533

Riding my bike to work

The month of April was dedicated to biking to work in Arizona. I took the challenge with a few coworkers. I ended up riding/taking the light rail some 533 miles. (Some will argue that the light rail miles are cheating. I am not on the highway and I wasn’t a regular user of this form of public transit before this month, so I’m calling it a win. I definitely cycled more than I rode.)

So, this morning, with the last day of the challenge looming, I decided to take my time riding in to take as many photos as I could.

There was that yard in Tempe that is now overgrown with spring bushes nearly covering their pro-vegan hand-lettered messaging:

Riding my bike to work

Rock on, hippies. And the community garden nearby, with the maze of pastel painted tractor tires:

Riding my bike to work

Riding my bike to work

The birthday cake house! As my brother and I always called it as kids:

Riding my bike to work

Riding my bike to work

It is actually the Tovrea Castle. I’ve never been inside, but it has quite the history. Can you imagine landing in Arizona and constructing that house amid a sea of saguaros and adobes? Chutzpah.

There was also the odd landscape, including beheaded palms, a Mary Poppins fence, and a park with a creative state flag:

Riding my bike to work

Riding my bike to work

Riding my bike to work

Riding my bike to work

The Sheriff Joe protesters — who may be getting somewhere.

Riding my bike to work

And then there was the practical I also documented. I’ve become good friends with Aleve, and lesser friends with my right knee. Also, the heat today was serious. It was close to 100 and for the first time, I could feel it coming back off the black pavement toward me as I road with my head down toward home.

Riding my bike to work

Riding my bike to work

And just when I thought I wasn’t going to have anything really funny to share photo wise, this guy got on the my train home:

Riding my bike to work

He said it takes him just a few minutes to do, and then he goes back to bed for an hour to let it dry. It. Was. Mesmerizing. The entire car of people starting chattering.

A full month of riding in. If I learned one thing I’d like everyone to know it is this: get off your phone and pay attention to the road. Please.

~K

 

Red Mountain Hike

Red Mountain Hike

Red Mountain Hike

Red Mountain Hike

Red Mountain Hike

Red Mountain Hike

Red Mountain Hike

Red Mountain Hike

One of those days that it was so classically beautiful outside, you expected John Wayne to ride by with a group of cowboys. From Sunday to Friday this week, our temperatures will go from a high of 70 to 100.

Hold me, Lucille. Summer is here.

~K

Let’s Talk Gardening

Saturday, I met my friend Blair, who is a member of the Phoenix Junior League. She asked if I would share my experiences vegetable gardening with a few members. My friend Duda came too. It was a great couple of hours talking tomatoes, and looking at a fantastically diverse example of community gardening. We met at the South Scottsdale Community Garden — which has plots available, if you are interested.

Junior League of Phoenix gardening day

Junior League of Phoenix gardening day

Junior League of Phoenix gardening day

 

Junior League of Phoenix gardening day

Junior League of Phoenix gardening day

Junior League of Phoenix gardening day

Junior League of Phoenix gardening day

Junior League of Phoenix gardening day

Junior League of Phoenix gardening day

Junior League of Phoenix gardening day

 

Ever start talking about something you love and realize how much you’ve learned over the years? I have been trying to garden in Arizona for a decade and I am finally starting to get the hang of it — or at least can talk the talk.

A few resources I mentioned which are worthy of repeating:

1. Starbucks grounds for gardeners are gold for our high alkaline soil in the Phoenix area. Also, you don’t have to compost, but saving your egg shells and working them into your soil is a great free resource for better veggies, especially calcium heavy tomatoes.

2. Buy your seeds from Native Seeds if you want to start from seed. You’re supporting generations of farmers by doing so, and the heirloom gardening movement, which is important. Plus, their seeds work in our soil and climate.

3. Best organic (and cheap) pesticide? 1 tablespoon dish soap, 1 tablespoon cayenne and the rest water in a squirt bottle. Go to town. You won’t hurt the plant, but you will send aphids and caterpillars elsewhere.

4. Plant what you want to eat. A great calendar for what to plant and what to harvest in the Phoenix area can be found here.

~K

The Kerrisha Cardigan

A friend recently posted a photo of a children’s knit cardigan that was adorable. I wondered if I could modify the pattern for an adult? Specifically, for my friend Kerrisha.

Here is the result:

Kerrisha Cardigan

Kerrisha Cardigan

Kerrisha Cardigan

 

Kerrisha Cardigan

Kerrisha Cardigan

She loved it. This is the pattern: Kerrisha Cardigan Or, on Ravelry here.

Now, I’m adjusting the pattern for another coworker who also wants one, but wants it a bit longer and with seed stitch around the bottom edge. It will be called “the Jane.”

~K

Finishing that Damn Sweater

Remember four years ago when I signed up for that “knit your own sweater” class in Denver at Fancy Tiger?

Time for decreasesWell, I’m finally finishing it. I’m not sure what the mental roadblock was on getting this sucker done, but it is coming together. I finally tried it on yesterday and it is too big. (I may be the only person who moves to the country’s healthiest state and gains weight.) It is still a beautiful shade of purple and I’m sure I’ll wear it all the same.

Three cheers for finishing projects!

~K

 

Garden Salad

garden bounty, april

 

We are now planning meals by what we can pick out of the garden, which is one of those silly life things I’ve always dreamed of doing and am thrilled it is happening. (Do you have those? I’ve got this list in my head of milestones and eating seasonally is definitely one of them.) The beets and onions are in. (The carrots came from the market.) For Saturday lunch with family, I roasted these with a bit of olive oil and sea salt.

garden bounty, april

 

We picked the greens and the first few tomatoes, boiled a couple duck eggs I had on hand and added strawberries and feta. I made a mustard vinaigrette and we had salmon burgers on the grill. It was a great use of what was ready to eat.

garden bounty, april

 

And now, we dig into zucchini season. I used 1/3 of this baby to bake muffins for the week. We are going to be up to our ears in vegetables in the next month!

(I’m most excited by the pickling cucumbers that are thriving. I’ve never canned pickles before.)

~K

Arizona Log Cabin

My knitting bag was an eye sore. It was the lining from an old beach bag, and I’m guessing I’ve used it as much as I have because it had a zippered top. I used it so much that there were countless holes through the nylon fabric where errant knitting needles had poked their curious heads. It was getting ratty and as all the cobbler’s children run bare, I thought it was time to sew myself something.

New knitting bag

New knitting bag

New knitting bag

New knitting bag

New knitting bag

New knitting bag

New knitting bag

 

This is my first log cabin square, and I love the fabric choices. From the saguaro in the middle to the bicycles along the edge — all trimmed in my favorite color, also of the desert: turquoise. I found that turquoise corduroy and the denim I used for the lining at Goodwill.

Next, I’m sewing a matching denim zippered pouch to go inside for notions. It is a nice update and as much as I’ve been knitting, something that will be much loved.

I foresee many happy knitting trails to come!

~K

Antelope and Coyotes

Peach Springs and Seligman, Arizona

 

I’d been invited to this small community in northern Arizona because of suicide. Children were dying, by their own hands, and no one knew what to do.

It’s a community, a family really, of no more than 500. There is a health clinic, a school, a Boys and Girls club and a few other buildings in town. The Grand Canyon isn’t far and the plateaus, on early mornings, have antelope and elk and deer and coyotes.

Peach Springs and Seligman, Arizona

 

The people organized a medicine walk. We’d gather children and visit six fire keeper homes, each with a camp fire built in their front yards. Upon arrival, the head of household said a prayer over the children, adding sage to the fire. The pungent smoke enveloped the crowd, including the visitors like me on the periphery. We waved the smoke over us, leaning one by one over the fire. We pushed the smoke over our heads and down our backs and to each corner of the sky — sending the healing smoke to the four directions.

We pushed the unhealthiness looming over this community up and out, to be floated away by a high, strong wind.

Peach Springs and Seligman, Arizona

The prayers and songs reminded the children how valuable their lives are. Bullying by text is the new enemy; kids are being taunted by others. Told to kill themselves. Told they aren’t worthy.

The elders reminded them all otherwise, and that they are all family. The bullied and the bullies are one — and quite literally from one genetic pool made smaller by each death.

Peach Springs and Seligman, Arizona

Peach Springs and Seligman, Arizona

Peach Springs and Seligman, Arizona

In addition to the traditional healing, we will add clinical and educational resources — ways shown to prevent suicide. My wish is that we can provide hope.

~K

The April Garden Grows

Garden Update

 

Garden Update

Garden Update

Garden Update

Garden Update

 

Garden Update

 

Also, Fozzie is visiting this week and Nelson is in heaven. The poor pepper plants on the back patio are not as happy Fozzie is visiting this week.

~K