Martha+Tom

Spring time, spring rolls

Safe to say stew season is behind us. Now it’s time for fresh.

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None of this stuff is really growing in Minnesota yet in spring — the grass isn’t even growing yet. Nevertheless, the craving for raw vegetables is there and international shipping provides.

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Martha pointed out that as far as assemble-at-the-table meals go, spring rolls beat tacos because you can eat so many more of them before you feel full.

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Have you ever been out walking in the snow?

Fresh snow flakes clustered in tree bark Fresh snow on my glove Fresh snow on a fire hydrant Fresh snow on barkSnowy Minneapolis bike commute

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Organizing in Small Bites

I’ve been backsliding in my walking habit for much of this winter, and part of me is blaming the cold. As I write, it is -14ºF (feels like, -40°F!), with a side of: “Dangerous wind chills. Limit outdoor exposure.” I suppose I should cut myself some slack here. While that may be true, it’s still easy to feel guilty for dropping the habit I’d worked to build. To combat that, I try to use the time in other ways. I might knit for 20 minutes, mend a pair of pants, or organize in a particular area for a set time. Today it was the latter.

Like walking for 20 minutes, organizing for 20 minutes is really manageable. Yesterday it was one cupboard in the kitchen. Today it was one drawer in our dresser*.

wrapping paper storage

By approaching organizing with a very small goal in mind (and a short time-frame too), I feel a sense of accomplishment after—well—not doing very much. In the process of tackling these two spots, I got rid of a few things and am now better able to answer the question, “What is in there?”

In the dresser I learned that what I thought was the wrapping paper drawer was actually holding very little wrapping paper along with a handful of large portfolio pieces and several prints that had been rotated out of being framed and on display. No wonder it was hard to open, hard to close, and difficult to find anything. Looking at some of the prints, I decided to pass them on, realizing they aren’t my style anymore. Likewise, most of the larger portfolio pieces are old enough that I would no longer consider them representative of my best work. Out they go! In the kitchen I found 3 reusable coffee mugs that haven’t been in service for months. I love the one I bought this fall and don’t need more than one, so I said goodbye to the extras. For me, organizing isn’t just rearranging or neatening, it needs to be conscious decision about each item: keep here, store elsewhere, give away or throw away.

The whole process wasn’t 100% complete after 20 minutes, to be clear. I’ve set aside the give away, throw away, and store elsewhere items to be dealt with tonight or sometime later this week. But, the drawer does close and open without a struggle and I can see what’s inside with a quick glance. Progress. Hey, you can even see the bottom toward the front. That’s pretty good for 20 minutes, I’d say.

*I should note that we do not use this dresser for clothing, but rather for storage of blankets, wrapping paper, table linens, etc. That seems abnormal to me (and therefore demands an explanation), but perhaps it’s not?

Finding Fungus

Julia and I headed south to get a gauge on Minnesota’s spring mushrooms some time in May. Here’s what we found. And here we are, November 1.

Minnesota mushrooms in spring toasted singed Minnesota mushrooms in spring Minnesota mushrooms in spring Minnesota mushrooms in spring Minnesota wildflowers in spring Julia & Martha

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Going the Distance

Brompton Bicycles at the start of the Gateway Trail

One day and nearly 80 miles.

I made my first trip to Stillwater on Saturday with Tom (about 60 miles round trip), who also experienced a new adventure—his first trip to Stillwater by Brompton and his first ride to Stillwater with a riding partner. We were quite the pair in our spandex shorts and jerseys atop 16-inch wheels, very un-Brompton like you might say, given the rules of Brompton Racing. This wasn’t a day for racing, though. There were plenty of hills and lots of road to cover. On his Long Haul Trucker, Tom typically rides to Stillwater and back in under 4 hours, including a stop for a meal. Saturday was a bit different.

 

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We left somewhere around 10 a.m. after grabbing snacks and food for the week at the farmers market and dropping everything at home (that ride also factored into the day’s mileage count, along with another trip in the evening). At some point on the way there I said, “Good morning,” to a woman we were passing. Tom was quick to let me know it was in fact past 1 o’clock.

I didn’t really want to know what time it was or how many miles we’d covered. I just wanted to go at my own pace. Sometimes that meant saying, “Let’s slow it down,” when feeling a bit sluggish. Other times that meant killing it on the hills, climbing out of the saddle and refusing to drop into the granny gears. Thankfully Tom is a great riding partner, matching my pace all the way.

 

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The weather was perfect: not too hot, a little breezy but not overly windy, and the trails provided a mix of sun and shade. Fixing a flat on the trail was another bonus (my previous flats had all been slow leaks IDed at home before heading out). Knowing that I can successfully remove and refit the Brompton’s 3-speed rear wheel with my road tools and patch a damaged tube in the wild was a big confidence builder. You might say I have learned a few things in my year+ at Calhoun Cycle (thanks to many lessons from Luke, Matt, and Hunter!).

Prior to Saturday I’d never been further than 26 miles in one go on my Brompton. I’d never been further than 45 miles in one day, for that matter, and in that case we were riding the tandem.

Part of me wonders what took me so long. And now I can’t wait to do it again.

 

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