Wednesday, February 22, 2012

lookie over there!! --->

Just did my first cycling ride of the year :) And updated my odometer over there on the right...

I'm sooooo out of shape, but the weather was beautiful and Able-Bodied Boy was nice enough to prep my bike and my boss was nice enough to let me leave work early and OH MY GOD did that feel good.

1000+, here I come!

How have you been making the most of the early spring weather?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

smile. the rest is out of your control.

This past week has been pretty rough for me, mentally and emotionally. My anxiety level has been high and I've been on the verge of tears more often than not. I'm a girl; this happens on occasion. And trust me, this used to be my normal. But in the last year, I've been happily meandering through life. That is, until this past week.

There have been a number of things on my mind. And mostly, they are other people's "stuff". Stuff I have no control over. Which doesn't mean I can't sympathize, empathize, try to help... but recently, all those woes have gone far deeper into me that usual. I would say into my heart or my soul, but really, they have gone into the pit of my stomach. Anxiety over all these things that I can't fix for others.

Every interaction, every anticipation of interaction, has caused me to feel like I'm drowning. Self-expression through communication, the thing I love and crave, has been impossible. Instead, I hide or snap or cry or feel ill. That is not normal, not natural, and not healthy.

So I've taken the past few days for myself. I spent time with Able-Bodied Boy and with my family. I sat quietly. I sang songs to my neice. I cooked. I drank ginger ale. I changed settings on social networking websites so I wouldn't get quite so many email notifications. And Able-Bodied Boy held me tight in the hot tub.

I've started to relax.

I'm not there yet, but today, Valentine's Day, reminds me of all that I am grateful for. This time last year, I opened hands, heart and home to those friends nearest and dearest that had supported me during a very hard time. And it makes me realize that I cannot in turn let them down by being so burdened by their needs that I can't function. Sympathy, empathy, love, a hand, a shoulder... these are things I can and should give freely. They are gifts, giving, outpourings.

I cannot control others, their lives, the things they say or do or how they react to the world. I cannot fix everything wrong with the world, or even a little bit of it. Right now, I can't even put into words all the little things that I feel pushing against me. Remembering all this and recovering my ability to make it all make sense will take more time.

But in the meantime, I can keep a smile on my face, warmth in my heart, sympathy in my soul, and a free spot on my shoulder.

 Have you recently struggled with anything that usually comes easy?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Thursday, February 9, 2012

when teenagers get all grown up...

Well, the day had to come... *snifflesniffle*

First thing this morning I found the medium-sized egg (left in photo). Which was a little wierd. Same color as Mac's usual eggs, but not her usual extra-large size. Since I didn't check on the chickens last night, the egg was laid sometime between 9a Wednesday and 7a Thursday.

This evening, I found the tiny pullet egg (Babs? Bunty?) and the extra-large egg (probably Mac?). (Pullet is the name for the "teenage" stage of a chicken's life, when they stop being chicks and start laying eggs. Their first eggs are usually tiny, as you can see above.)

So the question is, who laid the egg this morning? Ginger's eggs were traditionally darker, and she isn't the most prolific layer (ie, she hasn't laid in months) but they are usually similar in size to Mac's. If that afternoon biggie was Mac, it's doubtful the morning medium egg was hers as she has been laying more like every second or third day, and not two days in a row.

So I'm confused. Maybe Able-Bodied Boy - currently away on business - can provide an explanation?

But either way, we have at least ONE pullet egg. Which means one of the little ones is getting all grown up :)

And, there will be a lot more eggs to come this year, yay!

Has this turn into a chicken blog, or what?!? :-D

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2012 csa selection

Well, I talked quite a bit about the CSA we had last year. We shared with Purple Monkey and family, and had a pretty good experience overall with Red Hill Farm. But coming into the 2012 season, we re-evaluated and wanted to look into all of our options.

First, the pros and cons of Red Hill Farm for a second season
PRO: organic (uncertified)
CON: some of their products are less appealing (flowers, handful of berries) or unavailable (our corn share was cancelled)
PRO: offers other farm products, like dairy and meats
CON: quite a bit of Pick-Your-Own in the heat of the summer
PRO: friendly atmosphere, with engaging farmers
CON: 40 minutes from hom (ie I'm solely responsible for weekly pickups and pick-your own)
PRO: 5 minutes from work, so pick-ups could be during lunch
CON: Purple Monkey & family no longer interested in sharing
PRO: offers half-shares if we thought full-shares were too much
Based on these factors, we decided that it was worth looking into other options.

One was Calvert Farm, a Maryland-based farm that distributes a great deal of produce throughout the region. They are based near my former hometown, and will deliver to a location 10 minutes south of work along one of my routes home. So, it would be pre-boxed and waiting for me at a local store. The pick-up time window was fairly narrow, and based on it's proximity to my workplace I would have most of the responsibility for pick-up. Their website didn't mention organic and, after talking to Barnhenge Mama, it was clear they were not organic and do source some of their farm goods from off-site. They do not offer half-shares.

The other was Adi Farms. This farm is located about 30 minutes from our house, out of the way to both home and our workplaces. The pick-up hours, however, are such that either Able-Bodied Boy or I could make the trip out after work, without much issue.  It's certified organic, has a great variety of produce, and does not do pick-your-own. They also (from looking at their updated website) sell organic chicken. They have half-shares, but the "half" means half the growing season, not half the quantity. I spoke with one of the farmers, Joseph, earlier this year, and I liked my impressions from the phone call.

Ultimately, we have decided to go with Adi Farms. The only downsides we can see are the full share and the distance out of our way. But with a long pick-up window that fits perfectly with our schedule and a willingness to get creative with abundant weeks, we agreed it was very feasible. I have also considered making it a partial cycling trip too; at 20 miles there and 20 miles back, I could possibly ride the 40 miles after work, with a backpack/basket of veggies and night gear on the way back. That actually really excites me :)

Are you using a CSA or farm delivery this year? How did you choose yours?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Sunday, February 5, 2012

amazing breakfast oat cakes

As I mentioned at some point last year, I try to eat oatmeal every morning. It's full of soluble fiber, which makes you feel fuller for longer. And it's low in calories, which is good for the waistline.

It also sucks.

It's mushy. It's slimy. And no matter how many spices and how much honey I throw in it, it always just feels like BLAH in my mouth.

So when I said I "try" to eat oatmeal every morning, what I really meant was I haven't had oatmeal for about 6 months.

But I keep hearing about "breakfast cookies" and thought, 'hey, that's a great idea!' except I don't want my healthy breakfast to get bogged down with carb fillers (like flour) or tons of sugar (cuz a cookie is sweet, right?).

So, I invented my own Oat Cake the other night, from the depths of my pancake and oatmeal cookie experience in life. I used a good bit of egg, for added protein. And a bit of cinnamon and honey and vanilla for flavor. The texture is like that of a dense pancake or english muffin (or a crumpet, if that means anything to you). It's portable, filling, healthy, and doesn't make me gag. I'd call that a win!

I made three batches of this (the first to test, then a double-batch to have grab-n-go breakfast in the fridge for the next week or so). I enjoyed them hot off the griddle, and they weren't so bad cold as I ran out the door the next morning. In any case, they are MUCH tastier than oatmeal :) And I can imagine replacing the cinnamon/vanilla/honey with other fun combinations, like pomegranate molasses and allspice, or using chai latte instead of the milk. Adding dried fruit would also work!


You'll need:
  • 1 cup of oats (not quick oats), divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • a food processor
  • a griddle
  • optional: egg/muffin rings
In a food processor, blend half the oats (1/2 cup) until flour-like (1-minute will do). In a medium bowl, mix all the oats and dry ingredients (oats through cinnamon). In a small bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients (milk through honey). Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until completely combined, then let sit for several minutes to thicken.

Preheat a griddle to 275 (or medium-low on a stove). Grease/spray the griddle if necessary. If you have them, set up egg/muffin rings on the griddle. Ladle approximately 1/3 cup of batter onto the hot griddle (should make 4 cakes). Let them cook for approx. 5 minutes per side, until dark golden brown.

Yields: Makes 4 cakes; 2-4 servings, depending on your morning nutritional requirements

Prep: 10 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes

Any new healthy recipes in your repertoire?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012 cycling goal(ish)

Ok, I will admit I have not even started to calculate how many miles I did last year. (But I will before this post is done, cuz now I'm really curious).

But I'm thinking maybe, just maybe, I could cycle 1000 miles this year.

So let's say I get back on the bike for my morning rides of 10 miles. Let's say I start in April and go through October (same months I rode last year), averaging 3 morning rides each week. 3 rides times 30 weeks times 10 miles equals 900 miles. Ok, fabulous! Let's go!

But let's be honest. There are hot days and cold days and sick days and rainy days. So maybe I really only get 600 miles in on morning rides. 400 miles to go.
Well, we've got Bike to the Bay, which I'm DETERMINED to do this year for the 75 miles (will you support my fundraising efforts in August and September??). Maybe even 100. So that's 300-325 to go.

I was breezing through 30-mile rides by the fall, so let's say I can pick those back up without a long build-up period. 325 miles would only take 10 rides.

But we all know I'll push it and try to do some solo and group riding in the 40-50 mile range. One of those each month, for even just 6 months... that more than covers my goal.

And we're heading to a Bike Swap event with Able-Bodied Brother next week, where I hope to find some cheap cold-weather cycling gear. Then I can start earlier in the spring (heck, maybe even this winter, as mild as the weather has been) and ride late into the fall!

So, in looking at last year's log (because I wasn't smart enough to write the starting/finishing mileage from my cycle computer), I think I managed to get in nearly 700 miles last year. Not bad! Let's see if I can beat that and then some in 2012!

Any fun goals for yourself this year?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl