I have been trying to enjoy the growing season but everything seems so out of whack all of a sudden and I can't even remember what started it all. Oh, wait, it's coming back. I think it started with that sweet little Bantam whom I love probably more than any other pet on this farm.
I built the chickens a new run that is not enclosed on the top. I was trying to figure out how to give the ducks more room, so moved them into the old chicken run and closed off the hen house door. My garden planting was delayed because Bantam figured out that she could fly onto the hen house roof, (yes, I've clipped her flight feathers) hop down to the old chicken run wire roof and then hop into my raised beds which are about two feet off the ground. She very quickly scratched up and ate all the seeds and sprouts we had planted for our cool weather crops. Then there was the trip to Florida. When we got home I still couldn't figure out a way to keep her in the run so didn't plant. Then it was my husband and my anniversary/my birthday week and we didn't do much of anything.
The same week, my friend and neighbor began teaching me how to milk her goats in the mornings and the boys and I kicked butt on what was to be the last week of school. Then my friend/neighbor's husband had a motorcycle accident back in the cove behind our houses. I ran over to stay with her two children and her two foster children for the night. I didn't sleep that night, but was determined to get my garden in that weekend. I got most of it done and the minty patio cleared and planted with containers full of tomatoes and seedless grapes that I am growing up a series of trellises. I even made a hammock cabana out of a recycled tarp which I turned into a sun sail, and blue striped vinyl tablecloths. We never use that patio so it was so nice to have finally, officially done something with it.
The boys went off to camp the next Friday night for only one night, thank goodness, because last year only one of them went and it was for five days and I nearly lost my mind. Well, as it turns out even though camp was only one night I still nearly lost my mind. The little guy slipped on a very steep hill around 11pm. His legs went in the air and he landed on his back knocking the wind out of him good. He said it felt like his "whole spine shifted". The chiropractor confirmed today that it had indeed popped out of place and worked his magic to put it back in. Well my poor little guy was done with camp at that point. He called to have us come pick him up. We had gone to our favorite restaurant for dinner and bought cheese, fruit, wine, and Guinness on our way home to have for dessert. I was about to pour myself a glass of wine and said to my husband, "I won't drink so that I can drive us out to the camp to pick up the boys at midnight." Guess who ended up driving out to camp and getting us lost on old, mountain, logging roads in the dark around the midnight hour. A mother knows... Our stupid Tom Tom got us lost good this time, and the camp counselor's directions were no better. I ended backing down a narrow 100 ft. or so of dark dirt road with a river on one side, fenced cow pasture on the other when we reached the point where a tree lay across the "road". Never saw the river but heard it far below. I don't think I've ever been so scared, knees and feet literally shaking on the gas pedal, hands vibrating on the steering wheel. I was at my wits end for sure by the time we had backtracked enough to find the camp and get to my boy who wasn't feeling good. Took us two hours to make a 20 to 30 minute trip.
Well, we went back to pick up our other son the next evening and that night my friend's husband who'd had the accident woke up with pains in his shoulder and arm a week after recovering at home. I saw her frantic Facebook post and left her a message that I would be sleeping with the phone by my ear if she needed me to come over and sit with the kids while she took him to the e.r. He was in intensive care the next day with the doctors saying that he had clots in his lungs and had been in grave danger at the time that he woke up in pain. I was still a novice, but took over the milking for her, very grateful that she had been teaching me, and traded with another of her friends in caring for the kids. He came home earlier than expected and is doing well, but when I got back to mini farming it seemed like I had neglected it for months.
I spent the last two evenings trying to keep that little bantam out of the lettuce patch which is sprouting beautifully, and repelling honeybees that have decided that the tiny drip in our faucet that makes a little river down the sidewalk should be their watering hole. I don't want to kill them of course, but we can't even get by to take care of the animals and collect the eggs. I tried lemon zest, orange zest, and crushed mint. It seemed to work, now I wait to see if they come back.
Last night I realized yellow jackets had moved into the outdoor outlet of the yoga patio and were nesting there. I hate to use toxic insecticide, but when it comes to yellow jacket nests in areas that my family frequents, I don't fool around. I hold a can of wasp spray in the hole after dark and empty it. This usually kills the hive. Once, they made a nest in the cracks between the vinyl siding of the house on the same patio, so I just took spray foam insulation and filled it. Problem solved. Neither method would work in an outlet. I had to think about this one and did a lot today. I decided that contact paper and duct tape were the answers. Yup! I duct taped my house. Don't git much more white trash than that! I'll see in the morning if it held.
I don't want to just whine about this week though. It was a pretty amazing week. I learned a lot about valuing friendships and relationships with my little family even more. I love these mountains so much and even though it was frustrating trying to get to our boy, two days later we had to drive back out to where we were lost to see it in the daylight, it was so beautiful. We found Victorian houses with original gingerbread and acres of stone walls like I've never seen before. I kept saying, "Why isn't this in National Geographic?!".
More storms and tornadoes hit the area AGAIN last night. Crazy weather this spring. I was out planting potatoes and my dog, the one who hates thunder, started whining. The sky got dark instantly and the wind smacked the row of trees to the left of the house so hard that I wondered if I could walk the twenty steps I had to take to the back door without getting hit by something. The wind and rain blew right up my sundress soaking me. I was standing in the back door laughing my head off because literally thirty seconds before I was stooped over my raised bed planting. This morning over 20,000 homes were without power. I didn't even realize the storms had been that bad. I guess a good indication should have been the power company truck driving up, slamming on the brakes in front of our mailbox, power guy jumping out, hopping up to our porch to look at the meter, yelling "Power!" back to his coworker in the truck and speeding off to the next house. I'm grateful.
I'm also grateful that school is finished for the year and my boys did so well. I'm grateful that my son is on the mend, and for two little foster girls that I got to know who make me less afraid to have girls if I decide to have more kids. I'm grateful for a quick trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park two nights ago to look at the full moon...magical! I know my friend's goats are probably very grateful to have their "mother" milking them again, but I'm grateful that I have finally learned how to do it. I'm also grateful for my very own raspberries growing and ripening before my eyes. We won't ever again be going to the U-Pick raspberry farm, I guess. Sad in a way. So while there have been farm frustrations, I don't really have any complaints about the way the last few weeks have gone, though I do hope come morning I have lettuce and don't have yellow jackets. I hate them!! The yellow jackets, not the lettuce.