Thursday, July 18, 2013


Gone are the steady rains and cooler temps--Alabama July weather is back with a vengeance: Humidex in the 100's.  Joy.

Last weekend, my best friend drove from Texas to pick up her son from his father's house here in Auburn.  Despite her harried schedule, she made time for us to catch up since my stop in Texas in May had been too brief.
Saturday morning the two of us were doing chores. I move the chicken coop every day 20', usually in a downhill direction.  It's heavy!

The lazy way to move the chicken coop!
 Gayla grabbed the tongue and before I could get situated around the back to push, she started pulling it uphill.  Hmmm, so this is what the result of her 3X a week 5 AM boot camps!

Later, she returned with Sebastian for a meet and greet with Morel.

My favorite kid and the goat.
 In her 20's, Gayla boarded her horse on the property adjacent to this one.  Small world--she knows more about this farm than I do.
Once a horsewoman, always a horsewoman:

I know what she was thinking:  "Can someone give me a leg up?"

Very sad to see them leave, but October, when I'll be passing through Texas again, isn't too far away.

I love making my own jams, but I hate to drown the fruit in so much sugar.

This one dollop of jam contains this much sugar...gross, isn't it?

Sugar free recipes call for Splenda, but I won't touch artificial sweeteners with a ten foot pole.  Apparently, to make all fruit spreads (like Smuckers) you need high pressure commercial equipment.  So, I opted to make more fruit butters.  The concept is to boil down the fruit until the texture is thick and the natural sugars are concentrated.  So, here's what $50 of peaches and two days of toil look like:

skinned peaches

Peach butter
  I tightened the lid on the last jar at 1:30 AM Wed...we won't be doing that again any time soon.

Around midnight, a huge kamikaze beetle plowed into the screen door.  I have no clue what it was (of all my reference guides, I don't have a bug ID book).  What a beauty!

Tuesday, Cole returned to running after another prolonged recuperation from injury.  OK, three weeks isn't terribly long, but an eternity to his running partner.  We went to Chewacla State Park to run, what I call, the rat's maze.

Talk about maximizing land usage, these trails are nothing BUT switchbacks!
 10 miles and two stops to splash around in the creek, time with my kid in the woods: priceless.

Watching squirrels

By midday Wed, I realized that Chewacla had gifted me with a ton of chigger bites.  Ohh, the itch!  A friend at Wed night's 5k race told me of his remedy.  To suffocate the burrowing mites, he covers his affected ankles and calves with Duck Tape for a couple days.  I don't have his hairy legs, but I still believe I'll pass on that one! 

Last night was the last race in the Summer Series.  It was brutally hot and humid.  My goal had been to run a 5k at a sub 22:00.  Not the brightest idea with the oppressive heat.  But, I'm not the only one to have permanent heat stroke damage to the brain.  All the runners in the series are dedicated to the core.  One seasoned marathoner collapsed a few weeks ago.  Out cold.  But he dropped only after crossing the finish line--my new idol! 

My time yesterday was 22:57 (not official, that's the blur I saw on the chrono).  Not my fastest, but fast enough to stay ahead of the boys cross country team...yes sprinting the last 100 yards in +100' temps is brilliant.  Unfortunately, my average time for all the races wasn't fast enough to beat this one speed demon woman.  She's up for a rematch next year, with the help of my running coach, we'll catch her!

2nd place overall female ain't nothing to sneeze at though!  Three years ago, I had been elated to win my age division in this race.  Who says you're supposed to slow down with age? 

Etched glass awards.

Heading out next week to meet Dad in Washington, DC.  Two Smiths in town can only spell trouble.  I'll keep you posted!