I believe in peaceful protest, but not riots that bring out people who use the crowds to vandalize, loot, and arson. I am a Caucasian female, born to a middle class family of two parents, so no, I don’t know what it is like to be a targeted black male. I am old enough to have lived through the 1960’s as a teen and young adult, drove a mini van with curtains in the windows, so got stopped a couple of times for minor offences or license checks, but never felt threatened by those stops. I was taught right from wrong, how to be polite, but not to be racist.

I joined social media to connect with friends and family that I rarely get to see, to get updates on groups to which I am a member, but between the 24/7 onslaught on the news about politics, Covid, and now BLM, and every other post addressing one of those issues, social media has driven me away. I try to avoid the television, but if it is on and I want to spend time with hubby, I am in the same room with it and it is like a train wreck, you can’t avoid watching it. Last night after Trump had a peaceful protest attacked with tear gas, flashbang granades, and rubber bullets so he could have a photo op, I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned my chair away from the screen, put on headphones and played music, probably louder than I should have to drown it out.

I go outside, play in the dirt, take walks and pictures of the pastoral scene. I spin, mostly on my Jenkins Turkish spindles, and knit with the yarn I spin. And still I am stressed and have trouble sleeping.

The Jenkins spindle spin along in which I participate, starts new every month. I started the month with empty spindles and a brand new braid of wool in Peacock colors. The goal each month is a minimum of 25 grams of spun singles or plied yarn. That is less than an ounce. In two days, I have already spun 23.49 grams. I started with two colors pulled off of the gradient braid and divided it lengthwise into two equal pieces, weighed them to be sure they were.

This is half of the purple and blue, the next part to spin.

Here are the 23+ grams still on the apple wood spindle with the other half behind it and the rest of the braid under it. I can’t spin that much every day, but it is my sanity for now. I thought our country had made progress in social relations, but the past 4 years have changed my mind. It hurts my heart and soul that such bad behavior occurs. We are all the same color on the inside. Children aren’t born racists, they learn it. Stop teaching it to them.

“To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care.”

Olio – April 16, 2020

After the rain and wind of several days ago, we returned to late winter/early spring like weather, freezing or near freezing at night, maybe up to 50f daytimes but the wind has howled constantly. Plants have been brought in or covered and taken out or uncovered. The wind has blown so hard the seedlings have been kept indoors. We are still about 3 weeks maybe a tad more from the average last frost.

The chickens have gone back to penned during the day, free range in the late afternoons until they go to coop on their own. Last night when I went out to shut them in, they were all gathered around and on the coop because the gate had blown shut and they couldn’t get in. As soon as I opened it, they all hurriedly trotted right up the ramp to bed. They lost their run around the garden when I found several in the garden three times. That would be okay if they would just scratch the paths, but they scratch the beds too and tender shoots don’t tolerate that well. When the wind calms and the daytime warms some, I will again try to figure out how they are getting in and hopefully give them their run back. Mama Carolina Wren is still tucked down on the ground in the corner of the box on her nest. She has 4 eggs. She has been hailed on, and snowed on twice, gully washing rain for 10 hours. What a good little Mama. I hope she successfully raises those littles. She doesn’t like me in the garden and since it has been chilly, I have stayed out so she won’t leave the nest. The other Wren in the Barberry bush is more protected. The bush is tucked back in the set back where the utility room connects the house and garage, so not as windy, though still unshielded from the rain, hail, and snow. She had 3 eggs the day I checked and I haven’t disturbed her to look again.

The riding mower was finally returned from the shop yesterday and in spite of the cold wind, everything that can be mowed with it was mowed. The grass was so tall and thick that it nearly choked it out even set on the tallest setting. It will have to be mowed again soon to bring it down to normal mowing height and to break up the drying clots of heavy grass that are about the yard.

This morning we had 3 “visitors.” First was the turkey hunter and our contact with him only a text message that he said it was too cold and he quit today. The second, a friend came by and picked up a dozen eggs from the front porch with a shouted hello across the front yard. The third, our daughter, who kindly brought us some supplies from the grocer, including TP which we didn’t need yet, but since they had it, she bought a package for us. She also picked up our utility trailer for use this weekend putting some stuff in a storage unit for a bit until some house repairs are finished. We actually got to talk with her, wearing masks and keeping at least 6 feet social distancing. Groceries were wiped down and put away and we are set again for a while. We certainly appreciate her doing that for us. The social isolation is difficult when you don’t know when it will end. Since pleasure rides aren’t essential travel, we are pretty much stuck at home, though when we take our garbage and recycling down to the drop off center, we take the “long” way home, an additional mile or two of scenic road through rural farmland.

The lilacs are blooming, but this is the least scented one I have ever been around. The bearded iris are beginning to bud, soon there will be bearded iris and then Dutch iris blooms for the table. The wild dogwoods are starting to bloom, but the one planted in the yard hasn’t. The wild plum is full of blooms, maybe this will be a year for fruit. It has produced only once in the 14 years we have been here.

Many friends are posting morel mushroom pictures harvested so I went wandering the woods yesterday where the oak leaves fall and the May apples bloom looking, but I didn’t find a single one.

The slowing of life with social isolation has me spinning more on the spindles. I ended up doing a trade of one with a gal in N. Dakota and ended up with a beautiful new one to play with. It is made of Marblewood.

This tiny one has been fun to spin and it’s diminutive 2″ size still spun 38 yards of fine yarn.

When I was in college, grad school and a new teacher, I wrote entirely with a fountain pen. The staying at home and cleaning up the house, I found both of my fountain pens and renewed my interest in using them instead of non refillable rollerballs.

Life is slow and deliberate right now. It is nice, but at times emotional not being able to visit with our families.

Wild and Woolly Afternoon

Yesterday morning it rained lightly alternating with periods of sunshine. By early afternoon, you could see the storm coming. The photo below was taken right after our phones alarmed simultaneously of severe thunderstorm warning with ping pong ball sized hail.

Our house has a large 2 plus car garage, but like most garages, it has too much other stuff in it and normally only houses the motorcycle. There are two large built in work benches, a built in floor to ceiling shelving unit, many sets of scaffolding with it’s braces and walk boards, scrap wood, various 5 gallon buckets (well more than a dozen), my garden cart with tools, the gas mower and weed wacker. One wall has pegs with hanging tools another wall has two high shelves of camping and outdoor gear. Of course, all the wild bird food, chicken food, and a half bale of pine shavings for their coop. There are 3 ladders, and the two bicycles were also in there. When the alert came, we scrambled to try to get the two cars in there too. Items were shoved and shifted willy nilly, the bicycles moved to a large unused coop and my car was put in on the tighter size as it is the smaller of the two. Hubby with much back and forth moved the motorcycle to the middle and stayed on it while I drove his larger car in.

To get out of my car, I had to climb over to the passenger side to get out and very carefully slid out the driver’s side of his car. There was no room to move around in there at all. We had just accomplished this, closed the doors and come back in when the phones alarmed a tornado warning in our area. We have a basement, but our dogs know it is off limits, so they had to be lead around the house and in the back door one at a time. There is a TV down there so we turned it on to monitor the storm and waited out the all clear.

Because I had spent a good portion of the day making two batches of sandwich rolls, I had decided to make spicy sloppy joe for dinner and started it and some hash browns. The sloppy joe was barely done and I was right at the end of the frying for the potatoes when the power went out. It was early for dinner, but eat we did and as the wind howled, the rain started, then the hail. Fortunately it was pea sized, not ping pong ball sized and doesn’t seem to have done any damage.

This is not typical weather for us, tornado warnings are very rare and I don’t remember large hail ever since we have lived here.

The power stayed out for about 3 hours and the clouds thinned, the wind continued. In the early morning hours this morning, it again rained, thundered, and flashed and the wind was scary sounding. I kept waiting for the phone to alarm again, but it didn’t, I just couldn’t sleep well with the storms. Today is mostly clear, still very windy and cooler, but comfortable with a near freezing night tonight and tomorrow night.

After lunch, I moved the cars carefully back out into the driveway and committed to clean up and reorganize the garage in case we are faced again with having to quickly put the cars in. The scaffolding braces were tightened up, my craft show shelter finally put back in its bag, scrap wood organized and tightened up, cans better organized and out of the way but so that chicken feed can still be accessed even with cars in there. A large rolling plastic crate that was purchased several years ago to move new chicks to the warm basement during a late fall cold snap was moved back to the utility area of the basement where it can be stored until it is needed for that use again. The mower and garden cart arranged tightly against the scaffolding. The only vehicle in the garage now is the motorcycle and it is still in the middle as there are no plans for it to go out. Usually, the riding mower is parked on the side where my car was yesterday, but the repair folks had picked it up. It will go back in the garage when it is returned, but if another warning comes, I will drive it up to the bay of the barn that has the tractor parked in it, it will be okay there for short periods, but I don’t want mice in the engine compartment. I would like to organize shelves and workbenches better, but I needed a break. If we had to quickly put the cars in now, it would be much easier and still be able to get through the garage.

Now I need to go get the house plants protected, it is going down to 35 tonight.