Olio May 20, 2020

Olio: a miscellaneous collection

Ruminations of a housebound mind: Do you ever hear a voice on the radio or a podcast and “see” that person in your mind’s eye, even if you have never seen that person before? I do that all the time and am usually so far off base when I see that person’s picture. One of the podcasts that I enjoy is “The Way I Heard It” by Mike Rowe, a face everyone has seen and I see his face when I listen to the podcast. Another one I like is “99%invisible.” Now this is where my mind’s eye played serious tricks on me. After listening to the podcasts for a couple of years off and on, I googled Roman Mars, the host and let me tell you, he doesn’t look anything at all like I envisioned. Funny now when I listen, I see the picture I googled, but it just doesn’t fit. If you have never listened to this podcast, do, but start with some of the very early ones that were short with less advertising.

Today is Day 2 of ugly weather, not drizzle, but downright miserable. It is cool, blowing from the northeast and cold, heavy rain.

Critter chores left me soaked in minutes even in rain boots and rain jacket. They are getting lots of use, last night about the time I was going to get ready for bed, the time the pups get their last potty run for the day, I smelled skunk smell. I was inside the house, so went down with a flashlight to see if I saw the critter in the front yard. The smell was really overwhelming on the front porch. There was no way those dogs were going out there unrestrained to have a meet and greet, so again, the rain boots and jacket were donned and the pups taken out in the cold blowing rain one at a time on leash to do their nightly business. The odor was gone by this morning, fortunately, I had feared the skunk had taken refuge under our front porch.

I had been reading a book that clearly is or will be a series. It was a free selection from Amazon Prime and the story was one of those that you were supposed to accept as believable, but no way could the actions in that book have gone unnoticed by law enforcement or be forgiven by law enforcement and the ending let you know that there is more to come. No thanks. A friend posted on Instagram that our public library is doing curbside delivery of books you put on hold. I will soon run out of re-reads here at home, so I may have to browse and hold a couple from the library.

This is my May, social distance spinning. Everything below the rainbow fiesta is spun on those three spindles. The red, orange, and yellow of the rainbow were also spun on the larger one, but I quickly tired of it and spun the green, blue, and purple on the wheel, then plied it on the wheel. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought those 4 punis (rolags), nor do I know what I will do with 2 ounces of chain plied fingering weight rainbow. It is only 132 yards, maybe enough for a cowl or skinny scarf. It is not sturdy enough wool for socks, enough for fingerless mitts if I want to cut each color apart, then divide in half so they are more or less matching stripes. It is drying now, will be skeined and set aside until it becomes a plan.

Yesterday was fresh bread day. Two loaves started first thing yesterday morning and baked by noon of half whole wheat yeast bread for sandwiches. I love my cast iron bread pan that hubby gave me for Christmas and since I always make bread two loaves at a time, I ordered a second one which should be here before next week’s bake.

Before the pandemic, bread baking here had all but disappeared except for pizza dough and occasional biscuits. It was a staple in our house when the kids were growing. It is a pleasant activity to have returned to now that we are eating all meals in, and there is nothing better than the smell of fresh bread baking.

Stay safe out there as the world begins to reopen. We will continue to stay at home with a few curbside delivery outings as required, wearing our masks for your protection (and ours if you are wearing yours.)

It didn’t rain after all

Most of the day has been sunny, occasional cloud cover and a light mist once or twice, but no rain yet. The next 4 days look like there will really be rain, so after delivering the masks and some asparagus to daughter’s house, I tackled the chicken problem.

First part of the job was to remove the inside fence that they were getting under when they were in the garden run. It was rolled and tossed over the fence on the east of the garden, the stakes pulled and sorted. I have two sizes of the garden stakes, one is right at 4 feet when pounded in the depth you are supposed to pound them, the rest are about a foot shorter. The longer ones and some sturdier T posts that are 4 feet when pounded in were set 3 feet to the east of the sturdy garden fence. The wire that had been removed was fastened to those posts. The chickens lost about 4 square feet of pen, I gained 4 square feet of compost, and that fence was attached to the other piece to change the configuration of their pen to a smaller square with a long 3 foot wide run off of it. The second piece of wire that I had removed was then used to provide a cover to the new run so the hawk can’t catch a chicken in that area. It was a fair amount of work and I didn’t finish cleaning up because I was worn out and it was time to prep dinner. There are about 15 T posts laying in the grass that need to be gathered and stored and several sizable rocks that were inside the pen blocking holes that need to be returned to one of the many rock piles.

It won’t take them long to make it a barren wasteland, but I have been putting large sheets of the spoiled hay bale in there and using more of it in the garden so that when the hay men come, they can give me a fresh bale for the upcoming year. I usually get one that either didn’t get properly tied or one that wasn’t full sized for me to use in their run and in the garden as mulch.

About a dozen years ago, I planted this Dogwood on the hill by the driveway. It had to be protected year after year from the deer nipping off the new growth. All of the native Dogwoods have bloomed out, but this one is just beginning.


Our kitchen window and French doors from the dining room face south to the depth of our property. When I went down to prep dinner, I spotted a bear in the lower hay field. This is zoomed as much as the camera would zoom, then the photo cropped so that you can actually see the bear. This one is much larger than the little one we saw a few weeks ago, probably 125 to 150 pounds. It was a couple football fields away and seemed totally unaware of me on the deck taking it’s picture. It finally moved closer to the house, but stayed on the other side of the lower hay field fence, the disappeared into the woods to the west. Some years we don’t see any, this year we have had three sightings, two on our property and one near the bottom of the road near the creek.

Ah, the rain has begun, the veggie starts and seeds will get watered, I will take a few days off to read, spin, and knit. After the storms end around weeks end, there is weeding to be done between the garden proper and the outer fence. The chickens did a pretty good job when they were allowed in there, but they don’t like Creeping Charlie and a plant I haven’t identified that has a similar shaped leaf but is larger, spreading out 360 degrees from a substantial stem. They will eat the catmint leaves, but where it grows right under the fence, it needs to be dug out. I’m sure after 4 days of rain, there will be more found mint to dig out as well. It is less each time I work that area, but man that stuff is tenacious. After a few days of rain, the soil will be softer and easier to rid the fence line of grass and the outer path of weeds. I need more cardboard to put down so I can pile spoiled hay on it, that helps too.

A Sewing Day

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A few weeks ago, I made 5 cloth masks, 2 for each of us and 1 for daughter as she has been doing grocery runs for us. This morning daughter initiated a text exchange and finally a phone call asking for a mask for her daughter so she can resume Taekwondo outdoor classes. They will be limiting the number of participants, spread out 10 feet apart, and must wear a mask. We ended up on the phone to determine style and size. While on the phone, her son asked for one too and we decided daughter needed a second one. I don’t have any fun fabrics, but do have two different gray fabrics and some ribbon that could be used as ties. The afternoon was spent cutting and sewing 5 more masks so they each have two for being out in public.

Hopefully this will help keep them safe as the state is allowing more and more activities to resume. We are still self isolating except for curbside pick up of some groceries and animal supplies. We will go through a drive through or curbside food delivery occasionally if we are out on one of the other errands.

Daughter set out today to get the remaining plant starts for the garden for her daughter that I helped with via emailed garden plans, instructions, and support. They wanted two Jalapenos plants in what they bought, but couldn’t find any. There are a couple of other places to try, but I may end up starting the seed for her which will slow them down some, but they will still get peppers before the season ends in the fall. They sent me a picture of granddaughter’s garden with plant seed up and starts planted. I wish I could have helped more with it, but pleased that I could provide guidance and planning.

Such a neat little garden and a great lesson for the 8 year old.

Two nights ago, when I went out to lock up the hens, 5 of them had apparently gone under the garden gate and again wrecked havoc. They dug up 3 of the tomatoes, trampled peas, scattered the hay from the aisles. I had to call for help to get them out, did repairs in the falling dark and finished the job yesterday morning. I finally got a new battery for one of my solar fence chargers, so I will be stringing electric wire to keep the deer and fence climbers out. The charger isn’t my preferred one, but I can’t get that one open to see what battery it needs. The back is screwed on with tiny star headed screws and I don’t have a star bit that small. I put a board across the opening under the gate, but I haven’t given the hens any free range time since. I guess I will have to expand their run and only free range them when they can be supervised. Several of them will go over the gate in the garden.

I really don’t want them in there now that the sunflowers and corn have been planted this evening in anticipation of 5 days of rain. In a week or two, the pole beans can be planted in there as well.

The blueberries have berries, the raspberries have flowers, and there are potato sprouts showing. The garden is now fully planted except for the pole beans, a second planting of bush beans in a few weeks, and some herbs that will be tucked between the tomatoes and peppers so that we can have dilly beans and pesto. The pumpkins are started in a flat and will be planted out when they have secondary leaves and I can see where the sunflowers are. The corn block is 4.5 feet by 13.5 feet. That should be a sufficient sized block to get some corn. If the electric will stop the raccoons.