This last weekend the sun shone and the temperatures were very warm–up into the 60s. I almost put the screens back in and opened the windows, but I didn’t. I was busy with other projects, and I know that we can still get snow. In fact, I read that we could get snow at the end of this week.
But with the sunny and warm temps, I hung the laundry out on the clothesline to dry on Sunday. It felt good–like the first time going outside with a jacket and shoes instead of winter coat and boots.
I also raked out the dirty straw in the chicken coop and put in fresh. Of course, I do this in the winter time, but it’s more pleasant doing it when I’m not freezing cold. As I worked, I imagined how I’m going to fence in the yard to keep the deer out of the gardens and to let the ducks and chickens “free range” as much as possible while still keeping them protected from predators. If we fence in our back yard, they will pretty much–almost–have as much ground as if they were free-ranging, but they still will be fenced in. It makes me sad when one of the birds dies, although I read in duck and chicken FB pages and groups that sometimes predators do kill them…so I try to emotionally prepare myself to expect losses. I don’t think I’m really cut out to be a homesteader because I hate when my animals die, even though I really enjoy eating meat.
If we fence in our back yard then we can’t have our firepit there. So we moved the fire ring thing to the front yard. (It’s not exactly a fire ring, but I don’t know what else to call it.) Although I don’t yet know the exact spot that I want the fire ring, I plan to put it more or less in this location–in front of the huge rocks as far from the forest, long grass, and house as we can reasonably get it. This requires moving the lilies that are growing in front of the rocks. I wanted to move them anyway–they are spreading and I don’t want them to take over the hill. Their roots grip the soil so firmly that they are hard to dig up–but they are easier to dig up when they are just poking up from the ground in the Spring than later when they are full-grown. I know this because I tried to dig some of them up in the autumn and gave up in exhaustion. At EJ’s recommendation I used a potato fork, which is the size of a shovel but has tines like a pitch fork. I filled a wheelbarrow full and then planted them along the driveway in between my rock dams. I figure that with their roots gripping the soil so tightly, they will help stop erosion–and they will look pretty lining the driveway. Battling erosion is my ongoing project in warmer months.
Monday I spent the afternoon digging up another wheelbarrow load of lilies and planting them along the driveway. Our driveway is very long so it will take a lot of lilies. I still have another wheelbarrow load or two to dig up, but I can’t do it today because it will be raining all day.
The other day I saw a video of a rooster playing with a soccer ball. It was so cute that I put a small ball in the chicken pen. My chickens couldn’t have been less interested in it. In fact, the ball had been lying out in the yard because we had thrown it to Danny last summer– but Danny wasn’t very interested in it either. Sigh. My animals are apparently not ball players. Oh, well.
I have been using an upsidedown saucer sled for the ducks’ pool–because it is shallower and easier to fill and dump out. It’s also study so if the water freezes it won’t get damaged. I can’t wait until the danger of freezing temperatures is over so I can hook up the hose and get out the bigger and deeper kiddie pool for the ducks. But that time is not yet, not yet….
Now that Spring has arrived and the bears are waking up, I have put away the bird seed and suet. However, I have a new use for the suet feeder: Danny has weird hair and whenever I brush him, I always accumulate a huge pile of his hair. Usually in the Spring I throw his hair outside so the birds can use it for their nests, but this year I decided to put it in the suet feeders. I haven’t yet seen any birds take away any of his hair, but it’s there if they want it.
Yesterday the walkie-talkies that JJ ordered arrived via UPS. It is a sign of Spring that the UPS man was willing to drive all the way up to the house instead of putting JJ’s package in The Magic Box at the bottom of the driveway. JJ wanted water-safe walkie-talkies so he could communicate with us when he’s out kayaking without risking water damage to his smart phone. He set up the walkie-talkies and then tried to teach me how to use the handset that EJ and I will be using. He told me not to say anything dumb over the air, since it’s possible that others could hear us. I asked him why I should care if someone thought I said dumb things since they didn’t know who I am, but he gave me The Look, which apparently means he thought I had said something dumb. He told me that “my” handset was designated the base radio and that we had to use code to talk. I exclaimed, “Oh! Oh! Can I give our base handset the code name ‘The Coop’? Then I could use code words like ‘Return to The Coop’ or ‘The Rooster has crowed’ in spooky spy-like whispers.” JJ was not impressed. “There is a standardized list of code words to use with two-way radios like this,” he explained with exasperation, “and if you don’t use them, you could get me in trouble with the FCC.” Later, when his Dad got home from work, JJ showed him his radio and explained how to use it. EJ pushed the talk button and spoke like the adults do in the Peanuts comic strip, “Bwha bwha bwha bah bah,” he said and then we both laughed ourselves silly. JJ said, “You do realize that people probably heard you say that,” looking as if he wanted to start banging his head against the wall in frustration. I suspect JJ will regret letting us have a handset because I know that I will have trouble resisting using my own code words…and his Dad will have trouble resisting saying silly things. Oh, well.
As the sun sets each evening, it usually lights up a band of trees at the top of the next hill. Often the sun makes the trees golden, but the other day the sun colored the trees in red. It was very beautiful. The the weather changes our view each day.