Stones, Clouds, and Turkeys

Our cat Timmy sometimes likes to sit on our headboard, mostly at night when we are sleeping. The problem is that he starts to gnaw on it, which wakes us and isn’t good for the headboard. In fact, I now wake when he first gets on the headboard and then I swat at him with a pillow until he leaps off. Last night Timmy got on the headboard, which woke both EJ and I, and we both yelled at him to “Get down!” “Knock it off!” and he sprang from the headboard right onto EJ’s stomach, as if it was a trampoline. Timmy has done that too me before too. It’s very “oof” and annoying. When Timmy jumped on EJ’s stomach last night, EJ said, “I think Timmy is mentally ill.”

This morning EJ and I walked down to get our mail. Overnight we had received almost an inch and a half of rain and I was dismayed to see that with so much rain, gullies were beginning to form again alongside our driveway. EJ said not to worry. He pointed to a hill and told me that the soil isn’t eroding there because the plants are holding it in, and when plants grow along the driveway, it won’t erode either.

Ok, so I pushed the anxiety aside.

Later, the Gravel Guy arrived with a truck full of crushed limestone, which is also called stonecrete because when it gets pressed down it’s about as strong as concrete. He said it would absolutely fix our driveway problem. With all the work we’ve been doing on the driveway, I’m becoming knowledgeable about types of gravel and soil.

There are actually two Gravel Guys, one older and one younger. The younger one came today. He expertly dumped the stones on the driveway as he drove down it, forming an even layer so we didn’t have to do much shoveling. Mostly we just raked the high spots so they were level. After he dumped the first load, he went back for a second load, which he dumped on the lower half of the driveway.

EJ had a nice chat with the Gravel Guy. The Gravel Guy told him that we have become recognized at his company as very honest and “good” people. He told us that he would bring us a truckload of potato stones–stones that are the size of potatoes–to fill in the gullies. They will allow the water to drain down without taking the soil with it. He said he’d only charge us $100 for the truckload instead of the $500 they usually charge. The $100 is actually only covering his fuel, EJ said. What a gift!

After the Gravel Guy left the second time, we took our time raking the stones in the driveway so that it was level. Occasionally we took breaks, sitting on our park bench at the top of a hill, sipping tea, and enjoying the beautiful autumn scenery and weather. Mostly there were dramatic clouds, sometimes there was sunshine, and other times it rained a bit. We’d always wait until the rain ended and then go back outside. Often our cat Tesla joined us, as did Danny.

As we sat on our bench and drank in the beauty of our property, we discussed how deep-down content we are to be living here. We struggle with stress and anxiety because we are physically and emotionally exhausted, but underneath we are deeply happy. EJ often says that he has never been as happy as he is now. JJ said the other day that even though he doesn’t really know what to do with his life, he feels very happy up here. And I also often feel a deep happiness. We often exclaim that we can’t believe we live up here where it’s so beautiful.

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After we finished working for the day, we came inside, JJ texted that he was out of work and on his way home, and I began making a very good supper for us all: steak, corn-on-the-cob, and salad. When JJ arrived home, he said he had had a crazy day. Apparently a man had paid his purchases–$7 total–with a $100 bill. JJ gave him change with $10s and $5 since his cash draw had recently been emptied by the manager. Cashiers don’t keep a lot of cash in their drawers. The man apparently had an anger problem: He threw a terrible fit and told JJ that he was the reason the store franchise is dying, yell, yell, yell. When the manager came over to deal with the man, he accused her of not knowing how to run a store. Sheesh. I was proud of JJ because he was very calm and polite–although later he told the manager that he will never again wait on that man.

Peering through the blinds at the baby turkeys who are waiting for their Mama to tell them it's safe to join her.
Peering through the blinds at the baby turkeys who are waiting for their Mama to tell them it’s safe to join her.

About 6 p.m. or so, EJ whispered urgently, “There are turkeys outside!” We stop everything whenever we see turkeys, deer, or other interesting things. We went from window to window watch the adult turkey and four little ones go around the house. An adult turkey always goes first to check that it’s safe for the little ones to join her (or him?). The Mama turkey came around the house and saw or heard us, so she walked back and forth in front of the house, softly calling put-put-put to warn the little ones to stay where they were. I looked out of the window in JJ’s bedroom and saw the little ones holding still at the top of the hill. I thought, “Wow! It would be nice if human children were so obedient!” Then I saw the children walk off into the forest. I thought the Mama had told them to, but apparently they didn’t have permission and weren’t so obedient after all because when I went outside a short time later, I heard the Mama put-put-putting more loudly than I’ve ever head her before and I also heard a bunch of whistling. I told EJ that I was really afraid that something was threatening the turkeys. He said that the Mama was just calling for her little ones and the whistling was the little ones answering as they tried to rejoin each other. Whew! I’m glad they weren’t in danger.

Here is a video of the turkeys calling to each other in the forest. I didn’t actually see them. They all were silent when I got too close to the forest.

 

 

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