It’s done, it’s done

Yesterday and today were glorious dry, blue sky, spring like days and I was going to rest and recover. The storms attacking the southern states are headed our way and tomorrow it is going to rain and rain and rain. I have been trying since December to get VDOT to come clear our culvert and re dig the ditch above it as the crusher run from the last maintenance has the ditch filled almost to the road grade. I have filed work requests online, talked to them on the telephone, filed another work request and still no action. Yesterday, DH and I went up with the tractor, a garden fork, and a shovel and the two senior citizens managed to get a 5 foot area cleared above the upper end of the culvert, however the pipe itself is about half full of debris and the ditch above is still full of gravel and sand. We don’t want the rain to create gullies in our driveway. I filed a follow up report with VDOT to let them know that we managed to barely open it but it still needs work, but I doubt it will come to any good. When I filed one last July, they came and did the work but left the work order open. When I file again, they just close the new work order, leaving the July one open. When I called, I tried to get her to close the July one and leave the December one open, but she closed December and wrote comments. So that day of rest and recover was shot.

Today we went for a walk on the rail grade, then went and got the remaining bags of mulch and since I didn’t rest yesterday, I went ahead and put down more weed fabric and mulched the back side that I had run out of mulch doing a few days ago. There are 3 bags left to use after the garlic is harvested and that last box is closed in. I dug up most of the comfrey that was on the side of the garden and moved some of it up to the upper corner where last year’s compost had been and some of it to the walled garden I built last summer. That will allow me to mulch up to the top of the box that is unfinished for now.

To make sure the new starts are well protected from possible hail tomorrow and three nights of freezing temperatures, I reinforced the mini greenhouse I had built. After the storms tomorrow and before Friday night’s 27 degrees, I will add an insulation layer of some sort over it as well.

The chicks are now 3 1/2 weeks and 4 1/2 weeks old. Three of them still look like cute little chicks, but most of them are gawky adolescents with long legs and little feathers sticking out all over the place, and they try to fly out of the brooder every time I move the baby gate that is on the top.

It doesn’t take long for them to cease being cute little fuzzy creatures. After the cold weekend, they will be moved to the big feed tank brought into the garage to give them more space. They empty the feeder and the water daily now. In about a week, the big hens will be moved to the other coop and locked in for about a week to get them used to that location and the smaller coop will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized so it can get dry before the little ones move out there in mid April, where they will be locked in for a week to get used to their new home. Some dustbath holes need to be filled, the run possibly shortened as there are some spots where the smaller birds could get under the fence.

Knowing that the run will be a muddy mess tomorrow, after I locked up the hens, I tossed down a new layer of old hay so I don’t fall on my keister when I go over to let them out in the morning.

Somehow in my efforts to feed all the critters, lay mulch, and clean me up afterwards, I managed to cut my left index finger (I’m left handed) and my right second finger so now both hands are sore. All the garden effort and the skin injuries have certainly cut into my spinning and knitting time so far this month. I have managed to spin enough of the Dorset Horn to knit two squares for my Breed Blanket Project, and just enough to count for the other challenge has been spun. Maybe with the rainy days ahead and with nothing else that can be done in the garden until planting time, I can finally rest and recover and maybe get some more spinning and knitting done.

This is the first square for March, now there are two.

I just finished reading “The Salt Path” by Raynor Winn, a memoir of a year in her life with her husband after double devastating events. It certainly caused me to stop and be thankful for what I have and my health, even if I come in sore, bruised, and battered from my farm and garden work. It is well written and well worth the time to read.

I would like to read her second book, but it isn’t available at our library.

Another Week Closes

It was a glorious winter day, bright sunshine, no clouds, and temperatures that remind you that it is winter. We have some cold rain, maybe a real winter storm being threatened for mid week. As that forecast firms, plans to be ready for snow, ice, and potential power failure will be made. A couple of meals prepared that can be reheated on the wood stove, a bathtub filled with water for dogs and toilets, the big 5 gallon water jug we used when camping filled for cooking and drinking water, loads of wood brought in to the basement and garage for heat. These plans are usually in vain, but we did have an ice storm a number of years ago that took our power out for a week and those preparations were necessary.

We ventured in to town today to pick up our curbside grocery order and as usual, a few items not available and substitutions that were not acceptable offered, but not items that were vital.

The second fiber I was spinning for the month was finished today and more knitted on the square that I pulled off of the blanket when it had been knit as a strip.

I think that I will aim for a 24 breed blanket so that each month there will be an official breed and an unofficial. This month, the official breed was BFL, a very soft wool, the unofficial one is the gray Masham, a longwool that is drapey but to me not next to the skin soft.

Each day this week, there have been two Houdini hens, two of the Oliver eggers. Usually by the time I went out to try to lock them back up each day, it was either time to prep dinner or it was too dark to figure out where they were getting out. This morning before I let them out, I walked the perimeter of the run and discovered that they had tunneled out near the far end of the run. I large blocky rock was wedged in the hole and today they were foiled. They are finally providing enough eggs for the household each week.

So far it is just the Olive Eggers, the pinkish ones are the oddball Olive Egger that doesn’t lay Olive eggs. The lighter green ones are still fairly rare, but the dark Olive and pink ones are coming with regularity. The Welsumers and the reds aren’t back in production yet.

Today marked 4 weeks since I set up my Christmas hydroponic herb garden. Time to rinse the reservoir, refill and feed the young plants. They are all growing, not enough for cooking with yet, except the dill, but they are large enough to pinch off bits and taste them.

I think the dill is going to need a pruning, so a recipe that calls for it needs to be planned. My favorite recipe other than making dill pickles is to use dill in sauteed carrot coins.

To add to the household goods and car that have failed this week, the Epson Ecotank printer that was still printing black but not color decided tonight to not print black either. I have looked for repair around here, but there is no one that works on household printers. We still have the laser jet, but it isn’t networked, it has to be plugged in to the computer, prints only black, and doesn’t copy. I thought the Ecotank would save us money in the long run and I haven’t had to buy cartridges in two years, so that may have paid for the printer, but now it is a paperweight.

We have begun the process of researching cars, not something I wanted to have to take on at our ages, but necessary. Still no call on the vaccine for me, an email was received, asking for patience and letting me know that they were working through the current groups but focusing on 75 year old and up and essential workers, so I wait.

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.