Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's Morel Season

We save the first weekends in May for morel hunting. This is Billie and some of our spoils last spring from a place near Emigrant Gap This coming weekend we will try some hunting on a day trip near Dobbins CA.

I am coming along well, adapting to my bone marrow transplant. It's been almost six months since Day 1. I have some Chronic GVHD. I thought my taste buds were failing again but it was my mouth getting dry. I have to drink water with every bite now. My eyes are also very dry. I have to use eye drops almost constantly especially while driving or my vision starts to get blurry. Some of my liver function numbers are also a little high. My skin is very sensitive to the sun. A burn could aggravate the GVHD and cause it to snowball into a full blown reaction. I have to live the life of a vampire and stay completely out of the sun. Billie is already kind of a vampire too being a melanoma survivor so I have a endless source of sun blocking guidance.
To fight GVHD I had to increase my dosage of Prednisone. I was tapering off it and down to 20mg every other day. Now I am back on 80 mg /day. The prednisone keeps me awake sometimes and increases appetite. It also causes wasting and innumerable other nasty side effects. It's easy to let go and atrophy. I have to make myself get up and move sometimes. Exercise whether it is cycling or gardening has really helped me to prevent wasting away. I am reminded of Marty McFly in "Back to the Future". He was looking at a photo of himself fading when his mom was dancing with someone else and when his dad cut in, he sprang to life. Boing! I sometimes feel like Marty when he was circling the drain and when I exercise, I spring up and come back to life. Boing. A fresh roasted espresso doppio can help it along a little too.
I am OK to go to restaurants and stores now. It was so long since I went out in public in a restaurant that I felt self conscious the first few times. I am still a little slow walking but a little faster than shuffling. My eyes are better but I looked a little demon red in the eyes for a while there. It felt good and kind of new to be mingling with people.

I took this photo with the camera on the laptop. I have to cover up completely. Doctors orders.

Spring time in Sacramento is pretty nice. Most of my available energy has been used up gardening. Building raised beds requires quite a bit of work at first. I used old salvaged fencing to make 40 inch square beds. I have eight beds made so far and hope to have about 18 when I am done. Today I plan to make a couple beds for hop vines to grow against the house. In each frame I turn the soil and mix it with compost. I have to weed out a lot of bermuda grass rhizomes when I break up the soil. I have to swat the clumps with the back of the spade , then kneel down and shake off the soil from each clump. The frames are leveled and staked into place after I turn the soil underneath. Turning the soil and mixing in the compost is kind of aerobic especially when my hematocrit is still running on the low side at 38.1 . It feels good.
Seedlings are coming up and I planted a few pepper and tomatoes sets.
This is the little Tahoe garden I planted last summer. I planted the garlic last October and a few chives. parsley and carrots overwintered. The wire keeps the cottontail family out.

This is the nifty sifter that just fits over the wheelbarrow for making seed bed out of sifted compost.

This is the sifted seed bed that I screed across the soil compost mixture below.

I couldn't sleep one night so I was brushing up on my drawing program and came up with this nice chicken coop that would keep four hens and just fit in my tiny backyard. It would feature a raised run completely enclosed with 1/2" welded wire mesh, a raised waterer with a perch, a food box with a hopper holding 2 weeks of food, nest boxes and a roost. A wood floor with 1/2 " spaces between for debris would sift out the bedding to be further sifted by the wire mesh below. I could rake out the droppings and use them for fertilizer. The whole thing could be made in panels to help move it easier. The whole coop is predator proof and self contained.. No chickens are allowed in Sacramento but people do have clandestine hens.

This is Billie's new bike. It is a Trek "Belleville". It is the totally ground up built town bike complete with dyno hub lights, fenders, chain guard, and cargo racks. We can really use it for errands and just cruising around town. Click the photo for details.

I had the new old Santana tandem at Steve Rex's shop here in Sacramento to lower the brake bosses to fit more modern wheels and brakes. He complemented the bike on the quality of the build. I have yet to re assemble it. In the meantime we bought this killer bike for Billie. It's a beauty. We love this bike. The name probably refers to "The Triplets Of Belleville" about an old lady, her dog, and her odd son who was a Tour de France cyclist.
In case my eyes get so bad, I can't drive, I can shop using a bike. I wont wait until I can't see to use the bike for shopping. I ordered some nice shopping baskets that lift right off the bike with handles to take into the market.
Coming up in the cycling calendar is a visit from Kit and a few day trips to follow the Tour of California. There is a stage near where Maura lives. Kit and I just might be dropping by for a visit. Lance Armstrong and several of his Tour de France rivals will be there also. Here is a photo of Lance last summer at the Nevada City Classic.

I took this photo last June at the Nevada City Classic. Ian Boswell is on the wheel of the Man at the top of the hill. Ian who is the son of my old friend Grant Boswell had a breakout day winning the junior race and then entering the senior pro race. He was lapped, but when Armstrong came around with his breakaway group, Ian jumped back on and stayed for at least another seven laps. Later in the race when Armstrong was alone at the front he passed Ian again and Ian hung on for another 3 laps. Amazing. His future team mate who was in the break was just as amazed and helped Ian get a premier sponsor on his new team, "Bissell Pro Cycling". Last I heard, Ian was in Europe racing espoirs, the under 23 pro racers.