Whew, I’m back then gone again-8/26/2019

These few weeks are on the road. Away last Thursday to help out family with packing and as transportation as they prepare to move. Time was spent enjoying their company and some time alone at their house with empty boxes to fill with books, music, and linens. Thursday was hot when I arrived and after picking up grandson, we waded in the cool creek before preparing dinner.

The tiny fish darting around our feet and a few crawdads skittering away if you disturbed their rock.

Friday was rainy but much cooler and the time that everyone was away from the house was used to pack boxes, clean up the garbage that the bear got into and taking photos of the jewelweed with rain drops on the leaves.

Saturday after grandson’s volunteer time at the library, he and I drove to a local State park and walked a trail that his Mom’s Master Naturalist group had done and looked at some of her art used on the signage. It was a beautiful mild day for a nice gentle walk in the woods.

Sunday after a late breakfast out with everyone, he and I used my Lifetime Senior Pass for the National Park system to drive up on the Skyline Drive and hike a couple miles up a mountain trail, mountain goat on a couple of the rock piles, and back down the trail. I guess there were too many people out to see any wildlife other than a few butterflies.

On the way back off the Parkway, we ended up behind this lanky young man skate boarding down the Skyline Drive wearing earbuds, so he probably couldn’t hear the traffic behind him. Eventually the car in front of us, us, and the line behind us were able to go around him. It was a very long down slope, quite steep at some points causing him to do tight S turns to slow himself. I hope he made it safely without causing anyone else injury because of his stunt.

Other down time was spent spinning on one little Turk and plying on the other slightly larger Turk and knitting on a small shawl. I was so enamored with the last issue of Ply magazine that I read it through cover to cover and took it with me to reread. I had two books with me and finished one, but found the second one of zero interest to me.

I’m home for a few days to get laundry done, the house vacuumed of dog hair, the chicken coop cleaned out, then off again later in the week for a long weekend with friends as a vendor and participant at a fiber retreat. When I return from that, again a few days at home to clean up and unpack to repack and return to help the moving family out for a few more days.

The garden has given up on tomatoes and cucumbers. The sunflowers are drooping and need the heads cut. The tomatillos are not really producing anymore, but I am hopeful that there may be a few more to harvest. The peppers are heavy with fruit and there are a few pumpkins, but the chickens got in my garden every day I was gone and destroyed the fall plantings and the cover crop beds. I guess those beds will just be covered with hay for the winter instead.

Olio- 8/6/2019

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

I arrived home yesterday morning, having left son’s house at 6:15 a.m. when he and grandson left to catch the vanpool for son to go to work and grandson to begin another basketball camp hosted by the University coach. We had the vet due at the farm about an hour and a half later. The big guy can no longer load and unload and he needed a couple of vaccines and a snap test. Since she was going to be here, we had her look at the German Shepherd who has a lump on her snout and also needed the snap test done. Both dogs are heartworm free and the cytology on the snout lump showed no infection so we are on watch mode there. The big guy loves most people, doesn’t mind the vet, seeming to enjoy the extra attention. The German Shepherd is skittish as they can be and has to be on a leash and wearing a soft muzzle for most of her exam, but she allowed the attempt to draw fluid from the lump without too much squirming.

After that visit, I felt like I had already done a full day so we went to town to run errands and get lunch only to find that a huge area housing many of the non fast food places were experiencing a power outage that ended up lasting well into the evening. We decided to get a bit farther away from there and stopped at Zaxby’s. The clerk at the counter looked like either a recent retiree or soon to be retiree. After taking our order, he said, “I guess I could give you the senior discount.” We didn’t know they had one and I quipped, we certainly are eligible. He smirked and said, “I bet I have a year or two on you, I will be 61 in September.” Well, I couldn’t resist letting him know that I have more than a decade on him and hubby stating that he was older than I was. That made me feel good for the day.

This morning, we set out to get a newspaper, chicken feed, and dog food, and they were just putting out fresh produce at the community store. I know it isn’t local nor organic, but my tomatoes aren’t doing well, so we purchased a 25 pound box of tomatoes to bring home. After several hours of standing coring, peeling, chopping, cooking, and canning, I no longer feel young. I got about 2/3 of them done, cored the rest and put them in the freezer to finish with some from the garden tomorrow. My water bath canner holds 6 pints or 8 half pints. The first batch was herbed tomato sauce and ended up with 8 pints, so two were packed in wide mouth jars and will go in the freeze, the other 6 were canned. Batch two was pizza sauce and there was enough to fill 9.5 half pint jars, 8 were canned, one will go in the freezer and the remaining quarter pint fit in an open jar of pizza sauce in the freezer to be used first.

The remaining tomatoes will probably be made into spaghetti sauce and a few half pints of it cooked down to more pizza sauce. We do enjoy homemade pizza with my sauce, local mozarella and local Italian sausage.

Daylily season if my favorite flower season. Of the dozen or so varieties, this one, call Sear’s Tower, given to me by a friend, is the last one blooming, the rest finished a couple of weeks ago.

The old timers here, have a saying that every day of August that has fog will produce a snow during winter. I am not superstitious, if it were true we would never get out this winter. This is the 6th of August and we have had dense fog every morning so far.

Once the fog cleared and I was standing at the kitchen sink dealing with tomatoes, I looked out to see a flock of 8 Tom turkeys grazing across the back yard.

The broody Oliver egger won’t give up. I have tried cold water, isolating her from the nesting boxes and other hens for 48 hours and nothing has worked. This is the third time she has become broody this summer, stopping and laying for a week or so then going back to broodiness. I give up. I guess she will give up eventually, I take eggs many times a day so she is sitting on empty nests. I think this fall, I will purchase 4 Buff Orpington chicks if I can get them and raise them over the fall so they will lay next spring and not try to raise more than that, they will provide enough eggs for us. In the spring, a small flock of Freedom Ranger or similar meat birds that grow to full size in only a couple of months will be purchased and raised separately from the egg laying hens. The cost of pasture raised chicken at the farmers’ market, since we have the facilities to raise them, makes it worth our time and effort.