Rain-Soggied Straw

Yesterday I waited until the ground had a chance to dry a little, and then I went outside to work.

I shovel some of the dirt from the raised bed into the wheelbarrow. When I had a generous amount, I mixed in the two bags of wildflower seeds. Each bag was 2 pounds of seed–one was a wildflower mix and the other was a butterfly/bee mix. I scattered the mixture along the driveway. I could have used several more pounds of seed, but I can always buy more later.

After I scattered the seed, I found an empty poultry feed bag, put it on the ground in front of the coop, and lay on it while I shone a flashlight under the shed to see if the ducks had laid any eggs under there. I didn’t see any, so I found two long old boards and laid them along the front of the shed so the ducks can’t get under it.

I dragged out the lawn mower. It took a few pulls to get it started. When it started, it sounded rather sluggish and after about a minute it died. EJ will have to figure out what is wrong with it…probably this weekend. I have a hostile relationship with lawn mowers and sometimes they make me so frustrated that I have to take deep breaths so I don’t beat them into scrap metal. We have had multiple mowers refuse to start–or even die. I don’t know how to fix them when they won’t start, which means that I have to wait for EJ to work on them–or until we can buy another mower. At the village where we used to live, there was an ordinance that said grass couldn’t grow more than 6 inches tall. If it did, the Village would mow it and then charge the homeowner $50. Whenever the mower didn’t start down there, I got nervous because I didn’t want to pay $50. At least I don’t have to worry about that up here–but I have read that one way to prevent ticks is to keep the grass short. So although I don’t have to worry about living in a village that charges $50 for mowing too-long grass, I do have to worry about ticks hiding in long grass. I’m not sure which I hate more.

Yesterday I saw an ugly black spider right next to the light switch in the garage. It was large, but not as huge as the wolf spiders. I considered spraying it with spider killer spray, but it was right above the poultry feed and I didn’t want to risk poisoning the ducks and chickens. So I grabbed a handful of diatomaceous earth and threw it at the spider. It covered the spider in gray dust. Later I went in the garage and saw it was still next to the light switch, so I threw another handful of diatomaceous earth on it. This morning it was gone. I’m hoping it died. I used to feel–and even taught JJ–that spiders must die if they are in the house, but we shouldn’t kill them if they are outside. However, my sentiments have changed since we moved north where there are giant wolf spiders. I taught JJ too well when he was younger so he tries to protect the spiders, but he doesn’t understand that giant spiders in Enchanted Forests are always evil. I kill them when he and his Dad aren’t around. Sometimes they see dead wolf spiders on the pavement in front of the garage and they suspect–and rightly so–that I have killed it. Sometimes I use spider killer spray but many times I grab a nearby shovel or rake and pulverize it. We are at war.


Today was another beautiful day. The temperature was both warm and cool enough to make working pleasant. Every day there is more and more green in the forest. I guess we can officially say that we have survived our second winter in Northern Michigan.

Straw along the driveway

When I remove the dirty straw from the ducks’ side of the coop, I just rake it into their outside pen. Today I spent the afternoon raking up the winter’s accumulation of rain-soggied straw from their outside pen, putting it in the wheelbarrow, taking it down the driveway, and placing it on the wildflower seed and the lilies along the driveway to hold in moisture. Our driveway is about 500 feet long and it took me four–maybe five (I lost count)–wheelbarrow loads to make sure the seeds and lilies had a bit of straw on or around them. I would like to have put more straw on them, but I had to stop to fix supper. Plus, I was very tired and my feet really hurt. It was time to call it quits for the day.

Sleeping duck

Later, after EJ and I had eaten supper, I looked out our bedroom window and saw that one of the Pekin Ducks (the white ones) had fallen asleep with its head resting on the edge of the pool. I thought, “Awwww!” and ran to get my camera. I really enjoy watching the ducks and chickens.

JJ finished most of his classes on Tuesday and has his final exam for his last class today. The class ends at 7 p.m. so he’s not home yet. He is excited about the semester ending and his new job beginning. He starts his new job on May 12th.




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