I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, May 27, 2012

And so it begins

Summer, that is. Yesterday, the first day of the Memorial Day weekend, I walked with the Fairhaven walkers (twenty of us, all women) to the home of a woman who lives on Lummi Island, just over three miles each way. I took this picture from her deck of the water in Bellingham Bay with foliage and madrone trees in the foreground. She has a beautiful place, but the island is separated from the mainland, necessitating a ferry ride to get to a grocery store, or anywhere else in town. The price of the ferry recently jumped from $2 to $7 (round trip) to simply walk on. Taking your car across costs $13 and only 12 cars can go at a time. The ferry runs twice an hour. It is very lovely, but it wouldn't be a place I would choose to live.

After coming home from the excursion to Lummi Island, I helped spread manure in our community garden. Some of the residents in our apartment complex talked the owners into the idea of using part of the area located behind the apartments for a community garden, and they paid to have the area fenced, to (hopefully) keep out the deer and other critters that will be eyeing our veggies. I decided to plant kale, collards, carrots, and squash in my little area, but we needed to spread the two piles of horse manure before it can be tilled, which will probably happen today. I am exhilarated, since I have never before had the possibility of having a garden. I may enjoy it or possibly find it to be too much work, who knows? Even the uncertainty is a bit exciting to me.

Our sunny, beautiful weather returned for a couple of days, but last night I woke to wind blowing the curtains and rattling the bird feeders. I went outside and removed them so they wouldn't be blown down and felt the change in the weather. Today is the annual Ski to Sea event here in Bellingham, and I've been watching friends in the gym working hard to get ready for it. That link will take you to a USA Today article about it that I found interesting.

A few years ago I volunteered to help organize the packets that the racers require. There are eight people in a team, which are limited to 500. People sign up for this event far in advance, and the same top teams win year after year, but many people are not as competitive and decide to enter for the fun of it. It's a relay race of over ninety miles. Here's a bit of information taken from the official website.
A Ski to Sea Race team consists of 8 racers (2 in the canoe leg) for the seven race legs (Cross Country Ski; Downhill Ski/Snowboard; Running; Road Bike; Canoe; Mountain Bike; Kayak). A racer can only be on one team, and only complete one leg. We also recommend a support team to carpool the team to the different race leg venues. From the top of Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay, discover Whatcom County's recreational playground and the 'Ski to Sea' Experience.
Some of the teams have decided to make it even more challenging and reduce their carbon footprint by not taking any cars to get to their starting point. I heard some people talking about logistics. It's a fun event and a lot of people get totally enthusiastic about it. Although I have considered finding a senior's team (there are plenty), I haven't followed through yet. I don't have a bike, so the only leg I would feel comfortable competing in would be the cross country ski part. That's what has kept me from actually doing it. I tell myself that, anyway.

Instead, I'll learn about gardening and raising my own vegetables. I was wondering what I would be doing this long weekend to keep fit, since the buses won't be running and the Y will be closed tomorrow. After shoveling manure for hours yesterday, I no longer need to worry about that. I came in and took a shower, washing off all the sweat and grime and went to bed early after a glass of wine. Although I tried to read, I found myself nodding off and gave myself permission to retire. After all, I'd walked a fast six-and-a-half miles and shoveled for a couple of hours, so I was entitled, I figured.

It was such a beautiful day yesterday that I glanced up at the sky now and then and thought about skydiving. A gentle breeze and completely blue skies made it a perfect day for it. But last Saturday I made four jumps and was a little bit glad for a break. My friend Linny wasn't going to be there anyway, so it wasn't as tempting as it would otherwise have been to make the drive down to Snohomish and get my knees in the breeze.

The birds are singing outside; I can hear the ubiquitous robin who wakes me every morning, a couple of chickadees, the goldfinch twittering, and the house sparrows tweeting. I've got a few white-crowned sparrows hanging around, but I don't hear them right now. The wind seems to have died down and the sky is looking good for the racers. In the afternoon I'll head downtown on the bus and make my way to the finish line, hoping for some good pictures. The first teams will arrive at Marine Park by early afternoon and the rest will stagger across the finish line, one at a time, until the sun sets.

And so it begins, the unofficial start of the summer season, the blue skies and sunshine, long days and short nights. I'm feeling pretty good for having lifted that shovel so many times yesterday; my workouts must be making a difference. Not bad for an old lady, I tell myself. Not bad.


Anonymous said...

My dad used to spread horse and chicken manure all over our yard. Great for the fruits and vegetables he grew, but horrible for me. The stench was unbearable! Since my bedroom windows overlooked the yard (1 story house), I slept with great difficulty. Maybe that is why I hate to garden, and if I ever do, I shall not use manure!

Dee said...

Dear DJan, not bad! not bad at all! Congratulations.
And thanks for explaining the race and giving us a link to info on it. I'd loved to witness the various parts of the race--seven I think, especially the canoe part.

Rubye Jack said...

That island sounds like it would be such a lovely place to live but the cost of that ferry would be rather limiting. I wish they'd start a community garden where I live. It would be nice to readily available vegetables. That's so good that you were out there shoveling. Hard work!

Linda Myers said...

I'll be interested in your gardening experience. It's good exercise, and watching edible things come out of the ground from seeds you've planted is a miracle every single time. Enjoy!

Grandmother said...

We had a plot in a community garden in Maine and loved it. Good food, good exercise, good neighbors being neighborly!

Linda Reeder said...

Not bad at all, DJan!
And I hope you love being able to grow things. Be careful, though. It does get into the blood. Once you begin to like gardening, it's hard to stop. And it is good exercise!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I suspect you will be a great gardener and will love cultivating and eating your own food. In any case, it's well worth the experiment!

CrazyCris said...

The idea of the community garden sounds like it could be great fun! I've never had a veggie garden either. Hope you get lots of yummy green things!

Love the idea of the Ski to Sea event also... Would be fun to participate in something like that! :o)

Enjoy your long weekend, hope your summer gives you plenty of sun for your hikes and skydiving!

Rita said...

My mom and dad did the community garden for several years in their trailer park in Minnesota while they were here for the summer. It's a lot of work and using different muscles yet again--but they loved it. You will meet all the neighbors who are gardening, too.

Quite a race. You'd have to live in a special place like you do to do everything from skiing to boating! We'd have to wait six months here--LOL! ;)

Arkansas Patti said...

Beware, getting your hands dirty and gardening is totally addictive. When you taste yours and nature's handy work, you won't be able to eat grocery store plastic again. And it is marvelous exercise. Sleep well.

Bragger said...

Forgive me if I've said it before, but you are an inspiration to me. I love the idea of the Ski to Sea event. It sounds like something my pal Rozmo and I would like to do. But I've never, ever skied before (only on water), so I don't know THAT would work out!

Keep us updated on the community garden. I love that concept and would like to be involved with one in our community.

Jackie said...

Not bad at all, my friend!
I love reading your blog...listening to the birds virtually through your writing, and admiring your spunk and spirit. You go girl!
We use donkey manure in our garden. Ours is a small garden but soooo muc fun. I hope that you have as much fun (and good eating) from yours as I think that you will. Best of luck to you. Enjoy the fruits of your labor. You will be blessed.

June said...

Husband has been working hard since January, getting seeds planted, babysitting them unto hale and hearty adolescent plants, some of which he put in the ground today. My job comes later and lasts longer: I harvest. And weed.
Manure is the best thing ever, although I do prefer it when it no longer smells like manure.

Red said...

Age is only in our head! So you proved your age by getting out and shoveling for two hours. Good on you. I hope you are rewarded with good things to eat.

Trish said...

You crack me up. Shoveling horse poop, skydiving, hiking untold miles each week, etc etc. You're a Sadge through and through, and should you ever be inclined, DJan, I would love to see your natal chart. You defy certain attributes of the sign, but fit in beautifully with others.

Gigi said...

The house on the island sounds like a dream....until you factor in the ferry ride and it's cost!

As for the gardening, I have a feeling that you have just acquired a new hobby! Especially once you sample your bounty.

SaucyKod said...

As a kid growing up, we had a garden in back of the house - in fact we were a 12 home street, with the woods and plenty of them right in back of the house. The homes were built for the soldiers returning from the 2nd World War, my Dad being one of them. My Dad grew up fishing and farming, so he knew very well how to make OURS, the best garden on our small STREET.
I wish you success in your garden DJan - I know you will learn lots and you will get to have fun too and share ideas.
Looking forward to seeing the photos from the Ski to Sea. Have a great night :)

Friko said...

Not bad for a much younger lady either, I would think.
Walking and gardening one after the other, that's quite an undertaking. This old lady couldn't do it.

I used to manage gardening for the whole day, not any more, a good morning's worth is all I can do now.

As for all the rest you do, the mere idea makes me want to go away and lie down.