Saturday, July 19, 2008

Try a trail #1

First trail race is in the bag.

That was tough. Apparently no light weights show up to these things to make me look better than I am. :P

What a demanding day. I'd like to be happy with this and should be. I got just about all of my potential out of this effort. I got a side stitch twenty five minutes into the race. I think I've had maybe two others in the five or so years I've been running. I had to slow way down to cope with the pain.

It was well organised and a beautiful day to run.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

summer 2008

Writing is not at the top of the priority list apparently.

The weather has been good if you like that kind of thing. The mozzies are building, but it's all manageable. We have three turkeys left of the nine that arrived and ten that were ordered. I consider this a tremendous victory as turkeys seem to me to be incredibly weak in the brain department.

I'm too tired for a read through and make another draft. Sorry for the blunders.

The birds I hatched in the incubator are doing well. I lost four of the nineteen hatched to various human errors, some of which were not my own. It turned these wee juans out to roam the room on their own today, but will wait until they are finished the "starter" so they have a good head start going into winter. I bought some commercial "leghorns" to augment the layer flock this year, but they are out on tour with the turkeys and cockerels eating chop. Chop, being ground oats and barley prepared as for cattle. It means that the grind is too fine for the chickens, but is solved by wetting down the feed before loading it into the trays for din-din. It's a messy job, but for a third the price of what the feed mill is asking, I can live with the inconvenience. Our local small mill that had been supplying us with feed for the layers burned to the ground in the week I took delivery of the chicks. Ugh! I wasn't happy, but fortunately I've been around long enough to weasel my way into a local farmer's good graces and beg his time on his hammer mill. I'm so grateful not to have to feed the nasty commercial feed this year.

Although it's a nasty bit of work to pour water into a 20l pail of feed and mix it by hand, the biggest pay of is that the birds require a whole lot less water. This has all made clear how much stimulant is added to the commercial feed. When feeding the same feed as goes to the commercial growers, I have to haul three times the water I am having to haul now.

It's summer too and PU has the east (barn) garden caged in to protect it from the deer. This means that I can let my birds out to feast on what they can scratch for in the evenings. The yokes are beginning to look like paint again and that's always welcome. Wild food makes a lot of positive changes in the way the byproducts come out.

The bird bath I got PU for her birthday is working according to the plan. Mum mentioned that under a tree would be a good place to attract birds to use the bath and that's been the case. I think it's been up for six weeks or so and this week some bird visitors decided it looked like a good spot to get wet. I got it from

I was expecting to have to wait a long time for the wildlife to adapt to the new addition, but apparently not. I believe that part of the reason that they've taken to this bath so quickly is the high quality of the coating the bath was finished with. It's an industrial powder coat and there seems to be very little off gassing. I'm very impressed with this thing. It was way too expensive, but I'll bet it serves us well for many years. I only wish our kitchen window was a little lower so PU could appreciate the activity at the bath while in the kitchen.

I chose to put the bath where it would be best for the birds, not the people. So far the birds seem very happy with it.

I had a really strong run today and it's been a long while since the last time I've been able to say that about a training run. Today made for a firm confirmation that my observations about my racing history and the last several months of training have been correct in that I need more endurance work.

I've gone back to running every second day and have dropped all my speed work for the time being. I've also slowed down my pace on my LSD runs at least at the beginning and that seems to be working to produce a strong training effect again. Now if I could stop eating for other reasons than hunger I might shed a few pounds and have the effect even more pronounced.

I am very grateful to have remained healthy and in fact much stronger for having taken up running again. I do love the ongoing experiment of one.

I have a trail race series through the summer that I'm a bit nervous about. I've taken on a lot more strength and stability work on my off days from running now that I ever have done before. Trails offer a much more demanding use of the body and I don't want to arrive at my first race on July 19 and hurt myself in ways that last. I look forward to the race pain, but that lasting stuff is not attractive to me at all. I'm very fortunate to have such good genetics for motion and form. When I'm feeling ungrateful, I wish I could have had some speed too.

I had a ten day stint where my back was unhappy recently, but that was stupidity. Maybe one can learn to avoid that more often? Hope springs eternal. Instead of going back for the saw, I hauled a 12m tree 100m and I should not have done that. It's all better now though and part of my therapy is ongoing.

I show my stress in my back and it's been that way since having a rather threatening injury in the winter of 94/95 where there was talk of surgery and selling the farm to accommodate me. So as insurance on my physiotherapy work, I got Manon to throw a lot of baseballs at me and that often puts a smile on my face. I had to repair my old glove with new lacing in a number of places first, but with that done and some neets foot oil it's better than new and I get one more task in my day that keeps me happy. When we went out tonight, my arm wasn't even stiff and I sure couldn't say that last night.

I miss having my immediate family around. It seems like we're very much detached from each other. Maybe we always have been. Whatever the case I'm not enjoying being estranged from my youngest brother and having so many miles between our family and the others. I'm not sure how I'll resolve those feelings, but money would help I'm sure. Then I could travel, but there seems like more to do here every day.

On the up side, the gardens are all growing wonderfully this year so far and PU has put her energy there with glee since school got out. She has fallen for gardening in a big way. She's seeing some good results too and having the fresh produce is popular with us homeys. It's been a spinach festival recently. The radishes are done and the garlic needs the flowers cut down. The spuds are looking terrific from the top side. The deer fence is holding so the guns have remained under lock and key and PU sleeps at night.

Summer is brilliant for smiling. I've got a sprayer lined up to paint the barn. That may come together next week if I can clear the deck in the shop this week. We spent some time in the critter room talking about how that layout will go and hammered out some good ideas that should make it a pleasing place to sit and read or listen to music maybe.

The basement is getting cleared for the big insulation project. The plumber is slow so we're over a barrel on that one. I did manage to find a decent electric knife for cutting ridged Styrofoam which I'm happy about. That's going to make part of that job a lot easier.
Hope you all are well.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Canada Day Fireworks

Crewing on a fireworks show is good fun. I got a huge rush from being so close to all the action. I think that may have been the most fun I've had standing up. When I commented on how good I thought the local show was every year I was told why and a long standing mystery came to a close for me. It's the home show for a big fireworks company so they do it at cost and toss in plenty of perks to boot. It's always baffled me how this tiny community could support such a respectable showcase of fireworks and now I know!

Tonight was way too much fun. For the cost of a day and the course, I'm going to seriously consider getting certified to do this type of pyromania as often as I can. Like the forces of acceleration, I've become addicted to the concussion effects of the shells being fired. What a gas to be in the midst of all that powder!

The crew were all hard core pyromaniacs that had been after seeing this 16" shell make the night bright. It was supposed to be fired at a convention of fireworks people earlier this year, but because of high wind conditions it couldn't be lit and Ray managed to snag it for the Vita show. The bureaucracy was a nightmare apparently because of the shear size of this explosive. To my mind it was all worth it. It sure did light up the sky in a beautiful way.

Like many drama productions though, there were some glitches behind the scenes and Ray showed why he's the man in charge by squeaking out past the hurdles to get almost everything lit in an orderly fashion. Some faulty cabling is suspected as being part of the stress Ray had to balance in getting the electrically discharged sequences to perform correctly. I was impressed with his quick thinking and was very glad I wasn't the one driving the show. Whether anyone noticed much outside of the crew or not, he earned his place as a leader tonight in anyones eyes. It made my insight into the game much more interesting, but I was very grateful not to be carrying any responsibilities when it was all said and done. I felt a lot like tits on a bull actually.

There were a couple of failures in the product they had bought for the show, but those were minor and expected in a show of that size as I understand it. Delayed fuses and electronic matches will be dancing in my dreams tonight. I like to blow things up. I always have. I wonder what my Mum remembers of that part of me in my youth. :D

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Tomorrow should be fun. I'm friends with the local pyro guy and he's got himself a terrific little finale for our small town fireworks display for Canada Day tomorrow. It's a 30kg shell with 2.4kg of black powder dedicated to launch it up to 500 meters for it's duty to begin. It's going to go bang in a really fun kind of way.

Most fireworks displays consist of 50mm shells for the bulk of the show. This thing is huge!

The gun to fire this thing has a 40cm inside diameter and is about 3 meters long. A good portion of it gets buried. I can't wait for the concussion when it fires. Apparently the last time a shell of this calibre was shot in Canada was as a double in the finale at the millennium celebrations in Ottawa and before that you have to go back another 15 years.

It's a long story of how it comes to be in our little community, but suffice it to say I have a back stage pass and will be up close and personal for the display. What fun! Boys blowing things up? Who would have guessed it would come with such a big grin?

Happy Canada Day all.