Where is Winter? – 1/15/2020

So far this is proving to be a mild winter, gray and drizzly. It suggests that stink bugs, ticks, and fleas will be prevalent this summer. It is so mild, that the weeds that are usually beat back in the vegetable garden in winter are not only growing, but thriving. Last summer, the garden was a lot of work and I tried to stay on top of the weeding, but was losing the battle with some of them. I never beat the mint bed and the Creeping Charlie is taking over and choking out everything. The garden is also too big for me to keep it all in rotation. I have looked at options for reducing the size, making some of the boxes 4 boards high instead of 2, but the perennials are at the two ends with a 4 X 8 bed of blueberry bushes that finally produced last summer, the 3 barrels that are old and fragile of red raspberries and I fear they would disintegrate if I try to move them and they finally have the raspberries contained at one end. The other end has the asparagus bed that is now 6 or 7 years old and produces more asparagus than daughter, a friend, and I can eat in a season. Those two perennial ends do control the garden size to some extent.

One side of the garden is a pathway away from the chicken pen for about half of the garden length, beyond the chicken pen is one of the worst patches of Creeping Charlie. I have considered pulling down all of the fencing and starting over. If the fencing was hard up against the boxes on the side that the chickens can reach, the length of the garden and if I keep the plantings far enough away from the fence to prevent long necks from reaching through to eat my veggies, perhaps their scratching would keep the weeds down on that side of the garden. The chickens won’t touch the Creeping Charlie to eat, but maybe their scratching for seeds and goodies tossed down there would reduce it. The sides of the garden nearer the house and south of the berries could be reduced and the boards from those boxes used to make the rear boxes taller so they are easier for me to work. The issue there is the post that has the solar charger on it is on that edge, though the charger is dead. Maybe it could be moved with the fence or just be removed entirely. If moved, I could hang a gate on it.

In April, the university has a service day that you can sign up for help. Maybe some help getting the fencing in order for the garden and chicken pen would be incentive to keep at it.

Today’s forecast looks like maybe the thunderstorms from a few days ago are going to be followed as the adage says with some snow to start the weekend. More likely it will be a sloppy mix of snow, freezing rain, and rain with little or no accumulation.

The hens must think it is spring. This week I have had a day with 3 eggs, one with 4, and yesterday I got 5. There probably won’t be any today, but that is okay. This is the first winter I have gotten any from my hens.

The warm weather has had me reluctant to use one of my Christmas gifts, a cast iron bread pan, but this bread is an easy loaf that can be made in just a couple of hours with no kneading, so we had a hot loaf of Herb and Onion bread for dinner one evening.

The drizzle outside, the doctor’s appointments, and now a pair of head colds between us have keep me indoors and instead of warping the loom, I finished spinning 4 ounces of Romeldale CVM that I got from my friend Gail (Sunrise Valley Farm) and got a generous 289.5 yards of light fingering yarn from it. It is now washed and awaiting the arrival of a purchase of mill spun alpaca, silk, wool blend yarn from another friend. The mill spun will be the warp for a scarf or wrap and the CVM the weft. I also spun 3 ounces of Coopworth from another friend, Debbie (Hearts of the Meadow Farm) and got 112.5 yards of worsted weight from it. I have ordered another 8 ounces of Coopworth that may be from the same lot, or will at least coordinate with it and it will become another scarf or wrap. I am going to try to spin some of it tight enough and fine enough to be the warp.

Today after a frustrating attempt to order a rigid heddle book online using a gift card, we went to Barnes and Noble and ordered it there. I hope to learn some new techniques and patterns to work into my weaving. With the 8 ounces of Coopworth to match the maroon above, I ordered another 8 ounces of this

It doesn’t really have a plan, but I have a 4.8 oz braid of BFL and Tussah Silk that might go well with it. I’ll have to wait to see how they spin before I decide.

Sounding ignorant – 1/12/2020

Don’t young people realize that their language usage is often one of the first ways that others judge them? While sitting in a local restaurant, a trio of college women were sitting in the adjacent booth. Two with their back to us, but the one sitting across the table from them was facing us, and she wasn’t speaking quietly. In two sentences, she used “like” half a dozen times.

Shortly after that, I was reading an interview with a young man who was identified as a journalist, and though he probably does not write the way he speaks, he also used “like” an inordinate number of times in just a few sentences.

Reading a news article this evening on student debt, an interviewer asked college students how much debt they had, what they thought about proposals to forgive debt, and whether they would be willing to help pay the debt for others. This comment again caught my eye. “Cause like, I have to make my own money, so like, if I make my money, like, I kind of want to keep my money that, like, I make, and not have to, like, give it to my friends.”

Does this young woman have any idea how that would sound in an interview? And when she isn’t hired, will she realize that her inability to put together a coherent sentence might have had an impact on her potential hiring?

“Ya know, like, you know, you like sound like ignorant, when you like speak this way.”

Corporate Lack of Customer Concern – 1/8/2020

In recent weeks, I have had to reach out to two major corporations concerning issues and their response has been apparent disinterest.

First, our heating pad failed. It was only a few months old, but I had not kept the box or the receipt, it was a store brand, but the store would not deal with it. I purchased a name brand heating pad from a different store, kept the box and the receipt as it said it had a 3 year warranty. It lasted a month and failed. On the company website the contact was for an online chat. The chatter’s name and language usage suggested they were not in this country, but I followed all of the procedures including submitting photos of various codes located on the plug, the receipt, and the heating pad and the chat abruptly ended. More searching revealed an email route, so I went through the entire procedure again, including the photos. That was the end of the exchange. I have received no further instruction, no refund, no new heating pad. Needless to say, I won’t support that company again, though they make a good many products other than heating pads.

Next, our primary grocer like so many others have a rewards program. This grocer’s rewards offer fuel points earned by purchases and some purchases have double up to 4 times value points. Before the holidays, they had two different rewards going. If you spent a certain amount during a several week period, you earned 20 to 40% off a general merchandise purchase. We needed new everyday glassware and chose to spend our 20% off on a set. When we got to the register, I asked if I had to do anything special to get the reward and was told no, it would come off automatically. It didn’t. Also before the holidays, purchasing gift cards earned you double fuel points. We purchased some cards as gifts. On Christmas eve, I realized we needed gas, but the grocer gas pumps were closed, so I stopped at a convenience store and purchased enough to await reopening after Christmas. On December 27, we went to fill the tank, the pump asked if I wanted to use the entire reward to which I prompted yes, but the price per gallon did not reduce and the pump wouldn’t let me cancel so I pumped gas, hoping that the points just didn’t come off but were still available. Making a grocery purchase after that, the receipt indicated that the points were gone. They got my benefit, I paid full price for my gas. An email to grocer’s Corporate explaining this produced no response and no refund of points.

They both got their money and the customer’s satisfaction doesn’t seem to matter. We have one other grocery option in town, but I don’t like the store and don’t get fuel discounts with them. Stuck supporting an uncaring Corporation or shopping in a store I don’t like. Conundrum.