Tag Archives: travel

Weekend 4/8/2017

At last post we were expecting extreme weather.  Thursday the trip to take grand daughter to pre-school rewarded us with 3 rainbow segments.

Rainbow

 

At one point it was very vivid and a near perfect arc with the end settled in the valley.  This was the first morning rainbow I have ever seen.  It was accompanied by falling temperatures and increasing wind.  It rained until late in the day when it turned to a wintry mix. Parts if the state experienced tornado activity and a lot of damage east of the mountains.

April snow

 

This was Friday morning’s greeting and it snowed off and on all day Friday.  There was snow on the mountain above us, just a dusting on the farm.  It never warmed more than a few degrees above the prior night’s low 30s.  Again last night, it was near freezing, but today it is sunny and in the low 60s.  The wind isn’t as strong as the past 48 hours, but it hasn’t fully subsided.  It was a good day to get that chick pen fencing done.  They did fine the past couple of cold nights in the unheated garage with a single mother table to warm them.  The brooder tub is much too small for their rapidly growing little bodies and they need to be moved soon.  By midweek, the days will be in the mid 70s, the nights in the upper 40s to low 50s and the chicks will be at least 5 weeks old.  If a makeshift gate to their pen can be completed, they will be moved to Huck’s coop.

Fence   Fence done

There is enough fencing left to make some sort of gate.  A hawk cover needs to be added before they can be turned loose in the pen. But they will have to spend at least a week in the closed coop to acclimate to their new, though temporary home before they can be given freedom of the run.  Once they are too large to get through the welded wire fence of the run, they will be relocated to the main coop and the old hens and Mr. Croak will be moved to the large cull coop.  I am thinking about moving the old birds this week and thoroughly cleaning the main coop, roughing up the run and planting it with the cover crop to get some green growing in their before the chicks move in.  The run could probably benefit from 5 or 6 weeks of no traffic and the oats, field peas, and vetch would grow quickly in there, it was a portion of the garden with good compost soil and it has lots of natural fertilizer that they have provided.

If the weather holds, the lower garden and the chicken run will be broken up with the long handled cultivator and the cover crop sown tomorrow and Monday.  The warm week and midweek rain should get a good start on the spring cover growing.

There are still some aisles in the garden to be mulched with cardboard and spoiled hay and plenty of cardboard still in the garage to use.

Evenings have been spent planning a vacation trip now that our passports have been renewed and back in our possession.  Hopefully, this will become an annual event.

This week, we scored two 10th row center aisle tickets to see Arlo Guthrie in concert in July.  This prompted a weekend plan and reservations made for a quick get away.

Loving life on our farm and the return of spring.

R & R and Thanks to my Love

We had a great and relaxing weekend away.  A weekend trip to visit our eldest son and his family near Front Royal was planned.  Their log home is not really set up for guests, though I have a cot there for when I am babysitting, so we booked a room in a motel in Front Royal, a short drive from them.  We got up there in the late evening on Friday and son came in to pick up the cooler of chicken, beef, and other frozen goodies and a large canvas sack of home canned goodies, eggs, and sweet potatoes so that we didn’t have to drive the dark curvy road to them after travelling there.  We visited in our room in our coats while we waited for the heater to get the room warm enough to settle into.

Saturday, a meet and greet was scheduled at 8:30 a.m. for me to purchased a support spindle and bowl from a fellow fiber artist that had listed it on Ravelry,  a fiber artist social network.  It turned out that she lived near Front Royal.  That was an anticipated purchase and the spindle and bowl are lovely and fun to use.

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It is slightly small and lighter than my other support spindle, so with my two remaining drop spindles, I had a 33% increase in spindles.

Our motel was situated with a median that required us to either make a U turn to get to the familiar road, or take a tour of the historic downtown to get to the other familiar road, and as we cruised down before the businesses were open, I spotted a Great Wheel in an antique store window.  After our transaction for the drop spindle and a visit at son’s house, sitting on the front porch on a beautiful warm morning, we lunched with them in town and had authentic delicious Mexican food.  That was followed by a walk downtown and by the antique shop on foot.  The 49 inch wheel looked sound and true, minus the quill.  My love bought the wheel for me as a 39th anniversary and Valentine’s gift.  We left it to be packed and drove a third of the Skyline Drive, stopping at overlooks to try and spot son’s house.  Though we could see his landlord’s roof, the houses to the left and right of them, their house sits in evergreens and deep in the hollow and we couldn’t see it.   After taking son and grandson home, rearranging the seats to make it fit, the carefully wrapped and padded wheel was loaded in the car and followed us home, a 50% increase in spinning wheels.

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Left to right, the nearly 200 year old Amable Paradis, the Great Wheel of unknown age, and the small light colored Louët with my stressless chair and ottoman my spinning stool and work baskets.

While online chatting with Bobbin Boy about the Great Wheel, they told me that the parts for the Paradis wheel were on their way back to me.  It looks like obtaining a quill for the Great Wheel from them is possible and affordable, so that purchase will be made soon.

Today was still warm, but very rainy when we visited again this morning at son’s house and for a portion of our trip home.  Then the sun came out and it went up to 80ºf in the Virginia mountains in mid February.  And they are threatening us with snow flurries over night today and a high half that tomorrow.  At home, a rearrangement of the loft was in order to accommodate the large third wheel.  By moving the love seat closer to the television, turning the desk and file cabinet, there is now a spinning studio for this fiber artist of the house.  A bit more needs to be done to better organize Cabin Crafted Soap and Yarn store supplies and packaging material and moving the bookcase of yarn and fiber from our bedroom to the “studio” needs to be done, but it has been a full weekend and the job will have to wait until tomorrow.

Once all the parts are here, a steep learning curve faces me to learn to spin on the two “new” old wheels.

Home again

In the past 10 days, Jim and I drove west to east across the state to meet our newest grand daughter, and I have driven from the southwest part of the state, north and slightly east to spend 5 days helping out at eldest son’s house and then home late yesterday.  The drive north on Monday was stressful as I had to drive Jim’s Xterra with a 22 foot extension ladder strapped to the roof.  The ladder or the straps holding it vibrated and rumbled loudly if my speed was greater than 40 mph and as the entire route is interstate and a 55 mph highway, except for 8 miles on our end and 8 miles on their end, I arrived stressed with a headache until I could chill out for a while.  Yesterday, I helped pick up a clothes dryer in the back of the Xterra and then began my trip home.  The trek back yesterday afternoon was quieter and a pleasant drive until late afternoon when I was headed west with the sun in my eyes.

Because of the solo time with them off at work and grandson at school all day, I got a lot of spinning done and most of the yoke of my sweater done.

aubergine

 

This is 400 of the 600 yards of sport weight yarn that was spun.  The last bit is still being plyed and wound.  The Wool was a 6+ ounce of Corriedale with Kid Mohair ball that I bought when at Roan Mountain in the fall.  When I got to Hawk’s Nest a month later, I pulled it out to spin and realized that it was slightly felted, perhaps to over dyeing and was disappointed.  I had bought 4 ounces of similar colored Merino at Hawk’s Nest and a friend suggested that I card them together which I did when I arrived home.  I was still not having much luck spinning it and set it aside.  After I got my new Louet wheel, I pulled it out again, and it spun like a dream, very smooth and even.  The Louet bobbins are so large that getting generous skeins is possible.  I had 375 yards plyed on one bobbin but decided to put it in 200+yard skeins.  The last will be finished tonight all 3 skeins washed and once dry, labelled.  I am pleased with the outcome.

Last December, when my cousin and I were in Norfolk, Virginia, alternately sitting with my failing Dad and walking the huge hospital campus while other family member’s visited, she introduced me to her Fitbit.  I decided that it might provide me with the motivation to renew a fitness routine, so I asked Jim for one for Christmas.  He purchased me one of the current models and for the past 11 months, it has been a great motivator.  In the past couple of weeks, I have noticed that the face was beginning to separate from the band and I mentioned it to my daughter in law as she also has one.  She told me to contact them and that they would send me a new one.  That day, I found their online contact form, took a photo of the damage and sent them a message.  This company, even on a Sunday, was quick to respond with a thanks for the photo and inquiry with a few questions for me.  When I responded that it had been a Christmas gift, purchased just a few days before Christmas and where I resided, they promptly responded with an acknowledgement that it would be replaced and they wanted my preferred size and color.  It turns out, my model is discontinued and the only ones they had were not the color I wanted and much too large so instead they sent me a newer model in the color and size desired and it arrived in less than a week.  This is a company that stands behind their products and were quick to correct the defect at no cost to me.  I now have a sleek new model that fits in the color of my choice.  This one does a lot more than my old one.  They deserve kuddos.

My cold continues to abate, however, I am still coughing, I guess that will continue for a week or so.

It got cold last night.  Our outdoor thermometer registered a low of 25ºf last night.  The farm was thickly coated with frost, the hardy marigolds succumbed to the cold, the two hanging geraniums on the front porch as well.  The herb pots that remained outdoors will be dumped of the remaining soil and on a warm day, washed out and turned against the house side of the deck to overwinter.  The remaining rosemary will be tucked in a sunny protected corner to see if it will survive, if not, there is a cutting rooted in the house to start a new one next year.  There is a variety that will overwinter in the ground here if protected, but I don’t think either of the varieties that I had potted will.  On one of the mild days this week, I will plant the garlic in one of the new garden boxes.  It will be mulched.  Two more boxes will be added this months and there is more cardboard to put between them and plenty of spoiled hay to mulch the aisles.  Winter is coming on.  Early darkness, spinning and knitting evenings with a cup of hot tea at hand.

Hope you had a good weekend.

Still loving life on our farm.

Fading of Autumn

This week has been spent away from home, helping out at eldest son’s house.  He works very long days at a university an hour and a half to two hours away depending on traffic.  Daughter in law is working even father away this week on an art installation of a piece in a commercial building that was commissioned by an artist with whom she works.  I have grandson duty, getting him off to school, supervising homework, guitar practice, evening shower, preparing him breakfast and dinner and seeing him off to bed. His Dad hasn’t seen him since Monday, his Mom since Sunday as she is not even trying to commute this week.  This makes for long solitary days in their rural home, lots of time for spinning, knitting, and a little reading, though the book I brought puts me right to sleep, definitely not one to recommend.

Being on the edge of the Shenandoah Park, I had hoped for some woods walks while here, however, the very first night I awoke feeling like I had been hit by a truck with head congestion and body aches.  Grandson was home from school all day Tuesday due to the election, I dragged my achy body to the grocery for some decongestants and a few groceries, fed him lunch out and came back to rest while he played outdoors with the two kids across the road.  Wednesday was cool and rainy and I didn’t want to be out in it, so I stayed in and continued to rest.  Yesterday I was beginning to feel better and it was a beautiful day, but exertion caused me to cough, so again I mostly stayed in and today is chilly and gray, though I have yet to build a fire in the wood stove.  Tonight is predicted to drop below freezing which will put an end to the plants on the deck.

My garden is long gone for the season, they moved in during the summer and did not have time to put in a garden, but there is a tomato on the deck.

maters mums

It is likely the tomato and mum will both be burned off by morning with another below freezing night predicted Saturday.

As I sit in the living room on the computer or spinning and knitting, I see the nearly barren ridge across the road.  A few evergreens and a few leaves, the color gone for this autumn.

view

 

Tomorrow, I will return to our farm, continue to winterize and plant the garlic for next growing season.  We had our first frost the night before I left and I pulled the remaining peppers and plants before I left home.  The cull chickens have another week to fatten, they will be killed and butchered on the 19th and I will be down to my laying flock for the winter.  We are still not getting but an egg or two each day due to molting and the pullets just not mature enough yet to lay.  Hopefully their production will pick up enough for holiday baking and having family in the house for the holidays.  If not, I will buy from a local farmer when I go to pick up our Thanksgiving turkey.  I raise a breed that lays in the winter, though not as prolifically as in summer.

I still have not adjusted to the end of Daylight Savings Time, maybe because of all the time on the road in the past week and the change in schedule here over home.  Maybe by next weekend, my first Holiday Market for the season.  I need to get my stuff organized and decide which displays I plan to take.  I am hoping for a mild, dry day.

I’ll check in again from home.  Have a good day.

 

On the Road Again

November is a whirlwind of activity.  It started off with the opportunity last weekend to drive across the state and meet our newest granddaughter, just 5 weeks old.  Her Mom and Dad are still in the first year of a rapidly expanding new business, so meeting their schedule and ours has been a challenge.  Friday was her big brother’s 10th birthday and we could not get there for that, but arrived after picking up the grands that live with us and delivering them to their parents where they work, just at quitting time as it was in route and allowed us to get on the road about 2 hours earlier than if we waited for them to get home.  It was a relatively easy drive for the first half, then just about dark, a huge accident happened on the interstate a mile or two ahead of us and we just sat in the dark unable to get off the interstate for about an hour and 20 minutes.  That put us at our hotel at midnight.  We did get a great full day with our son and his family on Saturday and I got lots of grandkids snuggles and plenty of baby love.

baby

She is a beautiful, good baby and very tolerant of being passed around, fortunately. Sunday we drove back across the state to resume duties with the grands at home and for me to leave Monday and drive north up the state, to spend the remainder of the week helping out with the eldest grandson, the 11 year old.

The car trip across the state allowed me to finish the Christmas Stocking.  I actually finished it early last week, but was very unhappy with the size, so I ripped it back to the end of the pattern chart and reknit the foot part closer to the chart and with a reduced heel and toe to make it a more reasonable size.  It needs to be steam blocked, lined and the personal tag stitched and sewn in.  I was also able to cast on the yoke of the Fair Isle sweater that I am knitting for myself from my handspun, hand dyed yarn.  The yoke is about 2/3 done and soon I will just be knitting in the main natural white yarn until I get to the bottom and want to add a bit of the color above the ribbing and at the sleeve cuffs.

sweater

Today being election day in the most horrific campaign I remember in my adult life, I am fortunately in a house with no television, with son and daughter in law at work, and since I voted absentee ballot weeks ago due to being 4 1/2 hours from my polling place, I can totally avoid the constant bombardment of the news media today.  The woodstove was lit this morning when the house was cold, and other than a quick trip to the grocery with grandson and a lunch out, I am staying in to knit and spin.  The outcome will be what it may and I can’t change it by watching.  I will find out the result when it is over.

spinning

 

Now back to my wheel, needles, or book with a cup of tea.  Try to have a peaceful day.

Return, Refreshed and Happy

This afternoon, I returned from the Fiber Arts Network Hawk’s Nest Spinning Retreat.  I was both a participant and a vendor this time, taking my soaps, lotion bars, and salves from my Etsy shop.  This group are all spinners, knitters, crocheters, weavers, felters, fiber animal raisers, so no yarn or knit wear was taken.  My roommate for the three nights is a good friend, think Lucy and Ethel, and we can laugh, giggle, and be a couple of lady friends away from their normal lives, so a good bit of talk about family, pets, responsibilities, cooking, gardening (both tasks we enjoy) and sometimes just having a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and being still or silly.  This time there were 40+ participants, both male and female, who spend 2 or 3 days enjoying each other’s company, having a nightly social hour, teaching and learning from friends.  Many of us vend fiber, equipment, books, knit wear, yarn, and in my case, items from my shop.

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New River Gorge bridge in the distance on a snowy day.

HN group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of the crowd, spinning &

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A very, very talented Lisa, needle felting for a Dr. Seuss birthday display at her local library.

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Her adorable menagerie that she made, with no patterns, this weekend to go with others at home and some she is still working on.

HN carding

Me being coaxed, cajoled to get over my fear of new things and learning to card two different rovings into a beautiful top to spin for my daughter to knit herself a hat and another time to blend two rovings into a luscious deep purple top with gray and blue undertones to knit into a dressy top for me on a Strauch finest double wide motorized carder.  The owner of the company, one of my friends and spinning group buddies, thank you Joanne for encouraging me on your beautiful equipment.

After a final lunch at Tamarack on our way home, we had an uneventful couple of hours on the road, arrived back to unload at friend’s house then I on to mine where inventory of sold goods and updating of the shop, unpacking, sorting the lovely fibers and bags that came back with me were done.  A delicious dinner prepared by me was enjoyed, and now I am looking at the photos and sharing some of my good time with my blog friends and family.

This was a much needed and much enjoyed mini vacation and trip away from the routines of home, great time with friends, fellowship, food, a successful vending event, and rest.  Thank you all who made this possible, holding down the fort at home, caring for my chicky flock, teaching me new skills, being good friends and family.

Holy Mother Nature!

Son #1 and Grandson #1 arrived in a horrendous rainstorm in the wee hours of Saturday morning after a harrowing bus ride from Northern Virginia.  Once everyone was up and fed Saturday morning, we set out to finish the Chicken Palace, the cull/meaties coop.  The plan involved using more of the leftover metal roofing to secure in the increasingly larger hole down each side of the coop to the ground.

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If you look at this photo from the day we built the main structure, you can see the triangular hole down each side as the back of the coop is a couple of feet higher than the front due to the slope of the land.  We cut the trapezium shaped pieces and fastened them to the nailers from inside the coop using roofing screws with the chicken wire that I had previously stapled up outside the metal.

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The front was half covered as well.  The coop still needs rocks or logs along the edges inside and out to discourage digging, but it is reasonably secure now.  If anything other than a bear can get it, it will be fairly small and probably won’t take on more than one adult chicken.  I also need to put up some fencing for a run to protect them from the dogs.  After we finished, we captured Midnight, the randy 20 week old Americauna cockerel; Romeo, the two year old Buff Orpington rooster whose spurs had become lethal weapons; Buffy and Buttercup, my two oldest Buff Orpington hens who proved not to be good Moms, they are the ones that abandoned they nests as soon as the younger hen’s eggs hatched.

Sunday morning, bright and early, before the family was up, Son and I dispatched the four of them to freezer camp, leaving us with no adult males for now.  The plan is to keep one of the cockerels from this summer’s hatchings to be the new king of the coop for next year.  We are on chick watch, with the last broody due to hatch the end of the week.  We have had a strange situation in the coop for the past few days.  The Momma hen who lost 4 of her babies two weeks ago and was placed in the coop with her remaining three, spent the first week taking them into a nesting box at night, then after a week she went up to a perch each night and the chicks wouldn’t follow, but instead, tucked under the broody who would accept them at night.  Mom would then take them outside during the daytime and teach and protect them.  I think last night, the chicks pushed 5 of her 11 eggs out of the nest.  I candled them and two appear to have chicks.  Since I’m not sure how long they were out, I put them back under Mom.  The other three do not seem to have chicks, so they will be discarded.

Late yesterday afternoon, Son, Grandson and I set out to take them back home by way of a 5 mile hike to Dragon’s Tooth and back to the car.  I managed all but the top smidgen of the up hike handling the steeps and even the rock scrambles until we got to this. . .

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I decided that with my bifocals and in a skirt, that though I might get up that, I wouldn’t safely get back down it.  The white dot just above center right is my 6’4″ tall son.  Grandson and son left me sitting at the base of this with my water bottle and finished the last 2/10 mile to the top of the tooth and then back to me.  We started out at about 5:30 p.m., made it back to the car just before 8 p.m. and took off for Northern Virginia.  With a dinner stop, rain and the semi trucks, and finally stopped by a huge accident on I-66 just one exit from his exit, we were about 1 a.m. getting there.

This morning we awoke to light rain and I took Son to work and headed for I-66 to return home.  Between morning traffic and harder rain, I missed my turn that I usually take and continued out Braddock Road as I knew I could get on the interstate farther out, but when I got to that turn, traffic was backed up as far as I could see in the direction I needed to go.  I turned south and headed for Manassas to get on there.  As soon as I climbed the ramp to the interstate, it began to rain barrels full and there must have been nose to tail semis in almost all lanes spraying more barrels full onto my little car.  I promptly got off at the next exit and headed south down the middle of the state on a route that I knew would get me home, but would take much longer.  I wasn’t too far down that route until it started raining so hard that I couldn’t see the car in front of me, my cell phone alarming “Flash Flood” warnings, and several inches of water standing at every intersection.  Needless to say, my 60 mph posted speed limit was more like 25 or 30 for about 2 hours.  Once I cleared the Charlottesville area, the rain stopped and the drive improved until I got back to the point of getting on the interstate again. Being tired and stressed, the semi traffic was too much to handle.  As soon as I could get off and take a back route home, I did.  The normally 4.5 hour trip took 8 hours, but I am home, the sun is shining and it isn’t miserably hot, so life is good.

To end on a laugh, Granddaughter just yelled up to me, “Mommom, what are we having for dinner?”  My response was that we are going to The Cellar (a local restaurant).  She fled back to her mom, fretting aloud, “Oh no, we aren’t having anything for dinner (she knows that part of our basement is the root cellar).”  I can only imagine what was going on in her little 3 1/2 year old head.

The Great Circle Wedding Weekend

Whew, what a weekend.  About 10 days ago, Mountaingdad came down with the symptoms that I had thought were allergies with me and I was mostly over, but as often happens with him, it went straight into bronchitis.  Last Tuesday, he went to the Doctor and came home with meds, lots and lots of meds.  We were scheduled to leave on Thursday and hoped that 36 plus hours on the antibiotic and prednisone that he would be feeling better.  We awoke Thursday and he still was not feeling any better, but we decided to go on anyway and hope for improvement.  We arrived in Northern Virginia to see our daughter in law’s senior exhibition prior to her graduation with a BFA in May.  As they don’t really have room for both of us in their house and because we didn’t want Mountaingdad to expose Son #1’s family to his bug, we returned to the hotel from hell down the street.  By the time we arrived, all he wanted to do was go to bed, so we checked in to the hotel and I took off on the Metro to met DIL at her exhibition to look around.  We had reserved a room with a single queen bed, got a room with two doubles which may have been good since he didn’t sleep much that night.  The heating unit in this room worked this time, thank goodness.

I did get to see the exhibition and we took Son #1 and Grandson #1 out for a quick dinner, got what rest we could and left Friday morning for Norfolk/Virginia Beach to my step sister’s wedding.  We were supposed to stay with our youngest son and his family and again feared exposing them to the bug that wasn’t going away, so we checked into a hotel.  Again, he stayed in bed and I went to visit with son and his family and took them out to dinner.

Saturday dawned and he still wasn’t feeling any better.  I had some goodies for my Dad and Stepmom to help feed their guests and for a brunch they were having this morning, so I left Mountaingdad in the hotel room and had a short visit with my Dad and their houseguests.  Afterward, I got him out long enough to get some lunch, still hoping for the best, but realizing that I was going to have to attend the wedding alone last night.  I dressed and was about to leave, when he revealed that he was feeling very dizzy and heavy in the chest.  Instead of attending the wedding, we ended up spending a couple of hours at a “Doc in the Box” making sure that his bronchitis had not turned into pneumonia.  We returned to the hotel with no change in diagnosis with a whole new regime of meds to try.  The hotel was hosting prom party rooms the first night and high school band competition groups last night, so not much sleep was had.

We left early this morning on minimal sleep to return home so he can rest in his own bed.  Nine hundred miles of travel in 4 days and very little family contact had, but we are home safely with no photos to share.  The new meds we hope will help this time and get him on the road to recovery.

Chaos to Quiet

What a week this has been and I hardly took a photo.  Last weekend we picked up eldest grandson in Northern Virginia and brought him to our farm for spring break so we had three of the grandchildren here with no parents.  The grandson that lives with us currently was in school until early release on Thursday for his spring break, so we mostly were caring for only two during the day.  Daughter and son in law arrived back here on Tuesday night, exhausted after taking two days to drive a mammoth truck with their goods here. Wednesday, Mountaingdad provided childcare while we unloaded the truck into two storage units, then helped us take the furniture out of our front bedroom to put their bedroom furniture in there.  Thursday after son-in-law’s successful interview, we moved our bedroom furniture into their storage unit.

Fortunately the weather last week was wonderful, allowing free range time for the chooks.

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They are loving the sprouting chickweed.  Tomorrow, the brooder pen will become home of 4 almost 8 week old Americaunas who will join the flock in a month or so, once they become acquainted through the fences and by fall, we should have some colored eggs to add to the one’s layed by the Buffy’s.  Some of the Buffy’s will be culled and hopefully, there will be some new Buffy’s to add to the flock.

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And nice weather for the cousins to run the fields and Mountaingdad to take a ride on the BBH to go the hour and a half to the dealer to have servicing and a flag added to the back.

Friday, I drove eldest grandson back to Northern Virginia in time for his evening guitar practice.  We ran errands that night and  yesterday morning and then I drove home, delighted to find daughter preparing dinner, so I didn’t have to worry with it.

Today we had our traditional Easter dinner of ham, au gratin potatoes, asparagus, deviled eggs and rolls mid day and daughter drove son-in-law to the airport to fly back to Florida for his last two weeks work there before he joins his family here and begins his new job.

It has been busy, this evening it is quiet and I will rest.

Loving life on our mountain farm and all of the young activity here.

A Weekend of Play, Responsibility, and Loss

The loss was not too significant, given that we still have about 6 weeks until we can plant tender plants outdoors, but as we were leaving for two days, one night, I left the light on my starter flat of tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers.  Most of the tomatoes and the tomatillos had sprouted, only a few of the peppers had shown any sign of sprouting. The light was very close to the clear lid on the sprouts and given the south facing window as well, it must have gotten too hot especially for the ones that had gotten tall enough to reach the lid.  I still have a few Jalapeno sprouts, one leggy tomatillo, but the rest are a burned loss.  This morning, I clipped the dead sprouts and replanted seeds.  This time, I am leaving the lid off and just spritzing the surface a few times each day.

Our away was a trip with the two grandchildren living with us to go to Northern Virginia to pick up our eldest grandson for his week of spring break.  We arrived mid afternoon and checked into the hotel just two short blocks from our son’s apartment.  The only things positive that I can say about the hotel were its convenience and its price.  We were on the front of the building, right across from the office with a busy street out front.  The beds had no foundation and were uncomfortably soft and unstable and the wall mounted heating unit, needed because the temperature dropped into the 20’s and the door had no weather stripping (we could see light around all 4 sides) sounded like a wind machine.  The thermostat in the unit did not work, so it was either too hot or too cold depending on whether I turned it on or off during the night.  The kids slept, fortunately, but Mountaingdad and I did not get 4 hours of sleep between us.  The kids were well behaved on the drive up and once we arrived at son’s apartment.  All of us went out to dinner together before separating for the night.  Son’s research showed us that a bus to the Metro left from in front of our hotel at 8:35 a.m. and he and eldest grandson were going to join us for a walking tour of the monuments on Sunday morning.  The car was packed and we were trying to make do with the free breakfast (bagels and grocery store donuts) when son texted that they found a bus a half hour earlier and could we be ready.

The Florida born grandkids thought the Fairfax connector bus and the Metro were great.  We got off on the Metro stop that put us nearest the Lincoln Memorial, a city walk of about a dozen blocks.  A lot of hand holding and herding were necessary to keep those two safe on Washington DC streets, especially since that grandson wanted to do everything that his almost two year older cousin was doing.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA bit of heavy reading on a man just studied in 2nd grade.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACousins posing in front of Lincoln.

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More monuments, the Korean War memorial, Martin Luther King memorial (also a recently studied topic), a history recitation by the eldest grandson on Jefferson as we looked across the water at that memorial, too far to walk with kids, and a little one who soon gave out, taking turns being carried by an adult, Uncle being the preferred carrier.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith a bit of coaxing and challenges to race, we got her on the ground again as we hit the homestretch, around the Washington monument with a jog up it’s hill to actually get to touch it and on to the Smithsonian Metro station for the train back to Vienna for the trip home last evening.  Many miles walked and tired kids.

The second grader was excited to see Washington.  Eldest grandson excited to be able to spend spring break on the farm, son and daughter-in-law relieved to be able to work and study this week without trying to find daycare for him and entertain him at night, and us pleased to be able to have 3/5 of our grandchildren in our home at one time with the responsibility to keep them safe and cared for in their parents’ absence.

Daughter and son-in-law are in route with a truck full of their household goods, hopefully taking it slowly and safely to arrive here tomorrow night.

While we were away, our haying farmer neighbor took out several cedar and locust trees that have interfered with mowing and haying and removed about a dozen boulder size rocks that have knocked more than one tooth off of his sickle bar and caused more than one nick in our brush hog blade.  His haying and our mowing should be an easier job this year.