Between training sessions, quite a few of us (okay, mostly the girls…) enjoy spending time in the gardens around the Outdoor Center and Elinor’s. This has been my first summer in the East, and I’m finding the large variety of wild and garden plants, as well as the speed with which they grow, to be quite fascinating. There is never any shortage of things to do in the garden, especially here in early August. The weeds are as energetic as ever, with plenty of rain and sun to encourage new sprouts to pop up each day. More importantly, the vegetables are growing extremely quickly, with the cucumbers and summer squash requiring almost daily picking.
Bright flowers along the garden border.
From these two rows of cucumber plants, consisting of 3 different varieties, we've been harvesting around 70-100 cucumbers every other day!
Cucumber flowers, spring-like vines, and baby cucs. These plants are lightly furred with spines and expertly hide fully grown cucumbers, so that each cucumber picking session quickly turns into a cucumber treasure hunt.
A few long, skinny cucumbers that are almost ready for picking. All of the vegetables we pick go straight to the Outdoor Center kitchen, where they soon find their way into salads, soups, and sautés for all diners to enjoy.
We also have fantastic beets, peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos growing.
Yellow zucchini and patty pan squash are two of the types of summer squash we've grown this year.
It's fun to find all the bright yellow hiding underneath big green leaves.
Near Elinor's, there are two winter squash gardens, with vines reaching into the wild grassy borders.
The tiny butternut squash…
… quickly balloon into edible fruit.
In the squash garden it is possible to admire the many color differences between squash of the same type.
A few of the squash varieties, like the sugar pumpkins at bottom, seem to think fall is coming. Just a few days ago, they started turning color, with a faint glow like a misting of spray paint at first, which has now turned into full-fledged orange.
The garden scene wouldn't be complete without garden pests and helpers. Finding one of these little frogs (or maybe they are toads) always makes digging in the garden even more fun, and fortunately there are quite a few of them hopping around.
On a different note, the Outdoor Center has been hosting the USSA J2 camp this week. On Monday, several members of the GRP ran the Elmore uphill time trial with the J2 group. Gordon set an impressive new men’s record, and I think all or nearly all of the GRPers who ran set PRs. There were some very quick J2s, and everyone clearly gave the time trial their best effort. Here are just a few photos, although the picture quality isn’t very good with the sun-speckled lighting.
Nils in the Elmore time trial
Dylan on Elmore
Gordon speeding by for a 16:00 record on Elmore
The J2s are finishing their camp and leaving the Outdoor Center tomorrow morning. For the GRP, tomorrow brings skate rollerski intervals for some of us, biathlon races at Jericho for a few, and the continuation of Canadian Henley for the rowers.