Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Maybe I just need a little more exercise

Okay, I've been back in the District for a little over two months now and I'll admit it: I'm having a little trouble reintegrating into regular life. The general "ahhhhh" feeling of being back home, sleeping in my own bed, and catching up with friends and family has run its course and now I'm starting to feel pretty antsy. The job search continues -- a number of friends have forwarded along ideas, contact information, and links to great articles and organizations -- but I suspect that the lack of gainful employment is partly behind my restlessness. (Well, that and the fact that I've never been particularly adept at sitting still.) But recently it occurred to me that maybe I'm not getting enough exercise. Biking 2.5 miles to meet a friend for a picnic in Farragut Square isn't quite a 60 mile day scaling the Appalachian Mountains, you know?

Yesterday I attempted to implement Operation Tire Myself Out, which during its planning stages included biking 19 miles to Clagett Farm, putting in a 4-hour workshare shift, and biking home with a couple panniers of veggies. Well. The best laid plans of mice and men.... After I got lost along the Metropolitan Branch Trail, then in Northeast DC, then Southeast DC, then nearly again in Upper Marlboro, I started to reconsider. I think I hit every hill in the District during what turned out to be a 5-mile extension of the trip. So, okay, fine, it wound up being 25 miles to the farm -- wasn't the point to tire myself out? -- and it was a beautiful, sunny, early autumn day. After an emergency stop for snacks at mile 22, I arrived at the farm and got to work hauling around crates of eggplants and tomatoes to be weighed, then lugging and washing box after box of watermelon radishes. I think I personally scrubbed over 100 of them, and boy are those greens scratchy.

(Recall that I am not a huge fan of radishes, but I'm getting there. I'll be trying out some radish finger sandwiches on friends coming by for dinner tonight, along with a basil-radish green-pecan pesto that'll be part of the main course. Well, what else am I supposed to do with the greens? But seriously, aren't these radishes gorgeous? They look like turnips on the outside and almost like figs on the inside. Beautiful, but let's see how they taste....)

After the piles of radishes were washed and made presentable for the afternoon's CSA pickup, I was tasked with weeding the herb garden, ripping up all kinds of grasses and dried out plants to prepare things for the coming cool weather. After 14 months of working on organic farms, I must say I am pretty darn good at weeding. I was wailing away on the invasive foliage until I accidentally upset an underground wasps' nest in the lavender patch, at which point I decided it was time for another snack and some hot pepper harvesting. By the time 4:30 rolled around, I was pretty spent. And there was still the 19-mile bike ride home with a load of vegetables in DC rush hour traffic....

As I was telling my friend Tom the other night, I may have biked around the country, but I am not any kind of road warrior. As I said during the post-Baltimore search and rescue ordeal, I am not too proud to ask for help. My friend Mike had sent me a message earlier in the day offering to give me a lift back from the farm if I found myself stuck in horrid weather or just too worn out for a return bike ride. (Weather? Bah. Tired? Yes!) God bless Mike. He came by just as I'd finished clipping some okra and assembling a bouquet of zinnias. With Ollie stuffed in the back seat and a trunkful of produce, we headed back into the city. I took a wonderful, hot shower and then got cracking on dinner: pasta with some leftover turnip greens with mustard sauce, parmesan, and cherry tomatoes. Washed down with a glass of Carmenere, I was, at last, content.

Last night I slept like a log.

1 comment:

  1. You don't like radishes? Are you kidding? Oh, and by the way, I love the new look of the blog. Very and classy and soothing.


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