We live in rural SW Virginia on a gravel road and a gravel driveway. The gravel road is about 8/10 of a mile long from the paved road to the end of state maintenance, we are about 2/10 of a mile from the paved road, all downhill. Our driveway is another 2/10 of a mile from the state road to the house, also downhill. About twice a year, the 4 houses beyond us call in VDOT because heavy rain, tractor use, and the steep hill between them and us cause the road to deteriorate to a rutted mess. From the paved road to our driveway generally fairs better, but when VDOT comes, they start at the paved road and work to the end, many, many passes with this…
As you can see, this road isn’t very wide, a car coming in the opposite direction requires one of the vehicles to back up to a wide spot or driveway. This guy doesn’t go anywhere in a hurry and I got home from helping daughter this morning, just as he was starting another pass down. He was here just beginning to work as I left 4 hours earlier. I inched down behind him, giving him plenty of room. Our driveway is still ahead of him. They always do the swale in the wrong direction, all the ditches are on the left, the road is highest on the left. Bet they leave our ditch and culvert blocked again and I will have to call them back to come clear it. I’m not going out there with a shovel to do it.
Our couple of beautiful warm springlike days are about to come to an abrupt end. A front is coming through, the temperature is already starting a sudden drop with a wind advisory and rain and snow flurries expected to begin within the next half hour or so. The next few days will be seasonably cold. Tomorrow’s high is 30 degrees f colder than today’s high. The wind has already begun.
Since our property slopes downhill from the top of the driveway to the bottom of the hay field, there is no natural level spot on the farm. As a result, my chicken run and garden slope downhill too. The garden isn’t too much of a problem because I have boxed raised beds and just the aisles are sloped with the gate about halfway down the slope. The chicken run is another issue. The coop is raised about 18″ off the ground on the uphill side and an extra cinder block higher on the downhill side. The uphill side has the large clean out door, the downhill side has the pop door. The gate to the fence is on the uphill side. The chickens have scratched every blade of green from their run when they are confined. They get a lot of free range time, but not when the dogs are out or when the Red Tailed Hawks are active. Because of their scratching and this winter’s rain, going from the gate to the pop door is taking your safety in your hands as your slip and slide down the side of the coop. When I know it is going to rain or snow, I try to toss down a thick layer of spoiled hay from the gate to the pop door. This provide endless entertainment for the hens as they scratch through it looking for bugs and seeds and in the process, making great compost as they scratch it downhill. I beat the rain with about a foot or so of old hay and the chickens are working at moving it away from our safe path.
With winter drawing to a close and with the longer days, all 9 of the hens are laying again. On my way back to the house from forking hay, I gathered 7 beautiful eggs. That is the second time this late winter I have gotten so many. There are plenty of eggs to eat now.
Earlier in my spinning adventures, I subscribed to a monthly fiber club. Each month I received 4 ounces of the fiber/color of the month. When daughter and her family were living with us, each time a skein that I spun was green or had green in it, she would oooh and aaah over it and she was just learning to knit, so several of those skeins ended up in her stash. But she is a working mom of elementary and middle school children, a Taekwondo instructor and youth soccer coach on the side, so she doesn’t have much time to knit. I struck a deal with her to reclaim a couple of those skeins. She gets a scarf and a hat, I get to make a second hat for my shop from the larger skein. The colors are gorgeous, my spinning I see has improved significantly, but they are clearly doable for the projects in queue.
The spindles are to show how much finer and more consistent my spinning is now, both on spindles and on the wheel.
My car is packed with my wheel and fiber, my suitcase is awaiting the dryer to finish. Everything that won’t freeze if it gets as cold as predicted tonight is in the car. A final tote and my purse will leave with me in the morning to go to Tennessee for a weekend of fiber fun with friends, leaving hubby in charge of the house, the critters, and to fend for himself. I love him in general, but really appreciate being given the freedom to go away a couple times each year for these retreats.