I really did plan on writing more often, but it seems there is always something else going on. This winter was filled with distractions, family tragedy, family drama, projects gone wrong, injuries and bad weather just to name a few. I don't want to dwell on the negative so I'll skip all the family stuff and move on to the other stuff.
My food forest project was derailed by poor planning and a budget. Instead of doing what I knew I should have done, which is have the company put pen to paper, I let them start work and was shocked when I got the bill and so little was accomplished. Yet, I continued on this path until my funds ran dry. So, for more money than I want to admit, I now have a plant free yard. Unfortunately the area where I intended to plant all my vines and trees is so root bound planting is out of the question for this year, so that will be looked at again in the fall. I decided to go another direction and hired a wonderful lady from a company called Peas and Harmony, I met her and her partner when they were giving a class on permaculture and after a few hours of consultation and more money I now have a 3 season multi-year vegetable garden plan for my raised bed area which will ultimately be moving from raised beds and go directly into the soil. I'm happy to say I now have some food growing in the yard, I was able to put in a bed of root veggies in 1 large bed and several varieties of potatoes in various other areas that won't be planted until the fall at the earliest. I've also started several hundred seeds indoors in an attempt to save some money and not have to buy plants this year. I have over 100 tomatoes, lots of bell peppers, some celery, chard, pumpkins, several varieties of melons, and zucchini that were started a few weeks ago and some are already in need of transplanting. This week I started cucumbers, herbs, green onions and companion flowers. So far, all look to be doing well. I have hope.
I got my chickens a little sooner than I planned, good thing I got the coop built last fall. We set up a web cam so I could watch them and it took pictures of them. They are so much fun to watch and they all have names. The Rhode Island Red is Helen, because from the beginning she was the bravest, she's named after our good friend Helen who is crazy when it comes to her running and cycling. My sister Belinda got to name one Betty Lou, she chose the Americauna. Jacob, my son who's taken Russian History named the 2 Wyandottes, so the Gold is Anastasia and the Silver is Natassia. I named the Black Astralorpe Henny Penny, because we always had one in our flock when I was a child. They stayed in the shower of our downstairs bathroom for about 6 weeks and just recently moved into their coop. They really seem to like it and it only took a few days for them to figure out how to get themselves in without my help. The first day was like a slapstick comedy, I'd put one in and turn around to grab another and the first one would have jumped back out. I had to close the door behind each one which was a challenge, since they are getting so big.
On the food front I decided this year I will master bread and start making my own yogurt. The yogurt was easy, mostly had to buy the machine and heat milk, mix in culture and pour. So far no one has tried it, I guess I should have mixed in fruit. I'll make them eat some this weekend. I made the first loaf of bread in my machine and baked it in the oven. It came out good, but I'll experiment with recipes to see which ones I'll be making on a regular basis. I started my cultures for sour dough, it will be at least a week before I know if it works.
Now for cycling. The weather has just been so unpredictable it has been hard for me to ride. I am definitely riding more than last year, but not as much as I'd like. Jan = 41 miles, Feb = 138 miles, Mar = 184 miles. I'm definitely getting more climbing in, I was averaging 39' per mile in March. With 2 rides this month I'm at 50' per mile. I did my first organized ride for the year, Party Pardee it's a metric century, but I stopped at the last rest stop at mile 50 and took SAG back to the start. I hadn't been fueling well and was concerned on the major hill that was coming up, I'm OK with walking it, but I worried about the descent. I'm also picking up speed on the descent, I got up to 36 mph on the Pardee ride. I owe that to my wonderful hubby who did all kinds of upgrades to my bike. The most important was new wheels since my stock ones weren't true and would pulse when I hit the brakes, it was too scary to allow myself to pick up too much speed. I've joined a few more cycling groups and I'm starting to connect with lots of women who are available to ride during the week which is perfect for me. This is also a good thing since my Dear Hubby will be starting his Death Ride training and will be leaving me in the dust soon.