The Orcs Next Door

I have to reach over pets to write this post.

Oh, my goodness, I just realized that I haven’t written in more than a week. In fact, this is my first post in June! I swear that I just blinked and the dates jumped from May 30th to June 8th! I’ve been busy, sort of…or unmotivated. Sometimes I was so busy that I became unmotivated afterwards. Well, I will try to catch you up. It will be difficult to write this morning because I have a cat and a dog on my lap. I have to reach over them to access my computer. I am aware that I could just shove them (gently) off my lap, but in our house pets rule.

Beginning last weekend, we had several days of very cool weather. High temperatures stayed in the 60s–sometimes barely reaching 60. I had to wear a jacket a couple of days; it was wonderful. We had a night of heavy rain and a few cloudy days, but the sun has returned and temperatures are beginning to climb again. The temperature was 44 at 6:30 this morning, but is forecasted to reach 76 degrees later today. My friend in Texas would think that 76 is cold, but I think it’s terribly hot. I am aware that in just about every post I describe the weather, but we talk about weather a lot in Michigan because it always changes and affects what we do that day.

The loggers are still cutting down trees at our neighbor-across-the-road’s place. I originally thought that maybe they were just clearing out a few trees but it looks as if they are cutting down the whole forest. I cringed when I saw a large living tree fall under the machinery, and I wondered how many bird nests and animal homes were being destroyed. This “killing the forest” makes me suspect that my neighbors might be orcs. I have a vivid memory of the orcs killing Ents in Isengard in The Lord of the Rings, which horrified me because I love living forests.

My sign

I actually made a sign last summer that forbid orcs–and ogres and goblins–from entering our Enchanted Forest. I would have put “No trolls allowed” on the sign but then I wouldn’t be able to live here because technically we are trolls. In Michigan anyone who lives south of the Mackinac Bridge that connects the two peninsula is called a “troll” because, you see, we live under the bridge like the trolls in the children’s story “Three Billy Goats Gruff.”

My sign also forbids salespeople, politicians, or religious people on our property because we are isolated from our neighbors and uninvited strangers make me nervous. The “No religious people” might be surprising to some because EJ and I are “religious” but we aren’t going to change our faith because a stranger comes to our door, and we had Jehovah Witnesses coming up our driveway so often that it became annoying. I’ve been repainting the letters of my sign because the wooden letters didn’t hold up through the winter and are falling off.

The evergreens are doing well.

Anyway, I remembered how the angry Ents fought back at Isengard in The Lord of the Rings so I silently reminded MY forest that we are planting trees, not killing them. We planted several evergreen trees, most of which are doing very well. Only the littlest evergreen is struggling a bit. I gave it extra water this morning to try to revive it.

We have also planted many fruit trees. You might recall that in The Lord of the Rings, the Ents grieved that the Ent wives had moved on and they couldn’t find them. EJ theorized years ago that fruit trees are actually Ent wives because, you know, they are fruitful. He believes they moved to the Shire where Hobbits love to garden. That theory makes perfect sense to me. So…we are planting Ent wives. I hope this is enough to reassure the Ents that we are not Orcs like our neighbors.

Imagining that the trees are Ents makes me sad whenever I hear the loggers or see the stacks of dead Ent corpses in the field. Sometimes my imagination makes me sad, sometimes it makes me happy…and sometimes my imagination scares me. For example, the GPSs in our vehicles display the speed limit, like I’m sure most do. We named the GPS in EJ’s suburban Viki, after the evil computer in I, Robot. She turns the speed limit numbers a friendly red if he goes too fast. I named the GPS in my Xterra Ziva after the Israeli agent in the TV series NCIS. Ziva makes the speed limit display all red around the edges like she’s very, very angry–so angry that she might kill me. If I go more than 5 mph over the speed limit, she shouts a loud beep at me–I’m sure that she’s swearing at me and it is being “beeped” out. It makes me jump. Ziva freaks me out a bit. Fortunately I tend to go slower than the speed limit because I get distracted by the beautiful scenery.

Ugh. I am having a problem with tiny ants in my kitchen. I have a problem with them every year at this season, but usually I can see where they are coming from so I target that area and “poof!” they are gone. But this year I can’t figure out how they are getting in. I’ve sprayed with ant killer spray (EJ calls my poisonous sprays “assassin spray”) and I’ve sprayed with peppermint water, both of which kill the ants I see, but more keep coming. It’s annoying and makes me feel “red around the edges” like Ziva.

Poultry supplies

Other than tree-killing orcs, angry GPSs, and bothersome ants, life is peaceful in our enchanted forest. I’ve been somewhat busy this week. Monday I went to TSC and bought a 55 pound bag of dog food, several 50 pound bags of poultry feed, and a heavy compressed bale of straw. Loading the heavy bags into the shopping cart, and then into the Xterra, and then unloading them at home was very exhausting–but I figure it was like weightlifting, only less boring and more productive. I pulled the bags of poultry feed from the Xterra into the wheelbarrow and pushed it over to the coop. Then I dragged the bags into the coop where I scooped the feed into the empty kitty litter buckets to keep it safe from any mice that Madeline our serial killer cat might have missed.

Handheld bug zappers

I also bought handheld bug zappers at TSC so we could return JJ’s bug zappers to him. The bug zappers work really well and are actually very fun and satisfying to use. I couldn’t find them in the store so I had to ask a clerk for help. He said there were only three black ones left, so I said I’d take all three.  As he handed them over to me, he noticed a box underneath filled with pink zappers and asked if I wanted pink ones. He seemed surprised when I refused–as if a woman should want pink? I hate the color pink. The color reminds me of pepto-bismal, the nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach and diarrhea medicine. Yuck. Now if they had been school-bus yellow zappers, I might have bought the whole box. School-bus yellow is my favorite color. It makes me happy whenever I see it.

EJ had worked at organizing his garage again last Sunday and he was able to uncover two large wooden boxes. We placed some old wooden pallets in the garden and he put the boxes on top for some more raised beds. Our soil is mostly sand so we garden with raised beds, which we fill with better dirt. We have dug some sort-of-ok dirt at one place in our property, but after I shoveled and pushed a wheelbarrow of dirt into one of the boxes, I said, “Forget this!” and on Wednesday afternoon I drove to Meijers and bought several bags of garden soil. I pulled the very heavy bags from the Xterra into my wheelbarrow and pushed them into the garden, where I poured them into the boxes. Later EJ called me a “city farmer” for buying dirt, but I defended my purchase by saying it was very cheap. “Was it dirt cheap?” he asked, and we both laughed. I did reassure him that once our compost pile gets going, I won’t buy any more dirt.

Yesterday I pulled some t-posts from along the driveway and fenced in the new boxes to keep the ducks out. When I finished, I left the wheelbarrow in the garden because the ducks like to sleep in its shade on hot days.

A few wildflowers are beginning to bloom along our driveway, including daisies, leafy spurge, and another flower that is sometimes called goatsbeard or joseph’s beard. It’s also sometimes called “Johnny-go-to-bed-at-noon” because the flower closes at noon. I like that last name the best. It has a seed head similar to a dandelion but it’s HUGE. I think it looks like a magic wand. It took me awhile to realize that the yellow flower and the magic wand were the same plant. In fact, I didn’t realize it was the same plant until I took a photo of the flower last year and looked it up on the Internet to identify it. I enjoy photographing the wildflowers I discover and then trying to identify them. You can see some of the wildflowers that grow on our property in my “Our Flowers and Plants” album.

Hannah is extremely observant, noticing every sight, sound, and smell. Her nose was really sniffing the other day when she was on my lap so I videoed it. I thought her sniffing nose was interesting. Warning: I photograph or video just about everything.

Hannah sometimes makes herself small so she looks like a very little vulnerable fawn, usually when she wants something. Other times she looks like a tough biker chick. I’m really not sure how she can change her appearance so drastically. It’s as if she can inflate and deflate herself. She’s a very talented dog.

Today, other than write this post, I’ve been doing laundry. In fact, I have to go hang another basket of newly-washed clothes on the line….


8 Comments on “The Orcs Next Door

  1. You sure have been busy TJ – you’d never know you had all the issues with your arm/wrist. I enjoyed the cooler days this week and not looking forward to the heat again, though it won’t be as bad as around Memorial Day.


    • I’m quite amazed that my broken wrist is doing so well. I still feel a little stiffness in my fingers but my wrist feels fine.

      I’m not looking forward to hotter temps either but I’m also glad that the weather is not as hot as it had been.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I thought you made good progress all of a sudden after getting over the initial weakness after having the cast off and on and splits off and on and the surgery. I just wish we’d end this rain – rain spoiled most of our Saturday – it is just nice now. I was online early this morning, was planning on doing a 5K today which I had registered for two months ago – rainy and didn’t go. Rainy most of the day, plus storms. Maybe rain tomorrow as well, depends on when it ends overnight.


      • You sure have had a rainy season! We still have mostly sunshine here. I have to water my garden and trees each morning so they don’t die of thirst.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with you on the clear cutting of the forest, a lot of nature is displaced. We set a trap last week thinking we had a woodchuck but to our surprise it was a skunk. Yesterday we finished tearing our boardwalk off for it needs replacing and found 6 baby skunks all huddled together, they are so cute. We have Wildside Nature rescue a few miles from us and took them there for care til they are of size to put back in the wild.
    So glad your wrist is doing better but don’t overdo. Take care.


    • Whew, Linda! I was typing a reply to you when Hannah decided she wanted my attention. She nudged my hand and your comment was deleted. I was able to get it back. I told Hannah to go away until I finish my comment.

      It sounds as if you both have been very busy too!

      I’m glad you were able to get the little baby skunks to a place where they can receive care. EJ used to go fishing with a guy from church who knew people at Wildside. Years ago when JJ was very young, EJ and the guy took him fishing at the mill stream in E.R. They caught a carp that they took to Wildside and gave to an injured eagle. They also got to feed a group of little orphaned fawns while they were there. EJ said the fawns mobbed them. It was such an awesome experience for them.


  3. You know TJ that anytime you can get up close and personal with wildlife you have a lifetime of memories and our families have been gifted. Our rain is lifting after getting 2 inches and it looks like a good night for a sunset. Keep loving and enjoying. Linda


    • I read that there are some bad storm downstate. Try not to float away! We haven’t gotten much rain here in the north.

      I agree that enjoying wildlife gives us a lifetime of memories. I’m so glad we no longer live in town!


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