Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not rain, nor cold, nor mud, but maybe a long, spooky tunnel...

I think my brain has a leg up on the iPod shuffle. Talk about random. Like today: my mental playlist ran from Cindi Lauper to Nirvana to the soundtrack from The Wizard of Oz to CCR (in that order). I may have to rethink my decision to leave the mp3 player at home. Especially on days like yesterday when I could not get Whitney Houston out of my head. (I don't even think I SAW "The Bodyguard" -- why is that song in my head??) Not sure the Blind Melon currently on repeat is much better, but at least it's a change. I'm hoping for a little Paul Simon tomorrow.

So, yes, day 4. Things have been going well so far. I'm seeing all kinds of flora and fauna and just today I was noticing that it smells distinctly of wild onions when it rains. I've had plenty of time to confirm this as it's been raining since last night. Good thing Ollie and I kicked it into high gear and logged 55 miles yesterday when it was clear and sunny (not bad, eh?). Today was much less ambitious -- only about 30 miles -- partly because the muddy paths made for slower progress, partly because the colder temperature made me feel a bit stiff (really, I am too young for this body creaking nonsense). And there was the Paw Paw Tunnel.

Any of you who have hiked or biked the C&O know what I'm talking about. It's a tunnel a bit under 4,000 feet long that you could IN THEORY bike through. You know, if it weren't narrow and damp and bumpy and of course PITCH DARK. And there's nothing creepy about it if you haven't seen the movie "It" or that scene with the giant spider in "Lord of the Rings." Anyway, Ollie and I opted to test our mental strength and also wanted to get out of the rain for a spell, so we tried it.

Holy heck, anyone who makes it more than 20 feet in there on a bike (with or without a headlamp) must have icewater in their veins. Ollie and I walked the whole thing. We set up camp a few miles later, pitching the tent during an opportune lull in the precipitation and also whipped up some macaroni on the beer can stove (aren't you proud of me, Jim?). The rain's picking up again now as I'm snuggled up inside a wool sweater and sleeping bag typing away under the rain fly.

My battery's getting low so I need to sign off. But I realize that I have yet to thank all of you guys who came to Sunday's "Mile Marker Zero to Great Falls" ride and picnic. Thank you!!! I can't wait to see the pictures once I get to Cumberland (and a regular computer)!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, April 27, 2009

Son of a... ditch

I awoke this morning to the chirping if various woodland animals and smiled. After solving the mystery of yesterday's not one but TWO flat tires (I had apparently ordered tubes to fit my previous tires rather than the ones I currently had on -- it's a sordid tale that I won't get into here, but it took me a while to figure out), I scarfed my last pb&j, loaded everything up, and Ollie and I headed out, bound for Antietam.

Now, upon perching on the saddle, I found myself muttering a plea: please god, no flats today. Funny how biking gives one a new perspective on things -- god and nature included. (Dad, I can almost see you smiling.) Well, there were no flats, but the day was not without incident. Oh no, I lost my balance, the bike computer, and about half an hour right around milemarker 43 when Ollie and I found ourselves hurtling headlong into a ditch.

You see, while I have been trying to bulk up, Ollie has worked to trim a few inches, and I am forever adjusting my estimates to account for this. My calculation of the trajectory and speed needed to navigate the narrow, uphill passage around a metal pole did not, for example, accurately account for Ollie's rear panniers this morning. She's got curves, what can I say? Well, luckily our spill was cushioned by a nice bed of... nettles. Sure, it could have been worse. Rocks, maybe, or a bear pit. Or poison ivy. I'm just a bit scratched up and there are a few small bruises. And I had to make a few minor adjustments on Ollie (mostly involving duct tape and her fenders), but we're both okay.

Wear a helmet, people, even on a trail. I'm talking to you, little brother (never mind that you would probably not have miscalculated on this one, mr. engineer).

Ollie and I are doing quite well after a fortuitous call to my friend Meredyth set us up with Jim and Norleen, friends of hers here in Shephardstown, WV. Which is fortunate because there was no food or water for miles around the Antietam Creek campsite we had planned on staying at. And I need food. After a delightful dinner with some friends of theirs, we came back to the house and after some talk of camping and farmers markets, Jim not only talked me into carrying a lightweight camping stove, he gave me one made out of a beer can and showed me how to use it. We practiced lighting it and everything. (Mike, you must be grinning from ear to ear right about now.) He even gave me a few premeasured bags of dinner goodies. I'm now only mildly nervous about the stove, which, incidentally, runs on Everclear. (College flashback, anyone?)

And so it's getting late. Time for me to catch the maximum amount of sleep possible not in a tent....

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Picnic update

So in just a few hours (too few, I think at times, and a moment later think too many -- that's the adrenaline, I suspect) the bikeable feast will begin!

For those who are thinking of meeting us at the picnic site around lunchtime -- noon-ish -- let's meet at the Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center (between locks 19 and 20), just shy of mile marker 15 on the C&O tow path. There looks to be a car entrance near Rte 189 (Falls Road). It may be a bit later, depending on how quickly I move with all of this stuff and how my sacrifice to the eggbeater pedal gods works out. What? You can't tell me I have to leave my complete collection of antique anvils and lead bricks behind.... Sure, they add a little weight, but next to the cooking stuff I have with me, they seem to take up less space. (How do I pack for a year on a bike, you ask? Many, many times. Luckily the dancing shoes still made the cut.)

I'm just doing a few final adjustments on Ollie now. She's looking good. Steady. Confident.

See you cyclists at Thompson's boat house around 9, and the rest of you at Great Falls!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I seem to be prone to confessing my bike-related shortcomings these days. (Maybe it's that Catholic upbringing.) Anyway, the clipless pedals came in last Friday. So I have them in my possession. I finally went with eggbeaters with a small platform. I kind of like the kitchen-related name -- good call, Sheffy. Also, perhaps more importantly, I've heard they are harder to use at first but ultimately easier to clip in and out of. I kind of think of it like learning to drive a car: I wish I'd learned to drive standard shift from the beginning, rather than 10 years later when I was living in Mexico. (Incidentally, I think my boyfriend at the time teaching me how to drive it was the straw that broke the camel's back of our relationship, but I digress.) But I eventually learned to drive my little Nissan Tsuru all around Mexico and loved it. So I decided to skip the SPDs and go straight for the top. They look amazing... in the box. I've been trying to keep them out of Ollie's view in the apartment, though. You can probably guess by now that I have not yet tried them. B'gawk.

I had nicknamed my friend Ronn "B'gawk" one evening after he refused to drive down the back alley behind my apartment after dinner to drop me off. He was scared of the rats. (What were they going to do, jump in the car?) So I mocked him, perhaps unfairly. But now the shoe is on the other foot: I am the chicken. Have I even taken the clipless pedals out of the box? Negative. I mean, I can't ride with them if I don't have the corresponding shoes yet.... So I suppose you could say the shoe is not even on the foot.

Okay, I'm stalling. I have been avoiding getting the shoes. What can I say? B'gawk. Maybe I'll try them out when I get to Pittsburgh.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

We plant because we love it

So this morning, after a quick breakfast at Baltimore's hip Common Ground cafe, Rebecca, co-founder of the fabulous City Blossoms program, helped me toss Ollie in the back of her truck and we headed across town to check out the impressive efforts of the girls at Garrison Middle School.

Clearly there were examples of artistry and creativity all around, from the brightly painted tires recycled as bulb planters to the plastic soda bottles finding a second life as makeshift mini greenhouses. I loved the overt joy and excitement that informed every moment of the discussion with Rebecca as she showed me around the site and told me about the amazing Growing Girls and Gardens program that was empowering young women in the community. From planting and harvesting vegetables and herbs, to creating a welcoming communal green space, to producing their own line of "Nature's Beauty" herbal products that they then sold (and quickly sold out of!) at the Waverly farmer's market last winter, Rebecca has seen the group of 6th-8th grade girls grow up before her eyes.

Gardening has the potential to open the door to so many things: "Maybe they'll think differently about food, about seeking out healthy choices. Or maybe they will understand how their actions impact the environment. More than anything, though, I hope that their involvement with these projects helps the girls to realize that they can make positive changes in the world around them -- make things more beautiful, change things that are wrong, stand up for their ideas." In a single breath, Rebecca had articulated so much of the appeal of gardening with youth and the potential it holds.

There is some talk of the girls selling some of the seeds that they collected and dried from last years flower and vegetable crops. Stay tuned to the City Blossoms news to see when and where you can get them and help support this exciting work!

Full disclosure

I just made it back from Baltimore a few hours ago. Now that I'm home safe, in the spirit of full disclosure, I feel that I should admit a few things.

While I did successfully make it to Baltimore yesterday with few mishaps (sure, there was flat number eight and I got a little lost on Pratt Street trying to find my way to Trent and Holly's place which probably added another three or four miles onto the trip), I did get a bit of a later start than anticipated, so Mitch and I actually took the metro to Greenbelt and biked from there, shaving about 12 miles off the total distance. Mitch caught the train back from BWI. Still, it worked out to about 43 miles, all told, for me. I slept like a rock last night. Of course, a nice dinner, a couple beers, and a hot shower didn't hurt anything, either.

Today, I made it back from Baltimore, leaving a day earlier than anticipated in an attempt to beat tomorrow's rain. I did not, however, bike the whole way back. I did (magically) make it out of Baltimore without any trouble. In fact, I was surprised how much easier it was than coming in. But boy did I get lost after that. Must've been the hubris again. I took something like an eight-mile long wrong turn around BWI. I met a nice older biking couple who joined me for a couple of miles until we reached the MD Dept of Transportation Office, where we hoped they might be able to, you know, help me map a way back to where I needed to be. The security guard was very nice, providing me with not only a Maryland state map, but also some much needed Kleenex (I was getting a little sniffly). Bolstered by the confidence of a newly highlighted map, I set out again, only to wind up lost twice more around Arundel Mills mall. (Sidenote: mall-crazed shoppers in SUVs are the most mean-spirited, rushed drivers ever. You'd think they were leaning on their horns and swerving past you to get to something more important than a red light 20 feet ahead and a 10% off sale on snuggies.)

I'd called on tech support a couple of times for some navigational advice, but after nearly five hours on the road for my second straight day, with wind and rain picking up, I found my way to a Post Office, called my friends Tori and Rudy, and pulled out a bottle of water and a sandwich. I'd finally found an intersection I recognized from yesterday, and it was one that suggested about another two and a half hours of biking to get home. After nearly 35 miles today (about 15 of them in circles and on detours), I remembered that in fact I am not too proud to call for help: Rudy came to the rescue and drove Ollie and I home in the Prius.

Since I'm baring everything, I feel somehow also compelled to admit that when I went by the shop on Friday to put on my new fenders, tires, and rear rack, I put the rack on incorrectly not once, not twice, not even three times, but four. And the fenders? Really, I have to use *bolt cutters* to make them fit? (It was my first time wielding bolt cutters and I think I quite impressed the high school kid who was standing nearby trying to regale me with tales of his stunt biking.) But I ask you, what kind of biking gear comes with simply a package of nuts and bolts and weirdly shaped metal things but no instructions? Oh, I finally got the rack on. And that sucker's never coming off.

Now that I'm done ranting, time to get to the good stuff in my next post: the amazing school and community gardening going on in Baltimore....

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Mitch was kind enough to join me for today's trial run to Baltimore. Ollie was in great form for the first 8 miles. Then there was the blowout. Mitch named it: Ocho. Yep, number eight. On the new rear tire. Oddly, the tire remains in tact. I am starting to wonder if I got a little pump happy and *overinflated.* Hmmm. No other major incidents to report other than the general lack of bathrooms along the way. (I may not have camped much, but I know how to pee in the woods.)

So, yes, Baltimore: city of the Orioles, the most obnoxious drivers ever (those guys on Washington Blvd make DC cabbies look like girlscouts), and some of the best coconut sorbet ever (E61 beckoned to me like a lighthouse amid the rising hunger storm, and after I scarfed a cone the owners filled me in on a few of the local farmers markets tomorrow - score!).

Tomorrow looks to be gorgeous as well. I think I'll see how Ollie and I feel in the morning to see if we'll bike back tomorrow or rest a day....
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Bikeable Fiesta (Happy Hour Edition)

So, I realize that there are a lot of folks I have managed to have over for dinner, go on a ride around town with, meet with for a beer or a pot of tea in recent weeks. And yet, somehow there are a number of people who I worry I may not see again before I head out on the C&O trail on the 26th. Some of you will be joining me on the first leg of the trip to Great Falls, but too many others are not bikers, will be out of town, don't have a bike....

Thus: Come and bid farewell to Ollie and Ibti over a pint of good beer at one of our favorite neighborhood watering holes!

Meet at the Wonderland Ballroom for happy hour on Thursday, April 23rd. (Right on the corner of 11th and Kenyon, just a few blocks from the Columbia Heights metro.)

The happy hour special ($2 off all draft beer and a few other goodies, including $6 Delirium Tremens) runs from 5-8pm. I will likely be there well past 8pm, but the cheaper beer may not be. There's food, too, including some veggie options, so not having eaten after work is no excuse. (I'm talking to you, Jeanne.)

I'll also be handing out limited edition "Cookmarks" -- ABF bookmarks with illustrations by my dad and original recipes designed by me and tested in the capable kitchen of my friend Beth in North Dakota -- to any who care to make a donation to ABF. (I'll be mailing out cookmarks to those of you who have been so kind as to donate online already -- thank you!)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Meet the ABF team

I feel as though I have neglected to mention the amazing friends and relatives that have provided the much-needed help and encouragement along this agricultural/culinary journey thus far. Forgive me. It is time that I take a moment to acknowledge a few of the key folks on the Bikeable Feast team (MVPs, if you will):

Tech Support



Bike Gurus



Moral Support

Mom and dad




There are many, many others of you who have brightened up my days (especially on those grumpy ones that involved flat tires -- grrr) and offered all manner of ideas and support along the way. Keep it coming: it's a long road ahead.

If you're not listed here, it just means you're among the lucky ones who won't be getting calls from me at whatever ungodly hour as I pant, frantically, breathlessly, "For the love of humanity, how the [insert mild expletive here] do you replace a spoke on the rear wheel??" or "Friggin' GPS is out again, can you tell me how to get to the nearest gas station so I can get some emergency granola bars?"

So: thank you!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A tentative plan

I've been in a pretty intense research mode these days. So when Friday night rolled around this week, my friend Mike and I decided I could take a little break and we headed out for a beer at Wonderland (pretty sweet happy hour, btw). Mike had been kind enough to bring over a few of his extra tents for me to test out, so after a pint we headed back to my place to set things up. Or, rather, Mike mostly set things up and I cooked and called out sarcastic comments. I did manage to make it into a few pictures, in any case....

As you may notice, the pictures became progressively sillier as the night wore on. I blame the Amarula. You know, speaking of silly, I never went camping as a kid. Was I deprived?

You must think I have horrific parents -- didn't teach me how to ride a bike, never took me camping, tricked me into liking brussels sprouts -- but that is far from the truth. However, the fact remains that as a child whenever I would ask my dad to take me camping, his response was always, "I would, but your mother hates camping"; and of course when I would ask my mom, she would respond in kind, "I would, but you know your father, he doesn't like camping." As such, I never went. Not until after college, when my first AmeriCorps team project landed us in the Florida Keys doing beach clean-up. Put up a tent? Er, yeah. I would just kind of dawdle around the campfire and tend to the cooking end of things. Cooking, I can do that.

So anyway, camping. I'm hoping to not have to do too much of it. But when I do, I have acquired a pretty snazzy tent. (Mike suggested that I try sleeping in it to test it out. I think I will sleep in my bed for as long as I possibly can. Or at least lay awake in my bed comfortably as I worry about my impending date with clipless pedals....)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pedal me this

Disclaimer: mom, dad, you probably shouldn't read this one....

Do you know what keeps me up at night lately? Clipless pedals. Those suckers scare the bejesus out of me. Tori, you know what I'm talking about. Every single cyclist I have asked recommends them and then follows up with a knowing nod and a tale of their own experience crashing in them. (Is this supposed to comfort me, people??) Now, the benefits of using these pedals in theory should outweigh the potential disaster of me careening under a bus while desperately trying to unclip myself... right?

So once I get past the "why the heck would anyone put on those death traps" part of the conversation, there is the question of what kind of clips to use: traditional, eggbeater, with or without platforms. And then there are different kinds of cleats to clip in with. And I've gotten all kinds of advice on how to try them out, from clipping in and out 20 times while on one of those stationary bike things to standing in a doorway to balance as I practice clipping in and out. For my part, I am prepared to break out the rollerblading knee pads (which, curiously, turned up in my closet a few weeks ago, in spite of some vague memory of leaving them at one of the Halloween parties I had gone to in my roller derby girl costume... must be the elves, again). Sure, I might look like a dork, but, well, I kind of already do. At least I won't crack my kneecap while I'm learning.

And then there is the question of shoes. Up until about two weeks ago, back when I was blissfully ignorant (instead of semi-informedly anxious), I had no idea how many styles there are out there. And I, lifelong loather of shoe shopping, am overwhelmed. Somebody just tell me what to get. (Not you, Chris: the cute $300 pair is out. OMG, did I just say they were cute? Maybe they won't revoke my girl card after all.)

Anyway, in case there are folks out there with tips on choosing shoes and/or clips, don't hesitate to write in. Or call. Any time. I suspect there are going to be a few more sleepless nights between now and when the next shipment of clipless pedals come into the shop, when I must finally face the pedal monster.

Monday, April 6, 2009

T minus 3 weeks....

So I stopped by my friend Sheffy's place the other day to drop off some Amish Friendship Bread and pick up some maps and books on the C&O Canal. Good stuff. I've been cooking up a storm in the kitchen these days: breads, quiches, cakes (including a fabulous chocolate zucchini cake, if I do say so myself), curries, and whatever-is-in-the-fridge concoctions that remain uncategorized but pretty tasty. I think as stress relief activities go, at least ones you can do solo, cooking is at the top of my list. What? I'm not procrastinating. At least I don't think I am. Everyone else is too busy munching to suggest as much, either. This is practice for when I am on the road.

No, but seriously, my departure date is drawing near. I'm a little nervous, to be honest -- hence the culinary whirlwind -- but really, really excited. I'm amazingly lucky to have such supportive friends and family. (BTW, speaking of support, Becky, don't think you slipped that little paypal donation under the radar -- thank you!) There is still a lot to work out, but I'm getting there....

Oh! And this just in: If you're in the DC area, come join Ollie and I for the official beginning of the Bikeable Feast. Here are the details (also posted on Facebook):

Mile Zero: The Bikeable Feast begins!
Come be a part of this semi-historic event at a legitimately historic place. We'll be setting off on the first few miles of A Bikeable Feast together, biking the first 15 miles along the historic C&O Canal before stopping at Great Falls for lunch.

Date: Sunday, April 26, 2009
Time: 9:00am - 2:00pm
Location: C&O Canal: Milemarker Zero (Georgetown)

Bring your own bikeable feast: a picnic, sunscreen, and lots of water. (I'd also throw in a few tire patches and a pump, just in case our luck rubs off on you.) I suspect the rest of the group will be heading back together after lunch as I continue toward Cumberland....

Come on, it'll be fun. (And dad, put in a request to the Big Guy for some sunshine, will you?)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Name that tube

I wrote about Ollie's flat front tire on Wednesday (cause unknown). Then she had another flat on Thursday that was perhaps the worst yet (I pulled a hunk of glass out of her rear tire). I was so wound up by the time I got into work that I ranted about that one on the CHB blog. It made me feel slightly better, but I was still in a bit of a funk for the rest of the day. I mean, come ON.

Well, yesterday I rode my bike all over town with no problems, running errands, cruising around downtown for a spell to enjoy the gorgeous afternoon, and eventually ending up at the shop -- I had gone in to work for a few hours to run through some things with Denise. I wrapped up the work I was doing, called my pal Heather to let her know I was heading over for dinner, and walked out back to pull Ollie off the rack. I really thought the guys were playing a prank on me at the shop yesterday. Another flat. Front tire. Twisted shard of metal this time (I had to pry it out with pliers). But no, it was not a prank. God hates me. Or maybe my dad has set up some kind of arrangement with the Big Guy to keep me from leaving on my trip at the end of the month. Hmmm....

This makes seven flats between the two bikes in less than a month. SEVEN. To the credit of my friends and colleagues at the shop, they insisted that I get tougher tires. Can I just get tires made of kevlar? Or convert my tires to those metal rolling things that tanks use to get around? (Sure, maybe the added weight would be a bit excessive, but I was a little exasperated.) Ben and Chris talked me through a few options and I walked out with a new front tire (and I'll be ordering a new set next week).

My advice to you, dear readers, is this: buy stock in tire tubes. Now. Specifically, 26 x 1.50 presta valve tubes. (I think I may be able to single-handedly reverse our country's recent economic downturn. Or, rather, Ollie will.)

My friend Rudy suggested that I stop writing about each flat tire and simply post a picture of each one. For my part, I'm thinking of maybe naming each flat. You know, like they name hurricanes and tropical storms on the news. So far we've had: Aloisius, Beelzebub, Charlemagne, Dorian, Eloise, Frankenstein, and Gertrude. I wonder if I can get disaster relief funding from the federal government to cover the cost of all of the tubes I've been burning through. Hey, want a flat tire named after you? All the cool kids are doing it. Send in $10: it's yours.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Critical mass

These days everybody seems to be talking about buying -- even growing -- food locally and sustainably. For awhile I thought this might be just because of the people I tend to hang out with, but I'm not so sure any more. I got into a fairly detailed discussion at the bank the other day with one of the account managers who was telling me about the vermiculture his family has been practicing for decades on their farm in Cali, his home town in Colombia. (Way more interesting than discussing my checking account, to be sure.) This chat simply would not have happened a year ago.

I was just this morning catching up on a backlog of articles and blog postings I have been meaning to read. (The fact that there is such a plethora of writing out there on sustainable food is exciting in itself.) There was a long piece in the New York Times Business section that lauded the progress that the organic food movement has made in recent years, but implied an impending Congressional smackdown of the progressive food consciousness generated by the Obamas and Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack. (I'm intrigued that the 3-page article appeared in the Business section rather than, say, the weekend magazine. Telling, I think.) An article reprinted on the Irresistible Fleet of Bicycles site (one of my favorites these days) posits that change is coming, but slowly. The key seems to be making this a more broadly supported social movement, rather than a foodie fad. And it needs politically savvy leaders. In a critique of the NYT piece, Tom Laskawy, a Grist guest blogger, seemed to concur. He offered cautious hope. My [albeit ham handed] summary of his argument: Things are moving in the right direction. The great failing of the NYT article was the way it seemed to minimize the growing collaboration between the sustainable ag, fair trade, international development, climate change, public health, nutrition, and food safety folks. People are beginning to buy into the idea that all of these things are related and that they need to be addressed. Food is the linchpin. We're moving toward a tipping point. Soon, policymakers will have to start listening in earnest.

Agribusiness is a tough nut to crack. What can we do? Grow things. Cook things. Support responsible producers of our food. Talk to people about it. (Am I sounding like a broken record here?)

One of the more inventive variations on eating local, in my humble opinion, comes out of San Francisco: a Community Supported Forage (CSF) box. It riffs off of the idea of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) arrangement -- a chunk of cash up front for a supply of whatever is locally harvested over a number of weeks. They're playing my song. Wild mushrooms? Really?? I've been too nervous to try mushroom foraging on my own, due to my fear of inadvertent self-poisoning. (I had some crazy Danish friends back when I lived in Mexico who used to go all the time. They admitted to having 2 designated mushroom taste testers -- human canaries, if you will -- with them on each fungus hunt. I wonder if I was being recruited as one of these.) Ah, but if someone who knew what they were doing would supply me with seasonal fiddleheads, morels, and wild blueberries -- or even let me tag along -- well, that sounds divine.

Finally, I've been in conversation in recent weeks with Zeke of Washington's Green Grocer, who has always marketed an organic produce box, and now is offering artisanal breads and cheeses (yum!). With all of the interest in local produce these days -- if the tripling of crowds at the Dupont farmers market on Sundays is any indication -- I've been pestering him to offer a "local produce" box, a subset of the weekly organic box along the lines of the $29 "dogma box" now available in the Boston area. (Ah, my people.) This may mean some weeks of stockpiled potatoes, apples, and rutabaga, but you can always do the "will call" rather than the "weekly" box. Or get creative with your recipes. Is the interest out there? I think it is.

Oh, for the love of.... Again??

Ollie, apparently, is a fan of April Fools Day. I woke up this morning to... another flat tire.

She's smirking right now. Look at the faux innocent curve of those brake lines.

And I think Sheldon is trying to stifle a grin. I may have to separate those two.

This time I think I got the tire off, hole found, tube patched, tire refitted and pumped up (to the right pressure this time), and everything back on the bike in record time. Under 10 minutes. Woo hoo! I'm getting pretty good at this. How's that for making lemonade? Bring on the lemons. (It has occurred to me that I would rather not have so much experience with tire fixing that I become good at it.)

Now I'm wondering if I should have a mini pool for those interested in betting on the number of flats I get before I leave on my trip. If you count both Sheldon and Ollie, I'm up to 5 so far....