Each day I try to get in a walk. We used to go to town nearly every day for lunch and take a walk on one of several paved trails, but with the Stay at Home order, the walks are limited to home areas as even the marked trails in the National Forest are closed. When the weather is too wet, because our road is not paved, I will concede to walk on the treadmill, though my tolerance of it is much lower than being outdoors. Yesterday was miserable, cool, windy, and rainy so to the treadmill I went. I am trying to keep up my stamina which doesn’t work on flat walks very well, so I spent 35 minutes walking at 3 or more miles per hour at an incline of 6 to 8%, then a few slow minutes flat to cool down. It was a good workout, but boring. We have a TV down there and I put it on a music station, but I can’t hear it over the machine without turning it up so loud it drowns out the upstairs TV that hubby is watching.

Today is a cool but sunny day so I took off up the road, then off road for some exercise. Our road has a cattle grate set in it not far beyond our house then I am in the middle of fields with cows. There was a calling back and forth between the various groups today. When I headed out, they were all off in the distance. When I go off road, I challenge myself.

This steep moss covered hills crests to a high spot where I can look down on the hollow and our house. Back down this hill across the pasture I see groups of cattle munching on hay.

This young one was more interested in me than the hay. Back on the road home, there were two cows with their calves that I had to walk quietly by. One calf was nursing and not at all concerned about me, the other’s mom was unconcerned, but the little one was less sure.

Before I left to wander the hills, I turned the hens loose for free range time. Only 7 came out, so I peaked into the coop and found the other two sharing one nesting box (there are 6 boxes), and instead of side by side facing out, they were 69’d.

One head, one fuzzy butt.

It is nice to be able to get outside and enjoy the beauty of this area.

Cool, rainy days

Looking ahead at the next 10 days of weather, it looks like frost may be behind us. Today is much cooler than yesterday, but tonight the temperature doesn’t fall but a couple of degrees. Cool, rainy days are bread days. There is a loaf and a half of homemade bread in the freezer, but no more rolls for sandwiches that call for a roll rather than a slice. I pulled out the mixer and the dough bowl and made a batch of the sandwich roll recipe, dividing it into 8 rolls instead of 6 at the recommendation of a friend that made them after I did a couple weeks ago. They are a much better size. I also used half whole wheat flour with the all purpose to make them heartier an healthier.

And pizza dough rising for dinner.

My walk in the drizzle up to check for mail revealed the beautiful Dogwood at the top of the drive in full bloom, though they aren’t really, as it is just the colored modified leaves showing now, the real bloom in the center hasn’t opened yet.

On my way back down to the house, I saw the Momma Wren fly from her Barberry Bush nest so I took a peek.

Though the one in the garden failed, this wren has 5 hungry babies hidden away. I will leave them alone as I can see the nest from the utility room and will see as they get ready to fledge.

Yesterday, we went to the local nursery and though I tried to start my own pepper and tomatoes, they look puny and leggy, so I purchased my pepper and tomato starts for the garden. They are under the grow light with hardening off time when the wind and rain permit. I have tried numerous times to start my own starts and never had good results. The 14 starts are healthy and strong and cost less than the 4 packages of seed. I guess I should just plan on buying them each year. I wore a mask and was pleased that all the employees and other customers had on masks. They didn’t even handle my debit card and I had taken my own container to bring them home. Another couple of weeks and they will go in the garden. In the meantime, I need to finish the weeding and prep.

Time to uncoop

It has been 6 weeks since our self isolation began, since we have been able to sit with and hug our kids and grands. This week, I was supposed to demonstrate at the museum for classes from one of the local schools. In a week, we were supposed to go to 2 plays at the American Shakespeare Center with Son 1 and family and bring eldest grand back for a weekend basketball camp. In two weeks we were supposed to take 3 of the grands to Great Wolf Lodge for two nights, their Christmas gift from us. None of that will happen. Nor did the trip to see Son 2 and his family, including our youngest grandson who we haven’t been able to meet, but we did get an adorable photo of him with two of his sisters.

Very little additional work has been done on the garden since digging up the mint. I hoped that the Carolina Wren would return to her two remaining eggs, but she has not, so when we have a day that isn’t raining or under wind advisories, I will finish weeding the box she was in, work more on the mint that is popping up everywhere there was a piece of root left, and dig out the area for the corn and climbing beans. We are still about 3 weeks from last frost date and we had a frost Sunday morning that nearly did the begonias in because I didn’t cover them. It also damaged all the asparagus tips that were up and made them inedible. There are more sprouting, so a few days from now, they can be harvested if it doesn’t freeze again. It is supposed to be cold tonight, but not cold enough for frost and we have a wind advisory again. I tucked the begonias up against the house and covered them with a beach towel.

The dogwoods on the mountain are blooming and seeing them and the elderberry flowers on my walks is a pleasure.

The hummingbirds are here and frequenting the feeder in the front. A red bellied woodpecker has started feeding on the suet cake hung with the feeders in the back. Compared to the tiny songbirds, it looks huge, though I know they are only a medium sized woodpecker. I’m still not hearing the owls at night which is a spring and summer pleasure.

When I’m not cooking or baking, I am spinning on the spindles. Working to get enough spindle spun yarn to knit a sweater for me. It slows my production by not using the wheel. The tiny Kuchulu turkish spindle by Ed Jenkins is my favorite to play with, but I can only get about 42 yards of yarn per cop on it.

My isolation mini skein collection.
The shawl is coming along when I knit. I am on the second skein and not until I uploaded this did I realize how neutral the colors were.

I worry about the small local businesses that have had to be closed and whether they will ever be able to reopen, but also worry that reopening while the virus is still spreading will just cause a surge of cases and more deaths. It is a frightening time.