MARCH 2024

If you were with me last time, you may remember that we were pleased to be contributing to the well-being of the red-breasted sap sucker Mitch found in the trees down by the barn. Hmm. See photo:

“Sorry to say that your tree probably can’t survive this,” Darren, the arborist-guy at Shonnards Nursery, told us. “That’s a sap sucker’s work.” But this tree isn’t down by the barn. It, and the other two similarly afflicted Mountain Ash, are right up in the front lawn. Well. What to do? First we’ll probably do nothing. It will have to be up to the trees’ own defenses. Here’s what Google has to say on the subject: The mighty Mountain Ash tree is the tallest flower in the world. Native to Tasmania and Victoria and soaring to heights of over 100 metres, they are the second tallest tree species in the world. The tallest flower in the world? Guess we’ll hope for the best.

See this guy? It came down in the recent ice-storm, crushing the fence and blocking the road:

I loved to walk down and see this stump. Just the power and beauty of the thing. Obviously, we had to have help clearing it, and the others, from the fence and road.

But damn. No-one consulted me, they just hauled their equipment in and got to work, and took the stump with them. Of course they did, who would care about the dumb stump, and anyway they would take it to the chippers who would grind it up and it would be useful in all sorts of applications. Wonderful.

So, trees. This morning, Ryan (cow-guy) sent Keaton over to survey the damage to the all the fences. He’ll come back next week with appropriate machinery to clear the fallen trees from the Eastern pasture and re-wire the hot line. I’ll be happy to see the cows come back, and don’t have any particular fondness for any of the fallen timber down there. He’s also going to install opposing gates so that Ryan and crew can move the animals from one side of the driveway to the other. I wish you could be here sometime to watch the cattle drive! Wild-wild-West.

What else is new? This:

Yep. The white one (Bob) had been seriously underperforming for months, refusing to start, for example, and Larry had been all over CarMax to find a replacement. Then this weekend we were on an errand in town and had the bright idea to scan the local dealers, and here this little beauty was. Dodge Ram 1500 for those of you who might know what that even means. 2015, and perfect, inside and out. Yes, it’s littler than Bob, but considerably younger (Bob was a 2002, 187,000 miles). We’re waiting to hear from Will, grandson who named Bob, to see if he has any inspiration for this one. I’ll let you know, but apparently Will is somewhere in Europe on Spring Break, so it may be awhile.

Yawn. Not enough sleep last night. Larry’s in the kitchen baking bread. Don’t you love it? I sure do!

But back to a little story: He, Larry, had gone to a meeting of the Bee-Keepers Association the other evening, and didn’t notice until he got home that his phone had apparently jumped ship somewhere while he was gathering stacks of bee info from the table on his way out. We tried calling the phone, but whoever had it didn’t answer. Next morning we got on our computers and located the number of the man who had run the meeting, and from him, did get the name and number of the guy who picked it up. Of course, the phone is locked, so nothing that man could do but wait. We drove out to retrieve it, and had a nice conversation. He asked me if I’d read my blog that morning — what? No, I don’t usually re-read after the first day to see if there are comments. He said that in looking up “Viehl” which was all he had, he’d come across the blog and had commented his contact info there. Didn’t see it, but I’ve been through several updates and will have to see if there’s something I can do to facilitate comments at this point.

Larry’s garden is up and running. Cabbage, peas, onions, potatoes, lettuce all planted and up. He has a light installed in the greenhouse, and it’s on automatically until 10:00 every evening. It’s fun to see it after we turn off the inside lights to head for bed. Sweet. Oh, and the fennel is planted, Larry has commented in passing.

We’re planning to start a new little chicken flock in a couple of weeks. Walking up the road the other day, I saw Gracie wildly squawking and beating her wings, safely in the run. But as I got near, I saw a cougar? bob-cat? mountain lion? standing at the fence. Seeing me, he took himself off across the orchard, leapt up onto a post and so out into the woods. Obviously, he who’d taken our other two. Poor Grace was much upset and took herself into the coop for the rest of the day. She’s been laying every day, now, bless her heart, and already we have more eggs than we need. But a flock is more than one, and she misses the others to boss and scold and teach their place. We’ll do what we can.

Dinner tonight? Pulled pork enchiladas. Courtesy of our last visit to Costco, where we’d acquired a 2#package of the pulled pork. Also picked up a stack of corn tortillas. In our freezer I found a half-pint of tomatilla sauce, made either at the inspiration of, or recipe for, from Tom a year ago. Never made it before and hope it will stand in as enchilada sauce. Oh, btw, we divided the 2 pounds of meat into four packets and will proceed with our usual m.o. of making several batches from the first half-pound, which will last us until the next full moon, or the anticipated eclipse of the sun. How it goes in Chez Viehl.

Bon appétit, and see you next time.

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