Friday’s Weekend Column
Picking up the Pace

by James Glaser
June 10, 2005

Every day now, rain or shine I get in at least one, two mile walk. If it is nice out I do two walks. I have my route down and it is a nice walk down a road, about half of which is in the woods. I worked my way up to two miles by adding a hundred yards every day and I like this length. Now I am trying to cut down the time it takes.

When I was in the Marines, we had to do a Physical Readiness Test (PRT) I think every six months. The last thing on the test was running 3 miles with full pack, rifle, helmet, in boots in less than 36 minutes. At my first Duty Station, a Marine Gunnery Sergeant with about 28 years in, told me to stick with him and we would make it with no problems. He set the pace and it was a very fast walk and we were done in 33 minutes. At the beginning everyone left us in the dust, but after about 30 minutes we started catching up and passing many fellow Marines. That "Gunny" taught me how to pace myself.

Well right now I am doing an eighteen minute mile and want to get down to about twelve. The hard part is that I don't have the Marine Corps pushing me and there are so many things to look at on the way.

Yesterday I heard the call of a Barred owl. It went. Hoo hoo Too-Hoo hoo hoo and repeated. I heard him going out and on the way back I could hear him real close, so I took a deer path into the woods a little ways, but never did see him. That added to my time.

Today, actually early this morning I came upon a huge snapping turtle. These turtles look prehistoric and this one was big. He was a good 18 inches across the back and I bet he weighted over 75 pounds. If you can grab their tail and pick them up quick like and hold them straight out, they can't get at you. There was no way I could hold this one out like that. I was looking at him from his rear and all of a sudden he whipped around and hissed at me. Scared the hell out of me too. So that is why I had a slow time today.

You don't see or hear wild things every time you go out in the woods or down a deserted road, but if you do it often enough, you will see some pretty fascinating things. I think too, after you do this a while, you start to see more things. Many times a deer will stay lying down as you walk past. They are totally motionless and they blend right in, but if you are looking for "outlines" and not the whole animal, you will start seeing more of them.

I always see little birds and they are cool and if you only hear the bird's song, at least you know he is close by. My daughter, Nikky, has a tape and has learned to tell what kind of frog is around by its call. Of course she could say it was anything and I wouldn't know which was which.

People up here are still planting. Some people, who have lost their garden to frost in the past, wait until now to plant. I still have a spot in the greenhouse that I might do something with. Monday, in the rain, I mudded every plant I had into the garden. I couldn't wait any longer as the plants we sending their roots down into the greenhouse soil through the little holes in the bottom of their pots. Now with the sun out, they look to be doing fine.

I ate salad every night this week and gave some greens away and I hardly made a dent in the patch. I feel so healthy eating all those greens. Now I don't use any dressing, I just eat them like snack food.

I am also making rhubarb chutney. I heard about it from Lynn Rosetta Casper on NPR. She said you take two cups of rhubarb, cut it into small pieces and put it in a glass bowel. You then add a cup of sugar and leave it out on the counter over night and the sugar will cause the liquid to come out of the rhubarb. I did that and it worked. Now I have to start cooking it and add jalapeno peppers. You then use this like a relish on maybe ham sandwiches. I don't know, but it might be very good.

The fish are biting on the lake and the fishermen are lying about what they have caught. It is not only OK to lie if you fish, but it is expected. Even when you tell the truth, people assume that you are lying, because you are talking about fishing and they know they lie, so you must be too. I tell people that the Blue gills are biting and they smile and say, "yeah right." They think I am lying, so I know they are not going to come out and catch any. That is just my way of saving the fish, because they are biting... honest!

We are getting close to the longest day of the year and the start of summer. I like these long days, but by the time it gets dark, I am beat. Last night I had this column almost done, but Hotmail was shut down and I fell asleep in my chair here waiting for it to open back up. I don't know when I woke, but my neck was sore and I just headed off to bed totally forgetting to send this off to Webmaster Ken.

I am stuck with waking at dawn, which is now about 4:30 am and that makes for a long day. Here in the Northland we suffer through the summer, burning that candle at both ends, because we know that come next winter we will only have about eight hours of light, so we don't want to miss any of it now.

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