An Evening View

I’m drowsily sitting here on an early evening enjoying a glass of iced tea while I enjoy the view out the window. I’m watching the bluebirds feeding their young in the birdhouse, various birds visiting the feeders, and occasionally Theo or Millie saunter by. Ahhhh! This is the life!

EJ spent most of the weekend weeding his garden beds. His garden is really growing nicely. I didn’t think my herb garden would be much of a success this year, but it looks as if some of my herbs are actually growing–sage, thyme, basil, chives, dill, and probably oregano and cilantro. I’m not seeing any mint, lemon balm, rosemary, or lavender yet but I am still hopeful. Gardens are all about planting seeds and hoping.

We have a raccoon who visits our birdfeeders almost every evening. Usually, he (or she?) arrives after dark when we can’t see him. We know when he has visited because the next morning the tray feeder is cattywampus. Once in awhile the raccoon visits before it gets dark and we get to enjoy watching him. He visited before dark one day this last weekend. When he first arrived, Theo chased him off but it wasn’t long before he returned. I was able to video him during his second visit. At first, he kept looking off to the right so I’m pretty sure there was a cat there making him nervous but he finally climbed the post. You can tell when Hannah Joy saw the raccoon because she started to bark and whine. The coon wasn’t at all nervous about Hannah Joy. He must have known she was in the house and couldn’t get to him? Not long after I stopped videoing, both Theo and Millie began stalking the coon. Silly cats. Although so far the raccoon has run away from them, I don’t think the cats would stand a chance if the he decided to defend himself. We didn’t want to risk Theo or Millie getting hurt so we went outside. The raccoon scurried under the deck and EJ and I picked up the cats and carried them into the coop for the night to keep them safe and out of trouble.

Yesterday Hannah Joy was not such a good girl. She was beginning to eat a butter box (which the four sticks of butter come in) before I saw her and took it away from her. Then she got into the pockets of my sweater, which I had hanging in the bathroom, and ate the Kleenexes. Then she knocked over the tin that holds her very special treats, spilling some of them on the counter and floor. I was able to rescue all of them except the ones on the floor. She ate them.  Even though Hannah Joy isn’t always a “good girl,” she is an adorkable girl whom we love very much. Her quirks are what make her preciously unique.

Our neighbor’s building

This morning as I was starting my chores, I saw a rabbit up near the big rocks. Usually, we’ve seen them at the bottom of the driveway, not up near the house, but I suspect that all the building activity next door might be causing them to relocate. At least most of the construction noise has decreased. Just for you, I took a photo of the only place on our property where we can see the building through the trees. It’s at the bottom of our driveway. We can’t see it on our hill. The tall part at the right looks to be a garage. I’m not sure if the other part is a house or a workshop. It’s kind of fun trying to guess what the building is from the brief glimpse we have as we walk to the mailbox.

My vacuum cleaner hasn’t been working very well for several months. Maybe several months times two or three. We have limped along with a sucky vacuum, as best we could. We tried buying a used vacuum at Habitat for Humanity a while back, but that didn’t work so well either. then the coronavirus hit and we were in Lockdown so that stopped our looking for used vacuums. A couple of weeks ago we resumed looking and we found a local man on Facebook Marketplace who fixes vacuums, but when I asked a few times where he lived so we could drop it off and he didn’t tell us, we said, screw that. We aren’t going to drop off a vacuum cleaner unless we know where to pick it up at. Most things, of course, we exchange in a public place but there are some items/services that we really need to be able to pick up at the person’s house/business. If I ask a couple times for an address and a person doesn’t give it, I move on and keep looking.

ANYWAY, a couple of days ago I finally told EJ that we need to have a vacuum that actually works so we got online and ordered a new one from Bissell. We have never had a Bissell before but we chose this vacuum because it wasn’t terribly expensive and a beautiful dog was sitting next to the vacuum on the website. Ok, we might have ordered the vacuum even if it wasn’t pictured with a dog, but the dog definitely helped us choose. LOL. The vacuum arrived today. We had to walk down our long winding driveway to get it from the Magic Box, which is where delivery people put our items. We have a sled to carry deliveries up the driveway in the winter, but I told EJ that we really need to get a wagon to pull large items up in the summer. It’s very awkward carrying up unwieldy boxes.

Once we got the vacuum in the house and out of the box, EJ and I took turns vacuuming the few rugs we have and the carpet in the bedrooms. When EJ took his turn, he said, “Wow! This vacuum really SUCKS!” He meant that in a good way, not a bad way. Vacuums are supposed to suck, but not suck.

 

June Days

The world is going crazy, but our little Enchanted Forest is still gentle and peaceful.

Mostly. The building is still going on at our neighbors but it’s not terribly noisy. I thought at first they were building a house, but now it looks to me more like a huge outbuilding. Is it for their “toys”? A business? I don’t know. I don’t spy on them–I’ve never been a “spy on the neighbors” type of person–but I can glimpse the building through a gap in the trees when I walk down to get the mail and I can’t help but be curious. I’m hoping they won’t be loud neighbors who scare away the wildlife.

A rainbow in the sky yesterday.

We had some hot sweltering weather with temperatures reaching into the high 80s and low 90s. But Tuesday night storm rolled in with rain and high winds, which knocked out our Internet all day yesterday. It was a little difficult not to be able to communicate with friends or know what was happening in the world. I told EJ that for all we knew, we could be the only two people left on the planet. How ever did we manage to survive before the Internet??

Without an Internet connection, I mowed the lawn. We only have a push mower and I get overheated so I have to take several breaks in front of the fan to cool off. I got most of it finished before ore rain rolled in and I had to stop. About 7:30 pm, I went out to finish the rest of it. I had to rush to finish before it rained again. It was sprinkling harder and harder as I finished the last of it.

I put the mower back in the garage and shut the door. Both Theo and Millie, our outdoor cats were in the garage put them out. I felt bad because it was raining harder, so I called them into the coop. The chickens were all in so I thought I could shut them in early for the night–appealing since radar showed a lot more rain coming our way. However,  before I could shut the doors, several chickens went outside. Some came back in but more went out so I finally gave up, but then I discovered that I had left the gate open and a rooster and three hens were in the garden. It’s difficult to herd chickens, but I finally got them all on their side of the fence. By that time, it was raining harder and I was drenched. I ran into the house and changed my clothes. Later, at the regular time, I went out to the coop and shut everyone in. At twilight, the chickens all go in and quietly roost. It’s only difficult when I try to get them in the coop before they are ready to go.

While I was out mowing the lawn, I got bitten by something–biting flies, I think. I have a big boil-sized bite under my right eye, and my ears are swollen and itchy. The itching is very annoying, to say the least, even when I put lotion on them. Stupid bugs.

Millie and Theo have been earning their keep. I’ve seen Millie with a couple little snakes, as I’ve written in previous posts. Theo tends to go after rodents. I’ve seen him with mice and chipmunks. The other day I saw him run past the front of the house with a chipmunk. He usually takes his kills to the wooden dog house in the garden, but I didn’t see any dead bodies when I went out to the garden a few minutes later. When I went out to gather eggs an hour or so later, he came running up with a chipmunk in his mouth…the same one? He dropped it near the chicken pen fence and it scurried around and ran up on top of Millie, who was sitting there. Then it must have realized it was on a CAT because it leaped down and ran into the chicken pen. Chickens go after rodents so I expected a brouhaha, but they didn’t see the chipmunk. It must have run under the coop and escaped.

 

My herb garden. The photo at the top of this post is EJ’s veggie garden.

EJ’s vegetable garden is growing very well. I feel as if my herb garden is growing mostly weeds. I always by herb plants, but this year I bought seeds because of the Lockdowns. I don’t do so well with seeds. My chives came back from last year, and the basil is doing well and dill seems to be doing well but other than that, not so good. Eric was able to find thyme and parsley plants at the store, but nothing else. I’m hoping that everything else is just slow-growing, but I’m not holding my breath.

The storms brought in cooler weather. The high was 72 degrees today with a nice cool breeze. The high temperatures for the next several days will range from the high 50s to low 70s and the low temps will be in the 40s. I told EJ that I wouldn’t mind if the weather stayed like this forever.

 

The Snake Hunter

A lot of crazy things happening in our country–and the world–these days. I’m researching, reflecting, sharing, and writing about them on my Facebook and Twitter pages. But not here. I think all of us–or at least many of us–need a quiet place to withdraw to. to relax at, and just to enjoy. So in this blog, I’m just writing about the quiet, gentle aspects of my life.

Michigan’s weather can be changeable, and it has certainly been changeable lately. Last weekend and earlier this week, we had very hot, humid weather. The temperature even reached into the upper 80s on some days! I felt drained by the heat and outdoor tasks quickly overheated me. One morning I chatted on FB with a friend from Australia. It was morning for me, evening for her; early summer for me, early winter for her.  She asked how I was, and I told her that it was super hot and I was melting. “How hot is it?” I checked. “Uhm,” I replied, squirming in embarrassment. “It’s 64 degrees (F), which is 17 degrees (C) for you.” She laughed. Ok, no one can say that 64 degrees is scorching hot. “But it’s HUMID,” I explained. “And I think I must have snowman DNA.”

Our rain gauge

In the middle of the week, we had rain, rain, rain. EJ came home from work early one evening because he wasn’t feeling well. He read that we could get bad thunderstorms with heavy rain, strong wind, and hail that evening, so even though he wasn’t feeling well, he went out and covered all his garden plants. I lugged in the houseplants that I had taken to the deck for the summer. We didn’t get a storm, but I don’t think it was as bad as predicted. However, I think some areas got 2-3 inches of rain. Our rain gauge said we got about 1 1/2 inches.

There are frost/freeze warnings out for tonight and tomorrow night. So in one week the weather in Michigan has gone from hot and humid, to rainy, and now to freezing cold.

Millie’s Snake

We adopted our cats Theo and Millie from the Michigan Barn Cat Program, which finds homes for cats that prefer living outside rather than inside. Theo and Millie have a nice safe, comfy home in the large coop. We shut them safely in the coop with the chickens at night, and they are free to wander outside during the day. Theo and Millie are earning their keep–they are killing rodents such as mice, moles, and chipmunks. Theo especially enjoys going after the mice. Often he is hunting them when I go out in the evenings to put everyone in the coop. Millie apparently prefers to go after snakes. A little earlier today I saw her running across the front yard carrying a snake. She took it around the house. This was the second snake I’ve seen her catch. I actually never imagined cats would hunt snakes.  I sort of prefer that she wouldn’t go after snakes, but….? I think Michigan has only one venomous snake which isn’t common. And at least Millie is not going after songbirds.

I was able to video Millie running with her snake, but she was fast and in a few seconds she was around the house.

 

Memorial Day Weekend

It is Memorial Day today in the USA, a day when we remember those who have given their lives in defense of our country. This Memorial feels deeply meaningful to me this year.

Yesterday started out cloudy, but the clouds cleared away and it was a beautiful day.  This morning started out sunny, but then big fluffy clouds rolled in–sometimes they were fluffy white, sometimes they were fluffy dark, and sometimes the sky was a cloudless blue. We had a period of heavy rain in the afternoon, and I think more rain could come in. Maybe a storm or two. It’s really hot and humid today. If feels as if we jumped from cool Spring right into hot August. I alternated working outside with coming in to cool down in front of the fan.

I planted sunflowers along the fence around the chicken area.

Last year I planted sunflowers. In the autumn, I cut off their heads and hung them from the curtain rods in the kitchen to dry. A couple days ago, I took them down and removed the seeds from the heads. Yesterday I planted the seeds. I wasn’t sure where to plant them, but after some thought I decided to put them outside the fence around the chicken area. I tried to plant them close enough to the fence for the sunflowers to lean on when they grow bigger, but far enough away that the chickens couldn’t poke their heads through the fence and eat them.

The posts mark now mark the elderberry bushes.

I was afraid that I had accidentally mowed some of the elderberry bushes we had planted. I had tried to be careful but some of the bushes were very small and I couldn’t see them. I suggested to Eric that maybe we could dig up the roots and plant them somewhere where they weren’t in danger of being mowed. We went out to dig them up, but we actually found all five of them growing. Some were tiny but, hey, they had growth. So we left them and EJ pounded in wooden stakes to mark where they are.

Earlier in the spring our Governor banned plant nurseries so we bought some of our seeds online. Individual packets were out of stock, but we got packages with several different kinds of seeds in them. One of the packages had several different types of salad greens. Many of them were types that I had never before heard of so I think it will be fun to try them. They were Buttercrunch Lettuce, Red Oakleaf Lettuce, Bibb Lettuce, Prizehead Lettuce, Iceberg lettuce, Parris Island Romaine, Noble Giant Spinach, and Dwarf Siberian Kale. They sound interesting, don’t they?

EJ planting salad greens in the hot tub.

EJ planted the salad greens in the old hot tub. The broken hot tub had been left behind by the previous owners. We didn’t know how to get rid of it, so EJ dragged it to the back yard, filled it with dirt, and it became one of our raised garden beds.

This morning EJ went to the Forbidden Zone (meaning the stores). He got some bags of garden dirt at Meijers but they didn’t have seeds–and neither did the nursery. He got a couple plants at the nursery. I think he spent less than $2.

While Eric was gone, I put the thingy that holds our garden hose in the ground so I could keep things tidy–and so we would be less likely to trip over the hose.

After lunch EJ went out to plant some corn. I went out to help him because I knew it was going to rain soon. It started to rain as we planted. I planted all my corn and then ran in the house to close the windows. It rained harder and harder as Eric covered up the corn. He was soaked by the time he finished. Before he could change into dry clothes, the rain stopped.

Millie and Theo, our barn cats

One of the raised garden beds didn’t yet have any dirt in it. I asked EJ what he was planning to plant in it. He pointed to the box and said….Cats. LOL. The cats have been hunting rodents. I’ve found several dead bodies of mice, chipmunks, and moles. It’s good that the cats kill them because I’ve read that mice will even eat the toes off the chickens when they sleep at night. Yuck!

One of my lilac bushes

 

The lilacs are now beginning to bloom. We had a beautiful lilac bush at our old house and I was sad at the thought of not having any lilacs to enjoy at our new house. But I was so surprised when  I discovered that we had FOUR lilac bushes of three different colors growing on our property. So that is another thing I have so much better at our new house. I called it our “new house” but on June 1st we will have lived here FIVE YEARS already! It went by really fast. We are so happy here.

Hannah Joy always gets on the bed in the morning while I take my shower. She likes to get under the blankets. If I make the bed before my shower, she burrows under the blankets and messes it all up so I usually make the bed later. This was Hannah Joy this morning. She is so very loved and spoiled.

Hannah Joy: This is the life.

 

Spring Green

Spring–or maybe Summer?–has sprung all at once. A week ago the trees were all mostly bare but we’ve had really warm weather (temperatures in the high 70s) and suddenly everything is green. It’s amazing!

I’ve got most of my herb garden planted and EJ is working on planting the vegetable garden in the back yard. He hopes to finish planting in the next day or two.

Yesterday I washed clothes and hung them out on the clothesline. It was nice, although with our neighbor’s house being built just over the hill, it wasn’t quite as quiet as it usually is. I will be glad when the house is finished, although I hope, hope, hope our neighbors will be quiet. EJ says he doubts they will, since the man enjoys working on performance vehicles which has loud motors. Sigh. I’ve gotten a bit spoiled by them only visiting their small vacation house a few times during the summer months.

Yesterday I also mowed the lawn for the first time this year. I had trouble getting the mower started, as I always do the first time I use it since last year. But EJ was able to easily get it started for me. We have five acres, but most of it is forested so I only mow up around the house. That’s still more mowing than we had to do downstate, but I don’t mind it. I love the way the lawn looks when it is freshly mowed.

The warm weather made me hungry for potato salad so I made some yesterday afternoon. We had beef brats and potato salad for lunch today. Yum.

Last fall I cut off the heads of the sunflowers and hung them at the windows in the kitchen. Yesterday I took them down and de-seeded them. I was going to plant them the same day, but I was tired from everything else I did so I decided to wait.

As soon as I get out of bed, I feed hungry Hannah Joy, then I feed the cats. For the outside cats, I put a bowl of food on the front porch and one in an old doghouse in the back yard garden. Then I fill the water dishes with fresh water, open the coop to let the chickens and cats out, and refill the chickens’ feeder. Next I fill the wild bird feeder near the deck. If Hannah Joy needs out, I take her out. I get the sprinklers set up to water the herb and vegetable gardens. I have to move the vegetable garden sprinkler from one spot to another so that the water reaches the whole garden. Then I go into the house to take my shower and settle down with a cup of coffee.

I probably won’t have to water the gardens tomorrow because the next few days are supposed to be rainy-ish. It looks as if there could be periods where we can go out and finish planting. The rain will be good for the gardens.

 

The Merry Month of May

I cannot believe that we are already nearing the end of May! Wow! It went by quickly. This has really been a month of transition–as far as the weather is concerned. Since I’ve last written, we’ve had a week of snow which, though at times it dusted the ground, quickly melted. We’ve rainy days. We’ve had warm days, and cool days, and then back to warmth again. In fact, this week the temperatures are going to rise into the 70s (F), with a high of 76 forecasted for Saturday. With the warmer weather, the trees are beginning to leaf. I see more and more green on the trees every day.

Earlier in the month, when it was still cold and snowy, we went to a farm store to buy several bags of chicken feed and dog food. I spent the next several days scooping the chicken feed into empty kitty litter buckets to keep it safe from rodents. I filled 30 buckets.

Pretzel Buckets

I also bought several large containers of pretzels–not because I wanted the pretzels, although I enjoy pretzels, but because I wanted the buckets to store flours, oatmeal, and other things that I don’t want mice to get into. I figured it was cheaper to buy the buckets of pretzels than to buy empty storage buckets. LOL.

We live on the border of two counties. They each had tree sales in the spring so we ordered five elderberry bushes from one country and five Norway Spruce trees from another. Pick up was delayed because of the quarantine, but we were able to pick up both orders over the last couple of weeks, and we got everything planted.

Our neighbor’s house being built.

We planted two of the Norway Spruce trees to block a spot where we can see our neighbor’s property through the trees. Our properties were originally one 10 acre property, which the original owner split off into two 5 acre lots. We share a short section of our driveway. Our neighbor’s property had originally been their vacation property. They had just a tiny little house on it, which they visited only a few times in the summer. But now that they have retired, they plan to move up here full-time. They are in the process of having a house built. A BIG  house, it looks like. I’ve really enjoyed the quiet of the neighbors not being here much, and I really hope that when they are here full-time, they will be friendly-ish and not noisy.

One warm day a week or so ago, I washed the windows and put the screens in. It was nice to be able to open the windows and let the fresh breeze in. Of course, it then turned cooler again, but I think warmer weather is coming in to stay.

We’ve also gotten out the garden hoses–one in the front yard and two in the back yard. One of the hoses in the back yard will have a sprinkler attached, while I’ll use the other one to fill the chickens’ and cats’ water dishes.

Chickens shut out of the garden

Last Friday EJ and I worked together to shovel dirt into the raised garden boxes. The chickens tend to scratch some of the dirt out so we shut them out of the garden. They get access to the garden except between planting and harvest. They still have a big outside fenced in area to enjoy. We don’t free-range them because we have too many predators in the area.

This last weekend EJ cut longer boards into shorter ones for me, which I carefully labeled them with the names of the herbs I am planting in the boxes at the front of the house. Today was warm enough that I planted the boxes with my herbs. Now I can cross my fingers and hope the plants grow.

While I worked in the front yard garden this morning, EJ was working in the back yard garden. He finished filling the boxes with dirt and then he planted some peas.

Indigo Bunting in the lilac bush.

We’ve been enjoying a lot of the Spring birds coming through. I’m continuing to put sunflower seeds in a feeder, and I’ve also put out the hummingbird feeder and oranges. So far we have seen Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Orioles, Hummingbirds, a Scarlet Tanager, Northern Flickers, Bluebirds, and beautiful blue Indigo Buntings.  It’s such a joy watching them. It looks like bluebirds are going to nest in the birdhouse again.

It was still daylight outside last night at 9pm when I glanced out the window and saw a large raccoon climb the post to eat the sunflower seeds in the birdfeeder. I grabbed my camera to take a photo when I saw our cat, Theo, stalking the raccoon. It really scared me because I know raccoons can be mean. Theo wouldn’t have a chance against it. I knocked on the window hoping to interrupt a bad situation. The raccoon quickly ran off…but foolish Theo ran after it! I quickly stepped into my slip-on shoes and ran outside, calling “Here, kitty, kitty!” I saw the raccoon in a tree at the edge of the forest with Theo at the base. I was afraid Theo would climb the tree after it! I continued desperately calling, “here, kitty, kitty” and Theo abandoned his pursuit and ran up to me. Millie ran up to me too so I led them through the garden and shut them safely in the coop with the chickens for the night. Whew!

The photo I took is blurry because both the raccoon and Theo were moving, and I was also beginning to move in an attempt to rescue the cat. But you can still see both the raccoon and the cat.

Theo on the deck. The raccoon coming down the post.

We get most of our work done during the weekend. The rest of the time, in between my other tasks, I have been “homeschooling” myself, educating myself on current events, following interesting rabbit trails, chatting with friends. It’s been so interesting that I have stayed up late and haven’t written. Sorry for neglecting you.

I hope you all are doing alright. I know this year has been challenging. A lot of people are really struggling. My heart goes out to everyone. It hasn’t been that bad for us because we have our Enchanted Forest. I shudder to think what this quarantine would have been like for us if we were still living downstate in our house on a small lot in town.

 

Home & Garden

I had originally planned to write about the coronavirus lockdown and how it was affecting us–you know, because it’s history. But I have decided against it. I’ve been paying attention to and interacting with what’s going on in my state, the USA, and the world but it’s left me frustrated, stressed, sad, and unfocused. I need a place where I can get around from all the “stuff”–and maybe others do too–so I am not going to write about it on this blog–or only very indirectly–because I need it to be my Happy Place. So…..

EJ’s plant shelves

We didn’t know if we could get plants this year, so we have been ordering some seeds online and EJ has gone to a few stores and found more seeds that we need. We don’t really have a good place to start seeds–we don’t have a greenhouse outside, and the pets would knock down any planters we put on the window sills. Last weekend, though, EJ built temporary shelves in the house so he can get some seeds started. When he’s able to get the plants out in the garden, he will remove the shelves. We will tweak our ability to get seeds started early to constantly improve it in future years. So far Hannah Joy and the cats have left them alone, although I did see Hannah looking at them once.

Snake at the bottom center

One afternoon last weekend when I went out to gather eggs, I saw Millie come trotting into the garden. Something about her looked strange, so I looked closer. She was carrying a snake! I hurried into the house to tell EJ. He came outside to look at it. He said it was just a harmless snake, and he tried to rescue it, but Millie killed it before he could. I wouldn’t have minded EJ letting it go into the woods, but I’m glad Millie didn’t carry it into the coop and release it. I wouldn’t want a snake eating our eggs.

I had ordered a couple pounds of ginger root from the Internet and they arrived a little over a week ago. I spent a couple days last week peeling it and then drying it in our food dehydrator. After it was dried, I ground it in our little grinder. I saved a few roots so I can try to grow them. I’ve never done it before so it will be an experiment. I like making our own herbs and spices, when possible.

Friday EJ went grocery shopping. We used to always go together, but with the lockdown EJ became our “designated shopper.” When he prepares to leave, he always announces that he’s leaving for the “Forbidden Zone.” We used to only go to one store for groceries, but since some items are scarce, he ends up going to two or three stores. Usually, when we–now he–returns from grocery shopping, he unloads the vehicle while I put items away. That way, Hannah Joy can’t get into things. But we forgot on Friday and I went out to help unload the Suburban. When I came into the house with a few bags, I heard Hannah Joy repeatedly sneezing. I look more closely at her and noticed that she was on the floor with her head in a bag of flour. I snatched it away from her–she didn’t get much of it–and EJ finished bringing the groceries in by himself.

Saturday morning Hannah Joy saw Theo on the front porch and she rushed to the window to bark at him. In the process, she knocked over a large pot, spilling dirt everywhere. She’s been such a rascal lately! But she’s also adorable.

Holding hands.

Several counties in our area have an annual tree sale. Maybe all the counties in Michigan do, but I wasn’t aware of it when we lived downstate. This year ordered a bundle of elderberry bushes from our county. They were available this weekend. Hannah Joy and I haven’t been anywhere for almost two months, so we went along with EJ on Saturday to pick the bushes up, just so we could get out of the house. On the way, EJ and I held hands. After a moment or two, Hannah Joy put her paws on top of our hands as if she wanted to get in on the hand holding as well. I thought it was very sweet.

Adorkable Hannah Joy

Here is a cute photo of Hannah Joy bringing her ring toy to me so I will play with her. She is such an adorkable goof. Ok, can you tell that we love her?

After chilly snowy/rainy days last week, we finally had a couple of nice days this weekend. We worked out in the garden today. It’s still too early to plant, but we worked at getting the garden ready. I put some good dirt in my herb boxes at the front of the house while EJ worked in the vegetable garden in the back. He shoveled all the dirt out of the garden boxes. He plans to mix it with the newer dirt and then shovel the dirt back into the boxes.

 

What’s the Point?

I thought I better write early today because the weather is messy today with rain, snow, and high wind in the forecast and it’s always possible under such conditions that we could lose our power. It is snowing as I write this. With the wind blowing it in swirls, it reminds me of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

It’s not always easy to comprehend that in the southern USA, people are experiencing 80+ (F) degree weather, flowers, and growing gardens.

Confusion (Photo from Pixabay)

Our governor’s new “Stay at Home” orders seem random, arbitrary, and often nonsensical. Motorboating and jet skiing are now off-limits, but canoeing and kayaking aren’t. Even though canoeing and kayaking are allowed, the Department of Natural Resources is removing docks at boat launches. Supposedly, motorboats and jetskis aren’t allowed because they require gas and the virus can be spread at gas pumps, but if people must already go to gas stations to fill up their vehicles anyway, I don’t see the problem with them also filling up their boats while they are there. Some items in a store are deemed “essential” and others are not and can’t be bought. I think that either a business is “essential” or not, either it’s open or closed, but once you start making decisions about which items can be bought or not, it gets crazy.  Who gets to judge whether or not an item is essential? For example, shoes might be a luxury for some people, but a necessity for others if their shoes are worn out or outgrown.

A friend wrote that “Big stores are open. Horrocks [a farm market-type store] in Lansing had cops called for selling flats of vegetables. Cut flowers are ok. Spa, where service is clean and changed between clients, are closed. Lottery line is fine. Golf outdoors is closed, home depo is ok.” Huh? Lottery tickets and cut flowers are ok but not vegetable plants? Why prohibit people from buying plants? It hurts farm/nursery businesses (i.e., livelihoods) to not be able to sell plants. And if people can’t plant gardens, they will be forced to buy food from stores, which will cause MORE interactions (less social distancing). Planting gardens would also put less strain on stores, which already are having trouble keeping shelves stocked. 

I remember hearing a radio interview with an educator years ago. She said that we must always remember to ask “What’s the point?” She used an example of teachers instructing children to use different colored folders for each subject to help them keep organized. She said, “Don’t force a child to use the colored folders if he/she doesn’t want to use them and is able to keep organized without them. Don’t forget to keep in mind that ‘the point’ is not the colored folders but organization.” In a similar way, the point during our current crises is not to simply ban items but to maintain “social distancing” to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. People aren’t going to have less social distancing because they are in the garden center rather than in the grocery area of an opened store so why not allow people to buy whatever they need while in that store?

Anyway, our soil is mostly sand so we need to buy dirt for our raised garden beds. Not knowing which items are going to be difficult to find or are going to be considered “non-essential” and banned, EJ and I decided to buy bags of dirt on Friday.  We usually buy it at Meijers, where it is very inexpensive, but EJ’s co-workers told him that Meijers is now limiting the number of people allowed in the store, and people are allowed in the store only for 15 minutes at a time. We didn’t want to deal with long lines, so we tried to order the dirt on-line and then go pick it up. That went fine except we had to schedule a time for pick up when we ordered and every time was “unavailable” so the order wouldn’t go through. We finally discovered that dirt was on sale at Tractor Supply. It was a little more expensive, but at least EJ was able to go buy it. He is our family’s “designated shopper.”

We’ve ordered seeds online while we can still find them. No use buying dirt if we don’t have anything to plant.

Saturday we rested. Sunday EJ unloaded our ten bags of dirt and carried them into the garden. He put them in boxes that were turned on their sides to keep them out of the weather. Mostly. Maybe next weekend we will fill the garden boxes. EJ ended up going to a grocery store in a nearby town to pick up a few things. We usually don’t shop at that store, but we didn’t want to go to Meijers and our little grocery store that’s just a couple miles away was closed for Easter. He was able to get almost everything on our list.

In the garden looking toward the chicken area.

While EJ was gone, I did dishes, gathered eggs, and shoveled the dirt out of one of our “kiddie pool” compost piles so I could move it into the chicken pen. The chickens eat kitchen scraps and what they don’t eat they scratch up and break down faster. Once we plant our garden, we don’t allow the chickens in it because they would eat everything. Even when they aren’t allowed in the garden, they still have a large outside pen to enjoy.

Hannah Joy apparently wanted to get in on the gardening. She likes to be outside with us so I fastened her leash to a t-post while we went around the corner of our house to look at the garden for a couple minutes. When we returned, we found her in one of the boxes near the deck, which I use for my herbs. I am not sure why she did this. 😀

Hannah Joy was in a complaining mood yesterday. I don’t know if she was jealous because Little Bear was on my lap, if she wanted me to retrieve her ball for her, or if she wanted outside. She didn’t say. She can’t blame it on the “Stay at Home” order since her life hasn’t changed any.

Hannah Joy makes me laugh.

 

Essential Workers

I have been taking the chicken wire off from our raised garden beds this week. We had put them around the boxes to prevent the ducks from eating our produce. We no longer needed the fencing after we got rid of the ducks but are only this year getting around to removing it. And we are only removing it now because EJ wanted to rearrange the boxes for our raised garden beds so we have a greater area to grow corn.

The new arrangement of Garden Boxes

I got a lot of the fencing removed before EJ woke up yesterday morning. Later he came out to the garden with me because I wanted his input on where to place the boxes. After he left for work, I went out to the garden to work. I had to take the dirt out of the boxes, then pull them off the pallets, then move the pallets to the new place, then arrange the boxes back on the pallet. Getting boxes on the pallets just right was sort of like putting together a puzzle or playing Tetris. I had to carefully “fit” the boxes together on each pallet. The boxes aren’t beautiful, but they are functional. We use whatever box or container we could find. It is wonderful when the herbs and veggies are growing.

I also had to make sure that the raised beds were far enough apart for the wheelbarrow or lawnmower could fit between. At first I paced the distance–three and a half of my steps were a good distance. But after a while I found a board that was about the right length and I used that for the spacing.

Many of the boxes were heavy even without any dirt in them. I didn’t try to lift them though. I just sort of tipped them on their sides and “walked” them to wear I wanted them. EJ feels bad when I works so hard, but I do as much as I can to help him because he has chronic back pain from an old injury.

The weather yesterday was very pleasant. It was 60 degrees (F) outside and sunny. I got so warm working in the garden that I took off my coat. Today was much colder so I had to put my coat and hat on. It snowed, sometimes quite heavily, although none stayed on the ground. It still was enjoyable working outside. I finished getting all the raised garden beds arranged today. EJ said he really liked my arrangement. I was able to gain a strip of land 8 feet wide for the corn.

The chickens hung out with me while I worked. Often they climbed on the boxes and pallets I was trying to move. Whenever I lifted a pallet up off the ground, they rushed in to search for worms or insects to eat. I had to be very, very careful that I didn’t trip over them or accidentally drop a box/pallet on them. Fortunately, we got the job accomplished with no injuries. I also had to be careful of the cats. Theo repeatedly jumped on my back and climbed up on my shoulders while I worked. Life can be tricky in the Enchanted Forest.

Chickens are actually very beneficial to a garden. Their scratching in the soil helps prepare it for planting, and their poop is good manure. I call the chickens my “essential workers.” I took this video of them on Tuesday morning:

Our next task is to refill the boxes with soil. We can use the soil I took out of them but I’m not sure that will fill all the boxes. Meijer’s has the soil we need at a really good price, but I’m not sure how we will be able to get it with all the “social distancing” restrictions put in place. EJ said a co-worker told him that Meijers is only allowing a small group of people in their stores at one time. I tried to order it from their website but although they had the soil available, all their pickup times were “unavailable.” Oh, well. We will fill as many boxes are we can with the dirt we have and then shrug.

Cuddles

With the weather getting more Springlike, I’m getting more and more eager to open the windows to let fresh air but it’s still a bit early. I don’t start trusting that warm weather is here to stay until around May.

I am planning though. I know EJ would like to reconfigure the garden boxes. I started to move some of them yesterday afternoon, but I am not sure exactly how he wants it so I will need to consult with him before I do more.

Chicken Coop with panel taken out.

I took a photo yesterday of the fancy chicken coop with the wire panel removed. We removed it Sunday night so I could retrieve the pile of eggs that we discovered the hens were laying in the far corner. I saw a hen back there when I took the photo and later I found her egg. It’s still an effort to reach the eggs, but it is not impossible now that the panel is removed.

 

 

Female Bluebird

As I sit in my chair drinking my morning coffee, I’m watching a bluebird outside. Last year a couple built a nest in one of the birdhouses. I hope they nest there again this year because I love watching them. I’m thinking that I would like to raise mealworms so that I can give tasty treats to nesting birds and to our chickens. Buying dried mealworms from a store is too expensive. I never would have imagined that I would become a worm farmer. LOL.

I was thinking about how thankful I am that we are living in our Enchanted Forest rather than downstate during this time when the Covid-19 virus is forcing us to stay home. Our house downstate was on a small shady lot in a small village. Our house had narrow windows which made it so dark inside we had to keep the lights on even during the sunniest days. It would have been depressing to remain there. Our Enchanted Forest home is the complete opposite. Although surrounded by forest, our house is on a sunny hilltop and has larger windows to let the sun pour through. We have five acres to enjoy rather than a tiny lot. We are surrounded by natural beauty rather than houses. I am so very glad we are here. I don’t feel at all confined. 

Millie likes to roam but Theo stayed in the fenced-in garden all winter. With the warmer weather, however, he’s been leaving the garden too. This enables me to keep the cats’ food dish on the front porch where the chickens can’t get to it and eat it all. Problem solved. This morning Theo saw me through the window and came up to peek. It made me laugh.

Hannah Joy really enjoys her cuddles. She is such a “cuddle bunny,” which is good because both EJ and I also enjoy cuddling with her. Yesterday morning I took a video of Hannah cuddling with me, as she often does. I love how completely trusting and relaxed she is.

The Muffin Mistake

A dusting of snow

Yesterday was a cozy rainy day. We relaxed and I finished reading Isaac Asimov’s novel, Prelude to Foundation. I have read it several times over the years. I thought EJ would enjoy the story so I found an audiobook of it on Youtube and we began listening to it. It will take us several days to listen to. EJ is enjoying it, as I knew he would.

We woke today to a powdered sugar dusting of snow on the ground. I thought at first it was frost, but EJ went out to check and declared it to be snow. It remained chilly today, but the day was still beautiful.

This morning I decided to make pumpkin raisin muffins. I think every kind of muffin is my favorite, but pumpkin raisin muffins are probably my most favorite favorite. I had all the ingredients mixed together and was beginning to spoon the batter into the muffin tin when I paused because the batter didn’t look right. I looked through the recipe again and realized I had put 2 tablespoons of baking powder in it instead of two teaspoons. Oops. Oh, well. I just put in two-times more of the other ingredients, making a triple batch of muffins instead of a single batch. As far as I’m concerned, this was a very delicious mistake, which I wouldn’t mind making again in the future.

I did laundry throughout the day. For lunch, I made General Tso’s Chicken in the Instant Pot with a side of broccoli–one of our favorite meals. I used the last of my ginger. We have ordered more ginger root, but it hasn’t arrived yet. I will dry and ground up some and EJ will plant others. EJ noticed that my little spice jars of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves were empty–I had used the last of the spices in the muffins–so he went to the pantry for more and refilled them. He ground up the cloves for me.

I did dishes and cleaned the house. Meanwhile, EJ did a few other tasks, including clearing off the front porch. He brought out the park benches to look over with the intention of repainting them when the weather gets warmer.

After lunch, we went out to look at the garden in order to plan how we are going to reconfigure it to make better use of our garden space. I’m not sure how we are going to get new dirt for the boxes if we can’t leave our homes. Buying seeds/plants will also be a challenge because the nurseries are overwhelmed with orders right now because more people are, apparently, planning to put in gardens this year. At some websites, there is a waiting list, and other sites simply list the seeds as “out of stock.” I was able to find seeds of the herbs I use most on Amazon. EJ has some seeds left from last year. Hopefully, we will have enough.

Organized Cupboard.

EJ enjoys almonds. He often takes them to work for a healthy snack. The almonds come in square containers which are the perfect size to hold sugar, baking powder, baking soda,  bread crumbs–anything dry. So when EJ empties a container, I take it to repurpose it. Even with the wonderful almond containers, the cupboard is crowded and we have to keep moving things out of the way to get to the item we want. There is a lot of wasted space because most of the containers are not tall. I mentioned to EJ this morning that I could organize the cupboard better if I had an additional shelf inside the cupboard. He went out to the garage and built one, making a 2-shelf cupboard into a 3-shelf one. Then together we happily organized everything.

Fancy coop on the left. Photo from 2018.

EJ went out with me this evening to shut the cats and chickens safely in the coop. As I was counting all the animals to make sure I had the correct number, we noticed a pile of eggs in the bottom of the fancy coop, way in the back corner where I couldn’t reach. I got on my hands and knees and reached in with my rubber footed cane to drag the eggs toward me. I keep the cane in the coop to use whenever the eggs are a little too far away to reach. But these eggs were WAY too far back and there was too much straw in the way. EJ finally went into the garage and brought back some wire cutters. We cut one of the wire panels out and I was able to easily retrieve the eggs with my cane. The hens had hidden 21 eggs back there!

After we got in the house, EJ “candled” the eggs, meaning he shown a flashlight through them to make sure that embryos weren’t developing in them. There were all ok, but we won’t sell these eggs to customers. Meanwhile, I took a shower…because I had been crawling through the dirty straw.

As we left the coop, we heard coyotes howling. Since we were safely in our fenced-in garden, we paused to listen to them.

EJ makes bread every weekend. As I write this post, he is out in the kitchen making four loaves. 🙂

 

Sunshine on My Shoulder

Today was a beautiful, beautiful sunny day with temperatures up into the low 60s (F). Most of the day I wore just a hoodie and sneakers–no coat, boots, or hat. I walked with Hannah Joy down the driveway at least twice to enjoy the early Spring. All day long the John Denver song, Sunshine on My Shoulder, played in my mind.

We’ve been ordering a few items on-line so we can avoid, as much as possible, going to the stores. UPS allows me to track the delivery truck on-line so that I can watch it getting closer and closer and closer on my computer. When I saw that it was on our road on my screen, I exclaimed, “UPS is almost here!” EJ said, “Yes, it’s on the hill.” “You can see it?” I asked. “It’s coming up the hill.” EJ repeated. I looked out the window, and there was the UPS truck, coming up the driveway. LOL.

One of the things UPS brought us was a set of four motion detector lights. We decided to get the lights for a variety of reasons. EJ put all the lights up today. He had quite an audience when he was installing one near the chicken coop. (We heard some people are stealing chickens.) Many of the chickens gathered around to watch and Theo reached up to get petted. I really love our animals. They all like to hang out with us. They make me feel very loved.

EJ had installed one light on the deck and I’m eager to see if it reveals animals crossing our yard that I might not otherwise notice.

Hannah in the box.

I fastened Hannah Joy’s leash to a T-post so she could be outside with us while we worked. I moved one of the smaller garden boxes near the birdfeeder post, hoping that it will keep Hannah from wrapping her leash around it. Silly dog, she tried to sit in the box. She must think she’s a cat.

For lunch, I made beef bratwurst and potato salad. I made the eggs in the Instant Pot. I made an adjustment or two and they turned out really well AND they were easier to peel. While I was working on the potato salad, EJ asked if I could make coleslaw. So I did. We had bratwurst, potato salad, AND coleslaw. I didn’t take a photo, but it was yummy.

While I was in the kitchen, EJ did a variety of tasks outside. He moved the snowblower to the back of the garage and moved the lawnmower toward the front. Gas is really cheap right now so he went to the gas station to fill the gas cans for the mower. The gas station is at the grocery store, so while there he picked up a few groceries, such as oranges, coffee, and peanut butter.

We just took Hannah Joy outside for the final time tonight (I hope). The stars glittered in the dark sky. The half-moon was like a night-light. We listened. It was very, very quiet. Very peaceful. I wish I could take photos of the beautiful night, but I don’t know how and I don’t have an expensive camera.

Tomorrow the forecast is for rain. I don’t mind. I like sunny days, and I like rainy days.

NOTE: This can be a scary time. If you feel disconnected and alone, need encouragement, or would like prayer, feel free to join my I Love To Go A Gardening Facebook Group.

 

A Walk With Hannah Joy And Me

During these difficult days with Covid-19, some days are more stressful, some are less stressful. The last few days have been less stressful. I keep up on the virus situation, but I also take time to do things that relax me.

One of EJ’s coworkers gave him some Kefir grains a few weeks ago. Kefir is a fermented dairy product similar in many ways to yogurt and buttermilk but instead of heating the milk, adding a culture, and keeping it warm as you do with yogurt, all you need to make kefir are milk and kefir grains. Each day I drain off the “whey,” then add the grains to four cups of milk and set it aside to ferment until the next day. Each day I am making EJ and me blueberry kefir smoothies. I put kefir, honey, blueberries, ice cubes, and a few dashes of cinnamon in the blender until the ice cubes are broken up. I couldn’t find any real ice cube trays so I used mini muffin tins to make the ice cubes.

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Korean Beef and Rice

Yesterday I made Korean Beef and Rice in my Instant Pot. It is delicious, easy to make, and is one of my favorite meals. EJ said that the Asian meals I make taste just as good as any you’d find in a Chinese restaurant.

We’ve had some very beautiful days this week, with lots of sunshine. It looks so nice outside that I feel tempted to put the screens back in the windows so we can open them, and go outside without a coat. However, it’s not THAT warm yet. But it’s getting there. Tomorrow the high is supposed to reach 60 degrees (F). Whoo-hoo!

Turkey

We looked out of the window today and saw a female turkey emerge out of the forest and sit in the weeds. We were really hoping she wasn’t planning to nest there because it was out in the open not far from the edge of the driveway. But after a minute or two she got up and wandered off.  We usually have turkeys nesting on our property. They bring their young up near the house in the late summer, which is always a treat to see.

EJ sat out on the deck today, and I joined him. It was really quite warm in the sunshine. Millie joined us and I brushed her fur. Hannah was a bit upset (jealous) about being left in the house. She likes to be a part of everything.

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Hannah dozing on my footstool.

Hannah Joy really has nothing to complain about. She is with us 98% of the time–cuddling with us, sleeping with us, going on car rides, playing with us, going for walks. Nope, she really shouldn’t be complaining at all.

I know that many, many people around the world are sequestered in their homes because of the Covid-19 virus. Not everyone has a beautiful Enchanted Forest to enjoy. I know of at least one dear friend who cannot leave her apartment. So I thought I’d take her–and all of you–on a walk with Hannah Me and me down our driveway. I was maybe a third of the way down when I began filming.

NOTE: This can be a scary time. If you feel disconnected and alone, need encouragement, or would like prayer, feel free to join my I Love To Go A Gardening Facebook Group.

 

Early Spring

How are you all doing?

We are doing mostly good with occasional spikes of anxiety/stress. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. Our government is now telling us that we need to stay home until the end of April to reduce the spread of the virus. I think it’s more difficult for Extroverts than Introverts like me, but it’s still not easy to not go wherever or whenever we want, to have to be concerned about “social distancing,”  to not have the stores fully stocked, and to know there’s an infectious virus lurking out there.

EJ just went back to work after a week home sick. he video conferences with his doctor this morning and she believed he may have a “bug” going around out there, but definitely not the Covid-19 virus. I get anxious about EJ’s health and our finances. I have to remind myself every now and then to “breathe” and trust God. When I don’t remember, I have friends who help me remember. 🙂 We really do have so many good things in our lives.

At about 4:30 am yesterday we lost our power for a few hours. I am not sure why. I woke up when it came back on at 7 am but we didn’t get our internet back until an hour later. I felt very disconnected from the world, and I thought that, wow, I would have no way to contact many of my friends around the world if I ever lost the Internet permanently. Yikes. My life would be dimmer without them. I am concerned for my friends in various places in the USA and the world. I try to check on them often, especially those I know who are high-risk and alone. I wish I could whisk some of them away to our Enchanted Forest to keep them safe and cared for. If you feel alone, need encouragement, or would like me to pray for you, feel free to join my I Love To Go A Gardening Facebook Group.

This afternoon a guy EJ knows stopped by to give us some beef heart, tongue, liver–various cow parts that I told EJ that I will never eat unless I’m totally starving, even if they are supposedly very healthy. They sound gross to me so EJ will have to cook and eat them himself. The guy also gave EJ some information about beekeeping if we can ever afford the startup costs. EVERY hobby is expensive to begin, it seems. I think it would be awesome to keep bees even though I’m a bit scared of getting stung–but I think that I can learn not to be scared, right? I love honey, and I find the legends about bees interesting. My favorite is an old superstition that says you have to tell the bees when something big happens—a birth, a death, a marriage, a move–or they would move away or die. I talk to Hannah Joy, the cats, and the chickens, so I would have no problem talking to bees, just for fun.

EJ went outside (maintaining social distance) to chat with the guy and showed him our garden and chickens. The guy said we had an awesome setup. I think we do too, but it’s always nice to hear others say so. 🙂 We gave him three dozen eggs as a thank you for his gifts.

The weather is still cool, but our snow is all melted. The lilac bush is beginning to bud and the lilies are poking their heads up from the dirt. We’ve also seen sandhill cranes flying overhead.  It’s still too early to plant a garden, but Spring is creeping in.

I don’t walk Hannah Joy to the mailbox in the winter because she sometimes gets a wild look on her face and goes running back and forth on her leash. I don’t want to risk having her pull me off my feet. I slipped and fell in the driveway a couple years ago and broke bones in my wrist; I do not want to have that happen again. But with the snow all gone, we restarted our walks. Hannah loves it.

Hannah keeps us laughing. She is not a very patient dog. When she wants something, she wants it NOW. If I don’t immediately give her what she wants, she gets on my lap and paws at me, and wiggles, and then starts to complain. I caught her on video. Just for the record, I feed Hannah twice a day. I feed her first thing when we get up in the morning and then I feed her between 5-6 pm in the evenings. Plus, she gets treats. She sometimes thinks she should eat earlier in the evening.

Theo our outside cat stayed in the fenced-in garden/coop all winter, but he’s been venturing out now that the weather is getting nicer. A couple days ago EJ and I watched a flock of wild turkeys in the back yard. They suddenly took off half running and half flying and we saw Theo chasing them. After a few seconds, he started to run back the other way as if he suddenly thought, “Oh, crap! What am I doing?” Theo is a very affectionate cat. He always greets me when I go out into the garden and follows me around while I do my chores. In the last couple of weeks, he’s been leaping onto my back and riding around on my shoulders. I finally got him doing it on video, as best as I could:

I’m glad that since we have to stay at home, I have the Enchanted Forest to stay home in.

 

(Dis)Connected

This morning arrived with heavy fog, making everything look beautifully mysterious. Once the fog burned off, the day was mostly sunny with the temperature forecast to reach around 50 degrees (F). It looks as if we are getting an early Spring. I sure hope so because I’d like to open the windows and work in the garden. Last year we had a late Winter and were still getting garden-killing frost in early June. I’m a little envious of people in the South who are enjoying warmer weather and are able to plant their gardens, but I don’t envy the very hot weather they have in the summer.

EJ was sent home three hours early on Tuesday night because he wasn’t feeling well. He believes he just has a cold, but he stayed off work all week just to make sure it’s nothing more. He didn’t want to take any risks for himself or others. He not feeling very well today, but has no fever so…It’s amazing how every little symptom takes on ominous undertones at this time.

Today is EJ’s birthday. We are just having a quiet day at home because of EJ’s health and the Governor’s “stay home” orders. I was going to make him a cheesecake, but we don’t have any graham crackers for the crust. I made him pumpkin raisin muffins for breakfast. I would have let him choose what he wants for lunch/dinner, but because he is not feeling well, I made him chicken soup and dumplings.

We don’t mind staying home, but it sure is weird that we can’t just leave home whenever we want to go wherever we want and buy whatever we want. Our little grocery store is going to “curbside service” only starting on Monday. Meijers is no longer open 24/7. They are allowing senior citizens and/or those with chronic health problems to shop Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-8 a.m., which I thought was nice, but after seeing a video about the crowds of such people lining up and entering a store in a Michigan town, I decided that I wouldn’t go then even if I were eligible. I’m rather fascinated with the way people are reacting to the virus. Some are acting in appalling ways, hoarding, or stealing, or refusing to stay at home. but others are being kind and helpful.

I am very thankful for the Internet because even though we are disconnected, I feel connected. I can keep updated on what’s happening “out there” and also connect with friends across the country and around the world. I’m also enjoying all the creative or funny ways that people are reaching out. For example, Rotterdam Philharmonisch Orkest shared a video of them all playing from their individual homes. and a comedic group from Ireland made a funny video about a teacher trying to teach his students online during the coronavirus. And there’s a sweet video about a little foal named Tallulah’s first day outside. It’s a celebration of life. I don’t feel disconnected when I’m able to connect with so many. 

I’m still trying to figure out if or how I can share my chicken eggs with those in need. Since we are supposed to social distance so we don’t spread the virus, and since the virus can survive on surfaces for several days…Well, I don’t want to risk infections, either from or to us, especially with EJ not feeling well. I’m not going to do anything about the eggs until he is healthy.

EJ said that he read that people are beginning to steal chickens! I don’t mind sharing my eggs, but I prefer to keep my chickens! I feel like cautioning my roosters to use their “inside voices” so they don’t crow to the world that they are here. To quote Elmer Fudd: “Shhhh! Be wery, wery, qwiet.”

Theo

Millie and Theo, our outside cats, are very affectionate. Millie enjoys roaming our property. Theo seems to feel safer in the fenced-in garden. Mille is sort of making friends with Hannah Joy, but Theo is deathly afraid of her. He always runs up to me when he sees me. Lately, he’s been unexpectedly leaping onto my back as I walk to the coop. It’s always a bit of surprise to suddenly find a weight on my back. Theo also likes to sometimes climb on top of the coop roof.

This morning we moved our patio table onto the deck so if/when it gets warm enough outside, we can go out and sit in the sunshine.

The melted snow has uncovered a Winter’s accumulation of Hannah Joy’s poop. I’m thinking about going out shoveling it out of the way before it becomes a soupy mess when it rains tomorrow. However, I’m not sure I’m that motivated. I feel more like dozing in the sun in my chair like Hannah Joy is.

Hannah Joy dozing

 

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