The Remnants of Summer 2011 :: Autumn Arriving

It’ s cold today. As a matter of fact, I am freezing. Where is my hoodie? Autumn rears its colorful head.

Heirloom tomatoes.

Summer school, that’s what I did this summer. A gardening summer school. Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil, Mint, Thyme, Lemon Verbena, Sage, Shiso– Red and Green– Hops, lettuces, Arugula and Figs scattered about the yard and fencelines provided a delicious and wholesome summer of food. I grew up with a couple of green thumbs. My parents never gave up on their attempts to educate and share the joy of home grown vegetables, much to my, and likely my brothers’, chagrin. It’s not until you are forced to buy insecticide-pesticide-laden wax-covered, genetically modified vegetables that you begin to appreciate the pure joy of homegrown, organic produce. And in 2011, I had my very own vegetable garden, for the first time in my adult life.

This was a summer of gardening school. I learned that gophers enjoy eating lettuce and tomato plants. Essentially, I learned gophers are better dead than alive, and have learned techniques to not only keep them from pulling my lettuce plants into the ground by the root, but techniques to keep the same one from doing it again, which we won’t discuss.

Hops for home brewing.

I also learned a few things about propagation. It’s easy to propagate plants. And I am enjoying learning the ins and outs of copying lavender, basil, tomatoes and the like. I learned too much water is never enough for Basil. And I learned that Basil can grow waist high.

I learned about beer. Alex raised 7 varieties of Hops both in our Hop Field and along the fence among the herbs and tomatoes. The hops have been harvested and we’re anxious for 2012. Perhaps even more anxious for the beer made from these Hops!

This was a summer of wine. I can actually say I know what a 97 point wine tastes like. The scale of wine starts right around 80 or so, with Two Buck Chuck being around 80 points, most good $10 wines around 85.  The wine scale is much like the Richter scale– it’s more of an exponential improvement than a linear improvement as you move up the scale into the 90s. Having said that, the 97 point Chateau Guiraud 2005 Sauternes was the best wine I have ever tasted. It was paired with fois gras entière, a gift of a friend from France. It was a remarkable moment, and an incredible evening with my best friends, Alex, Claudia and Alan.

A trip to Oklahoma offered some down home country fun in the way of feeding cows, gardening and fried catfish. A sort of reunion with my Parents and my Grandma. Alex came along and learned how to feed hungry cows, how to bushhog and learned that Oklahoma has mountains and beauty. This was unfortunately a cycling free trip. There is nothing quite like discovering trails imprinted by mountain bike tires only a couple of times per year.

Chateau Giraud 2005 Sauternes avec Foie Gras Entière among friends.

This was also a summer of getting back in the business of coaching. I restarted my career as a Spinning instructor, and have been getting back into the groove. In addition, I am teaching clinics for Sport Chalet. It’s a new direction for me, but I am excited as the wheels get rolling on that project.

This summer of learning means mtbchick is undergoing a bit of a rebirth. It’s all under wraps right now, but definitely expect some cool things to come out of the web site in the coming year! We’ve been around for 10 years, and it’s time we celebrate!

Summer took me through a break in racing and I did some training, but mostly just riding with friends and meeting new people. I will be out at a few races this fall as I ramp up for the 2012 season. I can’t wait to hit the Whiskey Off Road in Prescott as well as a few other fun races.

So what was ultimately learned this summer? Life is short, focus is imperative and there is much to learn. Every day.

Summer school wasn’t so bad. But I look forward to more mountain biking in the Autumn!






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