Monday, August 17, 2009

The Waterfall

After market on Saturday we jumped in White Lightening and headed to Mt. Pisgah. The plan was to camp Saturday night, and then go to the waterfall on Sunday. Turns out a whole lot of other people had the same plan - at least the first part of it. Because when we got to the campground all of the tent spots (about 70 of them) were full. But then the ranger said we could camp in an rv spot if we didn't mind putting the tent on the pavement. Hmmmm. Seemed a little sketchy, but we didn't have too many other options, so we said ok. And here's where my request (demand?) that I be comfortable while camping really paid off - we had air mattresses, so the pavement wasn't too big of a deal. Without the air mattresses, I'm thinking pavement is a deal killer. But it turned out the rv side was gold! Because everyone over there is old and quiet, unlike the tent side, where everyone is either under 10 or drunk. So now I'm scheming on how we can keep going to the rv side. It was peaceful and lovely and I had a few great conversations with some 80 year old Floridians. There were lots of 80 year old Floridians.

Sam taking it all in - and reveling in his contraband root beer.

The boys kicked back at camp.

Family self portrait.

Sunday morning we woke up and stumbled over to the Pisgah Inn to get breakfast. That's one of our favorite parts of the Mt. Pisgah campground - walking across the street to a real breakfast. It may be occurring to you that we aren't much for roughing it - to which I reply, yep. But the view from the Pisgah Inn dining room is pretty amazing. And they aren't cooking their eggs over an open flame - which highly increases the chance of them being edible.

So after breakfast we set off for the waterfall - which used to be a bit of a secret, but given the number of people wobbling down to it in their kitten heels yesterday, I'm thinking the secret it out.

Most people go to jump off a big rock into the upper pool, but we're saving that until Sam's older. Like, a lot older. Instead we go hang out down below.

The lower pool, where lots of splashing takes place.

The boys contemplating whether they'll really get in.

The official photographer, knowing there's no way in hell she's getting in.
A quick word about the water. It's cold. As in COLD. It honest to god feels like an ice bath. You know, a post-workout, I can't believe I'm sitting in ice water, ice bath. And if it feels like that in August, I'm guessing there's no time when it's even vaguely comfortable. And since I've had enough ice baths, it's a rare day for me to jump into one for recreational purposes. Yesterday was not that day.

But Sam thought it might the day for him to actually submerge for the first time. Usually he does a lot of wading and hemming and hawing before deciding he'll wait until the next time to actually swim.

But - here's the proof. They actually submerged. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wreaths - Before and After

I'm supposed to be at the farm right now, cutting cockscomb and plumed celosia and hanging them to dry for wreaths. But it's raining - and when cutting flowers to dry it helps if when you start they actually are. . . dry. So no cutting this morning. Instead I'm procrastinating and reading blogs and playing on mapmyride and pretending like I'm about to make a pair of booties.

The type of booties I'm allegedly making this morning.
Except the ones I'm making are purple with lavender flowers.

If I *was* actually cutting flowers for wreaths, here's what I'd be looking at (because I love a good before and after):

The celosia in the field (with some cockscomb in the foreground). A lot of it was volunteer this year, so it's not exactly in neat rows - but there's a bunch of it.

The celosia after a few weeks of hanging to dry and some Martha Stewart action on my part. In fact, one of these wreaths is still hanging on my kitchen door from last year. Yes, that means I'm lazy about taking things down. But it also means they last a long time - bonus.

Cockscomb in the field. I love this stuff - it feels like velvet, and it pretty much looks exactly the same whether it's fresh or dried. People call it "brain flowers" because it really does kind of look like a brain. As far as I know.

And behold, after transmogrification into a wreath. You wouldn't believe how many people think I'm lying when I say this is really made of flowers. It does look (and feel) rather velvet-ish. I'm growing a lot more red cockscomb, so hopefully I'll actually have enough of these this year.

All this talk of wreaths probably makes it obvious that I'm about ready to transition from sweating my ass off in the field to a slightly more subdued season of making things. And along with that I've been looking into some good craft shows to add to our itinerary this fall - so if anyone has suggestions, by all means let me know.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Joining the Facebook

After much time on the interweb it seems like this Facebook thing is really here to stay. So I made a page for the farm, and if you wanted to find it and be a fan (really, is there anything less adult sounding than the FB "friend" and "fan" terminology?) I would welcome you with open arms. Or the farm would. Because according to FB we're totally separate. But come to think of it I'd welcome you with open arms too. You can find the farm if you search "Spotted Dog Farm - Asheville, NC". And once blogger starts being a little more cooperative (it's rather cranky today, eh?) I'm going to add a box on the side to find the FB page. Because I'm a social networking maniac.

And, to answer "why on earth would I join you on FB when I already read this blog?", it's because I actually post farm updates on FB - in a, shall we say, slightly more focused fashion than this blog, which seems to offer a lot of room for digression. So if you want to know what's going to be at market the next day, and whether the city has (once again) spontaneously decided we need to close early - FB is a good way to do it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Saturday at the City Market

I walked around at The Asheville City Market on Saturday taking pictures of vendors other than me (for once). Here it is, a sampling of all the other cool stuff out there at the market:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Andrew Pulsifer is a Genius (or, my race report for Lake Logan Sprint)

Lake Logan in beautiful weather...

The mountains around Lake Logan today...

Lake Logan sprint tri was this morning. For this one most of the appreciation had to go to the support crew - it POURED down rain for the whole race, and I didn't much care because I was wet anyway, and I rode my bike in the rain a lot this spring so that wasn't any big deal, and running in the rain is actually pretty pleasant. But standing around in the rain for over an hour - that's just not pleasant at all. So the lion's share of the "way to go" goes to everyone who stood there cheering. But a significant amount of appreciation also has to go to Andrew Pulsifer.

Andrew's the coach of the Asheville Masters swimming group, and also gives swim clinics pretty often, and I've attended both rather faithfully since I decided I was going to try to learn to actually swim this spring. Or really, I decided that if I was going to take up a new sport at age 37 I didn't have time to do it badly for ten years and then find some good instruction - I needed to start with the good instruction. And clearly that's what I did, because, in what I consider a complete miracle of his good instruction and my actually getting up at 5:15 in the morning to drive to the swimming pool, my best ranking for swim, bike or run was in the swim - seriously. I was the 5th woman out of the water (out of 78), and when I climbed up on the dock after the swim and the guy said "Fifth woman out of the water," literally the first thing I thought was, "Andrew Pulsifer is a genius." That might mean I could stand to have a little more focus while racing, but SERIOUSLY - I couldn't even swim 4 laps of the pool in a row in January, so this is surprising stuff.

The rest of the race was pretty good - 9th on the bike and 6th on the run, to finish 6th overall and first in my age group (yay!) My revelation for this race was - I've really got to ride the bike more. Because I seem to have a good thing going with swim training, and I can kind of fake my way through the run (which is totally what I've been doing - I don't think I've topped over 10 or 12 miles a week since April because my foot's still not so great), but I can't fake my way through the bike. I don't have any background on the bike (having gotten my first road bike in January, and also having not ridden my mountain bike more than 2 or 3 times in the last 3 years), which means I've got to put in some miles on it. An actual training plan might not be a bad idea either. It's not that my rank on the bike is so bad, it's that the bike is long enough that when you aren't riding as fast as the women in front of you they can put a few minutes into you. And it's hard to make back several minutes on the run - it's just not long enough - especially not in my current shape. So a little more focus on the bike is in order - and I feel sure Robin can help remedy that.

Running out of T1 to get on the bike - I'm smiling because Sam was cheering so loud.
Sweetest kid ever.

Overall we had a great time. Emmie did her first tri ever (yay Emmie!) after mountain biking at Tsali yesterday (which I thought was a rather bold warmup), Dawn did her first tri since having a baby 3 months ago, David placed in his age group, and Geoffrey had a good showing as well. So friends and neighbors all had fun. Also, Lake Logan has got to be one of the prettiest race venues anywhere, even in the pouring rain, and that's a pretty good way to spend a morning.