Two important things accomplished today:

Two garden beds prepped and planted–thanks to Tom and Rachel, who have taken to lecturing me on global warming and the wastefulness of grainfed meat–with Asian salad and stir-fry greensand a mix of early radishes,* arugula, and some chicory seed we brought from Italy two years ago. I highly recommend all these things for ease, and taste. If you’re new to gardening, there are few simpler things that to sprinkle seeds like these across a bed, rake in lightly, and leave to grow. We could have radishes in three weeks (or inches of snow). We timed things well: a good rain soon after we planted, which saved water and time, too.

The second important chore was getting my bike out and ready for the road. I used to be much more handy with bikes than I am now, and realize that even basic maintenance can seem overwhelming. This is a handy checklist from a bicycle shop, but if you’re a novice cyclist I think it’s too much. Yet if you are really going to cycle instead of drive, it’s essential to keep your bike in excellent working order. You shouldn’t feel hesitation because the tyres are low and the chain rubs, and for safety it’s important to check brakes and lights regularly.

And it really is possible to keep a bicycle in good shape yourself; no need to be hauling it to a shop for minor adjustments. Here are my favorite bicycle books, in their newest editions: Anybody’s Bike Book by Tom Cuthbertson and Richard’s 21st Century Bicycle Book by Richard Ballentine. There are no doubt other excellent books, but make sure you get one that’s suitable for your kind of use. If you are using a bicycle for transportation and some exercise, you don’t need the kind of professional tome needed by a serious cyclist. I’ll work on putting together a simple bike guide to be posted on this website, too.

* These mixes from Nichols Garden Nursery. I notice that the greens should be pickable at only 21 days, and they give 24-30 days for the radishes. Learning to read seed packages is an important gardening skills, to be discussed over the next few weeks.