Yup...summer is officially here!
Our garden is growing (peas, beans, carrots, beets, parsnips, rutabagas, tomatoes, rhubarb, and dying onions that attempted a comeback from last summer. This week we've had amazing weather in the County complete with too many sunny, muggy, humid days (yes, in New England we get crabby if we don't get a rainy day now and then) and finally some thunderstorms. Training is going well but I've been busy with lots of other exciting activities lately too.
Here's a photo roll and a few of my reflections from the last couple of weeks:
The Frenchville elementary-age kids got to visit 10th Mountain Ski Center for a field day on their last day of school. We took them on walks of the ski/snowshoe/mountain bike trails and then had a blast in the stadium with several hours of games, relays and obstacles. I set up a huge hopscotch on the rollerski track complete with choose-your-own-adventure intersections and direction changes.
This spring I was lucky enough to fit in a quick trip home to NH to celebrate Father's Day with my family and eat some yummy, fresh food on the farm.
The greenhouse-grown lettuce/greens (L) and one of my mom's prized "Strawcchini" hanging plants. She had a sly critter living in the greenhouse this spring who decided that the zucchini seeds would be better off if planted in with the strawberry hanging baskets. A few weeks later my mom was left trying to sell strawberry hanging baskets with giant zucchinis hanging off them! Thus, "Strawcchini"!
Kaiya and I shared a whole box of fresh strawberries after a morning workout. She took care of all the less-than-perfect berries for me. Somehow I don't think she cares too much about rotten spots or bug holes....she even got her daily share of greens by eating them tops and all!
(L) My dad has a flock of very happy egg-laying chickens in his fields so I got to help collect 40+ farm-fresh eggs every day. Seeing what free-range eggs look like (all different colors and sizes) makes me wonder what industrial-sized egg farms do with all the eggs that aren't just the right shape and size.
(R) The very cute little piglets at Beans & Greens cuddling up for a nap in the shade.
(L) The who barnyard gang taking a break from visiting with kids. This year's group of baby animals are very attached to one another and when they "play" together it's hilarious. They all get very vocal and they chase each other around much to the amusement of the kids and any parents who happen to be standing nearby. (R) Fluffy, our old rescue turkey who's too special to become Thanksgiving dinner. She lays huge, speckled eggs and coos when you pet her.
My mom and I increased our fairy house collection...I don't have pictures of everything we made but this was the beginning of my fairy gazebo. She made a little bridge and I also made a swing. The plan is to set everything we've made up in the water garden at Beans & Greens for everyone who visits to enjoy. I'm guessing the frogs who inhabit the pond might also like it!
Flower porn....I just love them. Sometime when you see a pretty flower, stop and get a closer look at it. It's just amazing what can occur in nature.
(L) My mom weeding around the pond and gardens that go with it (R).
I did some training with the Gunstock Nordic kids (my original ski club out of Gilford) and thoroughly enjoyed the spectacular views of Lake Winnipesaukee. Kaiya (our dog) and I went on a hiking/running adventure on my last full day home. This view was from the top of one of the alpine trails at Gunstock.
On Healthy Foods...
Visiting Beans & Greens (my parent's farmstand) always reminds me of all the healthy food choices that we have. A customer came up to me while I was home (apparently I resemble my mom a little bit?) and was raving about how lucky my brothers and I were to grow with so many healthy food options. We talked about how anyone can have good food options and that you just have to learn where to find them. Yes, shopping local is the best choice since that way you can be sure you know where it came from, you have the ability to ask the farmer directly how it was grown (organic?), and chances are it will be less processed. However, in the absence of abundant local food choices many people must make do with the closest chain-grocery store. The woman especially liked my suggestions of shopping the perimeter of grocery stores and avoiding the center isles where more of the overly processed foods are located and then also looking for farm-grown foods in their original states.
One of my favorite parts of a summer dinner...salad. Except my salads can't be just lettuce and your typical sliced veggies: I almost always use just spinach (too often grocery-store lettuce is white or yellow...I like green greens) and I love adding different things to it to add crunch, flavor and variety. Our counter here in Fort Kent has large jars containing raisins, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, craisins, sliced almonds, and crushed walnuts. Another regular addition lately has been apples...especially if I can't find a crunchy variety! Mmmmmmm....sooooo good!
A couple of pictures I encountered online this spring that stuck with me:
This photo shows a health-class display of different beverages and the corresponding amounts of sugar found in them. So the next time you go to pick up a Mountain Dew at a convenience store take a second to think back to this and maybe go for an option that your body might appreciate a little more.
Again, so relevant. It's raining as I sit here and write this but even a glance outside reminds me that a quick run (or even a walk) can wake up my body and brain any day (even in the pouring rain).
Exercise releases endorphins: it will make you happy if you let it!
Training is full-on now. We did some skate rollerskiing intervals this morning through gorgeous farm land just south of Fort Kent. The sun was out, I was (soooo) sweaty, and by the end (60 minutes on-time) I felt pretty crappy and tired but I was happy. This weekend I'm looking forward to some running adventures on Saturday and then hopefully breaking my 5k PR in the Collins Road Race in Caribou on Sunday. Am I hooked on endorphins? Yup, I am.
And I LOVE it.