Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On Food, Gardens, and Exercise

So it's been quite a while since I've blogged.  Mostly because I am in the glorious throes of having a full-time job that I love (teaching music to students with developmental disabilities), along with gardening in the summer and having acquired yet another Rhodesian Ridgeback.  Some women are crazy cat ladies.  Not me.  I'm a crazy dog lady.  (Lela is a lovely 9 year old girl who will have pictures of her put up soon.)

This year I really got into the gardening business.  In the garden at the moment are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, corn (not much), basil, jalapenos, bell peppers, rosemary, parsley, sage, lemon thyme, oregano, chocolate mint, kale, onions, leeks, chives, zucchini, yellow squash, some pale-looking-zucchini-squash-type plant that cooks and tastes virtually identical to zucchini, lavender, rhubarb, 2 varieties of tomatoes... and I can't remember what else.  The rhubarb is not doing so well, but the zucchini is exploding with a bounty that is even more than I expected (I hadn't grown zucchini in 4 years, so I had sort of forgotten how amazing it gets).

Everything is getting ready for harvest.  I've eaten a bunch of strawberries, raspberries, and zucchini so far.  The basil has almost reached pesto-stage, though I want it to get a little more out of hand before I harvest it (I like to have a lot of pesto to keep me for the year).  The corn plants are boasting a total of a meager 8 ears, but 8 ears is just enough to feed my extended family for a garden-fresh dinner, and my mother-in-law is wild about sweet corn, so here's hoping it's good!

For the past year or so, FussyHubby and I have been trying to eat better and exercise more; enough so that I ran my first 5k in July, with plans to do another in September and a 10k also in September.  I am enjoying running to the point where I am a compression sock junkie and I even have music selected simply because its BPM matches my pace.  ("Happy" from Despicable Me 2's soundtrack is the most perfect I've found so far.)

As a result, I lost 18 pounds and a whole pants size.  The pants size has remained the same, but in 2 weeks of lesser exercise and less careful eating, I gained back 6 of those pounds.  At first I was thinking to myself that 6 pounds is not that much, that I can lose it again easily enough, but then I realized that I had actually gained back a third of the weight I had lost.  Back to better habits and less splurging (though I firmly believe that the occasional splurge is good for you).

The end of the summer is becoming wonderful for eating.  We can eat vegetables fresh from the garden, and there is nothing quite like serving dinner to people and saying casually, "Yeah, the pasta is in a pesto cream sauce with basil from our garden."  It makes me feel so good to know that I am serving something delicious that I cultivated with my own blood, sweat, and tears.  I can't wait to have sweet corn with my extended family.  I can't wait to make fajitas and chili using the peppers I grew.  I'm hoping I can make some spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes I'm growing, but so far I'm not having much tomato luck.  And yogurt with garden-fresh strawberries on it is a sublime breakfast.

So life is good.  We exercise, we eat more healthfully, and we work.  And in so doing, there are many, many blessings.