Emotions and Mistrust

The current political climate in our country is disturbing and each incident seems to make it worse instead of improving the situation. I’m not just referring to right vs left, GOP vs Democrats, but anti-science vs science, masks vs non-masks, whether a protest is a protest or a riot and how many days of protesting is effective or becomes fuel for bad behavior not necessarily promulgated by the protesters, but then blamed on them.

I would like to believe that as an educated, free country, that sane discourse could be held to resolve differences, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. My brother sent me a video that was funny, yet disturbing as an interviewer asked questions and when the interviewee answered and then was challenged with factual information would basically say, “I don’t care, my mind is made up,” and they didn’t see the irony in that disparity.

People are untrusting. I was very disturbed by a news article about a young black man stopped while jogging as a possible suspect in a domestic assault. He was cuffed, held for over an hour, and forcefully put in the back of a police car. And though he wasn’t the perpetrator they were seeking, he was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. That situation is so wrong on so many levels. He was asked his name and DOB which he refused to give and by law he didn’t have to, but if he had, the situation may have ended very differently as they had the name of the man whom they were seeking. The mistrust of police and even each other has caused a lack of common sense.

When we were kids, our house was never locked except for when we went on vacation. You trusted your neighbors. Cars were not locked in parking lots, there was no need. Now you wouldn’t think of not locking your car or your house, you trust no one.

I go no where without identification on me. It is unlikely I would be stopped and challenged, but who knows in these times. What used to feel like a free country is feeling less free and are we tearing ourselves apart by our actions and divisions. In these times, I think more and more about my Dad. He was on a Peacekeeping task force. He would be so disturbed and distraught by our current times. Our grandchildren are not going to grow up in the same environment as the one I grew up in. We saw change happening and there were those that resisted, but it looked for years like it was change for the better and was being accepted, but now I question whether the resisting factions were just being silent and have become vocal and worse.

We are all the same on the inside, regardless of our color, gender, religion or lack of on the outside. Young children seem to recognize this until they are taught differently by their elders. Maybe we should be learning from them, not teaching them.

They Fixed It

VDOT actually came out yesterday morning and dug out the ditch and culvert. I didn’t climb down in the ditch to see how far into the culvert they cleared, but hopefully far enough that when it starts raining again later this week, the water will run under the driveway, not down it. They didn’t rebuild my mini berm across the top, I may take a load of watermelon sized rocks up there and make the base with them, then pile some soil and gravel over and behind it. That also help redirect the flow off of our driveway.

The Big Bad Harley is still in the shop in the city. Yesterday hubby checked on the repair and they are still awaiting the mirror.

Yesterday’s gardening and harvesting efforts produced more cucumbers even though I had pruned them severely, they are still provided a few more each day. Another half gallon of Turmeric Dill Quick Brine pickles was made this morning and is cooling on the counter enough to put in the refrigerator without breaking the glass shelf.

About a month or more ago, I fell prey to an ad on Instagram and foolishly ordered the product without carefully checking out the vendor. It wasn’t expensive, under $20, paid for through PayPal so the vendor didn’t get my credit card info. Yes, it was another Chinese company and after waiting forever, the product came and it was a “bait and switch” situation, not what I had ordered. An email to the vendor produced a reply obviously from a non native English speaker whose response was, I see you have filed a complaint with PayPal (I had not, yet), but basically said, I got what I ordered. It clearly was not. So I did file a dispute with PayPal, but of course, the original item is nowhere to be found in an ad now (so no screen shot and the confirmation email doesn’t specify the item), so it is my word against theirs. Yesterday, I received an email from PayPal saying they needed for me to file a police report and send them a copy. Our little county sheriff’s department would laugh me to the curb for filing a police report over a $20 claim to a Chinese company who has probably already changed their name. I told PayPal that and that I had learned two lessons, 1) not to order from a Chinese company, 2) not to pay for goods with PayPal. The vendor will win this one, a pure scam because PayPal will rule in favor of the dishonest vendor. I had just finished dealing with this when hubby because a rewards debit card he has awaiting but still had not come for three weeks that would be used to help defray the cost of the Harley repair, called the credit card company. These rewards can only be spent in the Harley shop for goods or services. The credit card company said they sent it digitally though he had specifically asked for a card because of difficulty using the digital reward at the shop once before. I went from the frustration of dealing with PayPal to the frustration of finding the digital reward email in his Spam folder, trying to help him log on to his HD site to find his password had expired and we needed the old password to create a new one, but the one he had written down didn’t work. A trip through the lost password, reset password route, finally got us to the reward which we were able to print as a pdf, but by then, I was snapping at everything he said, probably would have taken his head off for even saying thank you. Because his riding days are numbered, he isn’t using that card now, he is back to using our joint card that has cash rewards.

Though the mail did not bring his reward card, it did bring another new to me Jenkins Turkish spindle. It is a tiny Black and White Ebony Kuchulu, the ones that are only about 2.5″ in diameter, but perfect for toting in my bag in a little tea tin to protect it so I always have a spindle and fiber with me.

Here it is with the Kingwood Finch (about 4″ diameter) on the left and the Chechen wood Kuchulu and Olive Finch to the right. I love these spindles and the way they spin.

The young farmers came over yesterday right after lunch and got the hay baled and hauled off to the farm for winter feed for their cattle. It was a good first cut, they got 84 large round bales, plus three shaggy half bales, one of which they left for my use up by the coop. Usually the first cutting is down, baled, and moved by the end of the first week of July. All of the equipment is gone except for an old hay rake. They will have to ride one of the tractors back over with no attachment to pick it up. The upper field they did first is already a foot high and the stickweed (Yellow Crownbeard) is thick this year. It is such an invasive broadleaf weed. I sprayed some of it around the yard hydrant with the Citric acid spray and it didn’t touch it. The only fields that aren’t thick with it around here are fields that are sprayed with 2,4-d or ones that are sprayed with Round Up and seeded with grain or corn. We are going to have to get a bush hog again soon and I will resume mid summer and late fall mowing to keep it from going to seed. That doesn’t kill it, but it does help control it some. Even without reseeding, Yellow Crownbeard is a perennial that grows out from a rhizome crown and continues to spread outward. It has gotten worse each year we have owned this farm.

Stay safe everyone. This spring and summer have passed in a blur or what day is it questions. With little outside contact, I am ever grateful when one of our kids starts a stream of text messages about kids, gardens, or cooking. Not being able to see them, hug them, visit with them has been the hardest. Daughter will come by once in a while with her kids and we social distance, masked in the yard and that helps some. Last Christmas, she asked for her kids to be given activities with relatives rather than physical gifts and as a result, most all of their gifts have had to be cancelled, not just ours, but ones scheduled by daughter and the other grandparents. It was such a good idea at the time, but little did we know that three months later, we would all be in social isolation.

Hazards of steep gravel roads and rain

Last week, VDOT spread crusher run gravel on the steep state maintained gravel road on which we live. On Thursday, we had heavy rain for several hours and all of the gravel uphill, washed down into the ditch above our driveway until the ditch was level with the roadgrade, filling our culvert so the rain had no diversion from running down our driveway. A couple of years after we moved in, we were having the area around the house regraded to smooth out rough areas that the contractor left and removing large rocks from behind the house. At the same time, we had the driveway regraded so that water would not run down and cause gully’s, we had a culvert installed under the driveway near the house to also redirect any water away from the house. When the upper culvert fills, the driveway takes a hit.

The last two photos are the ditch at the top of the driveway. I have made a telephone report and was told I would be texted a service report number which I never received. Today, I filled out the online form and hit submit and got a message the page did not exist and was redirected to their “new” form which I submitted. After dinner tonight, I went to work with the tractor and the grading blade we purchased a few years ago.

Most of the gullies are filled and leveled, but I won’t dig out the ditch, VDOT is going to have to do that, hopefully before it rains again. I’m too old to dig it out and the tractor bucket makes a ditch that is the wrong shape and doesn’t clear the culvert hole. It would be nice if they would dump some crusher run at the top of our driveway. Having a cattle grate there would help eliminate the problem, but then the motorcycle wouldn’t be able to get out. We will see when and if the state makes the repair.