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.

Olio – 2/25/2024

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things (thoughts)

It has been almost a week since hubby was released from the hospital for the second time in 3 weeks. Diagnosis has been all over the map, from Covid related, to pneumonia, to autoimmune disease. The tests mostly ruled out pneumonia and tilt toward autoimmune issues likely caused by immunotherapy treatments. We see our primary tomorrow with lots of questions as the various test results come in.

The hospitalization required me to miss a week of personal trainer, but a return this week to a serious kick butt lower body workout. I found muscles that walking and stair climbing miss, but hide in the thighs and hips.

The stress is causing the shoulder with bursitis and a torn bicep tendon to tighten up. This happened last year at the fiber retreat and my yoga teaching friend did a Vulcan Death grip on that area and it magically released. I will have to ask Megan, my PT for a stretch that isn’t already in my workouts that might help with it as my friend lives more than 3 hours away.

The sit and wait times last weekend and this week sent me back to a Sashiko panel I started over a year ago. Some time ago, I had the idea to make the panel into a Turkish Spindle case. Night before last, the stitching was finished and yesterday, a case was made using pre-quilted white fabric as the interior. Pockets were stitched and each shaft for a spindle has the thin end protected by a length of rigid soda straw.

Often, I am dissatisfied with project like this, but this time, I am very pleased.

Also while sitting in the hospital room with hubby, and in my spare time at home, I finished spinning the wool blend he gave me for Christmas. The entire amount was spun on the tiny Jenkins Finch spindle he gave me for our 45th anniversary last year.

The finished skein with the tiny spindle now working on a different fiber. The spindle lives in my bag with some wool. In the spindle photos, you can see the soda straw that protect the fragile end of the shaft when it is removed for travel. There are other spindles that get pulled out for use, but I seem to migrate to this one most often.

I have one more 6 block Sashiko panel that I finished long ago and plenty of the white quilted fabric, I need to figure out a project to use them, maybe a case for my fixed circular knitting needles or crochet hooks. And the skein of yarn to be knit into something requiring about 400 yards of lace weight yarn.

The two beautiful roosters no longer reside at this address. Between their noise, and the fact that one was aggressive toward me and the other young rooster encouraged me to send them on their way. A Craigslist ad brought a Ukranian refugee living with his daughter and her sons to pick them up. Whether they became part of a flock or part of a meal worries me not at all. The hens seem happier not to be ganged up on and eggs are back in good supply even though the youngest Marans was recently killed by some predator. The remaining 6 provide 2 to 5 eggs daily, enough for us and for daughter’s household.

Four of the hens are now 3 years old, I guess they will have to be replaced soon. Only one of them is providing more than 1 or 2 eggs a week. The carton for daughter has many more blue and green eggs than brown, though there are as many brown layers as colored layers. I don’t want 6 more chicks, only about 4, but you are required to purchase at least 6 chicks at a time. If I can find a local that wants a couple of pullets, I will buy 6 and raise them to coop introduction size and give away the extras. I guess if a hen goes broody on me this summer, I can let her sit false eggs for 3 weeks and introduce day old chicks under her and let her raise them for me. She will protect them and teach them if she thinks they are her own.

Yesterday, they predicted snow after a week of spring like temperatures. We got mostly rain with a little slushy bit added in, but nothing on the ground. The temperatures are again climbing to spring like weather after a night in the low 20’s. Another 3 or 4 weeks, it will be time to start the tomatoes and peppers seedlings. The Aerogarden was planted this week with mixed Romaine lettuces and a window seed starter has deer tongue lettuce and spinach starts. Soon they will go in pots to be nurtured until I can plant them out under some sort of cover. Since my little garden green house blew off and was destroyed by the wind, I need to improvise. I keep seeing an idea on social media to use plastic milk cartons, but I don’t buy milk in plastic, so maybe a mini hoop house can be created with plastic sheeting and later row cover.

Enough meanderings of my mind. Have a great week.

Time passes in my absence

My activity here has been sparse lately. This in part because of trying to get ready for the holidays between having cataract surgery first on my left eye in mid November and my right eye two days ago. The first one produced lots of swelling of my cornea, proving to be quite uncomfortable the day of surgery, like someone rubbing sandpaper on my eye every time I blinked. Thus, much of that day was spent reclined with my eyes closed and dozing. It then produced 5 days of very blurry vision in that eye. As soon as the vision cleared, I realized that my brain just would not/could not adapt to the disparity of vision between the eyes. At the two week re check, when I discussed it with the surgeon, she did a quick check on my right eye acuity and scheduled me for a more comprehensive exam and surgery on the the right eye. My vision had significantly deteriorated in the three months since the exam that generated the referral to her in the first place, or the initial exam from elsewhere was flawed. Now two days out from that surgery, there is only slight vision fuzz, no discomfort, and cheap reading glasses stashed all over the place as I can no longer see any text closer than several feet away. As she and my eldest said, I now have bionic eyes.

In between the surgeries, Thanksgiving dinner was prepared and enjoyed here for 8 family members and Christmas gifts wrapped and sorted, one box mailed off. The stocking stuffers have mostly been gathered and sorted by recipient. We were set to go look for our Christmas tree sometime during the first week of December, only to find out that the two local cut your own farms both shut down, one on November 26, the other on December 3. I guess the drought from the summer affected their trees’ health. As a result, we ended up buying an artificial prelit tree on sale. Both of us were finding the cold hike through the farms taxing now, so we will just use this tree as long as it lasts.

Also in the middle of the two surgeries, we celebrate several family birthdays. At my birthday dinner, local grandson approached me and ask for assistance on a project. Forty odd years ago, we purchased candy cane yarn rope garland for our tree. Ever since daughter was on her own with her own tree, she has coveted the garland. Her son has tried for several years to locate some and purchase it for her to no avail. His project was to see if his wool spinning grandmother could help him make some. Challenge accepted after my search for it was also futile. A huge ball of super bulky chenille white yarn and another of red were purchased. I attempted to make one length on my own but wasn’t happy with it. He was invited over so we could figure it out together and between his intelligent engineering oriented mind and my spinning knowledge and equipment, we succeeded in making 12 very long garlands.

There is an awesome video that hubby took for the process of making one, but I can’t get it to load here.

And a few days ago, we had our first snow of the winter, about the most we received in all of 2023 and it was only a couple of inches after a day of 3 inches of rain.

Hopefully, the rain and the snow are omens of more wet to follow and hopefully break the 2023 drought.

The littles are all grown, the two hatchlings both young roosters. They haven’t started crowing yet, but at 20-21 weeks old, it will happen any time now. The young pullets haven’t begun laying yet, but they should start soon. The old girls are all in stages of molt, so eggs had to be purchased at the Farmer’s Market last weekend.

We continue our daily walks outdoors unless it is too cold or raining. Then we walk the mall or go to the gym 1/9th mile track and walk a numbing 36 laps.

Right now it is quiet on the farm. We will have some of our family here for Christmas and Christmas dinner and look forward to that.

Wishing you all happy holidays, depending on which you celebrate.