Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Tenney Lock"

On one of our bike rides this past weekend, we rode over to Tenney Lock to watch the boaters go through. The boat traffic was much heavier than usual as the day was beautiful....and HOT!

The lock was full with these 4 boats which were just released and allowed into Lake Mendota.

These 4 boats were patiently waiting to be allowed into the lock.

After the lock drained down to the level of the Yahara River, it opened the gate and in they came.....

The gate closed and the water began rising to Lake Mendota's level....the process began all over again. The man who runs the locks came out to make sure all the boats were situated correctly, chatting to us as he walked along the lock. He mentioned that he used to be able to get 6 boats in the lock at a time, but now the usual amount is 4. Most boats are bigger than they used to be, with swim platforms extending the length of the boats even more.

As hot as it was, we had a beautiful ride. I think we did 21.4 miles that day, with 14 miles on Sunday. We took my bike in for some adjustments yesterday. Thankfully, the service tech heard the same little noises that we did. :) We had to leave it, and hopefully, I will get a call today to come and pick it up.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"First Ride on my New Trek Electric Assist Bike....."

Don and I finally were able to get out on our bikes for a good ride, taking my Trek Electric Assist Bike for it's maiden tour. I LOVE IT!!!

We rode our normal route around town, bringing us to the overpass by the University's veterinary barns, which goes over University Avenue.

Usually I am the one who follows, but I thought I should go up first this time, having the bike in "positive 4 assist".

Well.....THAT was easy! After Don rode up the ramp, I was about to suggest he try my bike to see how well it takes "hills", when he yelled up at me, "I want to try it!", which he did. :)

I know it is hard to believe, but Don and I, with our different heights, have the same length of inseam, so he is easily able to ride my bike without lowering the seat.

He set the computer of the bike to "negative 4 assist', which means pedaling will charge the battery, BUT it also will allow the person to ride the bike downhill without necessarily using the brakes. Don was able to coast down the entire ramp without using any braking. Of course, it depends on how steep the hill or downgrade is. ;)

Slowly he descends......

Yard by yard.....

Foot by foot.....

Inch by inch......

Alright already! Get down the hill and turn around! :)

He, too, set the bike for "positive 4 assist", and fairly flew up the ramp....

Notice the couple climbing the stairs?

Luckily they looked back and saw him coming at warp speed and got out of his way. He certainly would have warned them of his approach though.....HE has good biking manners......unlike so many on the bike paths who do NOT warn you of their "impending pass".

Here he is about to make the pass and take the final turn......

And he is at the top of the ramp! I took photos as fast as the camera allowed....perhaps that can give you an idea of how well the bike "assists". :)

My new bike definitely makes my riding even more enjoyable. Riding up even slight grades or against the wind (we ALWAYS have wind when we ride....it never is a calm day) is just given the "extra little edge or boost" that makes me smile (plus passing Don on hills does, too). ;)

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Early in Friday's happy Hour....."

Jacob came down to happy hour, before Krista got home from work, with twins Zoe and Kai. They are getting so big! AND....both are now walking! To think that they first attended happy hour when they were less than 24 hours old.....how time flies!

Here are Mom Krista holding Zoe along side Barb, holding Kai.

Made' also came over before leaving to go on a "run".......

Mary came over and was able to "hang out" longer. :)

Tracie and Bridget also were able to make it this past Friday. I'd told them that I had baked soft pretzels for happy hour.....Tracie's favorite!

Looks like someone is telling me a story. :) Copper, of course, made sure that no one was too rowdy throughout the evening. :)

As the evening progressed, more people showed up, while others left, making the size of the group fluctuate. We were pleasantly surprised to have a couple with their 2 young kids stop over and introduce themselves. Seems they ride by quite a bit and live close by. It is nice to know that our group looks interesting/inviting and not threatening, eh? :) It was a very enjoyable night........I may have even gotten a few more people to take some sweet basil plants when they get a little bigger. ;)

Friday, May 14, 2010

"A Few Photos From North Dakota......"

Over time, Maniphone sends me a number of photos of life in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I place them on my desktop until I am able to include them on my blog, but unfortunately, I usually forget I have them on there, and they are not posted in a timely manner. Today is a day for North Dakota. :)

Here is a felted market bag that I knitted for Maniphone a number of months ago.

Henry using it for animal rides.....

As you may remember, Jonathan is a master wood worker. I've posted some of his furniture pieces on here before. It seems if you give the man a board, he can do anything. ;)

Here is a "before" photo of a storage area in their basement.

The same area "after". Amazing, isn't it?

Truly a beautiful piece of work. Custom designed, too, of course!

Great Job Jonathan!!! I look forward to seeing the next project.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"It's Here!"

As you may remember, Don bought me a Trek Electric Assist Bike for my birthday. It had to be ordered and it's arrival was scheduled for the 3rd week of May. It surprised us and came in last Thursday. We weren't able to go and pick it up until Sunday, which turned out to be fine since the weather on Sunday was beautiful (I certainly didn't want rain drops on my new bike!).

Travis, the nice Trek associate who helped us, gives me instructions on using the "computer". Positive numbers mean I am using the power assistance, negative numbers mean I am recharging the battery. I then took my new bike for a spin to make sure the new seat adjustment was correct and felt good. Afterwards, prior to bringing it home, Don added a few accessories to sweeten my birthday gift even more.

Final photo at the store before securing the bike onto the carrier for its trip home.....

Home safe and sound. ;) Unfortunately, the battery had not been charged (even after a phone request from Don made on Saturday), so we didn't go for a spin as planned. You know the saying, the best laid plans, etc. It worked out well as we needed to re-arrange the garage anyway to make room near the electrical outlet for the charger/bike. That said task means that my other upright bike, and also my trike, are now in storage in the basement to make room in the garage. Anyone interested in adding to their collection of bikes? I have a couple for sale......... ;)

We also had taken along with us the "quick release" attachment for the dog cart (which I use as a grocery cart). The service tech tried attaching it to the rear axle, but found it wasn't a good fit, suggesting we get a "frame mount" for the cart instead. Yep......Don has it ordered already. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Will It Grow?"

The next growing "experiment" is grass seed in the backyard. I'm sure that most of you do not know this, but I HATE mowing, so why am I trying to grow more of the stuff? Well, the chicken run used to enclose this area and we've since made the run smaller. The soil was totally bare due to the chickens scratching and enjoying every little bit of grass that grew there (which in reality, probably wasn't all that much to begin with). So, we chose to replant the area with a shade grass seed and now await its growth......hopefully not in vain. This will be the first of several sections of lawn that I plan on reseeding. As long as I have to mow anyway, it may as well be a thicker lawn to mow, eh?

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Another Custom Color Sock Yarn....."

I'd ordered some new Jacquard Acid Dyes and recently had my first opportunity to use them. I once again used the coned sock yarn that I had bought from WEBS, Valley Franklin Natural. The dyes used were #632 Chestnut, #633 Aztec Gold, and #635 Brown. I didn't have any unused oil/vinegar bottles to mix the dye with water, so I used a plastic fork and just hand spread some of the dye along the length of the sock tube. These photos show how the tube turned out.

The tube prior to unraveling and winding onto a paper towel tube (getting it ready to use on the paint roller cage attached to my NZAK sock machine).

After winding....

I include the next 2 photos only because of the sunlight and evergreen background, which make the browns look a bit brighter. Once again prior to unraveling/winding........

And after......

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"In the Yard and Around the House........"

Out by the chicken coop, these beautiful flowers come up every year. I do not know what their name is, but love the blue hues of their flowers. I'm in the process of making their small (fork in the path) area by the tree/coop into a small corner bed by adding mulch to create a path out to the back gate.

A few of our red tulips which I moved from the front yard when we had the deck built onto the front of the house.

White violets on the left and on the right, one of the few remaining strawberry plants from our planting a few years ago along the top edge of the rain garden. I hope that the squirrels will not find the ripening strawberries from it this year.........

One of the early flowering plants of the rain garden. Once again, I do not know the name of it but Don does have the rain gardens plantings on a plot sheet in his files, so I could easily find out (if the need strikes me).

Our red raspberries along the side of the house. They are very prolific and I transplanted a few of the runners to along the back fence this year, hoping they will thrive in the less than ideal conditions there. I'm not sure there is enough sun for them........

It is hard to see from this photo, but we have a sweet cherry tree planted at the far front corner of the house. This will be its 3 rd year and it did have numerous blossoms this Spring, so hopefully it will set fruit. We also have a peach tree (close behind me from where I took this photo) and it, too, was loaded with blossoms again this year. The fruit that set last year disappeared. I do believe the squirrels picked them for themselves........

The ferns are doing well again this year, too. Coppers look seems to be saying, "Well come on, what are you waiting for?".........

And finally, the new small planting bed that I will be putting the tomatoes and peppers in this year. Once again, I hope we have enough sun for them. We should as I have grown containers of tomatoes and peppers near the deck steps. The soil isn't the richest, but I will be adding compost from our bins, so we'll see how well things grow.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"In the Greenhouse......"

In this photo of the Aero Garden, some of the seedlings have already been transplanted into pots in the greenhouse. As of now, the only seedlings left in the Aero Garden are the tomato plants (far left), which will most likely not be my main producers this year, as I believe I planted them too late. I have bought 3 larger tomato plants from the nursery, but will also give these a try, too, in hopes they do some major "catching up".

On the left are the squash that were started in the Aero Garden. This photo was taken earlier last week and they are growing very well. The multitude of seedlings are Sweet Basil. I had a package of seeds left over (and not stored properly) and decided to sow the seeds heavily in hopes of getting a few of them to sprout. Surprise! They all seem to have sprouted, so I will be giving away many, many, sweet basil plants this year to anyone who wants some. (hint, hint.....please ask!)

As you can see, I have a flat of sweet basil seedlings that I have already transplanted. I now have 2 with still more seedlings in need of transplanting. Also in the photo are the transplanted chives and various basils that were started in the Aero Garden. They do not look too happy in this photo, but all have new growth and look stronger daily. Behind the transplants are some pots of new strawberry plants.

I bought a bundle of bare root strawberry plants to try my luck with them in pots. The 3 gray pots are our deck railing planters. I reasoned that if cherry tomatoes could be harvested from the amount of sun these pots get, why not strawberries, too? We'll see, eh? I had other extra pots and planted the strawberries in those as well, thinking they will be able to be set in other areas where we get the most sun.

We'll also see how well they do in hanging pots, too.......

Morning light inside the greenhouse. I have 3 hanging pots with strawberries in them, but will most likely end up with only 2. Some of the strawberry plants are not making it, so I will re-plant a few using the ones from hanging pots. Earlier this week I re-organized the greenhouse, too, in hopes of providing more flat space to set pots/flats on for transplants. I was able to bring in another set of sturdy plastic shelving from the garage, placing it on the left, next to the other set of shelving (where the red lawn bucket is in the photo) and now have more area to set plants so that they receive better sunlight.

I will try to remember to take a few more current photos to post this week, too. The changes that I see daily in the greenhouse are remarkable!