Friday, March 23, 2018

Training report

Hello, everyone.

Training report, and shoe comments:

Monday we did 6 miles on the Hike and Bike. Today (Friday) we did the whole monte: from the parking lot all the way to Bentsen State Park and back again. We're calling it 9.75 miles. Or 10 if we want to just claim it! (about 16 km)

Weather was fine: clouds with spots of sun, temperature around 70, wind. As we started walking about 7:45 there were few bikes until later on.

Watched a flock of six or seven Roseate Spoonbills flying over head, in a straight line, probably heading out to find breakfast.

The mesquite trees are in bloom and smell very nice as one walks by.

Scads of mosquitoes next to the walled subdivision that the trail curves around approaching the state park entrance. Those folks need to go on a standing-water hunt!

When we finished, about 10:35, I had a hot spot on the bottom of the foot. Probably need to track down something like Leukotape. (Or at least some kind of tape that neither comes off nor squashes the adhesive through the tape fabric onto my socks. That is near-impossible to get out again!)

I'm liking most of the things about the new shoes. One thing I don't like is that the second top-of-opening hole pair is gone. I used that second pair of holes with the pair that's still there to secure the heel-lock knot so my toes wouldn't hit the front of the shoe. The new hole alignments mean the lock knot is lower and squashes the top of the foot. (Medium to high arch issue) Going to see about adding back the hole that is gone.Should be able to just drill it out, right? And add some Fray Check to secure the opening? What do y'all think?

(See picture of the shoe on the highlighted post, I'm changing to the new-shoes post for that today.)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

This 'n that

Hello, everyone.

Today's post is just a little update on various things.

We did 6 miles on Monday, on the Hike and Bike. There were only a couple of birds of interest--the returned swallows at the bridge and a roadrunner--and the camera wasn't already out and focused so no photos of them.

The Easter placemats report: 7 are completed, except for the final run through the washing machine. 2 have their binding half-done, and 5 are awaiting binding.

And some time last week, we saw some zone-tailed hawks chillin' on a tree. DH got a nice photo of them.

Standard springtime weather has arrived in our Valley--highs in the 80's and lows around 60. (For my metric zone readers, that works out to about 27 and about 16.) Chamber of Commerce weather, with sunshine galore!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Training report

Hello, everyone.

I'm putting up training reports to keep myself honest...or at least to embarrass myself into walking more. 😉

We got a little busy this past week, but there was hauling buckets around the yard (full buckets of liquid fertilizer solution) so it wasn't a total loss.  We also got in about 3/5 miles yesterday at Bentsen.

Young male javelina
This fellow was at our favorite bird blind, the one with a little house and sitting benches and lower-able slats to take pictures out of. He was busily cleaning up fallen seeds on the ground, getting a sip from the drinking water provided, and also cleaning up a fallen piece of orange. (The staff puts orange halves onto poles so the orioles will be attracted to the viewing sites.) He enjoyed the orange piece a lot!

There was a surprisingly large number of people at the park for 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday. Perhaps it was because it was the end of Spring Break. We met people from Austin, Texas, and from the state of Minnesota.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Update on the Easter placemats: progress to date

Hello, everyone.

There have been fewer posts lately, because the placemats and other things have been using up time a lot.
This is one of the placemats pinned-up for quilting.
The quilting scheme begins with sewing in-the-ditch where the top is pieced. Then, as seen in the picture below, other elements are added.

The name of the person who will use the placemat goes onto the light blue stripe. After the name was sewn in purple, another color of quilting thread was used to stabilize the stripe (it's one of the wider stripes) and underline the name.
After that, a zigzag was quilted onto the green strip and lengthwise lines added to the purple one. Finally a row of stitching around the edge was done, just inside the marked cutting line.

As y'all will remember, there is binding to be added yet. I expect that all of the binding on the ribbon spool will be used, and also more that hasn't been cut from fabric yet.

Easter is just about two weeks away, and the (fourteen) placemats aren't completed, so there may be a slow posting rate for some little while yet.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

This week's training activity

Hello, everyone.

We did two training walks this week--the 7 mile loop at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, with included spiral staircases, and a stitched-together 5 miles at Bentsen State Park.

The canopy walk (AKA rope bridge) at Santa Ana. This feature is about two stories tall and has spiral stairs at each end of the bridge. Very popular with the elementary school field trips!

There is also, not in this picture, a three story hawk viewing tower there, also accessed by spiral stairs, with a flat viewing platform that goes part of the way around on the top. There is an excellent view of the area from there.

We use these as incline-walking practice, since we are not aware of any stadiums in the area that will allow the public to walk the steps.

We did see some wildlife while walking on Tuesday morning--here is the coyote who walked out into the road to look at us.

We were fortunate enough to choose Tuesday for the Santa Ana walk--on Wednesday the refuge had a brush fire and was closed down until the trails can be assessed. (A grass fire on the Mexican side of the border threw off some wind-blown brands. The evening news said that about 300 acres had burned.) We had noticed that there was a LOT of dry vegetation alongside the path. It's been a dry winter and spring so far, even though there have been rains. The refuge staff  need to do a flood irrigation there IMHO--they do this from time to time to replace the former riparian floods that watered the trees. The advent of flood control on the Rio Grande pretty much put an end to natural spring flooding.

On Thursday we stitched together the main loop at Bentsen with a side loop called the Rio Grande Trail. Together they totalled 5 miles. (No stairs, sadly, nor of course any hills.) The side loop is located close to the hawk observation tower there, which is about two stories tall and has a gentle ramp going up to the top. It also has a couple of benches for sitting on while waiting for a bird to fly over. 

This little fellow, who was very camera-shy, was at one of the observation blinds along the main loop at Bentsen. He had a friend with him, too. Both of them were very nervous about being seen. Given the time of year, they might have been migrating through and stopped off for a rest and a snack.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Training report (walk report)

Hello, everyone.

We were out of pocket for a few days, and didn't get as much walking in as we would have liked. We did, however, get a chance to visit Government Canyon State Natural Area outside of San Antonio, Texas. This park is really neat! And if you have gotten, and brought along, your Texas State Parks annual pass (plus photo ID) you get in free, too.

It's a little bit hard to find--there is only one entrance and it's near but not directly accessible from Loop 1604. Use your map skills to find the 90 degree bend in Galm Road, the spot with a traffic circle, and you're there.

We found a walking trail that was really excellent for walk training for the Camino: some slopes, plenty of rocks to step on or around, some flat surfaces, shade and sun mixed. (Estimated distance, round trip to the tracks, about 5 miles, give or take.) And, completely unexpectedly, the trail we walked goes to some fossilized dinosaur tracks.

 A small sample of the trail surface. It might look a little bit intimidating, but the rocks, even when loose, are not sliding shale pieces. They're relatively settled in their places. Just pick your feet up! Bike riders also use this trail--walking their bikes over the rougher rocky bits I think. Dogs are not allowed on the back side trails, but there are some flatter trails at the front, marked on the park map that are open to leashed pets to walk. Those trails are recommended for the younger set, too, being shorter and possibly easier for their little legs.

Some of the dinosaur tracks. I confess, I never in my life thought I would see this. There are at least three sets of tracks at the place they were found. These are the tracks from some kind of big four-legged creature that once walked on a silty beach. There are also some three-toed tracks that are described as "therapod tracks." The man we talked to at REI the next morning told us that the tracks were a complete surprise to everyone. The flash floods a year or two back exposed the bedrock where the tracks lie and gave park visitors a reason to walk a little farther than they might have. (It's not the shortest trail at the park.) There are cute little signs along the path telling the walker where to go and interpretive signage to assist the non-geologist to understand the sight.

One bit of warning about this park: if you depart at the time of the evening rush hour, when most people are leaving work and heading to their homes, you will be in a traffic jam. Just stay calm, match speed with the rest of the vehicles, and abide by the traffic signals. We turned right on Galm when leaving, crept along for a while, and then turned left at Culebra Road to get to Loop 1604. (Culebra is under construction, a project that looks to be adding another lane going each way, so the traffic jam at rush hour may ease somewhat by next year.) It's possible that going farther  around the traffic circle and retracing our earlier route on Galm to head back to Loop 1604 would have been easier, but it seemed like the traffic was almost equally busy both ways. Evening rush generally takes up about an hour or an hour and a half around the 5 pm to 6:30 pm time period, if one is wanting to plan the trip to avoid it.

The hours stated on the park entrance sign were Friday through Monday only, 7 am to 10 pm. If you choose to be there after the sunset time hits, you will certainly want a good flashlight. It is, after all, a natural trail only slightly improved for the visitors.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A little crafting tip

Hello, everyone.

Things have been busy, but also there has been a little time to do creative things. And Easter is coming. My local sewing club is working on a project for Easter decorating--placemats. There were a couple of variations to choose from, so I went with the one in the Jo-Ann's project list. It involves several fabrics for the egg stripes, plus backing fabric, batting, plus a good amount of bias for the binding. (Translation: a lot of stash is going bye-bye with this one! Even though there were some new fat quarters purchased from my local quilt shop.)

I cut the bias strips from a piece of fabric and sewed them together in pieces that are long enough for each placemat shape. Then I realized that there are a lot of pieces of fabric running around in this project, and expected to be a lot more, too, and they have to be kept organized. Especially the long bias strips that will tangle and become impossible.

I "recycled" a ribbon spool that was left over from decorating a little while back. As the bias is folded in half and pressed already, the spool holds two strands side by side, and I can keep loading it up until either the spool is full or I run out of strips to store.