Cycle Life Purchase 4

Work continues to throw me 10-hour days. There is a lot to do in the background to keep your water and electricity running and your garbage services flowing… and there are a bazillion scenarios you don’t want to know about that have been planned for in the current crisis and upcoming months.

In between all that contingency planning, and all of my normal workload, I’ve been sneaking out for rides at lunch over the past two weeks when possible. The weather has been gorgeous and the green is coming back to the landscape for the fog season (we don’t really have winter here… just fog). I’m seeing three times as many cyclists as normal – which is to say that I see one per 10-15 kms instead of one or maybe two per ride. Bike sales are booming apparently.

A ride down to the Ovens River at Markwood is a nice 30km ride that I try to do each day. The river is really up in this photo after a month’s worth of rain in four days. Thankfully, they’ve told all the school holiday campers to go home (non-essential travel ban), so the only campers left are the semi-homeless and the grey nomads who have nowhere else to go.

Two weekends ago, I also rode to the farm to get my weekly veg box. It was the last weekend the farm gate was open, and I had a nice conversation with the veg farmer and his mum, as usual. Veg boxes continue over winter, but the farm gate isn’t open. You just order and pay online and then pick up the box from his verandah.

The ride to the farm is about 25 kms each way over easy terrain. That Saturday was exceedingly pleasant, like all of March. I didn’t take any photos – it’s all stuff you’ve seen before. But it is great to get out and to know that the organic veg have such a small carbon footprint since I picked them up about 12 feet from where they were grown and transported them home without petrol. The stuff in the feature pic (zukes, Japanese turnip and beets) all got roasted for salads that week. This past week, I made a gorgeous beef stew for the freezer, among other things.

On my last overnight ride on the 23rd, I’d noticed that a heap of farmers had early sown. I had not been keeping track of long-term forecasts, but it meant they were confident that we were going to get a good autumn break this year, and they expected it to be early. This is good because we really never got an autumn break (when the dry season switches to the wet season) the past two years. Once farmers start sowing, they are expecting good rain for germination within 10 days of sowing.

And that crop is now well on its way. Most years you wouldn’t get this far along until mid-May. And some years, like last year, they didn’t sow until June, and even then there was little to no rain to spur the crops along. This bodes well for a good wet season.

We did get the rain, and enough to be considered the autumn break, over the past four days. We actually got April’s average rainfall in those four days (because April is usually dry and the autumn break and associated rains usually come right around the 25th toward the end of the month). I looked at the long-term forecast and there is an 80 percent chance of above normal rainfall this winter. Yipppppppeeeeeeee!

That crop is even further along – I saw him sowing when I was still going into town to work, so it’s at least 3 weeks into growth.

I’ve also made some virus observations:
1) my gym junkie friends without gym access are as bad as my alcoholic friends without a drink. Like caffeine, excessive exercise is a more socially acceptable addiction than other drugs and alcohol… but man, those friends are really missing their endorphins!
2) People rich enough to own holiday homes are selfish. Go home already – says everybody in rural communities everywhere.
3) Most people are trying to do the right thing at the supermarket, but shopping is still a stressful shit-fight. I’ve worked out how I can only go once a month if I do some rationing.
4) If you are told you can’t do something, it makes you want to do it. I hardly ever see people out exercising/walking dogs, etc when I’m out on the bike, but now that people are supposed to stay home, there are all sorts of people out that would normally have no problem staying home on the couch.
5) The police really are doing spot-checks of people who are supposed to be self-quarantining after overseas travel. I’ve only seen one cop car in six months out here – and now I’ve seen one each day for the past four days.
6) As a far outlier introvert who gets her fill of people through the work week, my life is pretty much the same as always, except my commute distance has gone from 20 kms to 2 metres. We’ve been told to expect to work from home through the end of July. Whinge, whinge! I hate working from home. There’s a long way to go…..

Stay well, everyone.

Nerdy chick in Australia who loves to ride and is accompanied by the crew: 'The Commander' Verne and the 'Mental Health Specialist' Kermit.

10 response to "Cycle Life Purchase 4"

  1. By: gregblood Posted: April 6, 2020

    Great list of virus observations–especially #4. Your picture of vegetables is enticing but, as you correctly noted earlier about my mid-western preferences, WHERE ARE THE POTATOES?

    • By: The Navigator Posted: April 7, 2020

      You will be happy to know that was not the entire contents of the veg box – just the stuff I roasted. There were potatoes and they went in the beef stew. Until the potato season started, I can’t recall when I last had any! I like them, but I don’t eat them all that often I guess!

  2. By: Scooter Posted: April 6, 2020

    So great to see you getting out on your bike regularly, Em. And also great that you’re getting a break in the weather after such a horrendous fire season.

    So your seasons are Spring, Summer, Autumn, Fog?

  3. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: April 6, 2020

    “There is a lot to do in the background to keep your water and electricity running and your garbage services flowing…”

    Absolutely! The things taken for granted — of course we will have clean water, electric power will always be there in the quantity needed, and as long it goes down the drain, who cares.
    Dont know if you got Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe there, but he taught some very important lessons.

    Lots of people outside here too — Im surprised by the number of bicycles Im seeing, way more than before all this.

    Veggies look great — Japanese turnips especially.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: April 7, 2020

      The turnips have such a nice sweetness that comes out when roasted. I will have to look up Mike Rowe when I’ve got some time. I all contingency planned out right now!

  4. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: April 7, 2020

    I agree – more people walking with/without dogs and more cycles out. No groups though, peoples in ones and twos with good distancing. Driveways seem to be full of cars. There should be no visitors so how does this happen? There are still caravans being towed around the place – mostly with Tasmanian plates. Why remains an unknown. Perhaps they are trying to sneak them in to hidden spots for Easter.

    Now to think about your roast veggies in salads. A concept new to me so I will now hit the recipe Google to work out how that works. It sounds great. I like roast veg!!

    • By: The Navigator Posted: April 7, 2020

      Yeah, I fear what the case numbers are going to do after people leave the cities and head to regional areas over Easter. I can’t imagine that millions of people are going to comply with the order to stay home. TAS has some better rules around it than VIC does.

      I love roast veg with cous cous or quinoa on a bed of lettuce and a splash of balsalmic vinegar and olive oil. But I also just reheat the roast veg and put on top of the fresh salad, too. I am not too picky about which veggies I eat and how. There are very few veg I don’t like – except those frozen, smushy peas you get in pub meals. Ick!

  5. By: Suzanne Posted: April 8, 2020

    I too am inspired by the roasted veggie idea! I will have to start planning better. I usually like to get inspired when shopping and go often for little bits. But now I have to do it the other way around – plan and go shopping seldom. Gotta be flexible and change my ways.
    Nice that you can get some sneak rides in at lunch!

  6. By: Hopkins Escapades Posted: April 8, 2020

    Mmmm, your roasted veggies sound delicious. We go through lots and lots of fresh veggies at our home, which is the hardest thing to keep on hand when you can’t shop often. We’ve adjusted nicely, but we’re still aware of having to be mindful of what we make and how much, so we don’t have to go to the store too soon. I’m busy planting my garden now, but won’t be eating the fruits (or veggies) of that labor until July or August.

    Nice ride along the farms too. Perfect scenery to enjoy on a beautiful day. And if anyone asks where you are going or what you are doing out, then you can say you had to pick up veggies. Perfectly solid reason! Cheers & happy pedaling.

Leave a Reply