True Spring is Here

We are 3 days from our last average frost date. Now I know what average means and to get that date, there has had to be frosts later than May 5, but looking ahead 10 days in the forecast, it looks as though the arrival of the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds at the feeder and our last frost occurred on April 20. I will wait another week from tomorrow to plant the tomato and pepper starts in the garden, but I did put a few of the puny ones that I tried to start in pots on the south deck. Their primary leaves were red rather than green and they came from a packet of mixed hot peppers, so I am curious about what they might be. Because it is a truly gorgeous day, I took advantage of the alone time this morning to remove the barrier fence from in front of the Daylily bed as they are large enough now to discourage chicken scratching, and moved it around the back of the garage to protect the Calendula and Echinacea seedings there as well as taking a hoe and knocking down all of the Lambs quarters that have sprouted in those beds.

I need a part for the line trimmer, line and fuel so I can edge those beds. The Bearded Iris look like they need to be thinned this fall, so I will have to get busy on my garden inside the stone wall to have a place to put some of them. I need to trim the grass down in there again with the line trimmer, then put down a weed barrier and fill it with soil.

First thing after chores, I realized I hadn’t seen Mama Wren flitting in and out of her nest in a day or two, so I took a peek and the 5 tiny birds have fledged.

Bird’s nests fascinate me that such a tiny creature can locate, move, and construct a birthing house. After having had several chicken hatches here and seeing that within half a day they are up, moving around and looking for food, and comparing them to other birds whose eggs hatch into large mouthed, nearly naked creatures demanding food, caused me to look up incubation and fledging times. A song bird sits on her eggs about half as long as a chicken, then the newly hatched birds spend the next two weeks demanding food and growing into their head size and growing feathers before they fledge. Poultry type birds sit on their eggs longer and their young peck out of the eggs more fully developed. And I already have a broody mama-wanna-be Oliver Egger hen. Though I love their green eggs, they are such a broody variety that I will not get Auracana, Americana, or Oliver egger chicks in the future. I spend my spring and summer trying to discourage the natural behavior. Maybe I should just get some fertile eggs and let her sit. I think I want to return to a tried and true breed and only have one breed when these hens are replaced, perhaps in the fall. If I could get fertile pure Buff Orpington eggs, I would put them under Broody Mama. I need to mark her so I can see if she is the only one or if all of the Olive Eggers take turns.

Now that the Wren is gone, the day stellar, more gardening will be done and the overgrown Barberry bush pruned back.

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.