Thursday, September 30, 2010

September feast

Quiet at The Land today.

You can almost hear

a caterpillar munch.

Rattlesnake masters
stretch out 
their club shape hands.

Can these pugnacious plants

really protect me from rattlesnakes? 

                                        Don't think I'll find out.

The late afternoon sun

lures me 


onto the paths.

Photo by KC

This was supposed to be 
my fast bike day.

Once a week I bike 35 miles
as fast as I can.

I only stop 

for a picture 

of a welcome pumpkin.

Then the dust cloud 

of the soybean harvest 

catches my eye.

I watch 

the lumbering approach of the harvester 

until the seed laden wind

rumbles into my face.

I retreat...

and watch 

a caterpillar 

sipping clover

across the street.

It's all about food

this time of year.

We harvest 



and pumpkins.

and caterpillars 

drink from flowers...

...and birds chow down

on berries 

for the energy

to carry them south.

I need energy, too.

So I stop by The Land

for a brief hammock rest...

...before the sunlit leaves

beckon me

to the paths.

The blackberries

are gone.

Eaten or planted

for next year's brambles.

I don't know what flower this is -

a spot of light 
in the forest shadow.

Does it matter
that I don't know
the name?

September ends tomorrow.

And October begins.

KC can start decorating

for Halloween.

The Old Hickory 

remembers me reading 

The Halloween Tree

under his crooked branches

so many years ago.

I look out the loft 

of the barn

to The Land below.

The sun 

sets too soon.

The ride home
is dark.

It's time for 
a drink...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Castle Highlights

Dr House is on vacation.

So I'll do the work

for both of us


It's only fair.

He gave me 50 days off

to bike across America.

So I stay in New Castle

and spend my day

with slides.

and the rest

of my day

on bike...

Biking past

Jack's donuts...


Jack's has moved?

They've been in this same corner

since I was growing up here

50 years ago!

Green walls...

Coffee machine...

Evening hours...

Quite a change

for our little

donut shop.

Jack's is the only reason

I bike a century

every weekend.

I only get a Jacks donut if I bike 100 miles.

It's worth it!

I bike past

the downtown.

I love watching

the worker men

fix up

my old downtown.

Quite a facelift

the old town

is getting!

I bike

to Baker Park... the F.U.N. Playground

I helped build

ten years ago...

...with the help

of 2,000 volunteers!

So good to see

kids still enjoying

this playground

we worked so hard

to build.

And there are the trees

I helped plant 5 years ago

with Mrs. Reece's

3rd grade class!

People are still

helping fix up

this 50 year old park.


at the beautiful mums

planted by



Jeff and Brad!

And we have

a Bark Park now!

I'll have to bring over

my puppies

to give it a try!

I enjoy my days

in New Castle...


the early afternoon...


after dinner...

...and ending the day

with chasing down

the sunset...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Training for the Hilly Hundred - Nuts!

So Kitty, do I bike a century today?

Or work on my hills?

I'm on Phoenix today.

That flat I changed yesterday?

Flat again today.


A black cat

crosses my path

Dark clouds hover in the west.

Things look ominous today.

I'm going for the Geist Hills again.

Last time I got lost and didn't finish the route.

I plan on doing better today.

Sargent Road curves

through the forest...

This ride

will be gorgeous in a few weeks

when the leaves

all turn color.

Unless the drought drains the color

and they all just turn brown and fall.

That would be a shame.

Must be lots

of oak trees...

Look at

all the acorns

by the side of the road.

And look

who's munching

those acorns!

I pick up a handful of nuts.

So sad

to leave them on the road

to get crunched

by cars.

I'll take them home

and scatter them

at my Land

to grow oak trees

or feed deer


Photo by Eric Begin
blue jays...

I read once that after the glaciers left

and the land was bare of trees

it was the blue jays

that brought back the oak trees.

Makes me glad

Al named her bike

Blue Jay.

Bike on up through Indian Hills.

Down to Granny gear


standing on the pedals.

I make it up the first big hill...

past the old plane...

But the next hill


I have to clip out

before I topple over.

I lamely walk the hill.

I had two more gears lighter I could've used.

But by the time I knew that

there was too much pedal pressure

to change gears.

Dumb Helen.

I spin down the hill

past Halloween ghosts

and Jack O'Lanterns.

I've always told KC -

- No Halloween decorations

until October.

These people

don't know the rules.


See that acorn

with the silly cap?

What kind of oak tree

is this?

I wouldn't mind

having a tree like this

on my Land!

And the acorns

look positively


on the trees!

I pick up a few more nuts.

So many acorns!

Must be a mast year.

You see, those clever oak trees put out few nuts most years.

Keeps the number of squirrels low.

Then one year

all the oaks get together and decide

to Mast.

They makes tons of acorns.

Too many for the few squirrels to eat.

So, many get buried

not eaten

and grow into new oaks.

Tell me those trees aren't smart.

Turn on 75th Street.

Biking the flats to Old Oakland.

But what is that?!

An Osage orange!

My kids called them brains

when they found them in the woods

on our Halloween walks.

I read once that Osage oranges were spread by woolly mammoths

who ate the fruits

and spread the seeds.

My kids say

I read too much.

Oh, yeah!

I'm supposed to be training...

Hills slow my biking

but my head keeps spinning

with random thoughts.

Here it is!

The road I missed last week

Florida Road.

I always see bikers turn this way.

And here's why!

Major hill climb!

I make it.

But I'm winded.

Time for some flats.

Lots of other bikers on this route today.

We smile and wave.

- See ya at The Hilly!

I take a break

by this scary guy.

I think about acorns

and hills

and Halloween walks.

Spin over Geist

Enter Spyglass Hills

and look!

Blue skies!

Brief stop home

to check on

TJ and Kitty.

Then back on the road

to conquer the hills


Buzz past

Sargent Woods...

Hello, Deer.

No time to talk.

I do better on the hills this round.

Gear down.

Top that Indian Hill

like a pro.

Take a break

at the top

and wave at the

passing bikers.

I love biking and taking photos!

I love being outdoors all day.

Seeing a variety of landscapes...

...a variety of skies.

A family

playing football...

A family

of Black-eyed Susans.

Is this a teacher's house

with the pencil statue?

How ironic...

a blind sign

with such a lovely sky.

How could I live

with no sight?

No biking.

No photos.

Books only by touch.

I can't imagine.

Someone is starting

a vineyard!

I wonder...

What do grape flowers look like?

Who pollinates the grapes?

Better

Bright red - Christmas colors.

Too bad it's evil.


choking out our woodlands.

I'd cut it down

if I had my clippers.

Spinning back home

on my last round.

I see the sun

spinning to its


TJ wants a place

to watch the sunset

and eat his ice cream

I'll have to send him

to the Geist bridge.

I pause to chat 

with fellow bikers...

...before they, too,


into the sunset.

I stop to rescue

a few more acorns...

...before they're smashed

in the road... heedless cars.

Almost home

I pass Walnut Creek...

and what do I see?


Sorry, guys.

No more room

in the bag.

It's been

a great day


I don't know if my legs are trained.

But my camera eye feels well-trained

for taking photos

at the Hilly Hundred.