Personal Reboot

When I was younger, I never had sleep issues. I have always been an early to bed, early to rise person, but as I am aging, the sleep schedule seems to be off kilter. I still want to be in bed by around 10 p.m., but often awaken around 1 a.m. and can’t get back to sleep for a few hours. Then when the sun comes up, I don’t feel rested and often stay in bed dozing and waking for another hour or so.

Determined to examine my habits and see if I can get back into a healthier routine, I have signed off of Facebook. I realized that too many of the posts were virus or politics related and that caused me stress, because of the total saturation on TV and social media. I found that where I used to just skip through it, I was making snarky comments or wanting too and refraining from doing so which then caused me more stress. I have avoided reading news feeds. I can’t totally avoid the news because I am not alone in the house and my husband is a television watcher and news feed reader and so I hear it on the tube or we have conversations about an article he saw or read.

Through out my adult life, I have quit caffeine and started caffeine again in the form of coffee or tea. That is an area I can control and have returned to a policy of not drinking a caffeinated beverage after lunch. With the stay at home orders, my diet has cleaned up considerably as all meals are at home and I am controlling the ingredients, the seasoning, the fat. I have never had a problem with alcohol or tobacco, so that hasn’t changed.

We were already in a habit of walking nearly every day, but generally on a mostly flat paved trail. Being at home, the walks are on our rural road or the fields and as we live in the mountains, I can challenge myself by going off road and climbing steep terrain or stay on the road, which still has some significant elevation change over it’s mile. I can now leave home and regardless of the route, keep walking without having to stop to catch my breath and let the blood pressure pounding in my ears settle. Though I enjoy walking on the flats with hubby, I can challenge myself more alone.

With spring here, there is garden work, a lawn to be mowed and edged, and those are added to the daily cooking, cleaning, laundry chores, so I stay busy which keeps me from nodding off in my chair. I do take breaks and spend the evenings in my chair with my spindles and knitting to keep my hands busy and allow my mind to focus on creativity instead of news and other stressors.

Maybe it will help. Maybe not. Time will tell.

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.