Olio – a miscellaneous collection of things.
This is a weekend of family. Eldest son and eldest grandson rode the late bus in last night, arriving in the wee hours. We started slow this morning with a good breakfast of our eggs, bacon, tortillas and homemade banana walnut bread. We followed with some family visiting and catching up while daughter, SIL, and the other two grands went to their last swimming lesson of the current sessions. After a brief trip for books and gravel, we tackled the basement soffit reconstruction. Due to the leak we were experiencing last fall and winter, the soffit that was sheathed with drywall was blistered and crumbling and eldest son ripped it down to the framing at Christmas to help us diagnose where the leak was originating. We had had a roof repair made that had not cured the problem prior to that. Seeing where the water was coming from allowed the leak to be actually fixed and we left the soffit open until we were sure that we no longer had a problem.
They came this weekend to not just visit, but rebuilt, this time using beadboard paneling and pine trim that can be unscrewed and taken down in the event of a future need to access the plumbing, electrical, and heating ductwork that all converges in that area of the basement. Mountaingdad and I had made a run to Lowes on Friday to purchase most of the necessary wood and screws to make it happen. Some ripping with the circular saw, cutting with the jigsaw, fitting and screwing in place and we now have this much done.
Tonight, after a homemade Mexican food feast, he and I returned to Lowes to get more trim pieces that we realized we would need.
Earlier this afternoon, I told son that both of the surviving chicks from last summer had developed into beautiful young roosters, however, with only 8 hens, we didn’t need two randy young males spewing testosterone in the flock. I thought we could wait until problems began to deal with it, however, when I went out to lock them up at dusk, the boys were cock fighting and once in the coop, attacked a hen, so I captured the first one I could grab and he is now in the freezer, to become soup at some time in the future. My flock is down to 9, but the hens and the Foghorn Leghorn will be happier. Hopefully, we will be able to successfully raise some chicks this summer and we will increase the flock to 12 or 14 hens and Foghorn Leghorn.
Since my return from the spinning retreat, I have been having a fairly significant arthritis flare. My right basal joint has been a problem for several years, as has a shoulder injured 38 years ago. The basal joint treated with injections, surgery and finally just splinting when it is too aggravated. Today, while I was holding the beadboard sheets for son to cut, I noticed that my finger joints were beginning to swell. I guess that was inevitable. Some recent research on foods that trigger inflammation and foods that help calm it has caused me to alter my diet in the past couple of months. Though I have enjoyed some other benefits from the diet change, it hasn’t really helped the joint pains if I overdue as I am prone to do. Perhaps it is also a result of the fickle weather we have been experiencing with days of the 70’s followed by days in the low 30’s, rain, then sun, then snow. This is springtime in Virginia and if you don’t like the weather, wait for 24 hours, it will change.
Tomorrow afternoon, I will drive son and grandson home, spend the night with them and then take them to the Metro station early Monday for them to go away as a family for a few days and I will return home. Our week is supposed to be more springlike, maybe if it stays dry, some garden cleanup can begin. The garlic is up several inches and will have to now be protected from the chickens, the blueberries never got a good weeding in the fall, but I have been stockpiling newspaper and bought a hay fork, so I will layer newspaper and cardboard around the bushes and pile on some spoiled hay for mulch. I’m looking forward to playing in the dirt again.
Hopefully, the snow we had Thursday night was the last measurable snowfall of the season with more warm days to come. Another couple of weeks and the turnips, onion sets, and peas can be planted. I’m trying to figure out a way to allow the chickens to continue to wander the aisles of the garden and among the blueberry and raspberry bushes to help keep the weeds down this year and to allow them to feast on the unwanted bugs. I can’t fence each row, some crops are too tall to row cover, but I will figure it out.