Friday, July 31, 2009

Farms Pics

Yep, it's that time again - the time when I remember to bring my camera to the farm. Friday is pretty much "get ready for market day" - so lots of cutting of flowers. In no particular order, here's how the day played out:

Zinnias! Tons of them - they're in full swing these days.

The cockscomb and celosia rows are taking off too - these have wreaths in their future.

Random flower rows. You might notice from this picture that I am not as johnny-on-the-spot with a hoe as I could be. To which I reply - sue me. Not that I'm defensive or anything. But yes, if I'm really telling the truth I'd admit that a weedeater has occasionally made its way down my rows between the flowers to restore order. The thing is, usually the decision goes something like this: I *could* be OCD about weed control. Or I could go run. And here you have pictorial proof that the run usually wins. Balance is good, right? Right??

The castor bean plants that are considering eating Oakley. Seriously, look how high those things are. This is definitive proof that chemical fertilizers are not required to grow things. And that having a few horses on the property really helps in that department.

The goats that ran away from the circus and met up at the barn. These goats are *supposed* to be living in the overgrown paddock with Max and Charlie - but these wily goats, who arrived in two separate pairs within a day or two of each other, all immediately found the one tiny hole in the woven wire fence and took off for the barn. And they are so entertaining up there that my dad and I haven't had the heart to corral them and take them back to the paddock. We refer to them as our tiny herd of tiny goats, and they have a fabulous time running and snorting and knocking horns with each other all over the pasture. So poor Max and Charlie are fending for themselves in the weeds that are way taller than they are, while Bonnie, Clyde, Thelma and Louise are living it up. Life is not fair.

Dexter, king of the barn cats. He had an encounter with Thelma (Supreme Commander of the Renegade Goats) that convinced him goats are NOT SUPPOSED TO LIVE IN THE BARN. He wandered straight up to Thelma to introduce himself, and she took one look, backed up a few steps and scooped him up on her horns and sent him flying. He was hissing as he flew through the air, and I confess my dad and I could not stop laughing. He landed with a thump (you'll notice he's well padded) and stalked off to nurse his wounded pride. It was the only thing wounded, but he was highly offended.

Extreme electric fence building to combat the tiny herd of tiny goats. Goats like to get on anything high - like, for example, the hood of your towing vehicle or the wheel wells of the horse trailer. Four strands of electric tape have now convinced them otherwise.

Most ridiculous shoes in history. And they're on *my* feet. After investing untold $$ in plantar fasciitis treatments (orthotics for bike shoes, orthotics for run shoes, special arch supports for other shoes, god knows how much athletic tape for arch tape...) I have now gone the other direction. All of that worked for a week and then it hurt again. So I'm beginning to give more credence to the cult of barefoot runners. I'm not running barefoot, but I do think there's some sense to the argument that my arches need to figure out how to support themselves again. So I've been walking around barefoot at the farm. But sometimes I'm walking around places where barefoot just isn't the best plan - enter the Vibram Five Fingers. They totally look like muppet shoes, but I swear the plantar fasciitis is feeling better. And even if it's just because I'm distracted by these ridiculous shoes, that's fine with me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Best of Asheville Survey and A Race Report

First - it's time for Mountain Xpress's yearly Best of Asheville survey. And this year for (I think) the first time, they've included a Best Local Farm category. So you know where I'm headed with this - if you take the survey and are inclined to write down Spotted Dog Farm for the Best Local Farm I'd definitely appreciate it. (I'm not really looking to win - some of the big veggie farms have quite the following - but showing up on the survey would be nice.) And while you're at it - our good friends Take the Cake from the City Market (you know - Cupcakes A Go-Go - the incredibly delicious and beautiful cupcakes and other pastries from the tent right beside the Coffee Caravan) were my choice for Best Bakery - and could by yours as well. Click here for the survey link.

In other, totally unrelated, news, I did my second ever triathlon last weekend - the Asheville Triathlon at Rec Park on Azalea Road. It was a rather short Sprint - a 400m pool swim, 11 mile bike and 5K. It was super fun, although it started at 7 and I'm kind of OCD about not being rushed before races (or horse shows, or whatever), so I insisted that Clark and I get there at 5:30 to set up and get ready. And Clark wasn't even racing. He was just being the uber-sherpa and camera man. He's a really, really good sport.

So the swim, being a pool swim, should have been super easy, and actually was, but in fact had me more stressed out than the open water swim at Biltmore Lake. I was feeling kind of pressured to actually perform good flip turns and look like someone who had been getting up at ungodly hours and swimming in a pool for the past few months. But then somehow when it came down to it the flip turns didn't really seem like the thing to do - because we were having to flip and turn under the lane lines and there were a lot of people in the pool at once, and I was pretty sure I would pass out from lack of oxygen - so I just did these incredibly slow and clumsy open turns while sucking in air like a bellows, and it actually all turned out fine. Believe it or not, I was pretty decently placed (17/129) after the swim. So take that, flip turns. I always knew you were overrated.

The bike was fun, nothing particularly exciting (although I had been a little worried that I was going to freeze since it was 55 degrees at the start and we were jumping onto our bikes wet.) But actually I was fine - not cold at all. I guess adrenaline and exertion can get you past a lot of discomforts.

The run was about the flattest run imaginable in Asheville - it just went down Azalea Road for a mile and a half, and then turned around and came back. So I started the run, and felt neither great nor terrible, and my mental discussion went something like this: "Self, you could run yourself into the ground here, or you could decide that you don't really want to hurt that much on a Sunday morning and take it back a notch." And my self replied "take it back a notch." So that 's kind of what I did. I ran 30 seconds slower than at Biltmore Lake (after a much shorter, easier swim and bike.) And the me of my 20s would find that very hard to swallow, but the me of my 30s has mellowed considerably, and is considering slacking off now and then to be one of the perks of learning a new sport.

And it turns out the me of my 30s also can't remember how old I am. I was running back at about mile 2 1/2 and saw a woman ahead of me with a 30 on her calf, and thought, well I should at least really try to catch her, that's a place in my age group. So I did, and was feeling pretty good about that, and then it didn't even occur to me until after I had finished and was eating a burrito from Moe's (at 8:30 am!) from the catering table while waiting for the awards, that she wasn't in my age group at all. I'm 35-39. And not by a narrow margin either. I guess one shouldn't really count on a lot of brain function at the end of a race.

So overall the results were great - second in my rather large (26 women) age group. And I was going to downplay it by saying, well, it's a pretty easy race so it has a lot of beginners. But then it hit me - I *am* a beginner, at this whole triathlon thing anyway, so instead I'll just be happy with the results. Here's a super dorky picture of me holding my award (turns out putting yoga pants under your dress isn't such a great look), but my favorite part of the pic is that in the bottom left corner you can barely see Clark in his black jacket grinning at me as I get my award. Up at 5:30 and happy with my results - he's a keeper.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Folly Beach - *Best* *Beach* *Ever*

Can you tell from the title we enjoyed ourselves at Folly? It's got just the right mix of walking distance to good restaurants, great beach, lifeguards on the beach (always reassuring when you have a 7 year old who likes to play in the waves), good roads for running, a fishing pier for the 7 year old. Basically just a very good time. And our friends Leslie and Tracy went with us, and it was kind of the perfect sized crowd - enough people to always find someone to do something with, not so many that you couldn't get seated at a restaurant. And everyone was so mellow. And indulgent of my desire to watch the Tour. What more could a person ask for??

Here's photographic proof - best beach trip ever!

Sam looking pensive on the pier. There was a King Mackerel fishing contest going on, and he *really* wanted someone to catch one. Alas, it was not to be.

Sam and me. Sweetest kid ever.

Sam and Clark doing crazy beach yoga.

Tracy about to get squeezed to death by the sea serpent Clark and Sam made.

All 3 of us boldly cavorting inside the serpent.

Sam and me - with me pretending like I fish. I don't. But someone had to hold the rod so Clark could take the picture. Also notice sexy bike shorts tan - pasty thighs are always a good look on the beach.

The actual fishermen.

The 3 Musketeers. I met Leslie the first day of college (1990!!!) and now we all live a block apart. Of course I should also point out that I met Tracy the week before law school (1994 - random roommate lottery), and we also now live a block apart. It's a loyal little group we've got here in Five Points.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

100 Pushups

No, I can't do 100 pushups - don't let the title fool you. But while lazing about in Folly Beach last week (best beach trip ever! pictures to follow!) I was browsing through this entertainingly and unabashedly neo-feminist magazine (is neo-feminist a word? It should be - that's what this magazine felt like it was going for) called Skirt. And while in general it wasn't a hotbed of good exercise advice (although it was all about hearing oneself roar, and I suppose that can also be applied to things physical), I came across this teaser for a website that trains you to do 100 pushups. And I've been doing 10 after I run, and that still feels embarassingly challenging, so I thought eureka! If you purport to have some foolproof method for training anyone to do 100 pushups, sign me up! So today I started, and it wasn't that hard. It's like an interval sort of thing, where they give you a set number to do in five sets, and you do them three times a week. (That's not a good explanation, but go to the website and it makes sense.) So I'll report back, because today I started, and by the end I had done 30 pushups without feeling like I was going to bust anything (taking the full amount of rest they recommend is key.) Hopefully this is the beginning of me doing 100 pushups. Will report back. Hear me roar.