Trans New Hampshire Ride – Your Help Wanted!

Hi All -
Sorry for the blast, I will keep this short. This
year I am participating in the TransNH Bike Ride. The ride is 250 miles
over 3 days, from Canada to Concord NH. The ride is a fund raiser for
the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I’m asking that you help out by
making a donation to the MDA. All donations are tax-deductible and
you’ll get a receipt. If you prefer not to use the online method, a
check, made out to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, can be mailed to
me (see address below). My goal this year is $1300, enough money to
send 2 kids to summer camp.

Click to Donate Online Using a Credit Card
(copy and paste if the above link does not work)

More info on the ride:
More info about MDA:

Thank you!

Aaron Ouellette
44 Boynton st.
Pepperell MA 01463

Chicken farmer, I STILL…

We are officially chicken farmers, or at least chicken owners. Our flock of 12 chicks got here earlier this week, and I feel like they have already doubled in size. I may be imagining this though some of the Ameraucanas are already sprouting tail feather pins. The black sex links don’t seem to be as far along with just some wing feathers starting to come in. They all appear very healthy and spend their time running, eating, drinking, pooping, and sleeping. I just put them on the shavings today and hope they don’t eat too much of them. I have taken some pictures and posted, but more will come.
And in other news, a new paca baby boy. I’ll be up to see him in NH later today. Sorry so short, I’ll write more later!

Started the garden…

Just getting started, but yesterday I planted:

Mr Stripey heirloom tomato (1)
Early Girl tomatos (6)
Mountain Frost tomatos (6)
Acorn squash (1)
Pumpkin (1)
Cucumbers (2 hills)

also need to plant sage and coriander aka cilantro herbs we got, but the herb bed is a bit of a mess right now, and needs some reclaiming.

We have two more veggie beds we could plant… but I don’t want to have too much in our first year of gardening. We’ll see. maybe leave one of them empty this year.

GTD bugbear! Projects!

David and his staff say GTD is really about the projects, yet I’ve resisted this step for as long as I’ve been doing it.

I have gotten the inbox for real physical papers. I have the work weekly review habit going pretty well (home not as much). I use a checklist to go through places where I may have collection leaks (email at zero, vmail at zero, inbox papers processed etc). I keep both gmail and work email at close to zero and get to zero a few times a week. I have somewhere around 350 discrete actions captured. I have set up home and work filing systems, with labels, and use them. But this is mostly runway level stuff. Now I feel like I need to glue my runway down to something – so that I can leave it without it coming with me. I think I’ve realized that some of the 50,000 level questions that I know are on my mind have answers in this middle layer of projects.

So it’s time to make a project list. I am going to be fiddling with MindManager to create this and if I can get really fancy maybe have it pull tasks into Outlook. First, though, I just need to get all my projects captured, and have them in one place for reviews.

My first half marathon!

Here is a quick recap of my half marathon yesterday.

The weather predicted 40% rain showers and overcast, and it had been raining when we drove up on Friday. Also, I later heard it’d rained the last two years. But, Friday night we saw the sun setting just behind the peaks and below the cloud line before going to sleep, and even got some nice pictures. So, I had some hope that it wouldn’t rain. I was very exhausted from my busy day at home and went to bed around 9:30 pm. Woke up at 2:30, for about 45 minutes, and woke up again at 5:30 for about 20. Aside from that, I had a pretty good night sleep, although, I do not normally wake up in the middle of the night.

I had eaten a good amount the night before at an Italian place with good food, but as usual, in the am could not eat and had nerves. Actually, my stomach had been acting funny for a few days, but I was trying to keep it in check. I nibbled on a fruit leather (organic) which had 45 calories, and drank a few sips of juice. I think this is definitely a hurdle to figure out as starting a race on the low side of calories isn’t great. I have not been able to eat before any event, and usually I seem to throw up (or try to) before “bigger” events.

I also didn’t know anything about this course before being up there. In hindsight I could have found some info via Google and motionbased, but it’s probably best I didn’t. We had seen part of it and essentially miles 4 through 8 are a long graded climb up to/past a scenic overlook where you can look out at the mountains and down at the water. Then, after mile 8 you turn back toward the water, but this is over the course of several rolling hills of varying lengths and steepness, back until mile 11. It is very hard to get into a running rhythm with these kinds of hills. It is described as the hardest part of the course. At mile 11 you rejoin the road to town, only this time running at a slight down hill to the finish. In short, the bulk of the race (miles 4-11) is over hills. I do run hills at home, there is no way to avoid them from my house, but I tend to stack my runs so that the hills are mostly first, and I can do flatter middle section running. I would alter my training for this event, if I do it again, to put more of my harder hills at the end.

So now some notes about my race. It was not raining after all, but somewhat overcast and very cold at the start. I opted for my uninsulated tights and a tshirt and at the start was shivering as I waited for the race to start. And the Asics NYC Marathon hat and sunglasses. Aaron took my extra layers so I’d have them at the finish (the race had a way to do this too, but I knew Aaron would find me). Once out on the course, it proved to be just about the perfect selection. After just a half mile or so I was comfortable, and after two or three miles, the sun was out and we were on road that isn’t shaded, but there was also a nice cross breeze to take advantage of.

My run through the first 8 miles (up until the turn in) was about as good as I could have hoped for, pace wise and enjoyment wise. The rest stops were interesting and interspersed between them were various musicians, mostly violin ensembles. But there was a bagpiper, a couple of folk musicians, and a men’s quartet too.

Even though it was a steady uphill, I was enjoying it and keeping a good pace. I drank a little at mile 4, mile 7.5, mile 10, and probably again at mile 11.5 (not sure). I stopped and walked and ate the gu I had around mile 8. I was actually feeling pretty hungry at this point, and know if I could eat more in the am this would have helped.

I also ended up walking several of the uphills in this section which definitely hurt my time. But I think the prior section had taken a little bit out of me, and maybe I lost a little mental focus, too. By this point I was among similar runners (fair number of first timers too) and most people were walking the uphills or just plain walking. But this nagging voice of me wanting to come in under at least three hours kept telling me to run when I could. Finally we came back out of the rolling hills and I ran the last miles with just a few minutes walking – my legs were getting pretty sore. But, I saw Aaron toward the finish and knew from my time I’d make it under 3… 10 minutes off the time I’d really sort of wanted/hoped for, which was 2:37. I came in at 2:47 instead. But I think all things being equal, including being off plan in March, it was the right result.

I am moderately sore today. I don’t plan to run at all for a week, but do plan to swim and bike at some point. Then, next weekend I will recollect and start back at it for summer tri’s.

Here are some pictures from the event…

Farmer’s ways

Today, I went to a fencing workshop in Chesham, NH. It was freezing and raining for much of the day. But being on a working farm is something else, and I never get over that feeling of wonder. Wellscroft is a pretty well known fencing supply in this area, but they are an active farm with cattle, sheep, chickens, working border collies, and they even have a guard llama. The goal of the workshop was to give an overview of different types of fences which either serve one of two purposes: keep certain animals out, or keep certain animals in. We’re looking for how to keep certain animals out, since alpacas rarely challenge fences.

We walked around on the property and saw different types of fences, gates, and latches. I could talk of what I learned about post pounders, high tensile electric tape, or even solar powered battery chargers. But what struck me as I was trying to absorb all this information was the variety of people attending, who were everything from prospective farm animal owners to existing beef cattle owners. One person in our group was a produce grower who wanted to keep deer out of his fields to prevent crop damage. But we were all there to add to our agricultural knowledge, and had common understanding of being tied to the land and ways of animals.

It amazes me how most people I am in contact with on a daily basis have little understanding of life around farms, and when I am back in this environment, how much it feels like my home, like a more comfortable environment than that of the cubicle, sterile, electronic corporate world I also inhabit. While I didn’t grow up on a farm, I spent a lot of time on them until I went off to college, and this imprinted my tangible senses: the smell of fresh sweet hay, the heat of summer sun drying out the earth, the jagged edges of a corn leaf cutting against my skin, the soft bleats or moos of a sheep or cow contentedly munching away, the quiet of the dawn or twilight. These are the things that seem real, and meaningful, to me.

Life as a farmer is hard. It’s often operating on a shoestring, and it’s often long days ending in complete exhaustion. I know this, and yes, at times I worry I am not cut from the same cloth, that the stresses of the life will be too much… You can see them on the wizened faces of the folks who’ve stopped worrying if every blade of grass is where it should be, if every piece of equipment is working let alone put away clean. But you also see something else. That these people have learned something maybe more basic – and the hint of irony, that quirk of humor many farmers have – gives it away. That what become the farmer’s ways, what so many others search for and may never find, or find late in their years, are indeed what life is – a series of beginnings and ends…