Hello Monday

Still cold in these parts, but not as cold as last week and only liquid precipitation expected this week so maybe the rest of the white stuff will wash away until the next winter storm arrives.

My post yesterday caused my hubby to worry about me. He fears that if the day comes that I am here alone, that I will become a hermit. At this point, I am mentally intact enough to know that I have to have some socialization to stay sane and there are foods that I don’t grow that I will have to go purchase, so some trips to town will still occur to the Farmer’s Market and the Natural foods store at least. My daughter and sons will make sure that I don’t end up needing to be cared for by others.

As I was walking up to check the mail, all 13 hens fell in behind me like I was the Pied Piper, sure I was going to give them a treat. I wondered how far up the almost quarter mile driveway they would follow.

They are crazy animals. Though they spend all day free ranging, if they see me they come running for kitchen scraps or scratch. At least they have provided eggs all winter since they are just now turning 1 year old. Next year they will molt in the fall and eggs will be few and far between during the winter. I guess old school farmers had it right by culling out a few each year and allowing new ones to be raised by the hens so there was always a fresh crop of young hens to continue laying. If our barn was more convenient to the house and in better shape, so they could expand their roosting area, we could have that arrangement, but the coop is too small as it is and I don’t want to raise chicks a couple times a year to keep the rotation going. I don’t have a rooster, so there are no hen born and raised chicks here.

The month’s spinning challenge ends in a few hours, I have finished everything I had on spindles, a total of 97.41 g, the wine colored BFL is singles, the second ply to be spun in February, one of my Christmas gifts from hubby who kindly indulges my love of wood, wool, and tea. The two whites are plied Shropshire and Norwegian both to be added to the second blanket.

For now, I am going to finish a very disturbing book I wish I hadn’t begun, but now I can’t not finish it.

The Hermit on the Mountain

As Covid continues into it’s third year, my hermit tendencies have grown stronger. When hubby had to travel to a funeral a few weeks ago, I basically stayed home, ate soup, read, knitted, and spun. I had to leave the house once but not for long. Already an introvert, being isolated has just encouraged more isolation. Glad to have hubby here, daughter and her kids nearby, and Sons that pass through, to keep me connected to humanity. I started back to the local spinning group before Christmas, then the Rec Center where we meet was closed for two Thursdays and I haven’t managed to get myself out and back to the group since. Now there is another new variant loose and this being a University region with a new Governor who feels masks and mandatory vaccines shouldn’t be required, I am again fearful of joining in person groups. This in part has influenced a decision to not attend a fiber retreat that I have attended for years prior to covid. The people with whom I visit at that event are comfortable to be with and in the past, those that I did not know well were in a different area. Due to renovations at the venue, we would all be in the same room, which along with covid concerns add to my discomfort.

Though hubby also has introvert tendencies, he often puts things I say in context of my being an introvert. The cheese lady at the local natural foods store is an extrovert and once, I asked for a particular cheese without first greeting her by name, which I know. She gently chastised me for not greeting first. He reminded me that extroverts talk for social reasons, introverts for purpose. I now remember to greet her when I see her whether I am buying cheese or not.

When daughter and Son 1 were both here, they taught me to use Zoom. My Jenkins Spindle group online has a Zoom session every Saturday afternoon and for the past two weeks, I have joined them. It is fun to join them, “meet” people that I have interacted with by written posts for the past couple of years. I am glad I don’t have to work every day using online meetings, but it is great for an hour or two of socially distanced time with real people. I don’t interact a lot, but it is so much more comfortable than being in a group where I am uncomfortable and my hearing loss makes following group conversations difficult.

I am struggling at being social and not truely becoming a hermit.


Last spring, Son 1 was working at the house and was listening to an audio book. As I popped in and out assisting or providing water, I was intrigued with what I heard and asked him what the book title was and who was the author. The book was Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Late August, as I was preparing to travel southwest to the mountains of North Carolina for a fiber retreat, I attempted to get the book from our public library as an audio book to listen to as I travelled about 7 hours round trip, but I was so far down on the list that I purchased a paperback copy instead. This followed having read Overstory by Richard Powers based on another of Son 1’s recommendations. For Christmas, he gave me a copy of Gathering Moss, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s first book which I have read a chapter at a time savoring her wisdom.

Several varieties of mosses growing just off the mowed area in a wooded rocky part of the farm.
Several varieties that grow on rocks in the same area.

These three books have caused me to pause and even more strongly recognize what we are doing to our environment. Like Kimmerer, I love a sheet of white paper on my wood desk with the grain of the wood as a background, but at what cost were they provided. I love wood tools, live in a log home cut from a monoculture tree farm and again at what cost to the environment were they provided. We have planted dozens of trees on our farm to create windbreaks and in areas where haying is impossible. We have avoided weed killers, have woods on three sides of us, but see the effect of some of the non native invaders both vegetative and insects that wipe out entire species of trees. Years ago, these mountains were covered with Chestnut trees, all killed off by blight. All of the mature Hemlocks die off from the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. Now the Ash trees are dying because of Emerald Ash borer. We are invaded by Tree of Heaven and Autumn Olive, plants that were introduced as ornamentals that have become invasive. As we drive up the mountain we see several areas that have been logged and I recognize the value of the timber but also the destruction of habitat for native vegetation and wildlife.

To add to my mindfulness thought process of late, as I was returning home from taking Son 1 to the bus Sunday morning, I listened to a program on NPR where the speaker discussed how we couldn’t provide for others if we didn’t take care of ourselves. We have to give ourselves permission to be kind to our own person to fill our cup enough to share. We need to be thankful for what we have, not want for what we lack, not complain about our ills, but be thankful for the health we have at whatever level.

These books and this program have reminded me to be more mindful. I suggest we should all be.