JULY 9 – 10

Surprise! Another post already? Right. It’s been an interesting couple of days.

Starting with my morning walk down the road yesterday. Just over the last rise before the gate, there was a calf looking at me. From my side of the fence. Hmm. How’d that happen? It’s momma was mooing furiously at both of us, though I’m not sure this was the actual mother or simply a busy-body from the whole herd.

Okay so I have no idea what to do here. No idea how he got out, and the fence is electric so I’m not about to attempt any return heroics.

I know what you’re thinking. First one of their chickens, now a calf? Yes, but to continue. The concern is amplified because our driveway gate has been stuck open the last few days, and thus Little Calf can get himself down onto Llewellyn and on into the great world.

Of course, I have my phone and immediately call up home to Larry with the news, and he calls Ryan, Cow Guy equally immediately. Who is, fortunately, still at home a couple of miles away, and soon on his way to us. Larry gets the ATV and heads down to help with the rescue.

Naturally, Ryan knows how to herd a wayward calf, and the baby is soon reunited with his mother and the other 50 or so in the herd. Sidebar: the herd, which has been 11 pairs, has been expanded to some much larger number. They have access to all the pastures, so we have no idea how many animals are sharing the 100 acres with us just now.

Ryan has a device which can tell him where the break in the circuit, which enabled the calf to simply slip through the fence, was located. Turns out the problem was up here by the house at an opening we use to get down to the bees. Problem solved, and Ryan was on his way.

And now the story becomes about the bees. But not our bees. A great swarm was blocking the way into our barn. Thousands, Larry says. Seems that in dismantling the hive apparatus, he’d found that some number of frames still had honey in them. They were boxed and left in the barn to await the time when they’d go up to join the hive up under the oak tree. But those marauding thousands had found this easy source of energy and were robbing the honey. That’s what it’s called. You honestly would not attempt to enter the barn or get within 10 feet of it. (Btw, I had to look up how to spell marauding — now you don’t have to.)

Fortunately, there’s a man at the neighborhood garden shop that could give advice, and the shop was open on Sunday. Larry had to suit up, plunge in, lift the trays out of the frames and shake the non-local bees off. Apparently this wasn’t too impossible, and seems to have worked. At least, we now have custody of our barn again.

Later that afternoon, Larry decided to pick berries and bring them in:

Found an onion, as well, you’ll notice. These raspberries joined a supply already in the kitchen and out in the freezer. I found a site on line promising recipes for 50 things to make with raspberries, starting with custard-filled chocolate eclairs. Well yes, that would use few berries, plus 4 eggs and a cup of chocolate chips. Delicious, I sure, but it seemed the only realistic thing to do here on Planet Earth was make jam:

Done. First batch. I’ll see what the site has to offer for the second thing to make with raspberries. Maybe tomorrow.

We’d decided we’d go out to lunch today, trying out The Brass Monkey, which had been closed the first time we’d attempted to learn a bit about our city and what it has to offer. It’s down on 1st, and wow, lunch time on Monday? Packed.

Here it is:

It was fun, good sandwiches, but didn’t feel like our place to settle in. Will keep looking. In a long conversation while waiting for our lunch, we had the thought that, in this post-pandemic, peculiar gender-confusing/confused era, no-one knows who he/she/they is, or is supposed to be. Thus has to invent himself (forgive un-sensitive use of pronoun) from scratch. Actually from birth on. Nobody to tell you you’re one thing or another. Up to you. Hence the girl with her face tatooed (maybe a girl)(person with a vagina?) Is this a good thing? Is everyone up to inventing himself? A tough job.

This is just for fun. You get to guess. How much money is in this mixed-nut jar? It weighs 10+ pounds. We stopped at the bank to get coin sleeves, and have begun the job of stacking the coins in the little paper envelopes. This will take a while.

I’ll let you know next time.


But first, a little P.S. Those picturesque hay bales from last time?


But yes, summer is here. First job today was to clean house after the little family of sparrows who chose to build a nest and raise their children on the roll of screening tucked under the eaves of the north porch. We watched them fledge and learn to fly. We counted four in the nest, but six eventually flew away, and we felt quite proud of them. Except, um, the mess?

Second on the list was to cull the developing apples from the 5 trees in the orchard. This should give you the idea:

I think I’m showing you the honey crisps, but the wheelbarrow is holding the excess from 3 trees that we had energy to thin this morning. It feels completely wrong to be picking those beauties, but the trees are too young to support a huge crop. Plus, I mean, I’m going to have to peel, core, slice and freeze the ones we can’t eat out of hand. Unless you want to come and pick some for your family? Which, yes, do, come on down. We’ll let you know when they’re ripe.

Okay, big mistake. I should have started this post by telling you about our triumph, dept. of chickens. So you know about this one Speckled Sussex who had become a little escape artist.

We thought we had 3 options. Off with her head, but neither of us could be the hatchet man. Take her to the vet and risk mortification at the spectacle of two cute old people bringing in their pet chicken for a clip and trim. Or, 3, put an ad in the Neighborhood News for a peripatetic chicken who only occasionally lays an egg. If you’re wondering why we couldn’t just let her be out, it’s because she doesn’t seem to be able to get herself back in at night. That would be cruel.

So, boot up You Tube. You can learn anything there, including how to clip your chicken’s wings. Here’s how that worked. We got her into a corner by handing out dried worms. Larry picked her up and, following the guidelines, spread out her wing. I clipped the flight feathers with my sewing scissors (the only sharp-enough ones we could find), and after flapping about in Larry’s unexpecting arms, she set about her business of unearthing bugs, unaware, we assume, that she’s no longer free to wander. (Where was my phone when I needed the camera?) Btw, one need clip only one wing; chickens can’t fly lopsided.

So far, three days later, she’s still confined to quarters. Excellent!

But I was discussing today’s chores. We had enlisted Mitch to build us some planter boxes for the north porch. He did, but the painter, his brother-in-law, never showed up (this happens in the country some times), so Larry undertook to finish the job.

Now this evening, he’s been at work filling the boxes with wood chips to be a base for the geraniums and etc. which we’d purchased earlier.

And the almost finished product:

They need a few more chips to raise the flowers, but that’s tomorrow’s job. Pretty, huh? Thanks, Mitch! And Larry!! Next year, Larry suggests an herb garden as well as flowers. Darn fine idea. Right?

Finale: Larry is out mowing the orchard, while I write this blog. Guess I got the long end of that stick . . . wait. Which end is the good end? The long one, right? Anyway, while he’ll be exhausted and will shower and fall into bed by 8 o’clock, I’ll just be a little weary. That’s what I get, weary. Not exhausted. And tomorrow is Sunday. The day of rest.

Sleep tight!