We Survived

The two cold days and frigid nights are in our past. Hopefully, the last of the season, but it is still 5 weeks to last frost date. The covered young plants all survived, though I need to made the fence tunnels for the two 4 foot square beds so I can drape plastic over them to make a mini hoop houses. The plastic shower curtain liners wouldn’t stay taut enough to not droop down on top of some of the seedlings. Yesterday I pulled them back tight and this morning they were droopy again.

The chicks in the garage did fine, though they are so very crowded in the big water trough. I do want to power wash the inside of the coop before I put fresh straw in it to move them. Three are still smaller than the others, but all have feathers and I think they will be fine with the warmer nights upcoming.

Saturdays are Farmer’s Market days and this was the first week the opening changed from 10 a.m. to 8 a.m. and I didn’t want to be there that early, so I feared it would be mobbed. It was so cold, it was mostly vendors out there, bundled up and standing out in the sun in front of or behind their stalls. The weeks goodies were purchased and we went down to Tractor Supply to get chick feed and some poultry fence so I could build a temporary pen for the big hens. They have been cooped in the Palace for a week, it is dark in there with no windows except some hardware cloth high on the south end and a hardware cloth door on the north end. Once home, a small 64 square foot pen was erected and they were allowed out into the grass to peck and scratch. If they return into the Palace on their own for the next few nights, I will remove the pen and give them free range time again.

I don’t really want to have to set real fence posts and erect a wire fence to give them more room if they balk at using the Palace as their new home. I have the posts and the old fence wire available if I have to take that route.

Tomorrow I will have daughter and her kiddos here for Easter dinner. I have hidden some eggs with trinkets and coins in them for an Easter Egg hunt, though I suspect grandson will find it childish as a young teen. Granddaughter will enjoy it. There are six different colors of eggs and I have assigned 3 colors to each, plus a small Chocolate bunny each, so it will be fair and no arguments (I hope). At the Farmer’s Market I bought Hot Cross buns for the bread for dinner to go with the ham, au gratin potatoes with local cheese, and a green salad or cooked vegetable. I wish the asparagus were up, but not yet. Daughter will bring deviled eggs and we will enjoy some time togther. I found out this week that both sons have had at least one vaccine, so maybe we will be able to see all of our family again soon.

We Won’t Need April Showers, Thank you

In ski country, when the snow pack melts, they call it mud season. There are parts of the country that could use rain, snow, or the other YUK we have been receiving.

Mornings and evenings require donning the thick ugly pink barn coat, a hat or the coat hood, muck boots (sometimes ice cleats would be nice), either leather or thick fleece gloves depending on what task needs to be done. Boldly opening the door to the garage, gathering feed and water bucket, tentatively opening the door to the outside and assessing my safety on the stoop there. Is it wet, coated with ice, or deep in snow. At this point, I actually prefer the snow, at least I can safely walk in it. Some days when looking out, the grass and trees glisten with tiny icicles hanging from the limbs and fences. Those mornings are treacherous, the stoop and other surfaces, including the grass are like stepping on a kitchen floor where cooking oil was spilled, but for the past week or so, even though surfaces resemble the ice palace in Dr. Zhivago, the surface below is mud, thick, goopy, slimy mud. If one surface doesn’t get you, the other one will.

I keep a good thick layer of hay in the chicken run, which as I have mentioned before, is sloped, highest at the end away from the pop door. After opening, or chipping the ice off the gate to pry it open so I can get to the pop door, the first step is always a challenge. For some reason, the preferred scratching place in the run is right in front of the gate, thus all the hay gets piled deep at the other end in front of the coop. Of course, the rain, freezing rain, snow haven’t helped as they make the hay itself slick once compacted. Every few days, a new layer is put down and every evening when I lock them in for the night, I drag hay back uphill to the gate for my evening and next morning safety.

Each morning for the past couple of weeks have looked like the above pictures. The top one was this morning with freezing rain forecast, but it is pouring down not frozen rain as I write. We are in full blown mud season.

The daylilies have sprouted tender green tips which will get burned by the next onslaught of bitter cold, which is sure to come. The mud will freeze again and thaw again before the grass and trees sprout to drink up the spring showers. After two warm winters, my plans to get more cardboard down in the garden and build up a couple of new beds have been foiled by real winter this year. Maybe it is good that I can’t garden year round, this winter is giving my body the needed rest.

Yesterday, on our Anniversary, we drove into town and got drive thru breakfast, it was too icy on Saturday when we usually do it, so we missed the Farmer’s Market, but so did many of the vendors. We picked up curbside delivery of grocery items and came home, sitting near each other as I spun on my new spindle, a gift from my love, and some on my wheel as one of the fibers I purchased for my blanket, though enough was spun on spindles to fulfill the one block requirement (actually there will be two), I don’t like spinning that particular fiber on spindles, so the remainder of the braid is being done on the wheel.

Late in the day, we picked up the Valentine’s Day special from the local BBQ restaurant and drove down to the river to eat. We arrived to pick up our 5:15 p.m. order at 5:10 and it was already sitting packed on the counter, so it wasn’t hot. Packed in styrofoam clamshell contains, several each, cutting and eating from them was a challenge in the car. We should have brought it home and put it on real plates, rewarming what could be warmed. It was not the fancy anniversary dinner of the past, but it was shared together, watching the river flow by in the drizzly gloom. It was a very uneventful day, but a day spent with each other. Another tick off on the calendar of our lives together and another to look forward to.

Forty Three Years

We started later in life than many couples and married quickly after meeting. We were introduced less than a year prior and so very different, but it worked. After Christmas we had gone skiing in Vermont, my first real ski trip and I promptly separated my shoulder, but managed to bundle up enough to restrict it and skied anyway. We got home on New Year’s Eve and went to have my shoulder checked out at the E.R., leaving after X-rays with a sling and instructions for follow up. Early in the evening, we went out for a drink then home to avoid New Year’s Eve amateur night and as the ball dropped, he proposed. He later said that my continuing to ski though injured was the clincher. The family was gathering on New Year’s Day at my grandparent’s house for black eyed peas, collards, and ham (he doesn’t like the peas or collards) and we made our announcement.

Discussing wedding dates, he picked Valentine’s Day, 6 short weeks away, stating that if he ever forgot it, he was in double trouble. He has never forgotten it, has feigned feeling fine to go out for a dinner at a fine restaurant only to crash and burn as soon as we got home. There have been overnights away from the kids when they were small, nicer dinners at home when our budget wouldn’t allow, B&B weekends when the kids were old enough to be left alone, a ski trip to Colorado with cousin his wife, and a cruise for number 40 with celebrations on two nights on the ship and horseback riding on the beach in the Honduras 3 years ago today.

Our wedding was small and simple, an off the rack Gunny Sack dress for me. We did rent the ugliest tuxes for the men, my matron of honor kindly made her own long skirt and blouse. A simple long stem rose for a bouquet, a halo of rose buds and baby’s breath on my hair. A simple gold band of connected hearts for my ring, and a reception at my parent’s home of punch, nuts, and a cake given to us by my grandmother.

We have had a good 43 years together. This past year with COVID restrictions has been enough to test any relationship and we have come through it together. Tomorrow, we will celebrate 43, but we won’t be going to a fancy restaurant, on a cruise, or away to a B&B, we will celebrate quietly together. Maybe next year we will again be allowed to travel and we will celebrate 44 away.

Who are those young folks.