Oh the wonders of youth

This has been a week full of youth. Tuesday, Son2 and his family arrived with almost 2/3 of our grandkids. Lots of food, lots of noise, lots of hugs and snuggles. And they brought their beautiful young German Shepherd, so lots of puppy love. It is so cool to see the developmental changes in the younger kiddos. Going from throwing the blocks to the 4 year old intent on putting together the 4 sixteen piece puzzles and wanting to do it himself. Son 2 and I had to evict some mice from their RV stored here, so they slept in the house while we cleaned and trapped. The next day we worked to replace the water heater in the RV as the old one ruptured a while back in cold weather. This was a fun challenge as it wasn’t supposed to rain, but it started just as we opened the hole in the side of the RV. The big table umbrella came to our rescue , propped on the roof with me holding it in place with one hand while offering the other hand as an assistance.

The next few days were used to wash sheets and remake the beds used by them and also the linens from the RV that had been “miced.” Their linens are now sealed in rigid totes until they need them again. Any dishes that were not put away in the RV were also sanitized in our dishwasher and put away. And daily trap checks are being done to make sure we got them all.

There are often derogatory comments made about young adults. We loaned our scaffolding to a young couple that are friends of friends. As soon as they borrowed it, offers to do anything to help us were made. The wife has house and dog sat for us a couple of times, but still they asked for jobs to help. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I wanted to redo the chicken run but had to get the supplies. In the meantime, I decided to create a covered tunnel around most of the vegetable garden inside the fence so they could keep the weeds and bugs at bay. I had begun that task, but found pounding in T post to be challenging, so I quit with only about 12-15 feet done. There was a lot of old fence wire in the back of the barn. Early this week, plans were made for her and her husband to come assist me. There is now a tunnel around all of the garden except the gate area and enough room to the left of the gate to get to the wide path in the garden. And it is covered. Then the berry half barrels were moved, cardboard from daughter’s recent move laid every where there isn’t a tunnel or garden box, the half barrels put back in place on top where they had been, then most of a round bale of last year’s hay spread to cover all paths and all the cardboard as well as thick layer in the chicken run. We worked together for about 3.5-4 hours and did more work that I would have gotten done in weeks. All I have to do now is keep the beds weeded and that is very doable. They are going to come another weekend and help me dismantle the chicken tractor that blew over and broke a few years ago and get rid of the rotting wood, roll the hardware cloth to store. They were terrific and so gracious with their strength and energy.

And the offer to come help anytime I need assistance on jobs that are more easily done with help is so welcome.

The only error was not cutting an opening from the tunnel I had put in to the one we created today, but I think I have come up with a solution. Next up is creating a structure around the box where the galvanized tub is resting to become the compost piles.

I am tired from the week, but rejuvenated by all of the youth in our lives this week. Tomorrow, daughter and I will join forces to make empanadas for dinner with her family and us. It is always fun to work in the kitchen with her.

The Hermit

As an introvert, quiet appeals to me. Sitting silently in the mornings before the activity of the day is a good way to reset before the chaos and noise of the daily events begin. My hubby and children, I think, fear that if I am ever alone in life that I will become that hermit. As a result, they encourage me to participate in activities with folks that share my crafts. It is easy with the two ladies that live in the same village and we try to get together at one of our homes each week. Those sessions are relatively quiet, chatting, quietly spinning or knitting, but each of us comfortable enough with silence to not feel the need to fill it with talk.

Noisy environments have always been uncomfortable to me and now that I wear two hearing aids, even more so. Maybe it was more comfortable not being able to hear it as well, though most conversation was missed. This is where forcing myself to become part of the event is more of a challenge. I will commit to attending the larger spinning weekly group, stating to hubby that I am going, then finding any excuse to not attend, though I made it today and there were only a few of us present. There are a couple of retreats that occur each year, and at one, I know most of the participants and feel more comfortable attending. The other, I have backed away from as many of the folks I knew for various reasons are no longer there. It is difficult for me to try to fit in then even though we are all doing the same sorts of fiber crafts.

Son1 and daughter, helped me get set up to Zoom with an online group of crafts folk, but I find that type of interaction very stressful and our internet is not the best, so keeping a picture and sound varies, making it more stressful. I am thankful that by the time Covid sent the world in that direction that I was already retired.

The hermit tendencies are ideal for garden work. Outdoors with only the sun, wind, and bird sounds as company. Sometimes, help would be nice, but given enough time, it gets done. It is almost time to put the tomatoes and peppers out instead of moving them out and back in the house daily. And the beans can be planted. That may happen today. Yesterday after spinning with the small group in town, the beds that had previously been prepared or planted were given a light scuffle with the hoe. The first radish and a handful of asparagus brought in.

For those who read the previous post, the missing Marans never returned, so the raccoon episode resulted in the loss of two hens, one killed and one missing, probably caught by another predator while out hiding. That leaves a small flock of 7. Day before yesterday, they were too traumatized to lay, but yesterday provided 6. We may be okay with just the remaining flock, but there are no extras to share with friends anymore.

The nice weather, though very windy this week has allowed a profusion of Iris blooms. My bouquet from the Farmer’s Market last week was looking sad, so the remaining blooms from it were added to a bouquet of Iris from the beds around the house. They are a favorite spring flower with their sunny colors and repeat blooms.

So the hermit of the mountain lives on, not writing as much as some years, wondering if the garden will overwhelm this year with trying to keep it thriving, and with preserving it’s bounty for the cold months that follow. She will get out again with friends to spin, even attending an annual social/potluck on the porch of one of the members of the spinning group. As I age, the hermit tendencies grow and it requires more effort to be social, but I am working at it.

Sometime this month, the new bees will arrive and again, an effort to keep a couple of hives alive for the year. The son that initiated this project is having better luck.

Just In Time

This is a part of Virginia that gets at least a couple of several inch snows each winter, once in a while, a foot or foot and a half that prevents us from leaving for a few days as the State 700 roads are the last to be cleared, plus we live downhill about 2/10 of a mile on a dirt and gravel driveway. This winter has been an anomaly. There have been flurries and barely dusting bare surfaces, an inch or two that lasted a mere 6 hours before there wasn’t a trace left. If all the rain we have gotten since September was snow, we would never get out. Each time the forecast says snow possible, weather patterns shift just enough for it to be wintery mix or rain. There is another weather event predicted that could/might unload 2 up to 4 inches late Sunday, but chances are it will just be another cold rain.

As I was walking back from releasing the hens into the yard, you can see a few inches of Daylily leaves emerging and the daffodils in the back garden have buds. The snow won’t bother the daffodils, the Daylilies won’t be too happy, but will be okay. The Snowdrops on one of our walks are blooming. They will be fine, they often bloom in the snow when it happens.

In the fall, during hubby’s early months dealing with the health issues, an online friend offered to proxy shop for a spindle for me from the craftsman who makes the best Turkish style spindles available, Ed Jenkins, Jenkins Yarn Tools. They are in Oregon and only do events within a couple hours from home. Linda bought me a lovely Crabapple Finch, a smaller size that I love and wrapped it in some gorgeous black Merino/Alpaca/Silk blend roving, a very generous amount. About a month or so later, she was going to attend another event where Ed and Wanda were set up and offered again, this time getting me a Lilac Finch, and packed it in the same blend in a camel brown color. Those fibers were spun on the spindles they came with and a shawl/scarf was started for me. Last night, I cast off “Linda’s Hug,” soaked it, blocked it, and because it is so delicate, the yarn spun to 20 wraps per inch or lace weight yarn, it dried over night.

The two yarns were used together and in spite of the light weight (50.94 g or 1.8 ounces) of the shawl, it is very warm with the Alpaca and Silk, just in time for a possible winter blast.

I am ever grateful to the friends I have met through my Jenkins group and also my two local friends who I taught to spindle spin and hooked on the Jenkins spindles. They have been very generous in their time and support first through the Covid lockdowns and then through the early days of hubby’s issues. Each time I wear this shawl, I am reminded of love and concern.