Thursday, November 24, 2016

Quintana Roo's Turkey Trot Report

Hi, Q. Roo here, I sneaked into the office while my mom & dad are cooking food for Thanksgiving. After my Rescue Run, my mom said if I could train up to 5 miles, I could do the Turkey Trot. Well, I've already done 8, so 5 was no big deal. And I was super excited to chase the turkeys!!

We had to go to Georgetown because Austin said they didn't want dogs to run, seems silly to me, but I like riding in the car so I didn't mind. Plus my mom's friend Debbi decided to come run with us! I love Debbi! My mom has a lot of cool friends, but I think Debbi is my favorite! She brings me treats sometimes and she always talks to me and loves on me.
Before the race, me giving Debbi a kiss
and this is our silly faces picture

We got there and it was so exciting! Lots of people, and lots of other dogs waiting to run. I'm not very good at waiting, I just get so excited! But I tried really hard to be good, I know my mom doesn't like it when I go over to other dogs or jump on people, so I tried hard to sit by her and wait for the run. I got to meet my mom's friends Gayla and Peylin, and lots of other people petted me while we waited.
This poor dog was dressed like a turkey, I'm glad my mom didn't dress me up like a turkey!
Gayla and my mom and me
Finally we got to start running! My mom and Debbi ran kinda slow, so I tried to pull them along. We ran by lots of parks and I looked for squirrels in all of them. Then we ran over a really pretty river. Right after that, I heard some birds! They sounded like turkeys, so I turned and tried to go toward them. My mom said "No Roo, come on" so I tried to tell her, the turkeys are this way, and it's the TURKEY TROT, so we're SUPPOSED to chase the TURKEYS!!! But she didn't understand and I missed my opportunity to chase the turkeys. oh well, maybe next year.

The rest of the run was fun, and after we finished the nice lady giving out food said "would your dog like a bagel?" so my mom gave me a bagel with peanut butter! Yum!! I had a lot of fun and I hope I get to do the Turkey Trot again next year. I just hope my mom figures out that it's a TURKEY TROT and we're SUPPOSED to CHASE THE TURKEYS!!!
Debbi and my mom and me after the run

Wild Hare Trail Run

I won an entry into the Tejas Trails race of my choice a few months ago, Wild Hare was the only one that fit my schedule, but it worked out perfectly.

The race was at Bluff Creek Ranch just outside of Warda. So we decided to camp Friday and Saturday nights, this was also Roo's first camping trip. He did great and had a lot of fun.

He didn't get to race with me because the course was mostly on single track trail and I didn't want him to be in the way.

Trail running in general has a very chill, fun vibe and that was certainly true of this race. I chose the 10K distance and it started at 7:15am, after the 50 miler, the 50K, and the 25K. It was a great course and a beautiful (if a bit cold) day for running. Everyone on the course was really nice and encouraging, the course was pretty, and not too rough. When I finished, I told Jeff I wish I had signed up for the 25K instead of the 10K.

We hung out all day and lots of people petted Roo and commented on how beautiful and well behaved he was.
Roo was tired Saturday night, he actually begged to go into the tent about 7:30, we finally just let him go in there and go to sleep.

I was hanging out at the finish line to watch the final 50 mile finishers come in and Chris (the owner of Tejas Trails) pretty much talked me into running the 25K at Bandera in January! It's one of the toughest trails in the country! Crazy!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Plant a Victory Garden

This election is too big to ignore. I really want to DO something to help this country. Yes, I’ve emailed the Travis County Democratic Party, I’m meeting with a few neighbors to organize voters in our precinct for future elections, I’ll do what I can politically. I know it won’t be enough. And unfortunately, I know it’s too little too late now.

I also need to do something to make myself feel better, and for me that always comes back to plants. I’ve loved plants since before I can remember. My first “big word” was photosynthesis, and by the time I was 6 years old I could identify every species of tree on our 140 acre property in Illinois. But what on Earth can plants do to help us now?

During WWI and WWII people all over the world planted “Victory Gardens” to reduce pressure on the public food supply and as a civic morale booster, in that gardeners felt empowered by their effort and rewarded by the produce grown. I hope everyone will set aside a little (or a lot) space in their yard or on their balcony for a Victory Garden. I hope these gardens will give all of us a tiny glimmer of hope for the future.

They weren't called Victory Gardens because we had won, we hadn't yet, they were called Victory Gardens for the Hope of and Belief in winning. The same is true today.

Victory Gardens in the traditional sense are vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private home or in public areas like schools and libraries. I’d like to include native plants and flowers in a new definition of a Victory Garden, because habitat for native plants and the animals that need them is dwindling quickly and with the new political regime, that will almost certainly become an even bigger problem.

Home gardens obviously produce food. I hope we’re never in a situation where food is in short supply, unsafe to eat, or prohibitively expensive. But it’s certainly a possibility, and having a home garden can help us make sure we all have enough to eat. That sounds silly based on how abundant food is today (and I hope that always sounds silly), but there are other ways Victory Gardens have an impact. By producing even just a little of our own food, we’re cutting down on waste like food packaging and food transportation. We can also choose how our food is grown and what goes into it. We can choose to garden organically and cut down on herbicides and pesticides washing into our local streams and rivers. Our own small gardens may soon be our only hope to keep some species like monarch butterflies from going extinct. So maybe plants really can make a difference! If enough of us plant a Victory Garden, we can actually have a very big impact!
Queen butterfly on Texas native Gregg's mistflower
Monarch butterfly on basil
But it’s November, it’s not exactly gardening season! We’re lucky enough to live in Austin, so there are actually a few vegetables we can plant right now. This is the perfect time to plant lettuces, spinach, garlic and radishes. Kale, chard, beets and carrots will also likely do well if planted now, especially since we’ve had a warm fall so far. Many herbs prefer the cooler weather, so now is a great time to plant cilantro, dill, fennel and parsley. 
Winter harvested lettuce
Winter harvested beet and carrots
 I plan to go over to Shoal Creek Nursery on Saturday and buy seeds (they have a nice selection of non-GMO and organic seeds at Shoal Creek Nursery, the same cannot be said for most of the big box stores). If you’re in South Austin, the Natural Gardener also has a good selection of organic and non-GMO seeds. Seed Savers Exchange is my favorite seed company.

Fall is also the time to plant bluebonnet and many other native flower seeds. November is a bit on the late side, but we’ve had pretty warm weather so far and most of these seeds will do well if you get them in the ground soon, even better if you’re able to protect them from frosts this winter.
This is also the best time to clear ground for planting in the early spring. Start digging out the weeds or fertilizer & water hogging grass, get some compost worked into the soil, so when March comes, you’re ready to plant.
Lyre-leaf sage is a great Texas native wildflower to plant from seed now
If you’re ready to plant a Victory Garden, let me know! I have many native wildflower seeds that I’m willing to share and I have a few varieties of vegetable seeds as well. I’m also happy to answer questions and give advice to help you have a successful Victory Garden. I really hope this will do more than just make me feel better. If enough of us plant a Victory Garden, we can actually have a very big impact on our food supply and on our environment.
 If nothing else, shoveling some dirt can help us take out our frustrations in a peaceful manner.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Quintana Roo’s Rescue Run Race Report

Hi, Roo here. I really love my new life and my new parents. I learned that dogs in my family sometimes write race reports. It’s taken me a while since this is the first one I’ve ever done, plus, my parents usually keep the door to the office closed, so I had to figure out how to open it before I could get to the computer.
For anyone who doesn't know me yet, this is me-- Quintana Roo Herrick
Pretty much every morning I go running with my mom. Usually it’s 2 miles. I really love it now, but at first it was a little scary because we go early in the morning when it’s still dark outside. I couldn’t figure out why we had to go in the dark, but I think I have it figured out now. Most mornings my mom has to go somewhere called “work”, and she likes to run with me before “work”.
Since we’ve been running most mornings, she said I was well trained for the Rescue Run 5K. I heard her tell Melissa my old foster mom that I might just go crazy with all the other dogs or try to run 6 minute miles the whole way. I do like other dogs, and I do like to go fast :) But I knew I had to try hard to be good.

We got to the race site and parked in a big open field, the field was full of awesome smells! We walked over to the tents and race area and lots of people petted me and said hi. My mom made me sit and wouldn’t let me say hi to any of the other dogs, there were lots of them! Then Melissa, Boots, Banjo and Aspen showed up- Yay! I hadn’t seen them in a while. We took some pictures and I tried to meet a few other dogs (my mom said I was being bad pulling to meet other dogs, but they were fun and I just wanted to say hi and play).
Hanging out with Melissa, Aspen, Boots & Banjo before the race
Finally it was time for the race! We got out on the street and lined up. Then we ran!!! Yay! I ran fast because there were people and dogs in front of me and I wanted to be FIRST! My mom kept pulling on my leash and telling me to slow down…I didn’t want to, but I did anyway, so she’d be happy. But it was really hard to go slow with so many cool people and dogs in front of us! Finally my mom said ok, and we ran kinda fast for a while.
Going FAST at the beginning!
But then nature called! My mom told me lots of times to go to the bathroom before the race, but I didn’t have to go then! So we stopped just before mile 1 for a potty break. At the 1 mile mark we stopped again for a water break. After that I found a nice black & white spotted dog who ran the same pace as me, so we ran together for a while. Just after mile 2 (and another water break) I saw Melissa and her pack waiting for us (how did they get ahead of us when they were walking?) So my mom said we had to walk with them, I really just wanted to keep running, but I walked for a little bit.
Melissa took this picture, just before we walked with her
Then the spotted dog and his dad passed us, so we ran with them again. When we got about ½ a mile from the finish, my mom said, “Ok Roo, we can go fast now!” So I went FAST!! I heard my mom say “Roo, I can barely keep up!” So I ran faster to help pull her to the finish! I think that was my favorite part of the race, running fast to the finish!
Running to the finish
After finishing, my mom said she was super proud of me for finishing my first race! And I had so much fun! We didn’t hang out after the race very long because it was about to start storming.

When my mom saw the race results she said I’m good luck, we finished the race in 36:56, she said that’s pretty good for walking some and taking water and potty breaks. But she was really impressed that we were in the top half of her age group, and the top half of the race overall, that’s pretty cool!

Just after finishing
I had lots of fun at my first race and I hope I get to run more races. My mom says maybe I can run the Turkey Trot (I hope so, I want to chase turkeys!!) if I can train up to 5 miles. I definitely can, I love running.
Thanks for reading, hope I get to meet all of you soon!