Monday, November 28, 2011

Brussels Sprouts and bicycles

I haven't had much success over the years with Brussels Sprouts. Last year I got two plants to grow, but they didn't produce anything. This year, I planted 16 seeds, but only ended up with 4 plants. Two of those did weird things that made them look more like kohlrabi than Brussels Sprouts, so I ended up composting them. Of the remaining two, one never got very big and the other one was attacked by cabbage butterflies. I ended up having to use insecticidal soap on them—organically approved, but still, I hate using insecticides of any kind.

This weekend, I decided we should harvest some of the sprouts. So, I went out and cut off about 2 servings worth, which ended up being about 1/2-2/3 of the sprouts. I didn't have very high hopes, as some of them were loosely formed. But, I washed them, picked off the dead leaves, and put them on the stove to steam. About 8-10 minutes later, I plucked one out with a fork and tried it. Wow! It sure didn't taste like the things from the store! It tasted like it had a butter sauce on it, which I can assure you it didn't! They were delectable. I was going to try a different variety next year, thinking that might be the problem, but now I think I'm just going to plant the same, but more and cover them with row cover.

It was warm over Thanksgiving weekend—55ºF on Friday and 60º F on Saturday. On Friday, we decided to go for a bit longer walk than normal. We normally walk about 2 miles each day, but we have a longer route that we do occasionally that is about 4 miles. Well, we got to the point where we normally turn back and Debbie went the other way, west instead of east. Sure, why not. So, we ended up walking eleven miles...

Saturday, it was also extremely windy—over 20 MPH. But, how can I pass up a nice, warm day? I decided to ride, despite the wind. So, around noon, I embarked on a short 19 mile ride. The wind was from the south-southwest. I was going south and uphill for the first mile. I managed to climb the hill (a relatively shallow incline) in my lowest gear on the middle front ring at a super-fast(!) 10 MPH and a great deal of huffing and puffing. I felt exhausted, but kept going.

At about the 8 mile mark, there was a train stopped on the tracks, blocking the crossing. I took a detour around it...About this time I'm wondering about the wisdom of my deciding to ride against the wind. I got to the next crossroad and turned south again to cross the tracks; the train wasn't crossing these tracks, but only barely. I headed back to my chosen route, wondering how long this train was. It ended up being about 1.5 miles long.

I got to the end of my southward journey and turned north. I was looking forward to this! Only someone who has fought the wind for about 10 miles or more can understand. I was running way behind, and we were going somewhere in the afternoon; I'd have to hurry...I kicked it into a higher gear and took off...what fun. I was going about 27-28 MPH on the flat, over 32 MPH on the downhills and never dropped below 17 MPH on the climbs. Sure beats 10 MPH on the way! I'm sure there's a moral in there somewhere...

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