The Rain Did It Again

I think we got our month’s worth yesterday and last night. It rained hard enough last night to again clog the ditches and culverts along our road, filled the ditch on the top end of our culvert with road gravel and washed huge ruts down our driveway. Again I have filed a report with VDOT, but they would rather come in and grade and clear ditches half a dozen times a year than do it right the first time. The ditch needs to change sides of the road several times which would involve putting culverts under the road.

I had a package to mail, so we went out to get a newspaper, drop the package in a post box and get carry out lunch. I also needed two flower pots as I made a decision to let the two huge hanging spider plants stay outside for the winter which will result in their demise, but I cut plantlets and brought them in to root to start them over in clean soil in the spring. The plantlets were ready to be planted, so we went to the local nursery to get two terra cotta pots and plastic saucers. The nursery is near the road down to the river so we chose to come home along the river. This is what we found.

The river was over it’s banks, the rocks at the falls totally submerged. We saw a pick up truck go through that overwash on the road, but we wisely turned around and came home on the high road. That isn’t the only low spot, or even the lowest spot on the route home.

Our creeks are rushing, the one at the bottom of the mountain is very full, but not as full as we have seen it a few times.

The rain seems to have tapered off, though it is still thick with gray clouds out.

Yesterday I commented that I didn’t care for the red fiber, it is very slick and not fun to spin on the spindles. Last night I decided to just spin it on the wheel and though it is going faster, it requires so much hand tension to keep it from pulling apart or slipping away, it is still going to take a while. An hour of spinning and my hand, elbow, and shoulder ache. I still have more than half of it to do. The singles are spinning up at about 38 WPI, so it is going to be fine yarn. I hope someone wants a lot of yardage of fine, smooth, soft yarn.

I have plenty of Shetland, Jacob, Coopworth, and Alpaca/Coopworth blend to keep me busy. Not the pretty colors, but much more fun to spin.

And the skies opened

Yesterday it sprinkled, today it poured. The weather forecast says we will get a month’s worth of rain in 2 days. When I got up this morning, the hunter was down the low field, it had rained hard off and on as I lay there too lazy to get up, knowing I was going to have to take the dogs out on leashes this morning. It rained all morning, though at times only lightly. As we were eating lunch, we saw him plod up the fields dejectedly and when he got to his car, he texted that he was soaked through and going to his brother’s house to dry off and would be back. I haven’t heard a single shot on the mountain this morning, nor have I seen a single deer. He did come back and was still here at dusk when I went over to lock up the hens. I did eventually see the doe with her spring twins and the orphaned spring fawn, but not down in the “hunting field” fortunately.

Today marks about year with a hearing aid and today marks a revisit to the Hearing Clinic to have it checked, cleaned, and adjusted. The gal that first tested me and fitted the aid is not there anymore, the new gal is an AuD and was very open about discussing my concerns and likes and dislikes. I will be retested in late spring to see if there has been any change in my hearing and whether the marginal need for the left ear aid has shifted to the need. I feel better knowing why certain aspects of wearing the aid cause various issues.

We are seeing a significant spike in COVID cases in our county. The population of the county is just over 16,000 and there have been 35 new cases and 2 new hospitalization in the past 10 days. This is a county that is very mask resistant. In our village, we saw more masks for a while, but fewer in the past couple weeks. The next town over, no one wears a mask except the staff of two of the restaurants that we occasionally get curbside pick-up from. The local outfitter and cafe is totally maskless, not even a pretense. Our village store, is less than 50% with some of the employees putting one on if you enter with one on and a couple that wear it under their chin or not at all. When we saw Son 1 last weekend for our socially distanced picnic, he ask what the cases per 100,000 and hospitalization percentage were. I didn’t know but have since looked it up. Cases per 100,000 is 1062.7 and the hospitalization percentage is 35.6. We were told that the area coroners weren’t counting deaths that had an underlying cause even if the patient had COVID at the time of death. I don’t know when people are going to quit making this a political statement and realize that things will open up much more quickly if everyone would comply with this simple solution. Our Governor is still just encouraging it and has not made it mandatory.

Before the rains began, I did get the asparagus bed and the corn and sunflower stalk piles burned. And the chickens have had 3 days of free range in the garden. I am still only getting a green egg or two a day, but it looks like all have finished molting except two or three hens, so I am hoping that I will start seeing more eggs soon.

While filling bird feeders and hanging a Niger Thistle sock, this little one landed on the feeder, inches from my face, ate several seed, then flitted down by my feet, apparently unaware I was standing there.

I did an update of the month’s spinning this morning. The “Apple Picking” braid of reds, pinks, yellows, is not my favorite spin. I love the colors, but not so much the slippery fiber. It is Merino, baby camel, and silk and feels slick and lifeless. I much prefer spinning fibers with some body and spring. The grays are Jacob and the burgundy and white blend is Alpaca and Coopworth. It may take me forever to end up with laceweight from the reds, but it is going to be lots of yardage. I decided to dedicate only one spindle to it and shifted the second one to Moorit Shetland.

After taking the photo, I listed the Olivewood Finch with the Jacob on it for trade on the Jenkins group, wishing for a heavier Finch and within a couple of hours a trade was made. I love that the Jenkins spindles are so desired that a sale or trade can be made quickly. After several purchases, sales, and trades, I have determined my favorite sizes and weights for their spindles. The Olivewood one will head to a new home tomorrow and a Pink Ivorywood one that weighs about 5 grams more will head my way.

Today is a day where I feel like I have done household chores all day. Bathroom cleaning, laundry, dishes, cooking and cleaning it up. Now I need to go unload the dishwasher and fold a load of laundry.

Stay safe out there and please WEAR A MASK, it is a health statement, not a political one.

Time to Update the Garden Journal

This has been a year of change with the garden and some lessons learned, some good, some not so good. And along with my garden, the reports from Granddaughter’s garden that I helped design and did the planting guide, I’ve made some decisions. The journal needs to be updated so that in the spring, when it is time to plan, I remember my lessons. Last weekend while talking to Son 1 on our socially distanced meet up, he described his A-frame trellis he made for his tomatoes. I tried the single leader method this year with tall poles, but the tomatoes won again and some production and harvest were lost. He built long 4 foot wide beds with sufficient path between them. Put the trellis in the middle and planted on both sides of it. He has the advantage that his yard is flat where my garden is anything but flat, but I have a blade on my tractor that is 5 feet wide and I think if I take down the fencing, I can terrace my garden. We are not lacking for large stones that could be the retaining walls between long beds. If I did that, an A-frame like he described could be built and set and the tomatoes trained through the open lattice work which would give them more air and more light. I think shorter versions of it might work for peas and cucumbers that also tend to overwhelm my efforts. When he and his wife were doing the grounds work, stone masonry, and waiting for the shell of the our house to be complete so they could turn to the interior finishing, the garden which they started was much larger and was long raised mound beds ignoring the slope by just leveling the tops of the mounds. Returning to that plan might be the easiest method for me to use, but I still have the paths that get so weedy even when I put down cardboard or newspaper first. But I have been using old hay in the paths, so I have been setting myself up for a problem there.

The compost pile was moved this year and a box built where it had been. That box gets shaded from the asparagus in the morning and the garage in late afternoon, so that box is going to be removed, the compost pile started there again and the space where it is now will be incorporated into a long bed with the asparagus at one end. The peppers had enough space and they did fine. The tomatillos were trained up a garden stake and tied but late season, they had gotten so tall they were falling all over the bed they had shared with beans early in the season, so that wasn’t a big deal. The ground cherries that I wanted to try were just planted too late. I gave them about 20 days longer than the package said they needed, but it wasn’t enough, so they will go in with late spring plantings. The fall peas were not trellised like the spring peas, the package said they didn’t have to be, but they are a fallen tangled mess that the slugs have found, so I’m probably not going to get many if any fall peas.

It may be time to open the passage way from the chicken run to the garden and turn them loose in there instead of the yard and let them clean up bugs and seeds, scratch up the weeds before tackling the reorganization plan.

Today and tomorrow are the last two days of a very warm, dry start to November. Cooler, more seasonal temperatures and rain are due beginning Wednesday and lingering through the weekend. Taking advantage of the beautiful morning, the last of the beans were pulled for next year’s seed and the plant skeletons tossed on the compost pile.

I love how the pods become speckled with red. They are now spread out on a raised screen in the garage to finish drying. Once dry they will be packaged in a small jar or bag for next spring’s planting. That is one seed that is easy to save and pure as they are the only variety of bean I planted and the neighbor’s gardens are far enough away and separated by woods on both sides according to the Seed Saver’s book.

While out there pulling them, the ground cherry plants were pulled and put in the burn pile, the marigolds are dead, so seed head were gathered for next year and the plants with the remaining seed tossed into the chicken run, though they are out in the yard and don’t realize it yet.

They will sit out for a few days to ensure they are thoroughly dry before packaging them up for next spring.

I should go harvest Zinnea and Calendula seed too before it begins to rain, though the Calendula usually self seeds and plantlets can be dug and moved once they are up. Harvesting some seed would be insurance though. . . .

I’m back, my thoughts sent me back out to harvest more flower seed and to open the chicken run to the garden for the winter.

Zinnea, Calendula, and Marigold seed drying for storage. By opening the garden to the hens, I’ve basically closed the book on the 2020 garden. It was a good one, productive with lessons learned.