Catching Up

The garden is planted except for the corn. It probably should have gone in yesterday as we finally have rain today and off and on for the rest of the week. In looking in the freezer in the basement to see what was left, it looks pretty barren. There are two frozen pizzas that were purchased nearly a year ago for a grandson that was staying with us for a couple of weeks, several quart bags of enchilada sauce I made with dried peppers from one of the local Latin stores, and a gallon bag of frozen whole unpeeled tomatoes. There was a second bag of tomatoes in the refrigerator freezer. At the Farmer’s Market this morning, a bag of beets was purchased. Since it is a rainy day, the beets were cooked, peeled, sliced and some of them frozen for future meals and the tomatoes were dumped in a sink of water so the peels would come off. While they partially thawed; onions, fresh basil and oregano from the garden and a pot in the house were sauteed in a bit of olive oil then the peeled tomatoes added. Once thawed through a quick whir with the immersion blender and a few hours simmer time and 5 pints of pasta sauce are jarred up. I had to use wide mouth pints as there were no new lids available and they will have to be frozen instead of canned, but we now have enough pasta sauce to last until this year’s crop of tomatoes begin to come in. I guess lids need to go on the grocery list. There are plenty of jars and rings to use as produce starts coming in. I think before much is added to the freezer, I need to put the items in it in a cooler and thoroughly clean the bottom and defrost the sides.

The peas are about a foot tall, but not flowering yet. Potatoes are up and the transplanted peppers look like they all set in nicely.

The 6 littles and the 4 mature hens have established some level of peace treaty. Though they still sleep at opposite ends of the perch, they cohabitate in the run and tunnel and will even eat together if scratch or kitchen scraps are provided. My best guess is they are about 10 or 11 weeks old now, so another 10 weeks to go before we start seeing pullet eggs.

My physical trainer and I had decided on a 4 workouts about 6 weeks ago and this week determined that that rotation was too spread out, so beginning this week, there will be two whole body workouts to rotate, adding reps or weight as tolerated as we go forward. There is also going to be a new beginner yoga class that I am going to attend once a week. Shoulder and bicep exercises that I could only handle a 3 pound weight on when I began, I am now up to 8 pounds, and ones I was using 7.5 or 10 on, I’m now using 15 and 20 with many more reps, so I guess progress is being made. We are still doing daily walks. On bad weather and PT days, I do about 2-2.5 miles at an average of 3.9 mph on the treadmill. When we are outdoors, it is generally about 3.5 to 4 miles, but not at that pace.

The Kantha quilt is progressing, though it is getting too warm to want to stitch with it in my lap at night.

The monthly challenge for the spindle group has me plying what I spun in late March and through April and spinning a sample I received with a fiber order on another spindle.

The local grandson has agreed to come assist me with extending the chicken’s tunnel. And I need to get the line trimmer to work with a level of consistency so that the now very tall grass up against the foundation and around the gardens can be brought under control. It is pushing toward summer and I don’t do well in the heat, so the heavier chores need to get done now.

Class groups are done for now

With the altered plan to be very hands on and low key on the history part with today’s 2nd graders, things went much smoother. I had inexpensive homemade spindles, tape bands, Lucet cordage, a small woven towel, and a small knit along with the flax and hemp fiber samples for them to pass around and handle. As they entered, I was spindle spinning and didn’t draw attention to it until I explained that by their age, they would have been contributing to the family thread and yarn production using a spindle, or making tapes on the box loom, or cordage on the Lucet. They tried to spin with the homemade spindles and were amazed that though it looked simple as I did it, they could not. I did demonstrate the Great Wheel, letting them touch the quill after a reminder of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. They were surprised that it wasn’t sharp enough to prick their finger. We had 40ish children, divided into 5 groups as today, we were fortunate to have volunteers to cover Colonial militia, and Slavery. With the museum video, the games and corn shelling, with me and very, very nice weather, it went as it was planned. It was fortunate that we had extra rotations and good weather, well behaved children, as I was operating on very little sleep.

Our last pup, the 12+ year old German Shepherd faltered last night, and passed away shortly after I went to bed, but before hubby came to bed. We discussed what we were going to do and as it was well after midnight, decided that she would just spend the night on her bed and we would load her into the car and be at the vet’s office as they opened at 7:30 this morning, to take her for cremation.

That put us in town much too early for me to make the 40 minute drive to the museum for the 10 o’clock school group, so I settled in my new favorite local bakery for a pastry and cup of coffee while hubby took the other car back home. Tonight, I will sleep well.

The Colonial outfit has been put away until needed for an event at the museum. The tools and wools I use there, reorganized in the basket with the tapes and cordage and it too has been put away until needed again. The top whorl spindle only gets used for demonstrations, at home I use my Jenkins Turkish spindles and my non historic Louet spinning wheel. June 1 there will be a living history day at the museum and I will likely spend at least part of the day spinning for visitors.

I do love the school groups, especially when they are engaged in the process. It is a great volunteer activity for me to use skills I have learned and to draw on my many years as an educator.

Planning and Preparation

This morning at 4:15 a.m., Son 1 and I headed down the mountain to meet the bus on campus that took him to the train and home to his apartment and job. The moon was so full and bright on my way home that I had to stop halfway down our long drive and get a photo as it was setting below the trees and ridge to the west.

Seldom am I up to see this.

When I was toasting his bagel to go with a previously boiled egg, and a cup of fresh coffee, the toaster that has been failing did. I tried to toast a slice of bread for me and one half of one side got slightly toasted. Out on errands later, a new toaster was purchased. The old one might have been more than a decade old. The new one isn’t fancy, a dial that will allow darker or lighter toast, a bagel button, and a cancel button. The display had ones that looked like they should have been able to make the bread and then toast it for all the settings.

Over the weekend, the idea lightbulb went off after having talked with my trainer last week about 2nd graders (her oldest is second grade), and she encouraged me to have lots of things they could touch. Back a number of years ago, when I did a couple of summer camps in the community, I started making simple spindles from a wooden wheel, a length of dowel, and a cup hook. They only cost about a dollar each to make, so we went to the local craft store today and purchased the supplies. There will be 8 spindles already started with a bit of wool on them to pass around for them to “try out,” a couple of small hand woven matts, the flax, hemp, and cotton fiber samples, a few of the box loom tapes as well. I will show them the lucet in use, and pass a length of the cord you make with it. And will be spinning on a drop spindle when they enter and while I introduce them to the house and life of the period. There are supposed to be about 60 children, so I hope we have more volunteers and more rotations of interest to them. The weather should be a good day.

The chicks still had not ventured out into the run. Every time one of them approached the pop door, a hen would run up and put them in their place. This afternoon, a long length of 3 foot high erosion fence was staked out around one side of the coop and I moved the chicks into the grass and sun. Their food and water placed in there with them. The hens are absolutely beside themselves that they can’t get to them. I did cover the top with another section of the plastic erosion fence to deter the hawk. Since I have made it a point to handle these chicks often as they have been growing, they don’t run squawking away when I approach them, so returning them to the coop later will be easy.

Tonight we have a near freezing night, then tomorrow it will be back up to 70 during the day and most nights will be near or above 50. The hanging porch plants can be taken back outside from their winter in the utility room and I will just have to keep an eye on the nighttime temps. The hummingbirds are back, though I have only seen a couple so far. They love the big pot of Columbine on the back deck and the feeder is up in the front. I love watching them flit around. One of the half barrels was planted with the hardy herbs that have been outdoors for several weeks now. They were in smaller pots that I couldn’t keep wet enough. The half barrel holds moisture better. The half barrel with strawberries is blooming, though I don’t think there will be more than a couple berries this year. I’m more interested in starting more of the runners, so an actual bed of them can be started.

It is delightful to have warmer weather, and lighter layers on when we go for our walks.