Another hint at spring

After the 3 beautiful days, the temperature dropped from near 80 to low 40’s and it rained. Two chilly, dreary days. Today the sun came out, the temperature recovered to the 60’s with wind and a mild night, but tomorrow and Saturday nights, we have freeze warnings. After the two days of being cooped up, I gladly got outside today. The tractor helped me push over the big round hay bale. I have spent the winter peeling as much hay off the top as I could and had to tip over to get to the layers underneath the bale. The wet, compacted layers were hauled a strip at a time over to the garden gate and put down over the cardboard, weed mat, and to thicken the layers in the other aisles.

This will help keep the weeds down and make maintenance of the garden easier once it is planted.

This is Ms. Broody. I spent last summer fighting her broodiness and it has already begun for this year. I am going to put a leg band on her to make sure it is the same one each time and if it is, she will not stay as part of this flock. It is frustrating to feed a hen that plucks her breast feathers out and sits but does not provide over and over all summer.

On Monday, I received a tiny spindle that I have wanted for quite a while. The little tool spins cobwebs. The thread on the bobbin was spun on that little spindle, the thread to the right is sewing thread.

After filling the spindle twice, it plied to 48 yards and only weighs 8.81 grams (.31 ounces).

Tonight’s walk was off to the cow fields and then off road on our farm, to areas that can’t be mowed, that have the native fauna and flora, set high between two creeks.

The bony white cow in the back with all the calves is neighbor’s oldest cow and she seems to be the baby sitter, every time I see her she has a brood of calves with her and only one of them is hers. The “angel” sitting on the point was given to me by a boss when she retired. Every year since, I have received a holiday card from her with news of her kids and grand kids, and of a few former co-workers. I didn’t hear from her this year and have no one to contact in the area to see if she is okay. When she retired, she gave every member of the counseling office staff an angel to remember her by, she loved angels. When we bought this property, the angel was put on the point and visiting the point is getting more difficult now that nothing grazes up on that part of the farm. The bottom photo is a wild sedum of some sort that was all over the damp area around the point.

My Sanity

Let me begin by saying if you are reading this on Facebook, it is because I can share it remotely. I will not see any likes or comments you post on Facebook, only if you like or comment directly on the blog Post.

Day 64: Of our self imposed stay at home order. On March 31 it became a state order. Because we have no home pick up of garbage and recycling, we have made trips to the “convenience center” a few times. Our wonderful natural foods store has a pdf order form you can fill out, submit via email, they call you when it is filled, you drive up, call the pick up number, and your goodies are delivered to your car by a gloved, masked employee. We have made that trip weekly for 3 weeks, allowing fresh produce, cheese, yogurt, nuts, and a few other products we use regularly. We finally braved a drive through fast food a couple of times when we were picking up the goodies (how incongruous is that, fast food and organic grocery pick up). Cabin fever sets in especially when the weather isn’t conducive to the garden, mowing, or walking the hills.

Yesterday was our last average frost date, however, there are 3 nights in the next 5 where a frost is possible, so other than garden prep the garden is not happening for another week or so. When there is nothing to do outside, or the weather doesn’t permit much outdoors time, there are sanity saving activities indoors. The garden plan is finalized, so that nightshades don’t get planted in the same place two years in a row, or that the onions and garlic won’t go back in the same box this fall. I’m thinking of adding two more 4 X 4 boxes and a 4 x 8 box for next year. The space where the mint was removed and where the three sisters garden will go this year would hold them and keeping the paths heavily covered with spoiled hay will keep the weeds down. It isn’t difficult to clear a box with a hoe as long as the paths don’t overwhelm.

And of course, there is my sanity basket.

I rotate through the spindles, spinning bits of yarn, focusing my energy to creativity and slowing the process down so that it is not production, but enjoyment. I enjoy spinning on my wheels, but until a few weeks ago, had forgotten how much I enjoy the spindles. For some reason, spinning on the spindles doesn’t aggravate my arthritis as much as knitting does and the yarn is accumulating much slower than it does from the wheels. I did learn the trick to wind the singles from the spindle off on a small bobbin using my great wheel so that when the spindle is filled again, they can be plied together without tangling as they tend to do from the center pull cop using both ends to ply.

Yesterday we had to go into town to pick up a prescription refill for hubby and drove a bit farther to the shop where we bought our Stihl line trimmer 14 or 15 years ago. They have serviced it a number of times, fulfilled a recall for the gas cap once, and I needed a part to be able to use it again this year, as well as fuel mix and line. The shop is open, but you call from your car, let them know what you need, pay over the phone if not using cash, and they bring your order out to a table in front for you to pick up. It was very seamless, except a couple our age pulled up beside the driver’s side of the car, the man wearing a mask got out and started for the door. I was waiting, wearing a mask, by the passenger side of our car for our order to come out and pointed out to the man that he needed to call inside, that their doors were not open. He returned to his car, told the woman who was driving to call in and proceeded to walk to the front of our car. As I backed up, he moved forward. I backed up, he moved toward me making conversation. I was just about to tell him to give me space when the woman called him back to his car and spoke with him and he turned around and said, “She says I need to stay back at least 6 feet, is 12 enough?” I guess she had seen me backing away as he approached. After picking up my order, the employee was trying to get his information as he was leaving a line trimmer for repair and he walked as close as he could get to the gate with the table on the other side of it and pretended like he was going to pat the female employee on the shoulders or play patty cake or something. What part of social distancing don’t people understand and realize that his actions are not taken as playful. Times have changed. It is stressful enough to go out without feeling like you have to defend yourself from fools. At least he had on a mask, so many people aren’t wearing them.

Day 3 of beautiful garden weather…

but it is going to end tomorrow, 20 degrees f colder and 100% chance of rain. I took advantage of the day to do the fencing work on the garden. The chickens lost about half of their run around the garden. The south edge of it was about 6 or 7′ wide between the inner and outer fence and had 36″ high fencing on the garden side, plus there were gaps beneath the fence they could get under. I also realized that there were asparagus growing almost to the fence on the north side, and the chooks could reach my comfrey through the fence on the west side. That section was only about 3 feet long. I secured them in their pen and and removed the inner fence, set better posts, shifted it away from the asparagus bed and reset it only on the north and east edges of the garden, a narrow open topped tunnel about my shoulder width and 48″ fencing on both sides of the run. They have scratched nearly all the weeds out already, but because of my shifting of the inner fence to narrow their run, I have some areas in the edges of the garden that now need attention. I put a “gate” at both ends in case one of us has to go in the run.

This morning, we drove to daughter’s house and picked up the post pounder and I set 3 T posts from our supply and used a guide rope between the outer two so that the inner two were in line (that doesn’t usually happen when I am fencing). The sturdy exterior welded wire fence was moved in the 6 or 7′ to the south edge of the area that I plant. After I move a few rocks, that area can now be mowed and the working garden is fenced.

The tall weeds and grass are the old fence line.

I didn’t get to the spoiled hay down today because it was recover and dinner prep time by the time I was done. After dinner, I hung the gate.

And pulled down the solar charger so I can get a replacement battery for one of the two we own. All of the extra fencing was rolled and stored. All of the short cuts were folded up to be taken to the “convenience center” where we have to take our garbage and recycling.

While I was doing that work, the tiny spindle I was awaiting arrived in the mail. I thought the spindle I used the most was tiny, but this one is as small as it’s name, Bee Humingbird.

The ruler is for scale. It came in a little tin with the brown alpaca for me to spin. Tomorrow as it rains, I will spin, knit, and recover from 3 days of hard work. On Wednesday when it is dry and cool, I will move spoiled hay to cover the cardboard and weed mat. I will grab some old deck wood from the barn and terrace the upper third of the garden and get spoiled hay down on that path as well. One more day of weeding and hay moving and then it is plant and maintain. If I work a few minutes a few mornings a week into summer, the maintenance shouldn’t be too bad. My garden plan is done, the worst of the prep work is done. Now to start enjoying the fruits of that labor.