Some numbers

I need to get back into taking regular pictures. This is the best I can come up with for the last few weeks:

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Our garden is doing really well but so is our CSA farm so we’re overrun with veggies!!!

Anyhoo, I have been keeping track of my biking in order to analyse trends and determine whether it was worth getting a cargo bike.

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My biking is split between transport and sport biking. My sport biking has dropped in late June and was almost non-existent during July due to being sick, bad weather (heat wave, forest fires in Quebec, almost daily thunderstorms etc…). I was also undergoing conversion to the new bike which made me reluctant to go on long rides before I knew that the bike has been properly adjusted and I used to it. The bike is set up now and I have already put 200km on it. Another problem with getting the sports rides in is that I was relying on Ottawa Bicycle Club Tuesday Night Rides which alternate starting points making them sometimes super-convenient and sometimes too far to bother making the trip. To this I have since added Local Bike Store club rides and shorter rides with a neighbour so now I am almost guaranteed at least 10km of “training” per week.

Since the weather and road conditions allowed it I have been transporting at least 100km per month which I will consider as very good. Not all of my commuting is on the cargo bike, but a lot of it is and I am certainly happy to have it.

Playtime!

I came home after fitness class last night around 8:30. The kids were in bed, there were no chores to be done I could not ignore and I was not tired. That never happens!

I finally got to work on my toy bike.

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Original stem

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Both stems

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In the nude

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New stem

Now I just have to find the time to install the speedometer and tighten the shifter. Then I have to find the time to go for a test ride before I go out with the club.

At least I have the time to smell the flowers…

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Spring cleaning

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Ever since the days started getting longer I have been so excited about spring. I don’t mind the occasional snow storm because April is supposed to be snowy, but I can feel the weather getting warmer. And when these little friends start showing up for the party you know it is going to get better.

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I’ve looked through my Ravelry page and realised I’ve only knitted three items this year. Admittedly, two of them were sweaters and as such a lot of work, but still. This year only accessories and only stash yarn. I challenge myself!

I also have another little challenge on the go. I want to do Costco run on the bike. Partially because I’ve never done it and thought it almost impossible and partially because it just sounds crazy and who does not want crazy??? So yes, 20kg of milk, 10kg of flour or other grains, and five kilos of fruits and vegetables. Maybe a little of meat and fish to make things interesting… Can I make it home or will I be calling Chris from the bottom of Palladium drive to pick me up with the minivan? Tune in to find out.

Canadian Shield Sailors

Poneki mornar mozda
Ostane bez ladje,
Ali bez mora
To je izuzetan peh
Balasevic – “Panonski mornar”

As I loaded up my work PC on Monday, I was overcome by a strong urge to go bike to the cafe and have a cappuccino while looking at the boats. At first I was puzzled and then I realized that it is July and I am not used to working in July. I sighed a little bit, put on the flickr slideshow from last summer and continued working.

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Last July

Despite the utter lack of seaside we have been having a nice summer. The boys are making use of both front and back yard. They have discovered dirt as the new favourite toy so there is a dig in the flower bed next to the garage. Shovels and Tonka trucks are involved.

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This July

I am feeling good, but am getting quite big so walking and even standing are starting to be a problem. I can still bike pretty well (Yay!). We are trying to come up with a name for the baby, but nothing good has been thought of yet.

Film – Plan B

I took a moment this weekend to reflect on the garden. Here is a picture from earlier this week, our pond with some complementary ducks:

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And then the pool company came over…

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Chris thinks we will be able to swim in it before we go away, but, unless I find an affordable wet suit for toddlers, I am severely doubting it.

Back to the rest of the yard. Each year we set an achievable goal and a budget for the yard. Two years ago it was the fence towards the neighbor’s house, last year it was clearing out the side. This year it was pruning and removing trees which we have had done a few weeks ago. This left me with very small budget to do anything else so I restricted myself with only purchasing mulching. Two weeks and ten bags of mulch later, this is done.

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I haven’t mulched in about four years so mulching made our front yard a bit more presentable. Good thing that dandelions are coming back in style, I have no intention of doing anything about them on a large scale. There is a bungalow around the corner selling for over half a million dollars. A four bedroom, unfinished basement bungalow for crying out loud! It is on a busy street and, apart from being newly renovated, there is not even anything terribly special about it. I really don’t think that our neighborhood needs my help to look any fancier than it already does.

Ok, back from ranting. Now I have an overgrown weedy yard and no budget. This is when things get exciting…

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The original dirt in our yard is really bad. It is clay so compacted that I broke a pitchfork (metal part of it) without even trying to dig deeper than 10 centimeters. It is so dense there are no worms in the soil. The previous owners did apparently buy some better dirt to put over it, but it looks like they only used this to raise beds for landscaping, rather than to improve the conditions for the vegetation. As the result, a lot of the shrubs and smaller trees are sick and there are more weeds than perennials. These poor guys are sick little trees:

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This year I will not try and shape them like I did in the past. I am going to let them grow as they will and see if they improve by next year. If they don’t improve I will have to cut them down.

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To the credit of the woman who sold me the house, I think she would buy a truckload of annuals every year, but I am just not at a point in my life where I think annuals are a good idea. I am too busy to grow my own from seed (I will re-start doing this in a year or two) and too cheap frugal to buy them grown. In any case, I am stuck with at least one major garden bed that is, from the horticultural point of view, completely unusable. I could have bought a truck load of compost last year and rototilled it when we rented a bobcat, but it was just not in the budget. My actual strategy is to dig a small part of it every year, plant something new there and observe the results. Last year I bought two shrubs and half a dozen perennials and it looks like they all came back this year. This year I quickly dug another hole and planted tomatoes I got from Maria. Trevor got some pumpkin seeds at a birthday party last week so we planted those in the remaining holes.

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If you can spot the bent trowel in the above pictures you will know where the pumpkin seeds are planted. Trowel is bent because I attempted to dig in the clay. Silly me. Also, Trevor only planted the first five seeds. After that, he decided he would rather wash rocks in my watering can. Gardening with a three year old is as exciting as it is unpredictable. I did not mean to plant vegetables in the flower bed, but I really don’t care where they are planted, and I was not terribly interested in getting new perennials until I see how the ones I got last year fare by the end of the summer.

Another issue with gardening in my yard are the weeds. The thorny ones get pulled out as soon as I can get to them. The rest I am more philosophical about. Up until last year, I hated forget-me-nots, because they spread like wildfire and, once they are out of bloom, look horrible. This year, I have completely embraced them. They are supper pretty in bloom and very easy to pull out once they are done blooming. Once they are pulled out, they leave nice patches of ground unpolluted by other weeds and are short enough not to kill perennials. I am considering changing my opinion on the small yellow flower weed in the back of the above bed (are they buttercups?). They are much more difficult to pull out, but once I improve the soil and plant taller, leafier perennials they should be short enough to be pushed out by the incomers while still providing some shade and interest as a ground cover.

Charissa brought me some more perennials yesterday, but after I plant that, I will be done with the garden for the spring. Chris, on the other hand, has a few projects of his own. He is going to repair the birdhouse and make a little play area with sandbox for the kids.

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