While, as usual, I have no pictures - I am so lame in the photography department - I am, however, at no loss for words...
Before LD (Lymes Disease), I had decided to take the Thursday and Friday before Memorial Day weekend off. I decided this because a) given the propensity of my weekends to be rained out, I figured I would get at least two days of non-rainy weather in a five-day stretch; b) I am so behind I am thinking of cloning myself; c) I like the idea of road-testing retirement.
Thursday, I had scheduled my annual auto inspection (only three months late - not bad!) with a new mechanic. I cannot use my much loved and trusted guy, because he's in Vermont. Pfft. However, Fat Body Custom turned out to be great. No rip-offs, no lies, no padded bills. I then headed north to VT to do my seriously long list of errands. I did this on a nice sunny day because - surprise! - I am not allowed outside in the sun because of the Doxycycline. I tried to squint past my weedy garden on the way to the car, but it didn't work - I slowly weeded my way across the yard and made it into the shade, feeling like a broiled lobster tail. In VT, I sucked it up and went to Wal-Mart because they are the only retail establishment within reasonable range that carried laundry trees.
**Perverse aside here - the last one I bought, ten years ago, was from a local hardware store in Bennington that had been in business and family-owned, for 75 years. This laundry tree lasted through storms, wind and neglect until this winter. The arrival in Bennington of both Wal-Mart and Home Depot, put the family-run business out of business.
Back we are to Wal-Mart, which was renovated into something the size of a football field, complete with a grocery section. Right next to our local Price Chopper grocery store. While I may be forced to buy certain things from WM, I will NOT buy groceries. Except for gallon containers of Heinz white vinegar, which is the only white vinegar that should be used in the processing of pickles, etc. No one but WM stocks this. That said, my laundry tree is made out of such poor material that it's laughable. While I usually completely forget to fold up the laundry tree and store it for the winter, I had better remember to do exactly that with this piece of Chinese tin, or it won't last two seasons.
I then toddled next door - all righteous-like - to Price Chopper and did my monthly shopping. By the time I got home, I was bushed and the day was more than half over. I resorted to housecleaning, as the sun was blazing away, with forays out with the pack. I also amused myself by counting the number of dump trucks that drove to/from the gravel pit. I believe we averaged one every 3-5 minutes. That should really be a selling point, when I get around to putting this place on the market. Maybe they'll run out of gravel...
Since I wasn't able to work outside, I decided to purge a few things via Facebook. One was a wooden plant stand - el cheapo, but held a lot of plants. However, I had two and only needed one. The second offering was a fountain that went out on your deck. I had gotten it from a local woman for a very reasonable price, but I had only used it once and it was a pain to store - so out it went.
Let me just say, as both were put out as free, all the crazy people came out. I had - I kid you not - 48 messages for the two objects within 10 minutes. It was like a feeding frenzy! The problem is, you cannot rely on people to actually show up. I have learned over the years to sort through all the hyperbole to pick up on key words. At least half of the people don't really want to go through the effort of having to actually come and get the item - they just want to be first. I even had one woman who "LOL" indicated she would come before the woman who was first in line and take it. People. Both objects were gone in a half-hour.
**It's okay - this is a musing and not an aside - or it's an aside musing. The frenzied activity reminded me of my one and only snorkeling excursion on my one and only trip to the Caribbean. I was bobbing around in my giant t-shirt (I burn easily) gripping the bread that the snorkeling guide had said would 'lure a few fish' in to feed, when I was completely engulfed in a feeding frenzy of dozens (maybe hundreds...visions of Hitchcock's "The Birds" came to mind) of pastel-colored fish. It was equal parts terrifying and fascinating.
Friday morning, before the dreaded sun (I never thought I'd say that, after this winter), I geared up and began the war against the chicken coop. OMG. I knew it was going to be bad, given the length of the winter and the number of birds, but holeymoley. I shoveled and shoveled and carted and carted. Then ducked inside when the sun shifted. I am also battling the rooster, who seems to have lost his pea-sized mind. He must have correctly judged my frame of mind, as, while he did give me the hairy-eyeball, he also gave me a wide berth. I managed to get a third of the coop done before throwing in the shovel. I then spruced myself and Miss Layla-bell up and we drove to the city for an adoption event. This involved giving her Dramamine an hour before the car ride, as her little tummy does not do well with all the bounces and turns that mountain driving provides. We got there in good shape - unfortunately, the rescue didn't manage to promote it so, while it was a nice hour spent with a few nice people, it wasn't worth the drive. Poor waif was almost green on the way home.
**Yet another aside. I have become such a hermit! While Troy, NY, is not exactly the cosmopolitan hub of the state, it is a rather charming old city with shops and restaurants and interesting architecture. And I have never been in it, other than a short trip to the courthouse because of jury duty call-up. It felt so, so....grown up to be there!
Saturday, I was back, shovel in hand, as soon as I could get the hens out of the coop. I managed to get another third done before I had to go back up to VT to pop in on the folks. I was then back home to tackle a few items on the to-do list - fence repair, where my neighbor had lost traction and his truck had slid into the wooden chicken yard fence and cracked a couple support boards. I also weeded madly when the sun went under the clouds.
Sunday was perfect. Very breezy and overcast and rainy all day long. I headed up to Marianne's farm and we spent a few hours planting vine crops - cukes, squash and pumpkins. Since neither of us cared if we got wet, it was very enjoyable to spend the time on her beautiful farm, talking and working. It was also interesting for me, as she does a no-dig method when planting these crops. We pulled back black plastic that had been keeping the plot weed-free, then rolled out an organic paper in two long rows. After weighting it down, she went down the line, making a few cuts for root expansion, while I followed with the composted llama beans (yay, llamas!) and dropped a pile on each planting spot. Then we followed up with organic compost, then planted five seeds in a circle in each mound. She will follow up later with composted mulch that will protect the plants, further hold down weeds and keep the paper in place. I drove home with butter lettuce, oyster and shiitake mushrooms, little turnips, microgreens, pea shoots, leeks and a very contented view on life in general. I was so contented, that I temporarily lost my mind and just continued planting, weeding and general bending, stretching and reaching in ways that had become totally alien over the winter months. But, what the heck! The sun wasn't out and I could be outside!!! I worked steadily through lunch and into early evening.
**Again - there must be a switch in my brain that flips off when common sense seems to be edging a little to close to reality...
Monday dawned hours after I had dragged my sorry butt out of bed at 2:30A, every muscle and tendon giving me the business. I sogged out to the living room and tackled my latest knitting project - a summer-weight sweater.
**And, yet again! What was I thinking? Knitting an entire sweater out of lace weight yarn? It's like trying to maneuver fuzzy thread on two sticks. I kid you not. This might be done for next summer. Maybe.
Since the day dawned overcast, I had to face the final coop onslaught. I could have given Humphrey Bogart a run for his money in that part on The Amazon Queen when he had to go back in the lagoon with the leeches... But I sucked it up, pulled on my soggy BGPs and finished it. I figured it was a total of 10 giant wheelbarrow loads. I need to come up with a better plan. LD or not, I'm getting too old for this nonsense. The ingrates now have a clean coop with a fluffy layer of shavings. The pure relief of getting it done gave me a little spark of energy, so I did a couple of loads of laundry, hung up my windchimes and mirror chain (thank you, Joyce!!), vacuumed the house, swept up a dog's worth of white hair and cleaned off the dining room table.
I am now enjoying the bliss of looking out of office windows that do not showcase weedy beds. Drab state buildings never looked so lovely!
What have y'all been up to?