Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Doing My Part

We rode 62 miles on our bikes on Memorial Day... in just under four hours of ride time. I think we're ready for Ride the Rockies (June 18-23) and the Tour de Wyoming (July 16-21). But first we have to Ride the Border -- this Saturday we are riding 65 miles from our town to a neighboring town in the next state over. There we will eat the best Mongolian beef on the planet (truly not an exaggeration) and stay the night at the Ramada Inn. Then on Sunday we come home. It's not a flat and level ride either. We will be climbing and dropping many thousands of feet in elevation, and there are three very long steep hills in particular that have us concerned.

How did the 62-mile ride go, you ask? Uneventful. We had enough Gatorade this time, partly due to temps in the low 70's. Also, we stopped for ice cream cones about halfway through. Very nice. The only glitch was when I, as navigator, took a wrong turn, taking us over six dusty miles of dirt road. Still, it was nice and picturesque... for a dirt road. No flat tires, though a few fillings were jarred loose.

On another topic, the biointensive gardens that my dad, my wife, and I planted are starting to take off. We prepared the soil about a month ago. We planted the crops two weeks ago according to John Jeavons' book How to Grow More Vegetables (and fruits, nuts, berries, grains, and other crops) than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine. Certainly the longest book title I've ever come across. We planted carrots, radishes, four kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, lettuce, bush beans, corn, squash, onions, garlic, chives, cabbage, kale, okra, and four kinds of peppers. Also from previous seasons, we have strawberries, raspberries, horseradish, grapes, asparagus, and a half-dozen fruit trees. All on about 2,500 square feet of backyard space. Then one week ago, we installed a drip irrigation system that delivers water directly to each plant or row of plants rather than flooding the entire garden. It's set on a timer so my dad can come out, click a switch, and walk away. The timer turns the water off after 15 minutes or 30 minutes or whatever he sets it to. This should cut down on water use by more than 50%. My share of the drip system equipment cost $60. When I commented that I could buy huge boatloads of veggies for that $60, my dad said cost savings is not the point. He is, of course, correct.


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