Saturday, October 30, 2010

Have an hour? Knit up some Mochimochi.

It's so much fun to knit up a quick project.  A couple weeks ago, I picked up a book called Knitting Mochimochi.  The patterns vary in length and difficulty.  The instructions, hints, and photos are very helpful.

I knit a couple mochimochi hamsters over lunch this week.  Each one took less than an hour.  They're so cute, I sent a couple to my niece in Janesville.  Then, I had to make one for Steve.  (He requested one for his office.)  I think I will fill his office with small knit toys.  

You can find more at Mochimochi Land.  (If cuteness offends you, don't visit.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

WI vacation part II

My favorite part of our stay in Northern Wisconsin had to be the hikes we did.  The hiking options were numerous. We went for a walk each morning and afternoon.  I think we crossed paths with another human only once. 

This is a photo of Steve and Fido under a canopy of Aspen on an unmarked snowmobile trail.

This is a photo of me and Fido on the Northern Scenic Hiking Trail.  We encountered a lot of large birds that morning, pheasant, maybe, whose take-off shook the ground when we approached.  Fido wanted some of that action; but, alas, we don't hunt.

We also did a lot of bike riding.  When we checked in at Delta Lodge, we were given two maps: (1) the CAMBA (Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association) complete map and (2) the Delta Cluster map (a more detailed map of the CAMBA trails closest to our cabin).

Steve's favorite riding was on the rolling gravel fire roads.

But, we did venture on to some snowmobile trails.  Those were fun in their own way, but probably a lot more fun on a Ski-Doo.

For more hiking photos click here.

For more riding photos click here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wisconsin vacation part I

Initially, our vacation plan included visiting with my family and the Planet Bike Cup, both in the southern part of the state.  But, we ended up spending 3 days in the Chequamegon National Forest in northern WI as well.  That meant an extra 5 hours of driving for us, all the way to Duluth, MN before arriving at our cabin in the Delta Lakes area, near Iron River, WI.

Here we are crossing Lake Superior from MN to WI.

It ended up being a great idea.  We did a lot of hiking, biking and relaxing.  (More on the hiking and biking later.) 

Fido was especially helpful when it came time for Steve to build a fire each night.

What good is a fire without S'mores? 


 Fido loved Cliffside...our cabin, aptly named.  He was king of the hill.

For more photos of the cabin, see our photobucket page.

If you're ever in Northern Wisconsin and looking for a great place to stay, check out Delta Lodge.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pre-riding a CX course? Proceed with caution

I can totally appreciate the desire to pre-ride a course for a 'cross race and wanting to do it while a race is happening if you arrive late to the venue.  It can make all the difference.  However, NEVER interfere with the ongoing race!  (Does that even need to be said?)

Last Saturday in Tulsa, on the final turns of the final lap of the women's race, fellow racer Miranda and I encountered a group of guys (6-8?) on the course, warming up for the A race.  The two of us had been racing each other for the last 50 minutes and we were less than a 1/4 mile from the finish.

I yell, "Racers coming through!"

Dude says, "Where do you want us to go?"

Seriously?  Get out the way, duh!

As we passed through them, they were working on getting off the course.  To my delight, one of them hit a culvert and went over the bars.  If I hadn't been buried (and focused on a strong finish), I would have laughed and said, "It serves you right!"  I hope he didn't get hurt, but I am still snickering.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

ANPS field trip to Lorrance Creek Natural Area

After racing bikes in Tulsa on Saturday night, I hustled home Sunday morning to make an Arkansas Native Plant Society (ANPS) field trip led by Dr. Eric Sundell at the Lorrance Creek Natural Area and I'm so glad I made it.  The walk is about 1/2 mile of paved trail and wooden bridge.  Despite the dry summer, some things were still green.

We walked to the end of the path, stopping often to discuss features of the trees and shrubs we found along the way, like telling the difference between white and green ash trees and tasting horse sugar.

Below are some of the photos from the trip that turned out nice.

Cardinal flower

Tall white aster and narrow leaf sunflower
Poison ivy on Bald cypress

Horse sugar
Tupelo gum tree

The swamp

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Landscaping project part II

 With a trip to Pine Ridge Gardens in London, AR last Sunday, I am finished with the cement block planting project.  Here the planters are all lined up and full of life.

Next spring, the vines should fill out some more and I'll have some pretty blooms in red, pink, white and blue.

Mary Ann at Pine Ridge helped me pick out plants that would work well in this set-up.  Pine Ridge Gardens is a mail order nursery that specializes in native species.  She holds open houses at the garden in the fall and spring.  I highly recommend supporting Pine Ridge.

Here is what I ended up with:

Antennaria Plantaginfolia (Pussy Toes)
Decumaria Barbara (Climbing Hydrangea)

Dicentra Exima (Bleeding Heart)
Mitchella Repens (Partridgeberry)

Variegated Polemonium Reptans (Jacob's Ladder)

Polemonium Reptans (Jacob's Ladder)

Silene Virginica (Fire Pinks)

Monday, October 4, 2010

International Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

Pinnacle Mountain State Park Visitor Center Parking Lot
Saturday morning, I attended the grand opening of two new mountain bike trails (Rabbit Ridge and Jackfork) at Pinnacle Mountain State Park held in conjunction with IMBA International Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day.  Rabbit Ridge is a 0.7-mile loop for beginners.  Jackfork is a 7.4-mile loop that is definitely not for beginners.  I missed the actual ribbon cutting ceremony, but made it out in time to start the inaugural ride of Jackfork.  The trail is tough with technical rocky sections and plenty of climbing.  I was glad to have a small chain ring to go to by the end of the loop.  As with any new trail there were ruts and loose corners that were a bit tight.  Hopefully, these things will work themselves out over time.  All in all, I thought it was fun and I'll be back.

Jackfork Trail at Pinnacle Mountain State Park
In the afternoon, Steve and I actually took a kid mountain biking.  We took the 12 year old son of Steve's boss to Burns Park to ride the short track trail and Pfeifer Loop.  He did amazingly well for his first time, riding two loops of the short track and one loop of Pfeiffer.  I think he's hooked.

Armadillo viewing break on Pfeifer Loop at Burns Park in North Little Rock