It is getting to the time to start thinking about this year’s garden. A few weeks ago, Son 1 tried to relocate one of the boxes I had made with reclaimed deck wood but it just fell to pieces. That box was adjacent to the compost area where all of the chicken coop cleanings and kitchen scraps that the chickens don’t get are put, so having a defined box is helpful. There was a galvanized metal box purchased a few years ago that was not in a good location, so after my morning Physical Training session, I moved the box and filled it.

One more 3 x 4 or 4 x 4 box needs to be added and filled. The largest box that got overwhelmed with pumpkin vines last year was cleared of the dead vines and raked smooth. The asparagus bed that was burned off a couple of weeks ago was raked. It still needs to be mulched with old hay.

Once back in the house, the garden plan template was updated and a planting plan designed for this year’s garden. Some items I have planted in the past won’t be in this year’s garden. Many of those items are ones I can purchase at the Farmer’s Market and when grown at home produce more than we can use in a harvest and we don’t care for canned or frozen, so will just be enjoyed seasonally by purchase.

Most of the seed is on hand. My favorite Garden Center reopens tomorrow for 2024, so the remaining seeds can be purchased there. If I can figure out a way to make a mini greenhouse, the lettuce and spinach will be transplanted out during this week’s warm spell.

The Amaryllis given to me Christmas 2023 in bloom by a good friend is about to burst open again for this year. Once it finishes it’s bloom and begins to produce leaves, it will summer on the deck and hope that again it blooms next year. An ever lasting gift.

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.

Great Surprise Weekend

During the week, Son 1 let us know he was going to come in late Friday night and stay until after lunch today. Late Friday afternoon, Son 2 called and said his medical transport company was transporting a patient from his area to ours and he was going to drive the run with an employee that would drive the ambulance back if I could pick him up at a nearby hospital in the early morning of Saturday. His wife and 5 of their kids would drive up arriving late afternoon and they would leave very late evening to go back home.

We had arranged with Daughter and her fiancé to go see their new house and the progress they had made in getting it ready to move into soon. It needed some work that they have mostly done themselves to get it ready.

We showed up just after our lunch on Saturday with both sons. She knew Son 1 would be with us, but the Son 2 plans occurred after our call. She was happily surprised to see both brothers with us. It has been a very long time since we had all three of our adults kids in the same room at the same time.

As we were getting ready to leave from their house, Son 1 asked her if they would be at dinner. A moment of mild panic on my part as that would put 14 people at the table, but WOW, all three of our kids, 7 of our grandkids, 1 wife and one fiancĂ© all at one time. We stopped on the way home, bought 16 burgers, 16 buns, 2 bags of frozen steak fries, 1 bag of frozen sweet potato fries, some salad greens and dressing to add to the goodies from the Farmer’s Market we had done earlier, a dozen ice cream cups and we would have dinner for all.

I set a folding table up at the end of the dining table with both leaves. Gathered all the chairs I could find including the piano bench and we set the table with paper plates (I don’t have enough pottery plates for 14), paper napkins so there wasn’t an entire load of cloth napkins.

Then the sons went down to the bee yard with me and broke it down. The hive that had been the weaker one, had a ball of bees right in the middle, they had eaten about half of the sugar block, but there weren’t enough of them and they had frozen to death. The stronger hive must have left the hive before the week of very cold weather, there was an un hatched queen cell and just a few hundred dead bees, but several frames of honey. It was all packed up and most of it later packed in Son 2’s van to go home with them. He had purchased most of the equipment for me two years ago, but my age, eyesight, and strength just aren’t enough to try again for a third year.

DIL and kiddos arrived, Daughter and family arrived after they finished their house work. We were missing 2 grandkids, and a Daughter-in-love and her son, but it was so wonderful to have all of them together. The littles dumped the toy basket, fought over them, cleaned them up repeatedly. Ate burgers, fries, salad, and ice cream, played ping pong, had a “rock band” in the basement, with the drum set and guitars including the two preteen gals, the 4 little ones, and Son 1 (the owner of the instruments). Daughter and her family left, then around 10, Son 2 and his family left for home.

It made my heart happy. Having so much of our family together was wonderful.

This morning, Son 1 helped me with some chores, then I fixed a Mexican fiesta meal for us and he headed home. We are tired, but so happy.