Sunday, March 22, 2015

WYCO Mrs Robinson Romp

Last weekend D and I ran our first trail run here in Kansas, the Mrs Robinson Romp!

He tends to have a little more fun with these things (race photography) than I do.  I was not aware of this at the time!  I have to channel all my mental energy into preventing photographic evidence of excessive thigh jiggle.  He is not concerned about such.

We ran the first 5K together and then we parted ways so I could finish the 10K loop, which, by all accounts, including my own, was steep, STEEP!!  The Trailnerds throw a lovely and low-key trail race and we will sign up for more of their events again.  I liked that pups are welcome, for a lower entry fee, and receive their own bib and race number.  Nervous Nuggie is not trail-compliant, and though the photos would have been cute, D expressed no desire to ruck a squirmy 25 pound dog for five kilometers.

Race morning was our first trip to Wyandotte County Lake Park.  We didn't have much time to explore, but we promised that after the trail race, we'd add this park to our weekend rotation.

We returned yesterday to ride road bikes around the park periphery and discover other amenities- an off-leash dog park, archery range, a many-tentacled lake stocked with trout.  The road around the reservoir (~7 miles, we guessed) suffers a lot of vehicle traffic, but if we'd cycled earlier in the day it may not have been so busy.  Still, the speed limit is 20 mph so it's far safer than some of the wider rural roads in this part of the state.

Other weekend events - spring cleaning.  Sourdough starter starting.  Raised beds for the garden, ahem, "garden."  As we approach retirement, I've become more budget-minded and earth-friendly than ever.  I decided that we could save money, reduce waste, and improve our health this spring in a few simple ways, mostly by cooking more, reducing our "wants," and growing more vegetables.

We value our time and the freedom to make life decisions unhampered by monetary compensation.  D is closer to retirement than I - but we've focused on changing our lifestyle and recognize that retirement from work can be sooner than we thought, if we can live in a decidedly less consumerist way.  Sure, maybe I just read too much Thoreau growing up, but we have a small home, shockingly small (623 sq ft!), considering we are two grown-up professionals with lots of stuff ("beware any enterprise that requires new clothes" - LOL I say, looking at the burgeoning closet D and I share).  We eat out far too often still, but due to the proximity of our home to downtown, we can walk the dog while we pick up takeout - saving gas, while reducing our stress and exercising the pupup!) and I cook more frequently.  My work hours allow me to start the slow cooker early in the morning before I leave, and by lunchtime, D can come home to a waiting hot meal instead of spending $15.  He likes to eat away from his desk as a mid-day mental health break and I'd never insist he brown-bag at work - he deserves the respite from the office and I know Nugget likes having a mid-day potty break. Though not in the trendy (or spendy) side of town, we picked a home close to work for these reasons exactly!

I joined the local library and though I still purchase quite a few professional journals and texts, I won't purchase any pleasure reading books - not with great apps like OverDrive or the generous renewal periods for hardcopy printed material.  My library also hosts a lot of free events both on weekends and weeknights - everything from How to Grow Your Own Food to a history of the Banana Wars and possibly even Grow Your Own Bananas.  I even walk to/from the library these days because my limited carrying capacity prevents me from ambitiously checking out too many books!

Certain expenditures are unavoidable, and for years at a time, we've had to run two separate households because we were living in different places, and of course, we bought lots of plane tickets.  Those high-spending times are past (for now) but we have to prepare ourselves in case we find ourselves separated again.

I know there are super savers out there, and estimable budgeteers as well, and I am not yet one - but I'm starting now because I don't want to find myself tied to a certain minimum paycheck in order to meet my standard of living.  The freeing idea to live simply, to be happy with less, means I am free to earn less and live more.

I made this raised bed last week to provide a cozy home for radishes, jalapenos, cucumbers, red bell peppers, dill, and beans.  I love gardening and though we have half an acre, it's clay.  Solid clay.  And hilly.  I made this raised bed to fit within our chain-linked dog run.  This keeps the neighborhood critters at bay.  Close to the house, it's a little warmer than other spots in the yard, and also sheltered from the wind, but has great southern exposure.  I planned that the stair railing could be used as a trellis.

Ta-Dah! I did something and it didn't suck completely!

It's roughly 2' x 4' and about 12" high.  I cut three 1" x 6" (8') into the panels and then screwed then into the corner 2"x2", which are each 14" long.  I used some old 1 1/2" screws, and the wood came from Home Depot, for about $18.00 total.  Now I don't know much about these things, but I don't think that a 1" x 6" is actually 1" by 6", it seems a little less, but on this manner of project, it doesn't matter at all.  I stained with what we had leftover from the fence and then nestled it into the slope of the dog run.

Veggie house

It took about an hour, start to finish.  D came out to monitor my progress midway and was impressed...which surprised me...

Is this what he expected?