He got out

The forecast is for 85% chance of rain today and was low yesterday until late afternoon, so the Big Bad HD was ridden to the city yesterday for it’s annual servicing and inspection. My efforts to repair the driveway were successful enough that he got the bike up the gravel driveway, on to the gravel road, and safely on the hardtop. I followed along in my car to bring him home as the bike was being left until service and a couple replacement parts that had to be ordered come in for installation. The bike had a broken rearview mirror on the left side and the left tail light was out, so I tried to stay close enough to prevent someone from getting between us, but far enough back to not crowd him in case of a problem. Only twice did another vehicle get between us.

The number of COVID cases are much higher in the city and we saw a much better compliance with mask wearing, except at the Harley dealership. I did not see a single mask on a front end employee through the windows and not a customer going in or coming out wearing one. Hubby kept his helmet on with the face shield down until he was back to the car where he donned a mask. You know you have been confined too long when a trip to the city staying in the car followed by carry out from “The Weiner Stand” is an exciting day.

Early in the week, after yet another big basket of cucumbers were harvested, instead of pulling the vines, I pruned them sharply to slow down the volume of fruits being harvested. I still want some fresh cucumbers for salad, but I am pickled out. Day before yesterday, another batch of spicy Bread and Butter pickles were salted and left to sit and weep for the day, another quart of fermented dill spears started. That evening, the Bread and Butters were finished and canned, having wisely started the water bath to heat up while I was preparing dinner. DIL is excited that if we can pass in the night somewhere, sometime, she will get a new flat of pickles for her shelves. The refrigerator is full here with quick brines and ferments of pickles, beans, and kraut. I am seriously considering looking for a dorm size refrigerator to put in the basement, just for those items. I am just starting on pickling the jalapenos and if history is followed, there will be 8 to 10 quarts of them before the first frost. I may can some so they are shelf stable. I have had to purchase 3 quart cans of pickled jalapenos for hubby as we ran out of last year’s before more were ready.

They do make a pretty presentation.

I am jealous of Son1 and DIL’s garden. This spring, their first in their new house, they build several long raised beds and heavily mulched the paths and their garden is gorgeous from the photos I have seen. Their back yard is flat. Since many of my cedar boxes, including ones I restructured this past winter and spring are rotting away, I am thinking about reusing some of the old deck materials to make 4 by 16′ beds which will be fairly easy as most rows are either a series of 4 X 4′ boxes or a 4 X 8′ box and a 4 x 4′ box. This will eliminate the down hill paths and perhaps slow the downhill run off. If I do this, I will invest in a load of mulch to put down in the paths after first putting down another layer of cardboard. The old hay I currently use always has some grasses that sprout in the paths, even with cardboard. With the new walled garden bed, I will not be using the plastic half barrels in the back, so I think I will replant the raspberries in them as the bottoms of the wooden ones have rotted out. If I move them while transplanting, I can extend the blueberry bed another 4 to 8 feet and add more blueberry bushes.

Each day, some time is spent on the spindles, spinning the two fibers currently being spun into yarn. The two make a vibrant bowl of color by my chair.

I recently purchased another smaller spindle from someone and the tracking says it is out for delivery. The one I bought is a better size to carry with me in a small tea tin with a bit of fiber to have when we are sitting behind roadwork or an accident as happened last weekend, or when I am passenger in the car headed in to town to pick up curbside groceries from the Eats, our natural food store.

Stay safe everyone.

Hazards of steep gravel roads and rain

Last week, VDOT spread crusher run gravel on the steep state maintained gravel road on which we live. On Thursday, we had heavy rain for several hours and all of the gravel uphill, washed down into the ditch above our driveway until the ditch was level with the roadgrade, filling our culvert so the rain had no diversion from running down our driveway. A couple of years after we moved in, we were having the area around the house regraded to smooth out rough areas that the contractor left and removing large rocks from behind the house. At the same time, we had the driveway regraded so that water would not run down and cause gully’s, we had a culvert installed under the driveway near the house to also redirect any water away from the house. When the upper culvert fills, the driveway takes a hit.

The last two photos are the ditch at the top of the driveway. I have made a telephone report and was told I would be texted a service report number which I never received. Today, I filled out the online form and hit submit and got a message the page did not exist and was redirected to their “new” form which I submitted. After dinner tonight, I went to work with the tractor and the grading blade we purchased a few years ago.

Most of the gullies are filled and leveled, but I won’t dig out the ditch, VDOT is going to have to do that, hopefully before it rains again. I’m too old to dig it out and the tractor bucket makes a ditch that is the wrong shape and doesn’t clear the culvert hole. It would be nice if they would dump some crusher run at the top of our driveway. Having a cattle grate there would help eliminate the problem, but then the motorcycle wouldn’t be able to get out. We will see when and if the state makes the repair.

Rememberances

Today would have been my Dad’s 97th birthday. A man who believed our world could address peace, he would be horrified at our current world state. As a young cadet at the University that is now Virginia Tech, a cadet by requirement then, he was called from school with his classmates to serve in Europe in WWII. Upon his return to college after the war, as a veteran, not having to be in the Cadet Corp, he met and married my Mom, lived on campus in an Airstream trailer park set up for returning vets who married. It was there that I came into their lives a month before he was to graduate. Class of 1943, actual graduation date, December 1947.

As an adolescent, my family joined my uncle and his family at an Conference Center in the mountains off the Shenandoah Valley and it started an annual pilgrimage to Shrine Mont until the year he passed from our lives at the age of 92. That trip often fell on the week of his birthday or the week following as it was always the first full week of August. Many birthday parties were held there with family and friends that gathered for a week each year. The August after his death, we as a family gathered again, toasted his life and the lives of the other’s from his generation that had gathered with us, all gone by then and we left his ashes in those mountains that he loved to hike.

The remaining children of that generation, when possible, continued the tradition and our children joining us at times. Baptisms, weddings, and memorials have been held in the outdoor stone chapel.

Not this year. The facility is operating on a limited scale, using only cottages with kitchens, families who can’t travel or visit for fear of passing or catching the pandemic virus are not able to join together this year. The 8 bedroom log cottage we shared not used because it doesn’t have a kitchen.

He stood proudly on those steps with his children, children in law, grandchildren, grandchildren in law, nieces and nephews. The last patriarch of that crew. We are much older now, but that is the last group photo I have from there and try as I might, I can’t place the year, maybe his 80th birthday so 17 years ago. A few of those people are gone, a lot more added. My stepmom is the Matriarch by marriage, I guess I am by birth, now only 7 years younger than he was in that picture.

I miss his wisdom, his wit, his corny jokes, his gentle, loving spirit. May he live on in all who loved him and all he loved.