The days lengthen slowly

We were given a winter prediction of warmer than average and average rain (not snow). Things are not as predicted, but I am ok with that. It has been cold and we have had lots of “snow days.” Not block you at home snow, just pretty to watch snow. I awoke this morning to a new coating on the yard, the third morning this week. It stayed at or near freezing all day and snowed off and on all day. The cover would thin or nearly go away as the sun came out, then it would cloud and snow again. When I went to get the mail at the top of the driveway, it was snowing hard and the sun was out. I looked for a snowbow but didn’t see one. As I went out to secure the hens at dusk, it was coming in again.

The lengthening days have all of the hens preparing to start laying eggs again. After buying a dozen at the Farmers Market last weekend, I got 4 from the Olive Eggers this week, 2 dark olive and 2 lighter green, so both of them are laying. Today there was a green one and a brown one (might have been the pinker color, it is too difficult to tell by house light). As I stood by the coop waiting for them to coop up so I could lock their door for the night, I noticed that 8 of the 9 have healthy red combs and wattles again. One is always reluctant to go in at night, she isn’t as healthy looking at the others and she has a very small, pale comb. I fear she may not be well, but she is a chicken, not a pet. If she shows real signs of illness, she will be isolated from the others to prevent spread, but if she is just not thriving, she will live out her life with them until the flock is replaced next fall or winter.

It is about time to sort through the seeds and see what else needs to be purchased as garden planning begins. After letting the chickens have garden time at the end of the season, they kicked most of the good soil out of several of the boxes, so some early spring work will have to be done to get ready, but not while the ground is mostly frozen. I have accumulated a good pile of cardboard to prepare the area that wasn’t planted last year after digging out the mint. That area will give me another 4 by 8 foot bed to use. As I plan to move the compost pile back to the northwest corner, I have started using that area between the fence and the bed planted with the garlic to put kitchen scraps until the garlic is harvested and that box moved. I need to get daughter and grand daughter on board to decide what they want to plant this year as well.

After my post yesterday, the state announced they were opening up Covid vaccines to the federal guidelines and I have pre-registered for mine. Now I await the call that will send me to the designated location to get it.

As the week ends

The car still sits in the lot at the mechanic, no diagnosis nor estimate provided yet for us to make a decision on it’s fate. The pen is still missing. Unless it fell out of my bag and is the car at the mechanic, it is truly AWOL. The snow from early in the week is mostly gone except in shady areas under trees, north sides of hills, and the north shade of the house. Today’s forecast calls for snow flurries turning later to rain, but so far, no precipitation of any form has begun. The windshield leak on the older car was sealed after it had dried, but in the snow early in the week, a drip from closer to the center of the windshield top edge was seen, so it was parked in the garage to fully dry and more sealant was applied farther across the top. I think that when the windshield had to be replaced many years ago, it wasn’t set in enough sealant. If it does rain today, we will see if my repair has taken care of it. If not, it will be pulled back in the garage to dry again and another attempt made to fill the gaps with silicone.

So far, there have been no further disasters this week. Early in the week, hubby registered for the first vaccine for COVID and yesterday he received a call and within 90 minutes had received his first shot. With his age and immune compromised system, I am glad he was able to get it. Hopefully they will get to my group, the next down the list before too much longer. The federal guideline dropped the age to 65 for now, but the State is still going with a stricter schedule.

The mitts that I partially ripped out and started a reknit are done. They need to be soaked and blocked, but it got cold overnight and is headed into a cold snap for many days, so that will wait so I can wear them. Twenty or so years ago, I broke my right wrist roller blading with my daughter. It healed 15 degrees out of whack and has caused issues since. The resulting arthritis sent me to a hand specialist about a decade ago and he performed a Trapeziectomy to remove a bone in my wrist to help with the pain. It may have helped briefly, but overuse from knitting, gardening, or just about any other activity causes pain in my wrist that moves up to my elbow and then to my shoulder. I know that as it begins, I tense my shoulder that contributes to the pain. Either the poorly healed break or my arm’s musculature to compensate causes a circulation issue that causes that hand to be extremely cold when the weather is cold. I tend to wear a fingerless mitt even in the house except when cooking, so I’m glad for the thicker, warmer ones that I just finished yesterday.

They are longer than I usually make and with the 2 x 2 rib the entire length, they are thicker and more comfortable. The fibers pictured with them are some I purchased for my breed blanket and three lovely 2 ounce packages of different wools I got in trade for one I had that I wasn’t planning on using. They arrived in yesterday’s mail. I now have 18 breeds of wool lined up, some dyed, some natural so I can work on my breed of the month and another that can be used to create additional blocks or added to the log cabin pattern to separate dyed ones from each other with solid natural colors.

Sometime ago, I wrote a post about “the chair.” Well, the chair wasn’t the only furniture mistake we have made. We bought two reclining loveseats, one didn’t quite match the living room furniture so we moved it to the loft and bought a second that looked better. And we bought me an imitations “stressless” chair. These weren’t all purchased at the same time, they were added over several years, but all were made of “pleather,” a nasty product that shouldn’t be on the market. The loveseat in the living room deteriorated first because of it’s heavy use. I tried covering it, but the cover would not stay on and you couldn’t recline it with the cover. The one in the loft went next, it was used fairly heavily at times too. Eventually, daughter and I hauled them out of the house, loaded them on our utility trailer and removed them to the dump. This week, I realized that my chair is beginning to fail in the same way, the plastic “leather” separating from the fabric it is applied to. It will flake and more will fail until the chair is as disreputable in appearance as “the chair.” Hubby’s chair was replaced with a real leather chair, the love seats were not replaced with additional furniture, just rearranged some rocking chairs to provide seating. I guess my chair is going to have to be replaced sometime in the future, but “pleather” will not enter our home again.

Maybe I will get a real leather Ekornes stressless chair this time. It will last the rest of my life.

A Rough Start

This week start has not been a smooth one. For some time, we have observed the “newer” of our two vehicles, it is only 13 years old compared to the almost 16 year old one, has been not running well and leaking oil. We wouldn’t drive it farther than town and kept our fingers crossed that if it broke down, that daughter would be available to get us home or to a rental car location. Because it is the larger vehicle, we loaded the trash and recycling in it yesterday morning to take down to the “Convenience Center.” Don’t you love that as a name for the fenced in area with the dumpsters and recycle trailer boxes in it? As soon as hubby put the beast in reverse, I could smell the clutch and suggested we take both cars and leave the Xterra at our local shop for diagnosis and state inspection. The decision was made to take it the next time we had to go out and not yesterday. The garbage was dispatched, the package I had that needed to be dropped off at the USPS was dropped off, we drove into town to get lunch and a birthday card for a grandson, but didn’t make it home. As we started up the first hill, the smell got stronger, the car got slower, and before we got to the top, there were no gears that the car would go in. A call to daughter, but she was an hour away headed home. A call to the local mechanic and he sent a masked driver in their “Shuttle” van and another driver in the tow truck to haul it in. Once we get an estimate, we have to decide if a 13 year old car, leaking oil, with 246,000+ miles on it is worth the repair, leaving us at least for the moment with the 16 year old car with 240,000 miles on it as our sole transportation.

Last night as I prepared to address the birthday card, I realized that one of my favorite pens was missing. I can’t find it anywhere. Usually it is clipped to the small leather notebook cover that I carry in my bag, but it isn’t there. Isn’t in the bag. Isn’t stuck down the cracks of my chair. It has at least temporarily gone missing. I’m sure it will turn up at some point, in a car, a pocket, or some place I normally wouldn’t set it down.

Also yesterday as I continued to knit on my fingerless mitts, I realized that somehow, I had crossed yarn balls and both mitts were knit from one ball, linking them together with a piece of yarn too short to just cut and weave in, so I had to begin tinking (knitting backwards) for a row on one mitt and another row on both. After doing that, I decided I didn’t like the thumb gusset on the fingers down pattern as I tried one on for fit, so I pulled the needle and frogged (ripped out stitches) for many rows to get back to where the thumb stitches were picked up. Then tediously and carefully picked up the stitches again in an order that would still allow me to knit two at a time, knit a couple of rows to make sure there were no missed stitched and all the stitches were turned the right way and decided to work the wrist up vanilla pattern I always use with a classic thumb gusset that will allow me to knit a real thumb. I am probably back about to the total length I was before yesterday’s error.

During this reknit project, the television was on to the news and talking heads that analyze everything going on and I was appalled at how a congresswoman who had been in the Capitol during last week’s siege would throw a toddler tantrum over not being allowed to carry a gun into the chambers, and how dozens of the rioters from last week and people interviewed at Trump’s bazaar charade of a visit to the Alamo and his incendiary speech there yesterday, exactly parrot his language to the exact phraseology. And they call those who don’t agree with them sheep. They call themselves patriots and true Americans, yet they attack our halls of government and threaten our lawmakers.

Next disaster, a relatively minor one today. Lunch was prepared, just grilled cheese sandwiches still sitting on the griddle pan on the stove, the plates with pickles served out beside them and I called hubby down to eat. In reaching up to get a glass for my water, he knocked another to the Silestone counter below the cabinet and it exploded sending glass shooting across the stove top, the adjacent counter where the plates were waiting, and all over the floor. After glass was cleaned up, lunch tossed in the garbage, counter tops and griddle and dishes washed, I started over.

On the positive side, the hydroponic herb garden that Son 2 and family gave me for Christmas has sprouted all 6 herbs. I check each day to see how much growth has occurred. The dill, thyme, and parsley are putting out secondary leaves, The mint and basils are above the rims of their planting baskets. That was such a great gift for a gardener suffering the off season doldrums that houseplants just don’t satisfy.

Back to chores, knitting, and spinning. Hmmm, I wonder where the pen is?