Trees and Captain AmeROOca

I am drinking hot coffee on a chilly, rainy morning as I begin writing today’s post. I like rainy days. They feel cozily soporific.

In late March/early April our county and several others sold trees for a pittance. I really, really wanted to buy some, but early Spring is an expensive time for us with EJ and JJ’s birthdays, our vehicle registrations due, and tax day approaching. This year we also got the HHR repaired for JJ. So….no money for trees. Boo hoo! But one of EJ’s co-workers was selling evergreens this week. I’m not sure why he had evergreens to sell. Maybe he was involved in the county sale? Maybe he bought too many from the county? Whatever, he sold his surplus of nine trees to EJ for 80 cents each. EJ brought them home on Tuesday and after supper we went out and planted them on the far side of the hill where they will block our view of our neighbors-on-the-other-hill when they grow tall. We don’t dislike our neighbors. They go to Florida in the winter so we only see them for a few months anyway. We just would prefer to look at nature instead of a house.  The evergreens will also provide habitat for wild critters.

Hannah watching us work.

EJ dug the holes and I planted the trees. We took Hannah outside with us while we worked. I attached her leash to the nearest t-post. When she saw EJ digging holes, she started to dig too, but I stopped her with an anguished “Nooooo!” because she was digging along the driveway where I have been building rock dams and planting lilies and wildflowers to stop erosion. The next day I dug up a lily and put it in the hole she had dug. Perfect!

The birth of our evergreen grove.

Yesterday I surveyed our tiny forest and flashed back to memories of walking through evergreen forests so silent and peaceful that they make me think of the word “sanctuary.” I’ve always wanted to have a sitting place in the middle of an evergreen grove where I can absorb the quiet and pray–sort of a natural chapel. I’ve been very tempted to re-locate our new trees into an incomplete circle with space in the middle for a bench. I don’t want to traumatize the newly planted trees but now is the time to plan ahead…If I want a quiet sanctuary later, I have to plant it now. Well, I will wait until it stops raining.

Fruit trees are 30% off at our local plant nursery until Mother’s Day. While I love evergreens, EJ has been working on mini-orchards. For the last couple years he has been planting apple trees. Now he wants to begin planting cherry trees. He hopes to buy a few, but we are going to wait until Friday or Saturday to buy them because tonight the temperatures will plunge down into the low 30s and we are expecting heavy frost. We don’t want to risk killing the trees before they have a chance to get started.

Sometimes I think that it’s kind of funny to plant more trees when we already live in a forest. It’s sort of like “bringing coal to Newcastle” or “selling snow to Eskimos” as the sayings go. But evergreens are for soothing silence and fruit trees are for delicious enjoyment.

Last year I sowed four pounds of wildflower seeds along the driveway among the lilies. Yesterday morning I planted four more pounds of wildflower seeds along the driveway. Since there is no such thing as too many wildflowers, I drove to the plant nursery and bought two more two-pound bags of wildflower seeds, which I will plant soon.  I want a riot of colorful beauty leading up to the house. Plus….erosion control.

At the plant nursery, I also bought a morning-glory plant. I have planted some morning-glory seeds, and there are some seedlings growing from last year, but I wanted to make absolutely sure I’d have morning glories. I planted the morning-glory next to the bird feeder pole. I also strung twine from post to post so the morning-glory(s) will grow up to form a living hedge around the deck.

Disks on the Apple Trees

We have several computer disks that are obsolete. They are installation disks from computer stuff we no longer have, and other such things. I used leftover twine to hang the disks from the apple trees. I’m hoping they will scare the critters away from the trees. The deer munched on our apple trees during the winter.

Our wind sock

I found a…I guess you’d call it a “wind sock” in the pantry. I forgot we had it and I don’t remember where we got it. It is colorful and has ladybugs on it. I dragged the ladder to one of the tall wooden posts in the duck pen and fastened the wind sock to it. It might scare predators away from our garden and ducks–although actually the crows keep the flying predators away. At the very least it will tell us which way the wind is blowing. Plus, it’s quite cheerful waving in the wind.

It began to rain late yesterday afternoon. It rained and rained. The ducks love the rain and were out playing happily in the puddles. It’s impossible to herd the chickens into the coop before they are ready, but I thought the gloom would drive them into the coop early. I saw on radar that we would soon get heavier rain and possibly thunder, and I was anticipating getting my evening chores done early and snuggling into my chair in my pjs, so I went out early to shut them in for the night. I did a head count: one, two, three….there were seven chickens in the coop. One rooster was missing. I was surprised he wasn’t in there because it was pouring rain. So I went out of the coop and around to their pen and I found Captain AmeROOca in the plastic dog kennel. I kind of tipped it up, but he didn’t come out, so with a sigh I trudged back into the house, utterly soaked with rain dripping from my hair. I felt like a wet hen.

I waited a few more minutes until the sky had darkened further and then I put on my soaked chore coat and went back out. One, two, three…seven chickens were in the coop. I went around to the pen and Captain AmeROOca was still standing in the kennel. I gently nudged him out with the cane that I call my “rooster whacker.” I don’t really whack roosters with it. I actually use my cane like a shepherd’s staff. The rooster wanted in the coop, but refused to go in. I peered through their little door and saw the feet of Sassy, our alpha rooster, standing just inside. Captain AmeROOca must have been banished to the doghouse–both literally and figuratively–for some offense. Maybe he had seduced one of Sassy’s harem? He didn’t want to go in with Sassy right there. Several of the  chickens in the coop saw me and came out of the coop. Sassy was one of them. With Sassy out of the way, Captain AmeROOca quickly went into the coop and hopped up on the perch. I walked around into the coop and the rest of the chickens came inside and I quickly shut them in.

Ducks enjoying the rain.

The ducks were still outside playing in the puddles.  They are easy to get in the coop. All I have to do is call, “Time for bed!” and they start marching into the coop. Even so, some of the ducks tried to made a break for it before going into the coop. They didn’t want to stop playing. I finally got all the poultry in the coop–but not much  earlier than usual. I walked back into the house dripping wet.

Yesterday afternoon I found a dead cardinal in the garage. I was horrified and felt my heart break into tiny pieces. Miss Madeline Meadows’ bloodthirstiness is becoming a problem. I wish she’d stick to mice and shrews and leave the beautiful other critters alone. I wish she’d stop bringing her kills into the garage for me to see. She looks sweet, but she is a scary serial killer cat.

I’ve been struggling with abusive wounds. I felt that either I would be utterly destroyed by abuse or I would rise from it stronger and knowing who I am, not letting others define me–there was no middle ground. Last night I received a FB message from a friend who insisted that abusers CHOOSE to abuse. She said that she was angry that I was abused, and that she would listen to me if I needed to talk, that she had my back, and would do battle for me. She was like Wonder Woman! Her letter was so beautifully supportive that I cried when I read it. And I was strengthened and no longer feel as if I will be destroyed. Most abuse victims are not heard, believed, or supported so when someone IS there, it’s extremely healing and strengthening.

Life is good.

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