The night-time temperatures in our area have not consistently risen above the high 30s. The last couple of nights the temperatures dipped–into the low 30s and even the 20s. We’ve had had frost/freeze warnings. We turned our furnace back on. Although the overnight temperatures have been low, we had been enjoying warmer temperatures during the day–into the 50s, 60s, and a couple of times even into the 70s. However, yesterday the day-time high was in the low 40s and there was a strong breeze and the weather today is much the same. I don’t mind the colder temps at night, but the cooler temps during the day makes it a bit unpleasant to work outside. Brrrrr. I’m feeling more affected by the Spring chill than by Winter’s cold. I think it’s because the weather is warmer one day and colder the next and I don’t have time to mentally adjust. Or maybe it’s because I am working outside more in the Spring than the Winter. Whatever. I’ve been wearing my coat and hat and shivering a bit.

However, despite the chill and wind, yesterday was sunny so I hung laundry out on the clothesline. When I brought them back in the house at the end of the day, I inhaled their fragrance. Ahhhhh! They smelled like a cool, breezy early Spring day in Northern Michigan.

EJ was planning to spend the day building a rack to hold all the bits and pieces of wood he brings home from work. He works in shipping building boxes to ship parts in. He is able to bring home any leftover bits of lumber, which he can use to create projects around home. He has quite a supply of wood, and if he can get them in a rack, he can finish organizing his garage.

Before working on his rack, EJ decided to work on the stupid lawn mower that won’t start. We both thought he could just clean the spark plugs and air filter and “voila!” the lawn mower would be ready to use. However, it didn’t go as planned.  Of course, it didn’t. EJ spent the whole afternoon working on the stupid mower. He finally got it to start, but it always died after a few seconds.  He suspects it could have “bad gas” in it. He will continue to try to fix the stupid mower, but if he can’t find the problem we might end up having to buy a new one. Grrrr. I have a hostile relationship with lawn mowers.  My “super-power” is my amazing ability to find lost items, my kryptonite is that I can find lost items but I can’t find myself (I get easily lost), and I told EJ yesterday that I’m quite sure my arch-nemeses are lawn mowers. I sometimes suspect that my lawn mowers are actually Decepticons, sent to earth to destroy me.  For those who never had little boys who watched the Transformers cartoons, the Decepticons are an organization of villainous machines. They can disguise themselves as normal looking machines…like lawn mowers.

Decepticon Transformer

Poor EJ was never able to get to his project because he worked on the evil Decepticon lawn mower all afternoon.

Boxes in the Duck Pen

Besides bringing home bits and pieces of wood, EJ also brings home various-sized wooden boxes that for one reason or another weren’t quite “right.” I took some of these boxes to the outside duck pen to use as raised garden beds. With the beds in the duck pens, the ducks can patrol them and eat insects that menace our crops. That’s the plan.

However, I’m sort of in a stuck place right now. I know EJ wants to make sure the beds have proper drainage. The old raised beds the previous owner left behind do not have drainage so we have to remove the dirt and put holes in the bottom. Then EJ wants to put in a layer of stones or something, and then refill with fresh dirt. We will probably dig up the dirt from where the old dog pen used to be. That is one of the few places on our property that isn’t sand. Our whole area is mostly sand. In fact, our official Michigan state soil is named after the type of sand in our area. Anyway, I can dig the dirt out of the raised beds, but I don’t know exactly how EJ plans to put holes in the bottom of the raised beds, or where we will get the stones, so I’m rapidly reaching the a point where I can’t make a lot of progress without his help. But at least I could move the boxes to the duck pen.

I’m hoping we can get the raised beds all prepared in time to have a garden this year. This will be the first year we will have the time to care for a garden. We moved here on June 1, 2015 and were busy most of that summer moving our possessions from the old house to our new house. When we weren’t driving hundreds of miles between houses, we were busy working on the driveway, which had deep gullies caused by erosion along–and in one place across–our driveway. Some of the gullies were knee deep! We put in drainage tile and shoveled 90 tons of gravel, stones, and dirt into the gullies. Here are photos of our driveway in 2015 and this year:

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We spent June 2016 making repeated trips downstate to finish removing our possessions from the old house–mostly the garage and basement–in final preparation of selling the house. It was such a relief to get rid of the old house! After we signed the final papers, I told EJ that I never want to travel below highway US-10 ever again. US-10 is where most residents–including me–believe that Northern Michigan really begins. It’s where there is noticeably fewer fields and more forests.

This is the first year we will not be taking all those long trips downstate. I look forward to staying home! I’m not sure if we will get all the raised beds prepared in time to plant, but we can at least grow a few things in the hot tub garden. Something is better than nothing, and we can keep expanding our garden beds each year.

Yesterday was JJ’s last day working at the grocery store. He came home whooping with joy! He is really looking forward to starting his new job as a park ranger. I thought his first day on the job was going to be May 12th, but apparently he will start on May 16th. That means he has a week off with no school and no work. If it warms up enough, he hopes to go kayaking.

JJ’s shift ended at 8 p.m. last night. Shortly afterwards, a friend he met at college came over and they set off a few fireworks out in the yard. JJ was thrilled when he learned that our area has fireworks stores. Our first year in Northern Michigan, he would stop at the store quite often to buy fireworks. He has quite a stash. He loves setting them off especially during our Independence holiday and on also New Year’s Eve. I always tell him, “Don’t set our forest on fire.”

Last year we needed a garden hose. Money was tight, so we bought the cheapest one we could find. We would have done better to get a more expensive hose because the one we bought is not flexible and keeps getting kinks in it.  The other day one section that often kinks wore into a hole that sprays water. The ducks love the spray and played in it when I turn on the water to refill their pool and water buckets (for drinking). They are like little children. However, yesterday evening when I refilled the water buckets, the hole grew bigger and sprayed out so much water that not much came out of the end where I needed it. Frustrated, this morning I cut off the hose just before the leak so I could fill up the pool and the water buckets. I don’t need such a long hose anyway–and if I do, EJ has thingys that connect two pieces of hose together. My shortened hose has other kinks in it, though, so we are probably going to have to invest in a better hose at some point.

While I was writing this post, Danny came into the room to let me know that he was very anxious to eat the rest of the canned cat food before the cats ate it all. He is such a lovable mooch. He stood there until I went out to the kitchen, saw that the cats had eaten most of it, and gave him the rest. Who could resist his pleading eyes?

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