Calm Before The Storm – Meditating On The Farm

Saturday is go-time for #6 in the XTERRA US Cup Series.¬† The race is being held in Little Rock, Arkansas at Burns Park.¬† The course is fabulous – as soon as you get out of the water.¬† The swim, um, yuck.¬† Luckily there is a fantastic pool at University of Arkansas so I can do all my pre-race training in a chlorinated environment.¬† I didn’t sustain an injury like Conrad’s¬†but I did manage to cut the bottom of my foot in the James River in Richmond as well so my big toe has been a headache this week and more nasty water was not going to make things better.¬†

I have had the chance to ride a number of loops on the bike course and I really, really like it.¬† The run course seems incredibly long but I think that was the result of me procrastinating training up to the point where the mercury rose to 100 degrees and I could feel the bottom of my shoes melting to the pavement.¬† There is a very long run on pavement to the trail I couldn’t find so it is going to be HOT.¬† Very, very hot.¬† I think the water is hot too.¬† My favorite.

To keep sharp for this race I wanted to do a bit of intensity but not too much to be tired given we only have a six day break between races.¬† I was going to do efforts Wednesday on the course but it was so hot my heartrate went to 183 bpm without even trying on the hills so I decided just to ride it steady.¬† I did two laps both in 45 minutes¬†trying to NOT go hard so I think we will be below 40 minutes on race day.¬† My run was a run/walk so it can’t even count as training.¬† I have done two swims this week, one with 24×50 on 60/50/40 as ez/race pace/fast then 1000 pull as 50 ez/50 fast, 50ez/100 fast and 50 ez/200 fast x2.¬† Yesterday I did 16×50 as 3 race pace on :45/1 ez on 60 then 5×200 as 100 fast/100 cruisy swimming¬† 1:07s for the 100s.¬† Gotta love yards.¬† Today I slept in.¬† Bike work, ez spin (maybe try to find the run) and a swim.

So while I distract myself from how freaking hot it is here I thought I would entertain you with a baby scrapbook of my farm.¬† Yep, I have nursed these little seeds to adolescence and I am super stoked they aren’t dead yet.¬† Ross did an incredible job of building me some raised beds so in addition to my patio farm I now have a backyard farm as well.¬† We had to put fencing around the plants in the backyard as the deer tend to use it as a salad bar hence the black netting.¬† Read more for pictures….

So please enjoy the photos of my farm, a baby diary from March to June.  When I get home this weekend I am sure everything is going to be different again.  The strawberries are ready to be picked and I am sure more of my tomatoes will need to be staked.  Gotta get to work!

This where the farm began, in March.¬† Unfortunately, the weather in May was awful so it was really dark most days and many of my seedlings ended up quite “leggy”.¬† Most made it but some were super unhappy when it was time to go outside.¬† I had to restart some cukes and watermelons and some of the tomatoes were not a strong as they could have been.¬† Next year I would like to have a greenhouse Wink¬†just to kick the farming up a notch!

These were my seedlings when we got back from Las Vegas in May.¬† You can see some of them are a bit tall… “leggy” seedlings¬†results from too little light.¬† Bummer on that but they mostly lived anyhow.

Cucumbers (both pickles and long green ones) along with a variety of tomatoes in June

Strawberries, herbs including a number of varieties of basil, dill, cilantro, oregano and mint, beets, spinach and radiccio on the deck 

Peppers, watermelons and multiple varieties of tomatoes on the deck in June

Peas, peppers and tomatoes in June.  The peppers out in the raised beds are not growing as well as the ones on the deck.  I think it is a function of the cool breezes that we get even on hot days.  The patio seems to shelter all the heat loving plants from that wind.  I will likely plant something else where these peppers are before the end of the summer.  The tomatoes are doing all right but the peppers are not.

I also planted red and green grapes, three varieties of blueberries, two varieties of raspberries, carrots, beets and more basil in the raised beds.¬† I am planning to grow a pile of tomatoes and basil to make and can my own tomato sauce.¬† I am also going to try making my own pickles this year, hence the row of pickling cucumbers.¬† We’ll see how the homesteading goes this summer.¬† I have no racing obligations in late July, August or early September but I do have a lot of altitude training planned and some “maybe” races.¬† I guess they will have to work around my farm schedule, haha!


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