hiking gear

Just four more weeks until Kelly and I take off on our “close to home” hiking adventure.    We’ve been reviewing our gear choices, food choices, and route.  I’m very excited to get out there and hike.

In the meantime, I am walking everyday with my pack on and loaded.  I’m at 12 pounds right now.  That is all I will carry with the exception of food and water.  I’m not really sure how to “simulate” food weight in my pack.  Maybe I should weigh a yoga block and see how close that gets me.  I’ll need about 5 pounds of food and will probably carry 3 pounds of water.  It is my plan to keep my total pack weight at or under 20 pounds.

Kelly will also be lightweight.  He’s carrying the tent (4 lb), but other than that his gear list looks almost exactly like mine.  He won’t be carrying the stove or fuel (1 lb).  He’ll also be carrying any extra water that we need.  So we think his total pack weight will be around 30 pounds.


Here’s my pack:  A Gregory Jade 34 (size small, weight 2 lb 14 oz).  It is extremely comfortable and has plenty of padding in the hips and lumbar areas.  Both areas were bruising and hurting with my old pack.  It is also 9 Liters bigger than what I carried before.  This pack is big enough that I can fit in my down layers for Fall trips.

My sleeping pad is a Thermarest SOLite (women’s torso length, 9 oz).  I’m hoping these old bones won’t mind the thinness.  Usually I’m so tired after we hike that I could sleep anywhere.  There are some really nice, self-inflating, air pads out there.  They aren’t too much heavier than what I already carry.  I’m just not going to carry an air pad.  I know myself well enough to know, I’ll pop that baby halfway through the trip.

My sleeping bag is just a cheap, synthetic, mummy style, summer weight bag that weights 2 lbs in its compression bag.  It is comfortable though.  Eventually I’d like to replace it with a 2 pound down filled 15 degree bag.  That sounds so luxurious.  I’d be willing to do some cooler weather camping with that!  I’ve looked at just adding a silk liner, but those can get pricey.  If I’m gonna spend more on this hobby, I’ll get the new down!

That is the core of my pack.  Next post I’ll get into water, food, stove, and clothes.

July 5, 2014

The garden is still booming!  We have some blank spots where we’ve pulled up greens and haven’t replanted yet.  Tomatoes will go in some of those spots and others will be winter squash.

The little rooster needed to come out of the big girls coop.  We didn’t want his daddy to start seeing him as competition.  So last night Kelly put him in with the little girls.  Unfortunately they are being mean to him.  Sigh.  I’m not sure if we’ll make him tough it out or put him by himself until he is a bit bigger.

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June 28, 2014

We’ve hit Peak Garden!  This morning I harvested: radishes, turnips, lettuce, chard, mesclun mix, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber.

Coming soon: sweet bell peppers, tomatoes, blackberries, watermelon, and cantaloupe. There will still be zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers for a long while.

Done until Fall: chard, strawberries, lettuce, spinach, mesclun mix, and lettuce.

Our garden is much smaller this year since all 4 of us are still working and we didn’t get all the beds prepared in time. I’m actually pretty happy with the size. I was out there for an hour this morning and got it all tidied up and harvested.

I think I’ll get Kelly to convert the remaining 1000 square feet into wildflower beds. That would look really pretty and be low/no maintenance once established. This year we have flowers planted among the garden plants. It looks lovely and gives me such happiness when I pull down the driveway.






Starting summer right:  green smoothies and exercise.

Goal:  Reduce or eliminate migraines.

I;m drinking one pint of the green smoothie/juice 30 minutes before every meal.

New Smoothie Recipe:  3 c spinach, 1 c lettuce, 2 c kale, 1 banana, 1/4 c blueberries, 1/4 c pomegranate, 1/2 lemon, 1/2 c apple juice, and enough water to stretch it out ot 1/2 gallon of “juice”

June 14: in the garden

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open letter

Dear Mr. Rush Limbaugh,

Hello. My name is Kim and I am the very proud mother of a 25 year old with Aspergers’ Disorder.

I read a transcript of your show from May 27, 2014.  A segment of your show concerns me.  You were speaking about Aspergers’, but didn’t seem to really know much about it.  As a social commentator on a national stage, I found that very discouraging.

Let me tell you a bit about Aspergers’.  It is a pervasive (meaning effects multiple systems) developmental (meaning neurological development) disorder (meaning something has gone “wrong”). Being part of the Autism Spectrum means it not simply “similar to autism”, but it is, in fact, autism.  Aspergers’ brings with it challenges and obstacles that are unique.

It is not “terrible” and it is not a “disease.”  Approximately 1 in every 88 children is affected by Autism.   It is a diagnosis that changes families and lives.  Most of us are out here doing our best to raise good kids.  We have the added task of dealing with gastro-intestinal disorders, sleep disorders, anxiety, sensory integration disorders,depression, IEPs (Individual Education Protocols), and other co-morbid conditions too numerous to name.  We balance psychologist appointments, physician appointments, and home life.  We love our kids:  both the autistic and the neurotypical.

Now let me tell you a bit about my son.  He is 25, very bright, very intelligent, and a very hard worker. He has held his current job 6 1/2 years.   He reads voraciously and deeply.   He can converse with anyone on a huge variety of topics.  He is kind.  He is thoughtful.  He is compassionate.   He is a truly good man.

We have always tried to teach him that he is valuable, capable, and worthy of respect. We have taught him that a person’s value is a God-given blessing.  It doesn’t matter what a person can contribute to society.  It only matters that they exist.   We have taught him to look beyond externals.

We have fought against ignorance and prejudice.   I believe that is why I am concerned about your portrayal and generalization of Aspergers’.  Your comments were completely misinformed and hurtful. I realize that this is your “schtick,” but there are many of us out here in the real world fighting every day for our children. Your words remind me that the general population remains ignorant and uncaring.

Your words remind me that we have a long way to go before we can rest.

I’ll stay quietly in the background, continuing to fight the daily battles of autism.  Continuing to help my son find his own level of independence.  Continuing to remind him that even the “mighty man of the airwaves” can be wrong.  Dead wrong.

While here in the background:  I pray that you will issue a public apology.  I’ll pray that God will have mercy upon you. I pray that you will find a hint of goodness and fairness in yourself that will allow you see how very wrong you are about this.

Kimberly M Hotz-Hedges

333: sort of



I’ve seen this project on Courtney’s blog and on Facebook. I hadn’t really though much of it, since I’m pretty minimalist in my clothing anyway. For some reason, I keep thinking about it. At odd times, the question will pop into my head, “333?”

So this long Memorial Day weekend, I took a good hard look at my closet. There really isn’t much in there. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m just a few items over 33. However, what I really noticed is a lack of style. Work uniform shirts, jeans and jean shorts. Tank tops, t-shirts and shorts that are only good to wear in the garden or cleaning house, exercise clothes, one skirt and 3 church/nice shirts, 4 t-shirts that I only wear when heading out but not needing to look “dressed up,” tevas (oh, how I love my tevas), sandals, workout shoes, work shoes, and farm shoes, one jacket for chilly morning walks, and one rain jacket. I have a scarf but never wear it as the colors don’t match anything in my “church” section.

Accessories? Hmm, really just my sunglasses, purse, spare purse (almost exactly the same, only slightly larger for those trips when I need to carry more), my rings, watch, and my favorite tree necklace.

Of course, I also have a basket of socks, bras, unders, and my pjs. But those really don’t count on the Project anyway.

Here are the pictures.  Like I said, a real lack of style is showing through.  My favorite thrift store needs to get in some stylish clothes.  Of course, I might not even recognize them if they were there.



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