Monday, January 31, 2011

Tribble Mill to Monroe and back 50 miles

I prepared my lunch the night before this time to save time in the morning. But I made up for that by walking the dogs before I left for the ride. Last week, I didn't walk them because I was too sore and tired after my long ride and I didn't want that to happen again. Then, I left them outside afterward since it promised to be a nice day.

I drove out to Tribble Mill Park. I had mapped out a route that would be mostly on roads I had never been on, I thought. But I was wrong, I had been on almost all the roads on different rides. So much for that.

From the park, I went out on Callie Still RD where a family of goats were hanging out with their super friendly "guard dog". He came right up to the fence, stuck his head out as far as he could and wagged like crazy. So I petted him for a few minutes. I wasn't too far into my ride and I already had to take a layer off.

I had already figured out that I had been on this road before but I didn't really know where I was exactly, or how I had been on this road before...still haven't figured that one out but I recognized houses and then came the reserviour which I know I've biked past but really don't know when.

It was a nice spot to stop and have lunch.

This tree has Kudzu vines (dormant) hanging all over it. Won't be long before the kudzu completely kills the tree.

I looked in a field and saw a guy riding his horse. He appeared to be a good horse trainer putting the horse through its paces. He had the horse high stepping across the whole field. He left the field, still high stepping, came down the driveway. I stopped my bike to watch and when the guy reached the end of the driveway, the guy said sharply, "Whoa!" The horse stopped immediately. It was a very obedient horse indeed. Then they turned around and headed back to the field with more high stepping.

I had hopes of riding 50 miles but knew that last week I was dead at 40 and didn't think I would manage 50 this week either. But the winds and hills must have had better combinations because I actually did manage 50 miles, 50.08 to be exact. It took me 6 1/2 hours compared to last week's ride of 40 miles at 6 hours. This past week, I was depressed about how slow I am on my bike now. Well, I'm not normally fast, but slow even for me. I was depressed about the fact that I sold my Bianchi because I really wanted a light road bike instead of always having to ride my clunky touring bike. I was depressed mainly because I wasn't getting nearly enough sleep but that was the way it was manifesting itself. But the ride made me feel better...probably because the endorphins mainly but seeing so much improvement in one week really helped too. So maybe I don't have a light, fast road bike, I still have a reliable bike and I know how lucky I am. I can't wish for more than that.

So, back at the park, the sun was setting over the lake. This pic doesn't show it very well but Adam says we need more pics of me since I'm always the one taking pictures, it's hard to be in them. Anyway, here's one of me with 1//2 mile to go to my car.

I ran into a dog (not literally) on the bike trail. He was very skinny and rooting through the leaves looking for food. He was skittish and wouldn't let me get close to him. He had a collar on so I wanted to see if I could read his tag. He didn't have one. So I took the half egg salad sandwich I still had in my bag, bit it into bite sized pieces and threw them to him. Each time it hit the ground, he would run away, then back to it. Poor scared dog.

Back on the move again, I spied an egret on the edge of the lake behind some brush. I had to spook it a little to get it to come out of hiding so I could get a picture of it. But he tired of that quickly and flew away.

It had been so warm that I was in my summer cycling gear, short sleeved jersey, shorts and fingerless gloves. It was so perfect! Still getting used to the saddle again though. I think it's time for a new one. It's 12 years old and well past the prime of life. I want a Brooks, a leather saddle that lasts a lifetime, or more. I rode one on Dan Lundell's bike that he lent me for a year and I loved it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Adam bought some cream to make caramel that he never got around to making. There are 3 quarts but there was only one that needed to be used up now...the other 2 have use by dates a little further out. But I needed to use it or lose it...and since we were nearly out of butter I went to work on it.

You can only fill the container 1/3 full since it expands as it becomes butter. I use a quart canning jar so that meant three different batches to finish off the quart. I just shake, shake shake until it finally turns into butter. I tried a few different techniques and what seemed to work best was to just shake up and down for about 20-30 minutes until it gets to the point where it becomes so stiff it doesn't feel like it's moving anymore. Then, you take an end in each hand and shake side to side kind of forcefully. In a minute or two, the buttermilk suddenly separates from the butter.

Here's different stages of the cream. The square tupperware had whipped cream in it. The jar had the stuff that was so stiff, it felt like it wasn't moving, just minutes away from being butter.

Once you have butter, drain the milk into one container and the butter will go on a board (though I show it in another container because I was working batch by batch collecting it all before I worked out the buttermilk).

Put the butter on a board and work the butter with a paddle (had to use a wooden spoon) pressing as much buttermilk out as possible. I collect this milk too. Then, you put it under the faucet and work it some more with the water flowing over it. It's important to work as much of the buttermilk out as possible to keep it from going rancid sooner.

Once you are satisfied that the buttermilk is out, sprinkle some butter on it to help preserve it. Work the butter in, then you're done.

I got the instructions from "The Self-Sufficient Life and How To Live It" which is a great book with instructions for all kinds of things like this.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ride to Dacula and back

Today, I went for a ride. I've been itching to go all week! I was originally planning on continuing the route I had set for myself at the beginning of last year. But that would have meant a 45 minute drive and I didn't have enough time to ride with the daylight not sticking around enough. So I was going to drive to a local park and bike from there so I wouldn't have to ride on my usual route...but by the time I actually got ready, it was later than I had planned so I just biked from the house with no route in mind.

Before a long ride, I have to get all my food together before I can change. Here's what my food looked like for today's ride: 4 clementines, 2 hard boiled eggs (in case of emergency), an egg salad sandwich, a ham and cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomato, 3 servings of baby carrots, 3 mini sweet peppers, one large fuji apple, and in the thermos is mashed butternut squash in case I really wanted something hot...and water bottles.

After lunch is gathered, then I can change into my biking clothes and load everything onto the bike. I wore a short sleeved jersey, long sleeved jersey and my winter cycling coat on top, biking shorts, and fleece pants under rain pants on the bottom. I left my biking shoes at home since they leave my feet freezing in this weather (low 40's) and went with thick wool socks and my insulated hiking boots. I used my winter cycling gloves, a neck gaiter and a hat under my helmet. It was a lot of clothes but I kept them all on the whole time, except for the neck gaiter which was on and off periodically.

I don't find Georgia particularly pretty in the winter. I don't like dead looking trees without snow on them. But I did some scenes that I enjoyed, dead trees and all.

I had been down this road a couple of times before and knew there was a river there but the trees had always been too thick to see that it actually cascaded down some rocks. Well, I couldn't see that from the road but I could see that it dropped off out of view. I got off the bike to see what was over the edge. I walked down to the bottom of the cascades which don't show up very well in the pictures. After getting a few pictures, I climbed back up. I was walking back up and made the mistake of stepping on a mossy spot. I tried to stay calm and just hold my feet in the same position. I slid backward and backward. I was sure I was going to land on my face and destroy my camera which was still in my hand. I made it without getting wet though. :o)

I also found another pecan tree for picking from next fall...or I guess this fall. These pecans are a lot bigger than the ones from the tree I picked mine from.

Here's a dirt road that I found recently. Well, I found it years ago but never could find it I know where it is.

I was hoping that I was going to get 50 miles in but about half way through the ride, I knew I was overachieving. I was close to home with about 32 miles on the computer. So I decided to take the long way home and see the house that recently toppled over. This house didn't give any clues as to the previous owners like the last ruined house I looked at.

But I did find this that made me laugh. This tree grew up through a tire so it must have been there for a few years at least.

By that point, my legs were really tired and my sit bones HURT!!! I am sitting on a pillow right now because they are still really hurting. It was getting very cold and I just wanted to go home.

By the time I got home, I only had the 2 hard boiled eggs, 2 clementines and half of the squash...I love being able to eat so much!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Little Miss Muffet

Again, I got this from the book "Nourishing Traditions" that I got for Christmas. This recipe makes "cream cheese" and whey. The cream cheese can be used like you would use cream cheese except that it is kind of gritty when cooked in a dish. Maybe if I used whole fat yogurt that wouldn't be the case but I have no experience so can't say for sure. It's healthier though because it's full of probiotics unlike real cream cheese. The whey is what I use to lacto-ferment things like sauerkraut and the carrots that I really like. Also, you can put some in the soaking water for beans and it helps to lessen the things in beans that give you gas.

It's super simple to make. You take a muslin cloth, or a few layers of cheese cloth, draped over a bowl. Dump the yogurt into the cloth.

Tie up the ends and hang it above the bowl.

This is what's left over. The cream cheese lasts a few weeks and the whey lasts a few months.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pork Chops With Garlic-Ginger-Pomegranate Sauce

2-3 weeks ago, I bought a couple pomegranates for Adam since he really likes them. He never got around to eating them so I looked online to see what I could come up with to use them. I only ended up needing one for this recipe.

If you've never seen the inside of a pomegranate, they are weird. The juicy seeds look exactly like ruby red corn kernels...but with a seed inside.

I didn't find out the proper way to get the seeds out until I had already splashed the blood over everything! Adam says you cut it in half, then turn it over in your palm and smack the skin side repetedly and the seeds just falls out on their own. Seems less messy than picking them out and squirting the juice everywhere.

After it sat in the marinade for 2 hours, it looked a little unnatural in color.

It doesn't look like much cooked but it was pretty good. Adam says the ginger made it a little funky but I liked it. I served it with a baked sweet potato and kale. Well, I got a sweet potato and Adam got a regular red potato. He actually had a few bites of the kale which surprised me.

The best part of the pork chops is that one chop is only 150 calories! I can definitely afford to eat that while dieting!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Homemade bikejor line

I get alot of people landing on my blog because of the post I made on building my own bikejoring line so I thought I'd share an update. I don't get to use it anymore since Jasmine had to have the knee surgery but I did get to use it a few times before she tore her ACL. I used it on the last ride I took Tucker on. I just doubled them up on his harness but since he refused to run without Jasmine, I haven't used it since.

As usual, Tucker stopped to pee on something while Jasmine trots away. The line stretched and the tension warned Tucker to be on his way before they both got a sharp tug from one another.

The splices held perfectly, even the one I made up. I added the bungee, which was a length of cheap shock cord found at REI. I knotted the ends and taped them with electrical tape so they couldn't slip out of the line. It was tough sliding them into the areas that had a rope already threaded through it but not impossible. It did negate some of the side pulling they did on each other. All in all, I was very happy with it. I just wish I had been able to use it more.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Persimmon brownies and sumac salmon

So, I am still attempting to make more using my foraged goods. Here are two of my latest.

Persimmon brownies. Actually, they are more like spice cake but that's what they were called. I didn't really taste the persimmon in them. It was just a really moist spice cake which I enjoyed.

Here they are. They aren't ripe until they look like they're rotting. They're very mushy. If you eat them before they're ripe, they suck all the moisture right out of your mouth. A very bizzare sensation that I don't like! And in all honesty, I don't actually like the flavor when they are ripe either. I tried making a persimmon sauce, like cranberry sauce but it was gross so I threw it out! Like I said, I couldn't really taste the persimmons in this so I liked it. But since I don't like the flavor of these raw, I don't think I'll bother experimenting anymore with these.

Just in case you wondered, here's the recipe:

  1. 1. Cream butter and sugar together; add persimmon pulp, buttermilk and eggs.2. Then add dry ingredients and mix well.3. Pour into 10x12 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  2. Sumac is a berry that grows on upright bushes. They're a beautiful, deep red. They taste very similar to lemons. The white ones are poisonous though so beware. I ground them in the mortar and pestle but all the seeds stayed intact and try as I might, I couldn't sift them all out so one or two got into the dish. I have since learned that you need to pulverize them in the food processor.

Salmon goes well with lemon so I sprinkled a bunch onto some salmon filets and cooked other ingredients. The juices from the salmon made it look like a red sauce had been poured over it. Simple and not too bad.

So there are a couple things I've been doing with the foods I gathered in the fall. More to come.

Liver treats

The dogs love liver treats. I got a tub of chicken liver for 59 cents. It was going to reach it's use by date soon. I scooped it up for the dogs.

3 eggs
2.3 cup vegetable oil
1 lb. raw liver
1 tsp garlic or garlic salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Beat eggs and oil a few seconds in food processor. Add livers to processor, as well as any juice in container. Add garlic and puree until throughly blended. Pour mixture into bowl. Add flour while stirring. You want the consistency of brownie batter --- not runny but noe like cookie dough either.

Pour batter into spray coated 9x13 pan and spread evenly. Tap pan on counter several times to bring up any air bubbles. Very important because you will get giant bubles in the treats and the layers will fall apart.

Bake for 10 minutes at 425 or until the top is dry and outer edges are just beginning to brown. Remove from oven. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Tip sheet out of pan onto cutting board. Let cool another 5 minutes.

For a soft treat: cut with knife into 1/2"x1/2" squares. When completely cool, store in fridge.

For a firm treat: cut into 1/2"x1/2" treats. Spread onto 9x13 pan. Turn off the oven and return the treats to the oven to dry for an hour or so.

Store in an airtight container in fridge or store in freezer and defrost as needed.

You can use chicken liver, calf liver, beef liver, sardines or tuna. Baking times may vary.

For training:

It's best to cut them into smaller pieces.

For camouflaging the treats:
Grass colored: use chicken liver with white flour and add powdered spirulina
Dirt colored: beef liver with wheat flour
Sandy colored: chicken liver with white flour
Asphalt colored: chicken live with white flour and add a pinch of charcoal powder

Thursday, January 13, 2011

First ride of the year

Just a couple of days before the snow hit, I went for a 4 hour ride. The high was 40 degrees and the wind was horrible. 4 hours was too long after 3 1/2 months off the bike but it's all good. I had a good time, even if my toes were ready to fall off from the cold!

I rode past Rabbit Hill Park and saw the newly finished (at least since the last time I biked by it) dog park. Makes me wish I had a dog I could take to one...but don't worry I will NOT be adding another dog to the family.

I made my way to some nice, lonely roads.

Found a sumac stand. These would have been nice to find in the fall when I was looking for some to pick.

I crossed over into Auburn and found a small park. Looked pretty nice from the road.

I made my way onto a dirt road. Sometimes it was so smooth, I wondered if there was pavement underneath but then a few feet later, it was riddled with wash boarding that was so harsh to ride over. Not too many cars on it though so it was very enjoyable.

Sadly, lots of people used the side of the dirt road as their personal dump. Someone must have gotten sick of it and put up a sign.

I felt like calling to see if I could find someone to pick me up the last hour because my toes hurt so much. I stopped and wrapped grocery bags around my toes trying to keep the wind from making them any colder. It didn't do much but I finished the ride without calling anyone. Now that I've been snowbound all week, I am looking forward to being able to get out and take another ride.

Monday, January 3, 2011


I pulled a couple books off my shelf that I had begun reading but were put back on the shelf before I finished them. I love reading about other people's lives & experiences. Here's one of the ones I recently finished.

Mollie Dorsey Sanford is a journal of an early pioneer. The book starts when she was young, moving to Nebraska with her parents and siblings. Eventually, to help support her family, she moves out to take different jobs, cooking, teaching, cleaning, whatever she can find. She ends up marrying a man that takes her further west to Colorado in early 1860's. He works different jobs but mostly as a miner. She ends up being the cook for all the miners and isn't paid a cent. At one post, she has to cook for 30-40 men with no conviences at all, not even a stove/oven. Eventually, they move on from that post and her life gets a little easier because she becomes a cook for as many men but is able to cook on a wood stove in a cabin with a few conviences and a little girl to help her.

Her life was one of struggle. She was always homesick for her "Hazel Dell" as she called the home she grew up in (in Nebraska). Eventually, her husband enlisted during the civil war and he was gone for months, during which time she had no idea whether or not he was alive. She seemed to take her trials well. The last page of her journal, she is summing it up. She has two babies and a house and husband to take care of and can no longer "journalize" as she put it.

She ends her journal by saying "althou hard times are with us, and troubles surround us, we are happy..." which seemed to sum up her life pretty well, I thought. I hope I can have more of that attitude in my life when things aren't going the way I want.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New year, new goals

Another year has gone by, quicker than the last, it seems. Funny how the older you get, the faster the years go by. I want them to go slower now....

Anyway, It' the time of year to make new goals for yourself. I thought I'd take a minute to do just that.

Last year I made some goals for myself. They were:
1. read the Book of Mormon
2. eat healthy
3. exercise 3 times a week (not counting dog walks)
4. socialize Tucker
5. keep my house cleaner
6. be able to do one pull up by the end of the year

I have accomplished 1 & 6 (though I could at one point in the spring, I can't do a pull up right now). I did 2, 3 & 5 really well at points and really not so well at other points though this was a pretty good year, I think. 4...well, I gave it a shot and decided that with how much negative exposure he gets walking with the other dogs, there's just no way I could get out enough with him to combat sadly, I have resigned to having another dog who doesn't like other dogs.

So this year, I will make a few more:
1. read the whole triple combination
2. ride 1500 miles on my bike (probably too much with no tour planned but we'll see...
3. reduce the sugar I eat
4. I won't get an overdue fees at the library (I'm horrible at that!)
5. finish painting/glazing the bathroom cabinets
6. start a garden
7. get my clothes line set up
8. get the basement organized

Ok, looks like a long enough list. I can do it!

I hope everyone's year has started off well so far and that it gets better as the year goes on!
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