Flying (by the Seat of Our Pants)

After an insanely busy week, we are off on our adventure. Finally.

The typical packing fiasco preceded our trip, of course, but there was so much more going on as well. I finished grading my students’ end-of-semester projects in record time while Mike raced against the clock to get his aquaponics system on line.

Aquaponics, for those of you who do not know, is an efficient system that incorporates fish, plants, and bacteria in a symbiotic relationship. We’ve been working on a backyard system for a while, but the pace accelerated to breakneck speed in the past two weeks. Our system consists of a 375-gallon pond (hand dug); a 50-gallon filter; a 150-gallon sump set mostly below ground level; 4 tons of gravel and at least 2 tons of rip rap and boulders (all transported from our driveway via wheelbarrow and shovels); 13 tilapia; five pleco fish; approximately 100 worms (red wigglers, all named Mike Jr.); and a raised grow bed with zucchini, strawberries, tomatillos, yellow pear tomatoes, four varieties of cucumber, and five varieties of peppers. Mike designed the entire system and did the majority of the work, though I pitched in a lot with the grunt work (digging, hauling, planting). Who needs a gym? We finished getting everything in working order yesterday, so it really came down to the wire.

Miraculously, we found a friend who was willing to move into our place for two months to take care of our aquaponics system, five chickens, tortoise, cat, and extensive garden. Sarah is AMAZING. Really. I can hardly believe we conned her into this, but I am so, SO grateful. We are lucky in so many ways: bountiful backyard farm, great friends, and . . . almost two months to travel around Eastern Europe! Damn, we really are living the dream.

So, now we’re en route to Eastern Europe for another bike tour. We’re flying into Venice and spending the first few days in Italy (with a side trip to Florence to see Mike’s sister Deb and her family, also on a long European adventure). After that, we’ll bike over to Slovenia, then Croatia, then . . .? Who knows? We haven’t even really planned that far ahead. We’ve planned through Monday, and we only ended up planning that much since we’re meeting Deb, Dan, Elliot, and Noe. Actually, they planned most of our weekend. We didn’t have to do anything other than get some train tickets.


We hope you’ll follow along for the ride. I promise lots of pictures and stories about whatever we encounter. When we get back home, you should come over for a tour of our garden, too!

One Response to “Flying (by the Seat of Our Pants)”
  1. JM Simpson says:

    Safe travels! I’ll be here living vicariously through your adventures.

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