Beach Day and Crazy Tomatoes

Life is about to be busy–a good busy–for a season.  Next weekend I leave for a mission trip with the youth group, will be home for a week, then leave for another mission trip (more on this later this week!), so this past weekend was somewhat of a “calm before the storm.”  Saturday we drove to Virginia Beach and met my college roomie Leah for a day of fun in the partly cloudy sun.  Other than a couple of brief rain showers, it was a wonderful beach day!

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Andrew and I are not exactly “beach compatible.”  My ideal day on the beach includes lying on my back, taking a long walk, lying on my stomach, dipping my toes in the water, and repeating.  Andrew, on the other hand, turns into a giant 9-year-old as soon as his toes hit the sand.

“What do you want to do first??  Build a sand castle??  Dig a hole??  Body surf??  Throw the frisbee??  Dig a bigger hole??”

I say that with all the love in the world. 🙂  Because marriage involves many compromises, we did a little of both beach methods.  We sat, Andrew built a carefully measured, structurally-sound castle (you can’t turn off “engineer”), we threw the football and Waboba in the water, and we relaxed.

Before Leah arrived, Andrew was in the zone building his castle.  I thought it would be funny to turn on the self-timer on the camera, sneak up behind Andrew, and take a funny picture without him noticing.  Well, as I was walking over, raising our sand-diggers (yes, we bring toys to the beach), I noticed the woman on the blanket next to us looking at me like I was nuts.  I lost my nerve, and camera took the photo mid-sneak.  It’s not what I had in mind, but I look so awkward that it makes me laugh:

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😀

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We had a great time catching up with Leah just enjoying the beach!  On the way home, we met our friend Allison for dinner.  We miss her so much in Richmond, and was so, so good to share a meal and chat for a bit. 🙂

Things were productive on the garden-front this weekend as well.  Between the heat and the afternoon rain we’ve been having for the last few weeks, our tomato plants have grown out of control.  Part of the problem is that we planted too many too close together;  it’s hard to tell which branches belong to which plant now!  They’ve long surpassed their 4-ft cages and started flopping over on top of each other.  This weekend we had to stake them:

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Most of them are taller than their 6-ft stakes, and a few are even taller than Andrew now.  Despite the craziness, they are producing lots of beautiful fruit:

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We are approaching an exciting point in which we are harvesting a lot of veggies.  I know it’s all relative, but we were thrilled to bring these beauties inside yesterday:

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They were (we ate them all) the best cherry tomatoes I’ve tasted!  Thankfully, there are dozens more ripening at this very moment. 🙂

What did you do this weekend?
What activities do you like to do at the beach?

Weekly Workouts–Highlights and Lowlights

Lately on the blog I think I’ve been focusing more on food (specifically food from our garden :)) and less on fitness.  In case you think I have fallen off the exercise wagon, here’s what my week looked like in terms of workouts:

Saturday: Kayaking- 2 hours
Sunday: Biking- 1 hour
Monday: Running- 30 minutes
Tuesday: Weights- 30 minutes (Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30)
Wednesday: Running/Walking- 20 minutes
Thursday: Free Weights- 30 minutes, Walking-30 minutes
Friday: Rest

The Lowlight:
<Warning: I am about to whine.>  My quad is still bothering me when I run as a result of that softball game a few weeks ago.  I have not attempted any sort of speed work or distance since then, but about 15 minutes into every (slow) run, that quad tightens up like crazy, and I have to stop to stretch (which doesn’t completely relieve it, but it helps for a few minutes.)  Then, as soon as I started running Wednesday, my knee began to hurt.  I kept it slow and allowed myself to walk, but ended up cutting it way short because of the pain.  I have no idea what that’s about!  I haven’t had knee problems in years, and I’m a very frustrated with it. :-/

The Highlight:
Kayaking was a blast last weekend!  As I’ve said before, I love getting a workout from outdoor, physical activities that aren’t specifically workouts–kayaking, hiking, playing tennis, etc.  I love taking a break from the usual workout routine on the weekends to make room for just playing.  Kayaking gives you a cardiovascular workout without using your legs (well, you use them some for stabilization, but your arms are doing most of the work),  which makes it great for people who are, say, having knee issues from running.

And, because fitness and food go hand-in-hand when it comes to wellness (and because I am in the weird habit of taking pictures of my dinners), here’s our super lazy dinner from last night:  Grilled burger patties (made with lean ground beef), steamed broccoli, and Alexia baked oven fries.

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Pretty tasty 🙂

What was your workout highlight or lowlight from the week?

Bike Rides and Bee Hives

Sunday morning, Andrew embarked on day two of kayaking.  Assuming he would be gone for a while, I decided to go for a solo bike ride after church and rode to a nearby park to enjoy the trails.  We’ve biked the trails at this park before, but for some reason I was struggling yesterday!  The ride to the park was fine, and the wider paths were no problem.  One particular stretch of trail was so narrow and uphill, though, that my Garmin kept switching to the “auto-pause” mode, meaning I was riding so slowly it thought I’d stopped.  Hah!

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One of the wider trails in the park 🙂

Try to picture this:  I’m pedaling very slowly, uphill, navigating between trees and over roots, and up ahead there is a large stick on the path.  Let’s say it’s a small log.  It was about 3-4 inches in diameter–no big deal if I’d been going downhill or at a decent speed–but uphill at a snail’s pace?  That thing was going to bring my bike to a complete stop.  I decided the only thing to do was pop my front tire over the log.  As I did so successfully, I congratulated myself aloud with an enthusiastic, “YES!”…at which point I noticed a woman walking and looking right at me, not ten feet away, on the paved path that winds through the park.  She definitely heard me, and I can only imagine what she must have thought.

😀

I ended up riding about 9 miles in just over an hour, which means I had a few pretty fast miles going to and from the park to balance those really slow miles in the park. 🙂

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When Andrew returned from kayaking later that afternoon, he decided to mow the grass while he was still gross from the river. (If you aren’t familiar with the James, it is a very dirty river.  I stopped Andrew just in time a few times this weekend from sitting on the couch in his dry, but river-funky bathing suit.)  I had cleaned up from my bike ride and was upstairs getting ready.  About five minutes after Andrew started mowing the grass, I heard the lawnmower stop.  Then I heard the front door knob turn.  I knew it was locked, so I went downstairs to let Andrew in.  By the time I got there, he was walking in through the garage.   I asked if everything was okay, and Andrew, with as much calmness and little emotion as if he were telling me the weather forecast said:

“I think I ran over a beehive with the lawnmower.”

“Oh no!  Did you get stung??”

“Yeah.”

With that he bent down and lifted the bottom of his pant leg, and two yellow jackets flew out!  I would have been freaking out.  Andrew’s attitude was like, Eh, yeah, there are some bees in my pants.  Whatever.  

Thankfully he was only stung once.  (He did clarify later that the bees were trapped around the ankle of his pants and not just flying around his legs.  I feel a little better about that.)  I walked outside with him to investigate, and we saw bees swarming around a few holes in the ground.  The grass in the part of the yard remains uncut for now.  :-/

Bee sting aside, we had a great weekend!

What did you do this weekend?
Have you ever run over a beehive with a lawnmower?

Kayaking on the James

On Saturday afternoon, Andrew and I pulled out the kayaks for the first time this season.  The weather was warm, but mostly cloudy, the river level was high, and we knew we were in for a good afternoon.  But before removing the kayaks from the garage, we had one of those arguments about nothing.  When we bought the house, Andrew built a pulley system on the ceiling of the garage to store the kayaks (perk #107 of marrying an engineer.)  We currently use our garage to store lots of things that are not cars, so in order to get the kayaks down without dropping them on anything, we needed to turn them as we lowered.

Andrew: “Okay. I need you do hold the center of the kayak and rotate it as I lower.”

(The kayak is still at head level for me, and I have to lean over a work bench to reach the center.  Andrew lowers one side so I have some more slack to work with.  A watering can is knocked off a shelf after a failed attempt to turn the dang boat.  Andrew gives me an exasperated look.)

Catherine: “I’m trying!  I don’t know what you want me to do!” 

Andrew: “Turn the kayak so it’s facing that way!”

(Something else is knocked off a shelf by the hanging kayak.)

Catherine:  “I can’t do that from the middle!  I need to pull it over from the front!”

Andrew: “Then do that!”

We lowered the kayak to the ground, and the argument–more of a discussion with raised voices–blew over as quickly as it started. 🙂  Do you ever have arguments like that?  Ones in which you are frustrated with a situation but take out your frustration on another person?  I am definitely guilty of it… and I have a feeling I’m not the only one.  Still, I probably need to work on that.

We loaded the kayaks on top of the car, and headed to the riv-ah.  We started at Huguenot Flatwater;  Andrew dropped off me and the boats, drove downstream to Pony Pasture, dropped off his car, and biked back to where I was.

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There’s not a lot of river between the two spots, so we paddled upstream for a bit before going down.  The river was really high, and the “beach” where we usually stop and eat lunch when kayaking was mostly under water.

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We explored the land, paddled around for a while, then eventually headed downstream.  Other than feeling a few drops of rain from the upcoming storm, the weather was great–warm, but not hot, overcast, but not completely grey.  There is a dam along that stretch of the James, with plenty of warning signs instructing boaters where to get out of the water and walk.

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Just after the dam…getting back in the water!

The best part of the trip was the end.  Pony Pasture has lots of rocks and rapids, so it was more exciting than a gentle downstream paddle.  Andrew, the more seasoned kayaker, led the way, and I followed at a distance through the rapids.  When I encountered the first rapid, my boat went entirely under water–still upright, but fully submerged.  Once we made it through, I told Andrew, “I am soaked!”  He laughed and said that he was as well.  When we took the boats out of the water, however, he compared the two and said, “Whoa… you took on a LOT more water than I did!”  I will have to work on my rapid-navigation skills. 😉

We ended a great day with dinner on the back porch–beet greens & kale, polenta, and chicken sausages with a rosemary-mustard sauce that Andrew created:

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Andrew is back out in the kayak today with a group of coworkers!  They are attempting a longer, more rapid-filled stretch of the river.  I am going on a bike ride for as long as the rain will hold off (the sky looks threatening at the moment…)

Happy Sunday!

What’s been the highlight of your weekend so far?

June Garden Update

We have veggies!

In the last few weeks, we have really seen the vegetable garden thrive.  (“Thriving” is a nice way of saying, “Everything is out of control!”)  Perhaps it’s the heat, the rain, or a combination of the two, but it seems as though some of the vegetables came out over night.  I will let the photos do most of the talking today:

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Then and now

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Green beans

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Heirloom & cherry tomatoes

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Hot peppers & tomatillos

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Zucchini & all the viney things gettin’ crazy

Fun gardening fact:  Did you know that there’s a difference between straw and hay?  We sure didn’t.  Apparently we wanted straw to use as mulch, but we bought hay.  The difference?  Hay is comprised of grasses that still have the seeds and grains attached, which means that when we covered our garden with it to prevent weeds, we actually planted tons of grass seed (you can see it in the zucchini picture above.)  It has really been a joy to pull the weeds that we planted out of the garden. 😉

Despite the weeds, we are so looking forward to harvesting (and eating) all this produce!  We have put in a lot of hard work in the garden, and finally seeing the fruit makes it all worth it.  In fact, after seeing those peppers for the first time a few nights ago, I think Andrew was on a gardening high:

Andrew:  “Is it bad that I want to turn the entire back yard into a vegetable garden??”

Catherine:  “It’s not bad to want that… as long as you know it isn’t going to happen.”

😀

Softball, Fresh Produce, and Unrealized Dreams

Tonight… I play softball.  I have never before played, with the exception of a few intramural games in college and, of course, gym class, but I have always suspected that had I played growing up, I could have been pretty good.  Just a hunch.  (A few years ago when I told Andrew about that hunch, he said, “I don’t know if you have the size necessary to be really good at any sport.” Dream crusher.)

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Yesterday my friend Evan from work asked if Andrew and I would be interested in playing on our church’s team.  In light of my unrealized dreams mentioned above, I gave him an immediate yes.  Our first game is tonight, so last night Andrew and I headed to a local high school field to play catch–or, as Andrew probably thought of it: give Catherine a crash course in fundamentals so she doesn’t embarrass me tomorrow. 😉

But first, dinner:

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Baked salmon with a Dijon mustard/soy sauce glaze, steamed broccoli, and brown rice.  Quick, simple, delicious… and eaten outside on our new deck furniture, which made it taste even better!

During dinner we spotted a rabbit munching on weeds around the garden.  We see them out there daily, and so far they haven’t touched anything in the garden;  we are hoping the weeds will be enough to satisfy them!

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Hey, bunny… get away from those tomatoes!

Speaking of tomatoes…

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Ours are growing like crazy!  In the photo above, the tomato plants make up the jungle on the left.  Most have flowers on them, and the cherry tomatoes are starting to come out!

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We also picked our second strawberry last night;  last week we put netting around the plants to keep the birds out, so hopefully we will be able to harvest more than one berry at a time now 🙂

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As we split the single berry in half I thought, “Vegetable gardening really does make you appreciate the work it takes to produce food.”  You may be wondering at this point, “Is she going to post a picture of each individual fruit or vegetable they pick?”  The answer is: possibly, leaning towards likely. 😉

After dinner and bunny-watching and strawberry-picking, we grabbed our gloves and a softball and worked on some fundamentals.  As I suspected, I wasn’t terrible:  I caught the ball far more than I missed it, I threw it fairly accurately, and I was only hit in the shin once by a close-range grounder… And once in the knee, at which point I immediately fell to the ground in pain.  I now have a lovely bruise and pain to the touch. 🙂

“If that happens tomorrow during the game, you have to throw the ball before you can think about the pain.”  -Andrew

Thanks, coach.

I am excited to play tonight and hope I don’t embarrass the team too badly 😀

Any last minute advice from you softball or baseball players out there?

 

Staying Active Without a Gym + Weekend Stuff

Last week I did not go to the gym.  Not once.  And yet it’s Monday morning, and my legs are still a bit sore from the week’s activities.  When we joined a gym a few months ago, part of me thought, “Why are we doing this?  We don’t need a gym…”  While the gym is very helpful in staying healthy, it is far from necessary, especially now that the weather is warmer.  Here’s how we stayed in shape last week, outside the gym:

Monday:  Rest

Tuesday: Weight circuits in living room (AM,)  Spikeball with friends Michael and Lisa (PM)

Wednesday:  Running- 30 minutes, intervals

Thursday:  Weight circuits in living room (AM,) Ultimate Frisbee (PM)

Friday:  Running-60 minutes

Saturday: Shopping with Andrew (his legs are twice as long as mine… I practically have to run to keep up with him ;-))

Sunday:  Frisbee Golf

It was a week full of Andrew’s ideal workouts–those in which you play.  I have grown to really enjoy playing Ultimate Frisbee;  it’s like a sneaky speed workout with lots of sprints over the course of ninety minutes.  Plus, the game itself is a lot of fun, running aside.  When I woke up Friday morning, my legs felt good, despite lots of prolonged sprinting the night before, so I decided to proceed as planned with my long run.  I am trying to be disciplined about building up my mileage, and I did not want to change my plans for potential soreness.  The run was a success, but as the day went on, my legs became sorer and sorer  (<–is that a word?  More sore?)  Saturday, it was just embarrassing 😉

Friday night we went to dinner and played putt-putt with our friends Amanda and Diron.  Andrew won, I lost by a long shot (or I guess, a series of short shots ;-),) and Amanda and Diron landed somewhere in between.  We had a great time!

putt puttSorry for the blurry iphone photo…

On Saturday we went on a quest;  we’d been feeling the need for deck furniture ever since this happened back in April:

DSCN7829Kitchen chairs and TV trays… classy 😉

We checked a few stores before finally finding what we wanted at Target.  (Is there anyone out there who does not love Target?  I have yet to walk in the store and walk back out without spending at least $50.  It’s a beautiful place.)

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Aren’t those chairs fun??  Andrew was so excited to find a tall set.  That evening, he went to a baseball game with a friend, so I had the night to myself and was eager to use the new patio furniture.  Every now and then it’s good to have some “me-time.”  For dinner I made bruschetta with french bread, fresh mozzarella, tomato slices, and basil from  our garden, all heated in the toaster oven.

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I have since decided I might live on this food combination for the remainder of the summer. 🙂

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Dinner + new magazine + Mike’s Hard Cherry Lemonade in a wine glass to look more sophisticated (hah!)… excellent 🙂

Sunday afternoon we played Frisbee/disc golf at the University of Richmond.  I’d played once before, but determined yesterday that this game is an excellent compromise for Andrew and me:  it’s essentially taking a walk with a competitive objective.  I don’t know the history of the game (and for the sake of what I’m about to say, I’m not going to take five seconds to research it ;-)), but I wouldn’t be surprised if it started when a wife dragged her husband on a long walk through a park;  suspecting he might be bored, he brought a frisbee, throwing it as they walked.  From there, the only step is adding a few targets.

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We had a great time until a thunderstorm rolled in and ended our game early.

And, as usual, Monday arrived too soon.  Have a great day!

How do you stay in shape without a gym?  Do you ever incorporate “playing” into our workout routine?

Cape Charles (Memorial Day Weekend)

As we drove across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Saturday morning, I thought about the popular get-to-know-you question:  Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?  Then I thought, God bless Virginia, because I don’t have to choose.  Mountains Friday, beach Saturday and Sunday.

Andrew’s dad and his girlfriend recently purchased a house at Cape Charles and have been working hard to renovate it before summer.  The house is finally live-able, and this weekend we helped them move furniture from Richmond.  Saturday afternoon, after moving all the large pieces into the house (plus lunch and a 2-hour nap…hah!), Andrew and I set off the explore the small town. Unfortunately, at 60 degrees with 20 mph winds, it was not a great beach day, but we were content to walk around in sweat shirts. 🙂

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Cape Charles definitely has a small-town feel.  There is only one street with stores–a few restaurants, a pharmacy with a lunch counter, a hardware store selling everything from paint to hula hoops to cleaning supplies that may have expired in 1987.  Outside most of the shops, locals sit in rocking chairs, greeting passerbys.   It was charming.

After dinner Saturday night, we caught a beautiful sunset over the bay:

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On Sunday morning, I went for a short, easy run; my primary motivation was to snap a few pictures before too many people were out and about.

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I saw an otter (that Andrew tells me is a muskrat…) swimming in a pond!  Walking closer to the water I thought, “Either this is an otter (muskrat,) and this is going to be awesome, or it’s the biggest snake I’ve ever seen, and I’m in big trouble.”  Thankfully, it wasn’t a snake. 😉

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For lunch, Andrew and I walked to the Cape Charles Coffee House (where I had also grabbed a coffee at the end of my run :-D.)    On Sundays they only serve breakfast, which suited both of us just fine!  Andrew ordered the egg platter, with scrambled eggs, bacon, and fresh fruit (including local strawberries!,) and I ordered the Belgian waffles, which came with fresh fruit, whipped cream, and sausage links.  The waffles were huge, and other than Andrew helping me with the sausage, I ate every bite.  I was pretty hungry, and it was so, so delicious!  I wish I’d taken a picture!

On the way to lunch we passed this pretty blue wall.  This is what happened when I asked Andrew to model in his red shirt:

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How did I get so lucky? 😉

After lunch we packed up our bikes and drove to the nearby National Wildlife Refuge, then Kiptopeke State Park.  The NWR had paved or fine gravel trails, but not many of them, and the state park had lots of trails, but most of them were grassy and tough to ride through.  Still, between the two, we spent about two hours on our bikes exploring.

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The marsh overlook at the National Wildlife Refuge

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The Bay Overlook at Kiptopeke State Park

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I’ve said this before, but I rarely notice our height difference until I look at pictures… and then I think it’s hilarious.  I look like a child on the bike.  😀

We ended the afternoon with some beach time at the park.

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By the end of the day, we were completely exhausted.  I think we were in bed by 9:30!  It was an awesome weekend, despite the cooler weather on Saturday.  We drove home early Monday and spent most of the day resting and watching Arrested Development on Netflix.

…And I continue to be thankful that I don’t have to choose between the beach and the mountains. 😀

What did you do for the Memorial Day weekend?  Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?

Dobie Mountain Hike + Peeing in the Woods

On Thursday afternoon Andrew and I made the somewhat last-minute decision to take the day off Friday and hike.  We already had a three day weekend for Memorial Day and figured, why not make it four?  Plus, we hadn’t been hiking since that bizarre warm day back in January, and we were itching for some mountain views.  After a bit of deliberation–we wanted to minimize driving distance and maximize views–we decided on Dobie Mountain.  The starting point of this hike shares a parking lot with one of our favorites, Humpback Rocks, and is less than ninety minutes from Richmond, but we had never done it before Friday.  As it turns out, we didn’t know what we were missing.

The weather forecast for Friday showed us that we’d have a cooler hike (about 55 degrees,) and we dressed appropriately for the temperature, but what we did not anticipate was the wind: 25-30 mph!  Thankfully, when we’d walked out our front door that morning it was raining, and even though I knew it wasn’t in the forecast for where we were hiking, I ran back inside to get my rain coat.  Just in case.  I definitely needed the extra (wind resistant) layer!

Aside from the wind, which wasn’t terrible once we entered the woods, the whole day was fantastic.  We took a picture of the map in parking lot to use as our trail map:

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Starting at the Humpback Rocks Parking Area, we went up the Albright Loop, onto the Appalachian Trail to the Glass Hollow Overlook, then back to finish the loop.  The first half of the hike is downhill with a lot of rocks and switchbacks, then the trail ascends to the overlook and back to the start.  It was a good workout, but not quite as strenuous as Humpback Rocks.

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Braving the wind.  My hair tells the story.

The views at the overlook were incredible:

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Because it was a weekday and we were on the less popular of two neighbor hikes, we didn’t see any other hikers once we left the parking lot.  Beautiful solitude… Together. 😉  We set up our ENO hammock and took a break for lunch.

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PBJ’s on gluten-free bread, apples, tortilla chips, carrots (Andrew,) trail mix (Catherine;  fine, I only ate the chocolate)

Also, despite using the restroom immediately before starting the hike and drinking less water than I probably should have, nature called.  Guys have it so easy when it comes to peeing in the woods.  Girls?  It’s a little tougher…and not something I have practiced often.  Here’s my advice: after finding a safe location (no poison ivy or people,) choose a tree, point your backside downhill, grab the tree for support, and squat as if you are water skiing with your butt very close to the water.  That advice and mental image are free.  You’re welcome 😉

Cool finds of the day: a log that looked like a dragon (I decided to ride it,) and… these green things:

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The whole day was a blast, and we were glad we made the trip.  Lots of quality time, beautiful views, and–one of my favorite parts of hiking–a workout that doesn’t seem like a workout.  Seriously, if I lived within 15 minutes of a mountain, I would hike every day.  Or at least a few times a week.

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Do you ever use hiking as a workout?  What’s your favorite hike/place to hike?

Garden Update + Homemade Organic Pesticide

Gardens require work, and for two people who are firmly against spraying any type of chemical on their plants, gardens require a lot of work.  We spend hours on our hands and knees pulling weeds.  We chase and yell at squirrels.  I’d like to share a less labor-intensive (and less your-neighbors-think-you’re-nuts) organic method we found for keeping bugs from eating our plants.  But first, a photo update:

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We spread hay last weekend as a mulch to hold in moisture and keep weeds from springing up.

 

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A row of broccoli + tomato plants

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Squash, beets, pumpkin, and strawberries

A couple of weeks ago I walked outside to check on the roses.  They had been looking healthy, and my primary motivation was to see if there were any buds yet.  When I looked at them, however, I saw that the caterpillars, aphids, and some other bugs were enjoying a rose buffet.  They were absolutely devouring the leaves and the new buds.

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I did some quick research and read in a few places that garlic-infused water is effective in getting rid of bugs when sprayed on plants.  I figured it was worth a shot!  Andrew and I crushed a bunch of garlic cloves, put them in a large bowl of water, and let them sit overnight.  The next day I removed as many garlic chunks from the water as possible (or what I thought was possible; apparently I could have done better…), found a spray nozzle, and doused the roses and bugs.

I did manage to break the nozzle, unfortunately.  A small chunk of garlic lodged itself permanently somewhere in the tube.  Andrew asked me if I strained the water.

“I did the best I could.  The internet said to strain it with a cheese cloth.  Who the heck has a cheese cloth sitting around??”

“What about a coffee filter?”

“I didn’t think about that.”

“It even has the word ‘filter’ in its name.”

😉

So, if you decide to try this method, definitely strain the water with a coffee filter.

I am happy to say that it worked!  The following day the bugs were completely gone, with the exception of one dead caterpillar that looked like it had been burned in half by the garlic.  (You’re welcome for that visual.)  While there are obviously still holes in the leaves and some of the buds, we haven’t seen any bugs in weeks.  Crushed garlic, for the win!

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The first rose of the season

We are looking forward to more bug-free roses throughout the summer as well as lots of fresh fruits and veggies!

Do you know any effective methods for controlling garden pests organically?  Have you tried garlic spray?