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Looking Back & Forward

This summer has been one the busiest I can ever remember. Work took over, I joined a co-ed softball team, and I am back in the saddle… on a horse! From the 170 mile bike ride in June to now I feel like a completely different person. I’ve been challenged physically, intellectually, and emotionally. While it hasn’t been easy I feel it has been a good summer of growth and exploration. But, I am ready for fall. I’m ready for the leaves to begin to turn. I’m ready for work and life to settle down.

The Olympics have been wonderful to watch. I love the emotion and desire expressed in every play, every movement. The athletes are all incredible and I’ve found myself cheering for people from various nations in sports are hardly understand. Some are obvious but others aren’t.

Today, looking forward, I’ve made my first big plan. I’ve accepted I won’t be able to make the triathlon in September. There is just no way. I should have picked an event closer to home. BUT… I’ve signed myself up for the Tour de Cure in Reston, VA! Practically my backyard. It will be a 1-day century (100 mile) ride. I’m already itching to get on the bike trails but I’ve got time as it won’t be until June, 2013.

Also, it is so nice to be back riding a horse again. I’ve missed it for four or five years. A perfect situation entered my life and I couldn’t say no. It was time. I will just have to balance both saddles and make room in my life for both hobbies.

In the more immediate future my softball team has the end-of-year tournament this weekend! This is my first season (ever!) playing so I don’t expect much action but I still want to be there to support my teammates. The competitive side of me wants to play and to play well. I’m sure I will get to do a little bit of both.

 

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Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling is taking advantage of an upcoming opportunity to make improvements to the Fairfax County Parkway (currently also known as 7100) trail. 7100 is being upgraded in importance and therefore will receive funding for repaving and replacing signage. The Virginia Department of Transportation may have funds this year to fix portions of the trails. As a result, FABB is looking for feedback.

If you know of any part of the trail that has large cracks, pot holes, mud washed over, etc… please send that information along to FABB. You can read a bit more about what they are looking for in one of their recent blog posts: Fixing the Fairfax Co Parkway Trail.

The chairman’s email is: chairman@fabb-bikes.org

Improvement of this trail is important. The Fairfax County Parkway is a very well-traveled road by motor vehicles and is becoming more and more used by cyclists. Portions of the trail are so bad that it is sometimes safer for the cyclist to travel on the road with the cars, trucks and SUVs. If drivers don’t want cyclists on this 50 – 55mph road (with many vehicles traveling 60 – 65 mph) then I highly urge them to speak up and support repairing the trail as well.

Thanks and happy trails!

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Well, this week we have had a little bit of a cold snap in the weather. Monday morning there was frost on the ground! This is following a few 80+ degree days. Fortunately the frost did not cause too much damage in the garden. Mainly a few zucchini and basil plants ended up with some black areas because of the frost. I am hoping they will bounce back.

Saturday was sheep shearing day. Our ewes have been panting in the recent heat wave so I know they are very relieved. Even with the cool weather. Our shearer did a good job and only one ewe had any noticeable marks from the clippers (she was VERY squirmy during the shearing process).  The ewes do look funny now that their wool is mostly gone and I laugh a little each time I see them.

The wool will be stored or sold to people who want to make their own yarn. I just learned that not too long ago wool was being sold for $1.30/pound and now it is only worth about .40 cents/pound! I wonder how much longer there will be wool produced in the USA if the prices do not go back up. Already a lot of farmers are switching their wool sheep to “hair sheep” which shed out naturally and are raised more for their meat. Hopefully the “made in the USA” movement will continue to grow and people will want to make sure they are supporting North American products including components of those products also coming from the US or Canada (not just products that are actually made in other countries but assembled in the US).

Anyway, enough politics. The Wonderful Boyfriend (yes, same as “The Boyfriend,” I felt he deserved an upgraded nickname!) and I are taking a vacation for the next few days! We originally planned to visit my dad in Spain but the volcano in Iceland caused our flights to be canceled and so we are going to visit Chincoteague and a few other places on the coast. I’m looking forward to eating lots of seafood and relaxing!

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Snowpocalypse 2010

Holy snow, Batman!

In less than 24 hours we have received over 26 inches of snow with an expected 10 more inches before nightfall! This is insane. Bossman and Mike (assistant to Bossman), plus a retired Fire Chief  who volunteers on occasion, made it to the farm this morning. Everyone is safe with no babies born and no signs of birthing (thankfully!). Right now the plow is stuck and they are working on pulling it out with the big John Deere tractor.

Part of me really wishes I was there! Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. But I love the farm and the work is part of that. However, I have a kitty who needs medicine at home and I need to take care of her first. In the meantime, I have dug my car out twice just to stay ahead of the snow. I plan on going out again at least once after lunch and once more tonight. The power has flickered but this area is lucky enough to still have power. One tree in the backyard came down. Thankfully it landed between the house and the neighbor’s fence! No plows in sight and the news anchors have said we might not see plows for another 60 hours. Northern VA just isn’t set up with this much snow!

Here is the backyard from left to right…

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Drawing Dandy

Rebecca Harrison Reed and Dandy

Dandy and I had the pleasure of taking time with Rebecca Harrison Reed for a photo shoot last week. Rebecca is a talented illustrator and writer. She has been using Dandy, along with some of our other animals, as a reference for the book she is currently working on. (Only Cows Allowed, written by Lynn Plourde) Rebecca’s husband, Justin, was the photographer for the day and did a fabulous job directing Rebecca while I tried to keep Dandy looking toward the camera.

Since Dandy has her winter coat I brought her inside to try to clean her up a bit. She was a mess! At that point we had mud on the ground instead of the snow we have now and Dandy was very grateful to be inside (she is the “princess” of the farm!).

Rebecca and Justin arrived at the farm after lunch. They both spent time getting to know Dandy in a stall before heading out on the farm. It was fun to watch the three interact and in the end Dandy was happy to be petted and stand for the photos. My favorite part was watching Rebecca finally settle in and feel comfortable with Dandy since I know how sweet Dandy is.

I am looking forward to seeing Only Cows Allowed when it publishes in 2011. Rebecca also mentioned she is working on writing and publishing another book. If you have a child or are a child at heart you should definitely check out her work!

Rebecca is doing a great job walking Dandy for the first time!

*Thanks to Justin and Rebecca for letting me use these photos for my blog!

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2009 Whiteout

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let is snow!

We are in the middle of the 2009 Whiteout!

Last night, between nine and ten, we received the first dusting of snow from a storm that has now nearly shut down the state of Virginia. As of this morning some places had over two feet of snow. Where I am, snug and warm, about of foot of snow has fallen with the worst yet to come. I wish I could say I have snow pictures from the farm, but alas I cannot even make it there due to road conditions. That is what I get for turning in my Jeep Cherokee three years ago for a little Toyota Corolla because I was planning on living in the city. Who would have known I’d end up working on 130 acres of farmland in the suburbs?

But, even without the farm pictures, I did venture out for a few walks this morning to enjoy the snow. And of course I took a camera with me. Hope you enjoy!

The Boyfriend and his dog, Atlas.

Upstream

Downstream

A little bit of green left over (and the camera fogging up).

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Seeing Red

I am seeing red. Barn Red. The weather has been, somewhat, cooperating with us and so it is finally time to get all our new pens (and some of the old) painted. We built an addition to our duck pen, lengthened our turkey pen and built some new houses for our game birds.

As a historic farm we are sticking with the well-known “barn red.” It use to be that farmers would use rust scraped from various tools and equipment to help prevent molds from growing in the wood. This rust would taint the linseed oil (sealant) and so the barns would appear to be a burnt red/orange color.

The red is also perfect for this time of year. At least I think so. I get a little kick each time I look at my hands and see the red paint. With Halloween just around the corner the paint makes a perfect “dried blood” appearance. Thankfully it is water-based and washes off easily. But if it didn’t, at least I could blame it on the season!

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