Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dogs on bikes

When T. and I go on vacations, we always take Zoe (pictured above). We also always want to get out on our bikes. This presents a problem, because it is always too hot to leave her in our car, and the other campers wouldn't appreciate our leaving her in our tent. We know that she would bark the whole time. Our previous solution has been doggie day care. but this year, I finally convinced her that we should get a doggie bike basket. If you want to bring your canine companion with you, this is a good solution for a small dog. (Zoe weighs 8 pounds.)

T. had her handlebars shortened in order to fit her better, so the basket only fits on my bike. It really didn't slow me down much at all and I kept up with her pretty well, especially surprising since she's generally faster than me. Zoe was unsure about it at first, but seemed to settle in pretty quickly.

So far, I've only taken it on bike trails and side streets. I would be hesitant to bike on a busy and/or hilly road with it, because the extra weight on the bars takes some getting used to, and I felt like it slowed my reaction time.

A great bonus is that it seems impossible for another rider to pass without smiling and saying, "Aawwwwww," with the inflection rising at the end.

(Cross-posted at RocBike.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How to know if you approve of your son's girlfriend

1. When you ask her what she's planning to do with the few weeks of the summer that she's not working, she replies, "Play in the street."

2. She loves the fact that your chickens are named after female jazz vocalists (since she's a jazz bassist, no big surprise there).

3. After getting your okay, she proceeds to feed herself directly from your garden, snacking on raspberries, peas, and green beans as you chat.

4. Oh, and she gives your son a hard time for eating breakfast at McDonald's.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My chicken has a hernia

That's a catchy blog title, huh? For a while, we've noticed that Sarah (she's the red one above) doesn't seem to lay very often, although she does sit in the nest box regularly, and recently, she and Bessie each decided that it was TIME to lay an egg, so they just both got in.

Anyway, we took her to the chicken man (who is wonderful, if you're local and in need of a good chicken man), and he said she had a lot of fluid in her body cavity. He gave us the name of the one vet he was aware of in our county who sees chickens.

The vet thinks she has a hernia. We think she was born with it, because she's always seemed like she had a little extra in the breast/body. Being chicken newbies, we just thought that was her usual physique.

Anyway, she's not in pain, and surgery would probably be more traumatic, so she'll live out her (not very egg-productive) days in our little backyard.

She's the top hen, and she has a wonderful personality, so we're happy to have her.

However, I have been lobbying for a bigger coop so we can get another one. We'll see how that goes. I usually win these arguments; it just takes a while.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Garden update

So, the picture above shows the vegetable garden beds at the Berkshire Botanical Garden. See how tidy and orderly they are?

Well, this is what MY garden beds look like...

Those beds are a mixture of peas, green beans, lettuce, greens, and volunteer sunflowers and tomatoes from last year's garden. Kind of untidy and wacky, but extremely productive...I think the garden reflects the gardener.

The beans are just starting...

The black raspberries are over.

As are the peas.

But so far, I have hardly had to buy veggies from the market...I've had tons of greens and peas, and the green beans are becoming very productive now. Plus lots of fresh herbs, some Jerusalem artichokes, and brand new potatoes...not to mention eggs!

There is something to be said for messiness.

Edible, Sustainable Garden Tour tomorrow

If you're in or near Rochester, check out this Edible, Sustainable Garden Tour. I did it last year, by bike, and it was very inspiring!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Balancing act

Who would have thought that gorgeous young woman was once this charming youngster?

Well, actually, I would have. (Full disclosure--that top picture was taken by a photographer looking to build her portfolio.) While DD is definitely gorgeous, that top photo isn't really her personality. This one is more like it...

That's her promoting the South Wedge Farmers Market with a good friend.

She recently did something even cooler...

But that was quickly followed by a common second-child complaint, "When DS graduated, he got a whole blog post." (Here she is burying her brother in sand...)

Anyway, she graduated from high school on June 25, and so blog post. I tried to explain to her that I'd been on vacation, and that I did put pictures up on my Facebook page, but to no avail. She wants her own blog post! Well, okay...she deserves it, that's for sure! And this is a child who has had the will and determination to get what she wants, from day one, so far be it for me to deny her now!

There are many qualities I admire in DD. She is fierce in defending her beliefs and her loved ones. She is joyous and passionate. But what I am appreciating in her right now is this--she is helping me figure out how to do this being-a-parent-of-young-adults thing. (It helps that she is a remarkable young adult.)

The parenting experts say that at this stage, young people need autonomy but also connection. As a person who's worked with college students most of my career, I wholeheartedly agree. As a parent, I can say...that's a tough line to walk. How much autonomy? How much connection? When? Where? What if _________ (fill in the blank of whatever your biggest fear for your kid is)?

But it seems to come so easy for DD, which makes it come easy for me. The connection part is awesome. We have a ritual of going to the public market every Saturday morning. How many 18-year olds would get up at 8 am on a Saturday morning to hang out with their mom at a farmers' market? She has a summer job at the campus where I work, so we ride or bike together most days. When one or the other of us has been busy, and we haven't seen much of each other, she's as likely as I am to say, "We need to spend some time together." When she broke up with her boyfriend, she first went to her best friend's house, but then she came home to cry on my shoulder.

The autonomy part isn't so hard either. She's so conscientious and responsible that I don't worry (too much) about her hanging out with friends, using the car, and so on. But what I love about her is that she knows how to set boundaries, even with me. The subject came up of us being "friends" on Facebook. She firmly said, "There is nothing on my Facebook page that you don't know about. But there is friend space and family space, and that is friend space."

I wasn't sure how I felt about this, until I realized...that is her way of saying, "I am a separate person and I get to have my separate space that doesn't involve you." And you know, she's right.

Soon she will have a lot of separate space, and I will have a big adjustment. She will be at college, and I'll be going to the market on Saturdays by myself or with friends, which will be fine in its own way, but not the same.

But until then, I will enjoy hearing about her burgeoning skills and excitement at working with young people at her job, watching her play the trumpet with a local marching band, biking with her, and chatting about life over coffee and breakfast...not to mention her easy smile and laugh around the house.

And come September, I will take heart at knowing that she has what it takes to make it on her own. And also at the fact that we've already made plans to have regular phone calls via webcam.

Autonomy and connection, remember?


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