, and their integration should prove to be quite eventful :)
  • I have made countless frittatas this summer, with all of the eggs (now that Ginger is no longer broody). We've also had some great success with the last of the lamb in the freezer, and put in our order for another half from the local farm as soon as the form arrived a few weeks ago. I haven't taken many photos of the latest meals, but I do have some lessons learned in the kitchen and amazing things to share!
  • The CSA has been... well... interesting. While we have all enjoyed all of the produce, some aspects have been unexpected and has called into question whether or not we proceed again with this farm next year.
  • Weight loss and exercise? Ummm yeah about that. I'm trying. And doing ok. But not on-my-way-to-losing-30-pounds ok. Just holding-steady ok.
  • I am committed to cycling in the Savage Century (a very hilly ride) on October 15th for at least 40 miles, which is the distance I have attained so far in our flat countryside. But Able-Bodied Boy gifted me a brand new light-n-fancy bike, so 60 miles might not be out of the question... we shall see...
  • I'm currently in a Project Management Certificate course at a local university. That's taking up 6-8 hours of my week until my birthday in December, but I'm really loving being out and about in the world, learning new things.
  • I've faced the change of two promotions this year, and am loving this latest position. No regrets! It's always great to have such a wonderful transition in life, eh?
I'm sure there is more to tell, and I will attempt at least one post per week going forward.

Where have you been? What have you been up to? What have I missed!?!?!?!!

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl