Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chicken psychology and other important news

Let's start off with a pretty picture. This is a bloom from the dwarf peach tree we put in last Easter. I am so excited! All of our fruit trees have blossomed (a bit early, which I hope won't be a problem), and I hope we will get a little bit of fruit this year. It's supposed to take 2-3 years before they really start producing.

As for the chickens, we have put up fencing to keep them out of the perennial beds. However, we have learned that two fences are better than one. You can see that there is a tall fence just in front of them. When we just had that fence up, they were constantly trying to squeeze through or fly/jump over. Coincidentally, we noticed that there were a lot more weeds in the section outside the fence. Wanting them to take care of some of the weeds closer to the beds, we put up a shorter fence that we happened to have in the garage, and made a little opening for them to get through. Now that they can get through one fence, they have very little interest in getting through the second. I am very fond of the girls, but I can't say that they're exactly the brightest!

Last fall, I planted collards and turnips and covered them with straw. Now that the spring weather is here, they are growing strong! You can also see some seedlings that I planted about a month ago.

I also planted this bed with micro-greens, and they are growing quickly in this beautiful spring we're having in the Northeast. (Yes, I need to thin both beds soon, which is always painful for me to do.)

I'm excited for more garden and chicken adventures as the weather warms up!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Inaugural bike ride

I'm proud to call this city home. This is the Frederick B. Douglass/Susan B. Anthony bridge, over the Genesee River in Rochester, New York. We were recently named #50 on Bicycling magazine's list of bike-friendly cities.

And, I am lucky to work for an organization that includes people who think that riding your bike on a blustery April morning is a grand idea!

The ride was a part of our college's festivities celebrating the inauguration of our fifth (and first woman) president, Anne M. Kress. We rode to raise money for scholarships for students in need. Here is Dr. Kress thanking us and sending us off. She later noted that her spring cardigan wasn't exactly appropriate for the 40 degree weather. (She is still adjusting to our Northeastern climate after moving here from Florida. Most people move the reverse direction, that's for sure!)

This is the indomitable Susan, who was the chair of our committee and my compatriot in composting (we worked hard to ensure that all the waste from the day's luncheon and reception was composted).

We visited all 4 of the college's sites, first stopping at the Applied Technology Center. We had a police escort along this section, which is a heavily traveled road. I felt very important! Actually, I was the ride leader, so I really was grateful for the help.

We followed a map developed by Karen and Brian of the Rochester Bicycling Club. Most of the ride took us along many of Rochester's finest trails.

This is the Public Safety Training Facility, which has a bike trail running right behind it. This was my first time leading a ride, and there were some much stronger cyclists than me on the ride, so right about now I was feeling a bit stressed. So I took off at 18 mph after this stop, and had to slow down. T. reminded me that I still had a lot of the ride ahead of me.

Between the Applied Technology Center and this shot, we were on trails the whole time. That's actually when we passed the bridge shown in the top photo. When we got downtown, they were doing some construction we hadn't expected, but fortunately we were able to get through. Here's the campus where I work, right in downtown Rochester.

On the way back, the wind started to get me. I never really thought about the fact that the leader takes all the wind. So, once we were back on the trail and it was just a straight shot, a couple of other people got ahead and I just relaxed for a bit.

And finally, back to the largest campus, just in time to change for the rest of the day's events!

I tend to find riding in a group a bit stressful, so I'm not quite sure what possessed me to agree to actually lead this ride, other than enthusiasm for the event and my usual not-quite-realistic optimism about life in general. However, this was such a supportive and laid-back group that I really had a wonderful time.

Community celebrations should make you feel good about your community, and this ride was one of many reasons that the inauguration did just that for me.


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