They Fixed It

VDOT actually came out yesterday morning and dug out the ditch and culvert. I didn’t climb down in the ditch to see how far into the culvert they cleared, but hopefully far enough that when it starts raining again later this week, the water will run under the driveway, not down it. They didn’t rebuild my mini berm across the top, I may take a load of watermelon sized rocks up there and make the base with them, then pile some soil and gravel over and behind it. That also help redirect the flow off of our driveway.

The Big Bad Harley is still in the shop in the city. Yesterday hubby checked on the repair and they are still awaiting the mirror.

Yesterday’s gardening and harvesting efforts produced more cucumbers even though I had pruned them severely, they are still provided a few more each day. Another half gallon of Turmeric Dill Quick Brine pickles was made this morning and is cooling on the counter enough to put in the refrigerator without breaking the glass shelf.

About a month or more ago, I fell prey to an ad on Instagram and foolishly ordered the product without carefully checking out the vendor. It wasn’t expensive, under $20, paid for through PayPal so the vendor didn’t get my credit card info. Yes, it was another Chinese company and after waiting forever, the product came and it was a “bait and switch” situation, not what I had ordered. An email to the vendor produced a reply obviously from a non native English speaker whose response was, I see you have filed a complaint with PayPal (I had not, yet), but basically said, I got what I ordered. It clearly was not. So I did file a dispute with PayPal, but of course, the original item is nowhere to be found in an ad now (so no screen shot and the confirmation email doesn’t specify the item), so it is my word against theirs. Yesterday, I received an email from PayPal saying they needed for me to file a police report and send them a copy. Our little county sheriff’s department would laugh me to the curb for filing a police report over a $20 claim to a Chinese company who has probably already changed their name. I told PayPal that and that I had learned two lessons, 1) not to order from a Chinese company, 2) not to pay for goods with PayPal. The vendor will win this one, a pure scam because PayPal will rule in favor of the dishonest vendor. I had just finished dealing with this when hubby because a rewards debit card he has awaiting but still had not come for three weeks that would be used to help defray the cost of the Harley repair, called the credit card company. These rewards can only be spent in the Harley shop for goods or services. The credit card company said they sent it digitally though he had specifically asked for a card because of difficulty using the digital reward at the shop once before. I went from the frustration of dealing with PayPal to the frustration of finding the digital reward email in his Spam folder, trying to help him log on to his HD site to find his password had expired and we needed the old password to create a new one, but the one he had written down didn’t work. A trip through the lost password, reset password route, finally got us to the reward which we were able to print as a pdf, but by then, I was snapping at everything he said, probably would have taken his head off for even saying thank you. Because his riding days are numbered, he isn’t using that card now, he is back to using our joint card that has cash rewards.

Though the mail did not bring his reward card, it did bring another new to me Jenkins Turkish spindle. It is a tiny Black and White Ebony Kuchulu, the ones that are only about 2.5″ in diameter, but perfect for toting in my bag in a little tea tin to protect it so I always have a spindle and fiber with me.

Here it is with the Kingwood Finch (about 4″ diameter) on the left and the Chechen wood Kuchulu and Olive Finch to the right. I love these spindles and the way they spin.

The young farmers came over yesterday right after lunch and got the hay baled and hauled off to the farm for winter feed for their cattle. It was a good first cut, they got 84 large round bales, plus three shaggy half bales, one of which they left for my use up by the coop. Usually the first cutting is down, baled, and moved by the end of the first week of July. All of the equipment is gone except for an old hay rake. They will have to ride one of the tractors back over with no attachment to pick it up. The upper field they did first is already a foot high and the stickweed (Yellow Crownbeard) is thick this year. It is such an invasive broadleaf weed. I sprayed some of it around the yard hydrant with the Citric acid spray and it didn’t touch it. The only fields that aren’t thick with it around here are fields that are sprayed with 2,4-d or ones that are sprayed with Round Up and seeded with grain or corn. We are going to have to get a bush hog again soon and I will resume mid summer and late fall mowing to keep it from going to seed. That doesn’t kill it, but it does help control it some. Even without reseeding, Yellow Crownbeard is a perennial that grows out from a rhizome crown and continues to spread outward. It has gotten worse each year we have owned this farm.

Stay safe everyone. This spring and summer have passed in a blur or what day is it questions. With little outside contact, I am ever grateful when one of our kids starts a stream of text messages about kids, gardens, or cooking. Not being able to see them, hug them, visit with them has been the hardest. Daughter will come by once in a while with her kids and we social distance, masked in the yard and that helps some. Last Christmas, she asked for her kids to be given activities with relatives rather than physical gifts and as a result, most all of their gifts have had to be cancelled, not just ours, but ones scheduled by daughter and the other grandparents. It was such a good idea at the time, but little did we know that three months later, we would all be in social isolation.

Morning in the Garden

The morning started off cool and foggy as most late summer morning do. After routine chores, I moved on to the garden, intent on getting it ready for some fall garden plantings. Armed with a spade, cordless drill, and some outdoor worthy screws, I did some more path weeding and tackled rebuilding the onion/garlic bed from early summer, the one that had literally burst it’s seams.

The box was put back together in the manner of the ones I repaired late last winter and early spring, placing the corner posts inside and attaching the boards to the outside of them instead of using the grooves that fail. It was moved uphill slightly to align it with the one next to it. The third one in the row is even farther uphill and when it is no longer growing, it will be shifted slightly down hill. Once they are aligned, I am going to install some of the long boards from the old deck to make a long bed instead of three smaller boxes and fill the paths between them. The thin cedar boards are not holding up and will soon rot away. The asparagus bed, you can see above the middle box is not in a box, but is bracketed on each end by one, so long boards will be used to create another long bed there once the asparagus ferns are cut back for winter. Some asparagus have escaped the original bed, so those crowns will be dug and moved back into the bed, knowing that it will stunt them for a couple of years. After repair and re-leveling, the bed was fed with some of the fermented comfrey and some of the comfrey tea. By the time some weeding had been done and the box rebuilt, the fog had burned off and the temperature already heading for the 90 degree mark, the prediction for the day. When it cools off this evening, I will move a barrow of compost over to it, dig it in and plant fall peas. Over the next couple of days, the longer bed where the mint had been planted will get the box made for it, compost added, and some other fall veggies planted. Later in the week there are rain showers expected and cooler, wetter weather next week which will be good for getting the seed started. The garlic will be planted where the first planting of beans grew and where the tomatillos are at the back of the box. When the tomatillos die back, that box will receive a load of compost and await the arrival of the garlic order that will come late fall.

For now, gardening is limited to early morning and late afternoon as it is too hot in the middle of the day to do anything physical outside.

This sunflower is a volunteer that came up by the side garage door. For days the bud looked like Audrey 2 from Little Shop of Horrors, but yesterday it bloomed. It isn’t the best location for a sunflower, but is is fairly short and thin stemmed, so it will stay and bloom.

After all the wet we had, the past few days have been very hot and dry, the new walled garden had to be watered for a couple of hours yesterday. Most of the plants that I transplanted to that garden survived. The purple Echinacea that I moved from a pot where it had been started from seed did not survive the move. It is too late to start it again, but there are two plants in front of the volunteer sunflower and one of them may be moved when it isn’t so hot out. About the time the garlic goes in the ground, I will plant some Baptisia seed that has to freeze before it will germinate. It’s blue flowers will look lovely in the bed with the purple and yellows of the other flowers there.

Stay safe everyone.

A morning surprise

I get up shortly after the sky lightens in the morning and go about my morning routine of personal hygiene, letting the pups out and preparing their food while they are out, heating the kettle to make a pot of tea I will drink iced during the day and to make my morning pour over mug of coffee, letting the hens out to a morning treat, and hanging the bird feeder. Once that is all done, I sit with my breakfast and a book or podcast. This morning, I had finished that and moved up to my chair to spin and post an update on the spinning challenge and the earth moved. There was a 5.1 earthquake about 100 miles almost due south of us. That is the second quake we have felt since moving here, things rattle and it is over, wondering what just happened. It was subtle enough here that it didn’t even wake hubby.

My spinning update had me clearing all three spindles last night and this morning. Everything was plied or wound into ply balls and two spindles were started with more fiber. One spindle is sitting idle for now. For the challenge, we spin a minimum of 25 grams during the month. We get extra credit if the fiber is a rare breed and as the challengers are worldwide, the rare breed list varies with the U.S. participants using the Livestock Conservancy list that is also used for the Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em challenge that I completed last year. As it turns out, all of the fiber that I was spinning qualifies as two were Shetland and one was Tunis.

The two Shetland fibers are blended with silk and that wouldn’t count for the Livestock Conservancy challenge, but does count for this, however when I asked, initially I was told it has to be pure or blended with another rare breed, so I had bought the Tunis fiber, the blue above. The teal is Gray Shetland and silk dyed, and the purple ply ball is Shetland and silk that is in the bowl with shades from ruby red to dark purple.

We went in to take a walk on the railgrade trail and there were so many people out, most not wearing masks and many disregarding social distancing, walking three abreast on the trail. We drop into single file when we pass someone, but few others bother. It was brutally hot again, about 90 f (32+ c), but dry. Fortunately, most of the section we walked is in the shade of the tree canopy.

Once home, since I was already hot and sweaty, I resolved to get some garden work done and see what I could harvest. The long shoots on the grapevine that are not bearing fruit were pruned back to the confines of the arbor posts. About half of the garden was weeded, sunflowers cut for the house, and peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes picked and brought in. Soon there will be beans again.

To give you some perspective on how sloped my garden plot is, the two tall sunflowers are both 9 feet tall, I measured them today.

When we moved here, there was a Korean restaurant in the next little town to the west. She has since retired and sold it to a BBQ place. Another Korean restaurant was supposed to open in Blacksburg, but the pandemic closing has halted that. I don’t know whether it will ever open there. Son 1 recently posted that they have started doing Korean BBQ and Chinese Hot Pot at home since going to a restaurant isn’t an option now. That inspired me to try a Korean meal. We will be having Pork Bulgogi bowls with steamed rice tonight. I’m sure it won’t be as good as Connie’s, but at least it will be different. I’ll let you know if it is repeatable.