Monday, July 31, 2017

It Seems Like Every Where I Go, the More I See the Less I Know.

So, I'm back from OOBRAI and I am so glad to be home. I missed my cats, I missed my garden and I missed my little cottage on the shire. We were gone for 8 days, 612 miles and 45.5 hours. We ended up riding a lot more gravel than we wanted and basically chased what Google maps told us was a bike trail, but ended up being a field of weeds and ran into some wild Parsnip there. It does a number on your skin. It still hasn't cleared up yet. On the positive side, I spend 8 days riding bikes, swimming in ponds and playing with my friends. Who ever would have thought I'd still be doing all of that in my 50's?

I will go back and start writing blog posts about the rest of my birthday weekend and then get to RAGBRAI. I'm probably not going anywhere else for a while, so I doubt I'll have a whole lot to write about otherwise. I will try hard to get my shit together and do an excess of backlogged posts. Consider yourself warned...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Well, kids. I only got through our first day in Decorah for my blog posts and it doesn't look like I'll get much farther in the next week. We're heading out on OOBRAI (our own bike ride around Iowa) tomorrow. We'll ride to Waterloo tomorrow and it mostly be on a nice bike path.

I will miss my garden a lot. I have such great conversations with the bees and butterflies and birds that hang around in it. I will also miss our cats. My kids will be house sitting. Stinky has to be out of her old apartment on this Tuesday, but she can't move into her new apartment until next Tuesday. Hopefully, we'll come back to the place still all in one piece. Fingers crossed!

I'll be sure and write it all down when we get back. Until then, happy life and fun Summer!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

And the Air Was Beautiful. The Night She Fell All Around.

Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh did we have a great weekend for my birthday celebration. John and I both took Friday and Monday off of work. So, Friday morning we woke up and headed over to the new cyclocross park we are working on and met the department of parks and rec and checked out all of the progress on the course and talked about the grand opening festivities.

When we got back from that, I got to work in the garden for a little bit and was surrounded by birds and bees and butterflies and made another pretty big haul of peppers and zucchini and green beans and salad greens. Then I finally got to the business of packing the car and we left town a little after 1.

We made it to the campsite in Decorah at around 3:30. We set up our tent and headed out to find the mountain bike trails.

They have great trails in Decorah, although some of them were pretty scary. Skinny trails with steep drop-offs on one side and lots of rocks and roots to ride over.

It was also hard to pay attention to the trails because we kept getting distracted by the jaw dropping scenery.

We rode for about an hour and then got a text from the girls saying they were finally here. So, we headed back to the campsite.

Stinky bought a new tent and she did try hard to set it up herself, but I thought this photo was hilarious, especially with the caption, "The girls setting up their tent". John really only did help them with the few tricky parts.

Once that was done, we went out for dinner to a cool pizza place. The food was good and we had a nice talk.

Everyone was telling us to check out Toppling Goliath brewery. It was nice and we had a couple of beers and my girls didn't bicker too much and I tried to tune-out when they did (that has taken YEARS of practice).

We got back to the campground and tried to sleep. Apparently, we chose the biggest party campground around and none of us (except John who can sleep through anything) were able to sleep very well. We decided not to stay at the campground a second night and payed way too much for a hotel for Saturday night, since we reserved it at the last minute. Even after that part, we had a great half day in Decorah and we were excited about what the next day would bring.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Everyone's Feelin' Pretty. It's Hotter Than July

 Well, now we're up to the 4th of July. Since it was on a Tuesday, both John and I had to work on Monday. We knew we had a lot to do with that day of vacation, so we got up early. John went to the cyclocross course to get some work done there and I went out for a run before it got ridiculously hot.

Then after I got back, I worked on using our friend's chainsaw to cut up the trees that we chopped down over the weekend. It was crazy how long that took and how many bags it took to get all of the yard waste ready for pick-up. I'll tell you what, though. If I lived out in the country, I would have made a gigantic bonfire of it all and called it good.

So, I spent most of the day getting all of that crap sawed up and bagged (10 big yard bags and one big garbage can, yeah) and then John and I went to Shakespeare's (our neighborhood pub) to eat lunch. The Cubs game was on and the food was good and I had an ice cold Coca-Cola and that was just the fuel I needed to get ready for round two. We came home and I mowed the lawn. John was going to try and work outside, but it just got way too damn hot. So, I ran to the store to get a few things and he worked on cleaning the inside of the house.

When I got home, I had a little time and I used it to rest and read my book and have an ice cold Arnold Palmer. Aaaahhhhh. Archie kept me company, although, he was pretty tired from having napped all day.

I finally got up and got going. Stinky and her fiance were coming over for dinner and true to my usual form I had to cook WAY too much food. I grilled salmon and barbecued chicken and stuffed and grilled peppers from our garden and I sauteed eggplant, zucchini and green beans from our garden. I also took a huge risk and got some corn on the cob. It was early, so it could have gone badly, but it was excellent. After our bellies were so full we could barely walk, Stinky and her fiance took off and John and I watched an episode of Seinfeld before we went to bed.

It may not have been the most fun Fourth of July I ever had, but it felt to get some stuff done and now the neighbors should be happy that our yard doesn't look so much like crap.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Problems Left Alone, Weekenders On Our Own

So, this last weekend was crazy busy. We are trying to get so many projects done, while still playing on our bicycles, but I think something's gotta give here. In a couple of weeks, we'll go to Decorah for my birthday and then we'll be on OOBRAI for the next two weekends after that, so we are feeling a little pressure...Or a lot of pressure to get as much done as possible.

This will be a mostly photo post about all of the things we tried to get done this past weekend. As always, every day starts with the chore of dealing with a fat orange cat...

Saturday morning, our friends Burne and Chelsea came over at about 8 am. The plan was for John to  help Burne fix up his new pretty orange bike frame in exchange for the use of Burne's battery operated chainsaw.

They worked for a while on the bike, and since I have no mechanical skills, I opted out of that and rode my bike to the farmer's market. I got some coffee from Cafe del Sol for the guys. They loved it and it's a local company which is always important. I also got some beets and some sweet breads and monster cookies.

I headed home and we got to work on the trees that were growing too close to our foundation. They have been there since I bought the house, but I haven't had a chainsaw to use until now.

I got to use a chainsaw for the first in many years. Yea!. It was nice to have Burne help me figure out how to cut the trees without hitting power lines and our next door neighbor's roof.

 Burne's girlfriend also helped me drag the brush to the front yard.

 We got the first tree cut and the brush dragged out of the way,

 And when we were working on taking down the second tree, I was putting pressure on the stump. Of course, it snapped at the last moment and all the pressure I was applying threw me down on top of the pointy stump of the other tree. Ouch! You should see the bruise on my butt...Well, you really shouldn't see it.

My next order of business was to cut that stump way down where it couldn't do anyone any more harm. That'll teach it.

After all of our hard work, we rewarded ourselves with a 35 mile bike ride and a nice dinner. The other kids had regular bee and I got a nice, refreshing, Millstream root beer. Ahhhhhhh.

John and I weren't done with the work even then. We had to go to the bridge at the cyclocross course we're working on and clean it. Then we went to Lowe's and got paint and sand for it. We finally stopped at the grocery store and went home. We were both exhausted.

On Sunday morning we were back at the bridge. Since we'll be riding our bikes over the bridge when it's raining, we had to mix sand into the paint to give it traction.

We also wanted to match it up to the same colors as the rest of the buildings in the park.

I think we did a damn fine job. There's about 50 lbs of sand on the bridge now. We could probably play some beach volleyball on there if we wanted to...

Of course, Sunday was no different than any other day in the fact that we had to listen to the constant complaining of our fat orange cat. He was hungry, he wanted to play red dot, he wanted us to brush him...No, not there. Right under his ears. He was hungry some more. Why won't we just let him go outside and kill birds like the other cats?

So, we decided to get away from the cats for a while and go on a bike ride with our friends.

At one point, me and the other woman riding, got a little ahead of the boys. You know, boys can be so slow sometimes...Anyway, the other woman had never ridden the route before. I had ridden the route about a hundred times, but that didn't mean that I wasn't going to miss the turn-off and get us lost just all the same, though.

Some accidents are happy accidents and this one led us to a goat heaven. Look how cute they all are!

The boys finally caught up with us and gave me a hard time for having no sense of direction.

They didn't stop there either. They then gave me a hard time for taking goat selfies.

Apparently, this is what I look like when I'm trying to take a selfie with my new goat friends. Crazier than usual.

We were sad to leave them and our new goat friends were sad to see us go.

We made it to Kalona and had a nice meal and then we headed home to more incredible views and sightings of deer, chickens, sheep, horses and most importantly, goats. And none of them whined at us like Archie does.

We got a lot done last weekend and still got to play, which means we were kind of excited to go to work on Monday so we could finally get some rest.