Ups & Downs

Summer is our busy season as we care for our gardens. EJ works in his vegetable garden in the backyard on the weekends and before work on weekdays. I care for the herb garden and water the fruit trees in the front yard. The weather has been awesome with nicely cool temperatures. Although it’s going to start warming up tomorrow and Wednesday the temperature is forecasted to be 94 degrees. Yuck.

Saturday I glanced out the window and saw the bluebirds attacking a robin. They usually have no conflict with the robins so I looked more closely to see what was happening. I realized that the baby bluebirds were leaving the birdhouse and taking their first flights. The parents were aggressively clearing the area, making sure there were no threats to their fledglings. They even drove off a chipmunk that was in the tray feeder just outside the window. Usually, the bluebirds don’t come that close to the house. EJ and I shut Theo and Millie in the garage so they wouldn’t be a problem for the bluebirds. Then we sat in front of the window and watched the fledglings. Some were a bit hesitant and wobbly at first and we cheered when they were able to gain confidence and strength.

I’m having a problem with one (or more?) of the hens breaking eggs in the coop and eating the yolks. The hen breaks 1-3 eggs a day, so I’m having to go out to the coop multiple times to try to get to the eggs before she does. I’m having enough problems getting enough eggs for ourselves and to share with others without a hen turning cannibal. I normally get up to 7-8 eggs a day and she’s breaking 1-3 of them. Today I pondered the problem and then decided to buy artificial wooden eggs. People sometimes buy them to put in nests to encourage chickens to lay, but I’m hoping the artificial eggs will break her bad habit. I’m thinking that the hen will be in for a surprise if she tries to peck them! EJ also bought some crushed oyster shells at the farm store on his way to work last week in case the chickens are lacking calcium.

The wild birds throw away all the seeds except sunflower seeds so I just buy the sunflower seeds–and I’m hoping to grow enough so I don’t have to buy them. The post holding the bird feeders is next to the herb garden. When the birds eat the sunflower seeds, they tend to drop some of them. I found a lot of sunflower seeds in the closest raised garden bed where I plant my chamomile. I tried to get the seeds out when I planted the chamomile, but obviously I didn’t get them all. The other evening I saw the raccoon sifting through the dirt looking for the sunflower seeds. She didn’t care that I had planted chamomile seeds there. The next day, I used pieces of wire fencing to make a cage for that bed. She doesn’t seem to bother the rest of the herb beds. She just wants the sunflower seeds.

The chipmunks have been scurrying around, on, and under the raised beds as they go to the bird feeder to stuff their cheeks full of sunflower seeds. I told Theo and Millie that they are not doing very well at their job. They are supposed to keep the rodents away.

I was scheduled for Jury Duty on June 13, 16, and 23. I received a Jury Summons a half dozen times when we lived downstate–although only once was I required to appear at the courthouse, and I was not selected as a juror. Since we moved to Northern Michigan seven years ago, I have received a Jury Summons just about every year. I understand this because our current county doesn’t have many people so the pool of prospective jurors is small. However, in all his life, EJ has only received ONE summons from downstate AFTER we had just moved north so he was excused because he was no longer a resident of that county. Well, I should say that he has only received one Jury Summons UNTIL NOW. He received his second one last week. Because I have received so many Jury Summons and he has received so few, I admit that I laughed with glee. Our county does things sort of strangely because we (usually “I”) receive a summons in the summer but are not called until months later in the next year.

I was dreading the possibility of having to serve on the jury because we currently have only one vehicle, which means EJ would have to take me to/from the courthouse if I was selected, which means he would have to make arrangements with work and somehow he’d have to make up the time (and pay) he lost. With inflation so high, we can’t afford any loss of wages. The Jury information instructed me to call the special phone number the night before “my day” to see if I needed to be at the courthouse the next day. Sometimes a case is settled out of court just before the trial date. So I called the phone number….and the message said that Jury Duty was canceled for the month of June. Whew! I was so relieved!

It’s a good thing that Jury Duty is canceled because EJ had vehicle problems when he drove into work today. We are having multiple problems with the truck lately. EJ fixes one problem, we breathe a sigh of relief, and then something else goes wrong. I don’t know anything about vehicles…but last time EJ replaced a caliper. Today the breaks started smoking on his way to work. He discussed it with his coworkers and they agreed that new calipers shouldn’t stick so the problem is probably further up the line. He is going to add brake fluid and purge the system, he says, and it shouldn’t cost much. I’m really praying that the truck will get fixed and STAY fixed.

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