Back Forty, coffee pot posts, Reading, Watching

Sunday noon coffee pot post

wp-1661701149227I think that I figured out what the problem with WordPress was yesterday, and with the post before that. I like to use the Classic WordPress editor, and WordPress would reaaaallly like for me to move on to block editing puleeze thank yew ma’am, and okay fine then, we’ll make you convert your post to blocks before you can edit or publish it, nyah nyah. We’ll see after I write this one.

Anyway, here’s what is going on with me. I am about to twine the top of the Cathedral tapestry and cut it off the loom! Then I need to warp up the Mirrix or my other small frame loom for the postcard sized tapestry for the collaborative work for the Tapestry Weavers South show. Those two things are priority one and two.

Yesterday we went to the Greensboro Farmers’ Curb Market for the first time in a while. We had stopped at the Berry Patch on the way home from the lake on Monday and it increased my desire for more fresh veggies. I bought my usual soaps from Mimi’s Soaps, corn and onions from Rudd Farms, okra, Roma tomatoes, and one prepared food vendor was selling everything for half price, so we bought quite a bit from them. This meant that yesterday we ate salad and a chicken dish that was like chicken pot pie but with a cracker crust on top and no vegetables within. Basically chicken in a thick creamy gravy. It was rich and salty and delicious but not something that we could eat on a regular basis, for sure. I also bought a sheet cake with a mocha frosting, and a meat lasagna to put in the freezer.

We’ve done some house cleaning, and I pulled a few more weeds, invasive ageratum mostly, in the asparagus bed in the back. I found four ripe figs within reaching distance and then I had to call it quits. It was so humid I was soaked through. The raspberry canes that I moved out from under the enormous fig tree are beginning to grow well and one has a few berries on it. Once I get some supports under these I hope that the briars will keep the groundhogs away – don’t know about the birds! The groundhogs are staying away from the asparagus so far, although the tomato plants are completely gone. I hope that we will have a lot of asparagus next year.

After one o’clock I have an appointment with the print studio. I might take my small loom to warp it there so that I won’t be distracted. When I cut off “Cathedral,” I will get Sandy to video it. I thought that I might have a cut-off party, but I honestly don’t think I can make myself wait that long. Maybe when I get it mounted and ready for display. Now THAT will be a milestone because that is the hardest part for me.

Work is distressing, again, not because of my department, but decisions at higher levels that are solidifying my decision to retire. Also because I’m beginning to have the same physical issues that I had pre-pandemic before I worked from home most of the time for a year and a half. I have to schedule a chiropractic appointment and start getting up from my chair and walking more. I also have to schedule a colonoscopy, ewwww, because I am a year past due and with my family history I need to do it every five years.

Reading: The Known World by Edward P. Jones. Watching: just started season 4 of The Last Kingdom, still in Season 1 of Ted Lasso, and just signed up for Peacock Premium so we can stream Resident Alien. We first saw it on the airplane coming back from Europe and finally decided that it was worth signing up for one more service. Alan Tudyk is one of my favorite actors.

As usual, I am obsessed with getting enough sleep, and I honestly think that if I could sleep as late as I needed to in order to get the rest I need, I wouldn’t need to retire. I could probably push through it for a couple of more years. But that is very unlikely to happen. People see it as laziness, but I see it as necessary health care. That being said, except for a few nights this past month, sleep has been better. I am taking meloxicam at night for the pain and magnesium for RLS. Occasional melatonin, but I’ve realized that I have to take this much earlier and not wait until I am tossing and turning at midnight. My depression is still much better, although my mood and attitude is not the greatest.

Back Forty, More gardening, National Parks and Monuments

Weekend round-up

I wrote a long post on Saturday that was unusual for me – it was titled “I Would Prefer Not To.” I felt compelled to write about the inertia and lack of motivation for both of the O’Neills to do pretty much anything we don’t want to do, especially pertaining to diet. I know a lot of this has to do with depression. The post vanished into the ether. I have no idea what happened to it. I didn’t delete it, and normally WP saves it as a draft if something goes wrong.

Anyway, it turned out that writing that post was a catalyst that got me on my feet and propelled me into the yard and kitchen. The laundry was done, the kitchen cleaned, chili cooked, the front steps and porch clutter sorted and swept, and the plants that we bought at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market were mostly planted. I’m irritated with the yard guy I hired. He was supposed to help me and he forgot. Again. I guess I’ll finish up planting after my steroid shot today.

I planted three Cherokee Purple and three Sungold tomatoes, six different peppers, lemon thyme, and sage. I have a few foxgloves and hostas to put into the front shade garden, where I’m trying to cut out the aphid-infested Lenten roses and replace most of them.

We went over to Oden to eat at a food truck early Sunday afternoon (lunch didn’t happen, food truck employee was very late opening and rude about it) and listened to UNCG musicians play classical music in the beer garden. It was lovely. I noticed that there are a lot of old bricks piled up on the railroad side of the fence in the back. I may go back and load some in the car. It’s easy to walk behind that fence. On my walk back home, I picked up a few interesting rusted objects in the parking lot. It has been a treasure trove for stuff like that. Now if I would only figure out how to use them in my art. Soon UNCG is going to build an arts center there and the treasure hunt will be over.

Retirement: I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is the most stressful time for me at my work. It’s helpful to look at articles like this and documents like this in case our plans to emigrate to Portugal go awry. Our goal has been to see as many national parks and monuments as possible. Here are the national parks both of us visited so far (together). We’ve been to many more national monuments. Looks like we’ve got some traveling in the U.S. to do.

  • Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
  • Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado
  • Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
  • Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
  • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
  • Glacier National Park, Montana
  • New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (West Virginia

National Monuments and Historical Parks, Memorials, and Battlefields:

  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (Alaska and Washington)
  • Dinosaur National Monument (Colorado and Utah)
  • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (Colorado)
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument (Georgia)
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument (Idaho)
  • Minidoka National Historic Site (Idaho)
  • Antietam National Battlefield (Maryland)
  • Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Maryland)
  • Aztec Ruins National Monument (New Mexico)
  • Bandelier National Monument (New Mexico)
  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park (New Mexico)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina and Virginia)
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore (North Carolina)
  • Guilford Courthouse National Military Park (Greensboro, North Carolina)
  • Moores Creek National Battlefield (North Carolina)
  • Wright Brothers National Memorial (North Carolina)
  • Lewis and Clark National Historical Park (Oregon)
  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (Oregon)
  • Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania)
  • Fort Sumter National Monument (South Carolina)
  • Ninety-Six National Historic Site (South Carolina)
  • Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (Tennessee)
  • Shiloh National Military Park (Tennessee)
  • Appomattox Court House National Historical Park (Virginia)
  • Colonial National Historical Park (Virginia)
  • Petersburg National Battlefield Park (Virginia)
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia)
  • Fossil Butte National Monument (Wyoming)
  • John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway (Wyoming)
  • Lincoln Memorial (Washington, DC)
    National Capital Parks (Washington, DC)
    National Mall (Washington, DC)
    Thomas Jefferson Memorial (Washington, DC)
    Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Washington, DC)
    Washington Monument (Washington, DC)

There are some sites that should be on a national list but aren’t…

  • Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (Washington)
  • Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (also a UNESCO site) (Illinois)

I know that there are a few that Sandy and I have been to separately, but for this purpose I’m only including the ones we’ve visited together. (Also, it’s possible I may have forgotten a few of the historical and military parks – we’ve been to so many.)

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, critters

Saturday morning coffee pot post

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Here I am, in all my “just out of bed” glory! I think it might be time to cut my hair.

Let’s see how much I can write before the Great Sandino gets up and wants to go to the Farmers’ Market.

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Pablocito is crying as if somebody is beating him, but he is just bored. He slept on my pillow beside my head last night and got his whiskers in my nose. Now he is behind me on this chair, head butting the back of my head. I’m just waiting for the love bite to the scalp. He’s a pain in the ass, but I adore him. Diego is doing fine. He got lots of attention this morning and I combed a lot of his undercoat out.

I think a little too much about the complications of moving these guys to Portugal with us. I mean, one of the reasons we moved into this house (next door from our old house) was because I couldn’t bear to leave my feral cats behind.

This week – oof. It was a tough one. Fortunately I was very busy at work, so that kept my mind occupied for the most part. That’s the way it is this time of year. Thomas did come and work on my yard last Sunday, so it looks pretty good. He says that he will continue working for me this year. His fee has gone up, so I might need to call him less frequently, but since that the main mess was cleared out last year, that should be okay. The asparagus is coming up, and I will have to resist the urge to pick it for a year so that it will become established.

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I decided to switch our phone service from Credo to T-Mobile this week, after getting feedback from my Portugal Friends group about the service in Europe. One flight attendant said that she uses it. One of the most stressful things about our last trip to Europe (Ireland and England) was that we were told that my phone would work and then it didn’t. We had luggage, faced a long steep hill, and couldn’t get a cab. We thought Sandy was going to have a heart attack at one point and left him sitting on the sidewalk halfway there, and when I got to our B&B to find no one there, I sat down and cried in the rain. I AM NOT DOING THAT AGAIN, PEOPLE.

So T-Mobile it is, and we will try to switch our phones over this weekend. Nowadays, with all the multi-factor authorization I have to do multiple times a day with my personal phone just to do my job, this is no small deal. They said that we could move over our old phone numbers, but didn’t seem entirely confident and said that we might have to go to a T-Mobile store to finish up. However, we are getting so much more data for so much less and a free tablet with phone and internet service that in the end I think it will be worth it. Sandy has already said that he gets so many scam and spam calls that he doesn’t mind losing his old number, but I hate to tell him that probably won’t change!

I registered for Focus on Book Arts this week along with my friends who are going with me. It’s gonna be a artsy hen party, y’all. We are all so excited. Mostly we are taking different classes, but we are staying together in an AirBnB house and then a dormitory suite at Pacific University. This time it will have air conditioning, thank God! The last two times we went there was a heat wave and it was tough without AC. It was hotter than North Carolina both times.

Today, I have an appointment for my second Co-vid 19 booster, and Sandy will get his at some point soon. He was waiting to get his doctor appointments over with this week, and that was the biggest stressor of the week. I looked at the results of his echocardiogram and asked to go to his cardiologist appointment with him on Wednesday because it was scary. Turns out that I had a reason to be worried during that 2017 trip to Ireland/England. The man was in heart failure back  then, and I didn’t know it, and he says that he didn’t know it. What the fuck. I don’t know how to process this so I’m hauling his ass to therapy with me on Monday afternoon. He had a CAT scan on his lungs on Friday to make sure that his respiratory problems are not from something other than the polymyositis. He is sick and tired of going to doctors. We were told that he has to go on a strict no/low sodium diet. No eating out. This is not going to happen. We will be in Portugal one month from now. Our moods are not good.

Portugal will be a trip full of fascinating, very hilly streets. I have to be able to call Ubers or taxis. Fortunately it is very safe in Portugal so if he needs to rest a lot I will feel comfortable going out on my own, although I definitely need a lot of downtime too. For most of the trip we plan to take trains and buses.

Last night we went down to the corner bar for a drink and had some good conversation. A couple brought a bunch of produce that they said Harris Teeter was throwing out that was still good, and put it in a booth for anyone to take. We picked up a cantaloupe, watermelon, and grapes. Now it’s time to go to the Farmers’ Market to get some more fresh produce, since we will be cooking at home a lot more, if we can make ourselves do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back Forty

Back Forty Update

Well, I haven’t done one of these in a while. There still isn’t, and won’t be, much going on in the back yard gardens any more since the groundhog families are here to stay. In fact, one of them ran up close to me when I was standing still pondering the state of the Back Forty. My neighbor across the street has named them and feeds them so they are probably getting fairly tame.

So, given the state of the Back Forty and its wild inhabitants, I decided to plant the womb garden with asparagus. I may be wrong, but over the past few years, the groundhogs have left the little bit of asparagus alone. It may be because it was surrounded with feverfew, which was one strategy of mine. I also needed something that would be low maintenance and perennial, so asparagus and walking onions is the plan for now.

I weeded what I could without causing myself a lot of pain, and then Thomas, “The Plant Guy,” came over and dug and planted my asparagus for me. Here are the before photos.

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Behind the womb garden is the blueberry bush, an elderberry bush that is just beginning to thrive, a raspberry cane that needs to be moved, and a big-ass fig tree that didn’t get pruned this winter. Thomas is going to help me move the raspberries to their own bed later on. I’m going to get some bamboo and build a trellis for them.

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Hey, let’s talk about that washpan! One of the most useful things I own that I brought back from my mother’s house. It is lightweight aluminum but sturdy enough to hold water and heavy things easily. I don’t know how old it is. I remember mostly using it to carry laundry to the clothesline before we got a dryer. Sandy has eyeballed it for donation several times and I think he is nuts. I’ll probably take this sucker to Portugal with me! Anyway, in the photo above I soaked the asparagus roots and crowns before Thomas planted them.

I picked four spears from the old plants to add to a pasta dish this week, and that is the most I have picked at one time so far. Two years from now, if we are still here, we should have plenty of asparagus to eat.

Back Forty, Blather, coffee pot posts

Thursday lunch post

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I just edited a whole bunch of photos and wrote a post about going to Dunleath Porchfest on June 12, because my work ethic is to get the easy quick projects out of the way first. It works for me.

Today is such a light workday. It is so refreshing to have these days after the work crunch of spring semester, and such a shock when the world returns to semi-normal in August. I’ve only had one visitor to the office, and one phone call. One faculty member is here in her office. All the classes are online. I caught up on everything that built up during my vacation on Tuesday.

The front and back gardens are looking lovely – but the other parts of the yard are getting grown up with pokeweed and English ivy and poison ivy and ground ivy. I posted a recommendation request on the Next Door app and got loads of messages back. So I knuckled down and made the phone calls. I hate making phone calls worse than almost anything in the world. I like public speaking better. I like eating liver better. I like listening to Garth Brooks better. The responses are beginning to come in.

This is the pretty part:

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I got shit done yesterday and today though. I went to Leon’s Beauty School and had half of my hair whacked off. I did a couple of loads of laundry and got completely frustrated with the plumbing situation, so a plumber was called and is coming tomorrow afternoon. I have managed to put this off for at least a year. Sandy and I went to lunch at Lindley Filling Station and I ordered a healthy salad. We got one car inspected. I filled out the form to make an eye appointment in mid-July – I had hoped for sooner, so we’ll see whether I stick with them. I ordered a few colors of Golden paint that I’ve been wanting.

And I spent money. I bought plane tickets for Dublin to Lisbon. I don’t feel very secure about it, and not only because of Covid concerns. TAP, the Portuguese airline, was really the best choice as far as the length of the trip (2 hr 45 min) and the time of departure because we needed a morning flight. It was the best price for a flight that allowed checked baggage. But their website was a nightmare and had conflicting/confusing information about whether we could get a voucher or refund if the flight was cancelled. So I called a couple of times and I couldn’t get anyone to answer after listening to hold music for way too long. Then I checked out their Facebook page AFTER I booked the flight (I do have 24 hours to cancel, I know that) and saw many complaints with very unsatisfactory responses from TAP. This morning I took another look at my choices and I am sticking with TAP and hoping for the best. Hoo boy.

The fact is, I feel compelled to move forward with this trip. I had to tweak our plans. For one thing, my sister and brother-in-law are definitely not coming with us. They want to wait, and I can’t blame them for that. My sister says that she knows someone with an auto-immune disease who found out that she had no antibodies after she was vaccinated. We’ll buy a couple of antibody tests at Walgreens and see. Maybe Sandy will need a more robust mask to wear.

We also realized that there was a logistical problem with spending the weekend in Dublin. We have to have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of getting on the plane to Portugal. We could probably get a fast test in Dublin, but, we’d have to do that right away and we’ll be tired.  By the time we land in Lisbon, we will have been on planes or in airports for over 24 hours. We are going to be exhausted so Friday night in Lisbon will probably be a waste while we rest. And I can tell you from the past long wait in Dublin airport that it is not a comfy place to hang out. But the TAP flight after a six hour layover in Dublin was the only nonstop flight that left in a reasonable time frame. If all goes well, we’ll be in Lisbon early Friday afternoon, after leaving Raleigh on Thursday morning.

But hey! It gives us more time in Portugal! Winning! I changed our AirBNB apartment to a smaller one that costs about the same for the longer amount of time – good reviews, super cheap, and right next to the big Lisbon flea market, which will thrill both of us. Close to the main historic part of Lisbon and most importantly, a short walk to the train station. Flea market and exploring Lisbon on Saturday, then we plan to take at least a couple of day trips on the train or bus tours to other parts of Portugal, then another day or two in Lisbon.

Sandy really wanted to spend the whole trip in Portugal, and I considered that. We are seriously talking about emigrating there when I retire, and we need to check it out. But I really want to take that art class with Lora Murphy and chill out on the western beaches of Ireland, so the compromise was made. He will be happy in Ireland too.

Okay, back to work.

 

Back Forty, coffee pot posts

Saturday on the front porch

20210529_115738I haven’t done much lately, trying to heal this heel. Heal, heel! I puttered around the garden this morning, but my Achilles tendon doesn’t care much for squatting, so here I am back on the front porch. Fortunately the heat lifted with the rain last night and it is expected to be cool tomorrow in the upper 60s!

Sandy is in the back, burning pieces of an old rotten pallet in the fire pit. It was once part of a compost heap that is long gone. Porfirio says that he might be able to come back to work in the yard on Tuesday. If he can’t, I will look for someone else to hire. We both reached the point where we agree that help is needed.

I haven’t planted anything new in the Back Forty this year, so far. Everything has gone into the front garden, mostly into pots. The feverfew is just beginning to flower and the evening primrose will be bursting into blooms very soon. The fig tree is huge and will have to be cut down by at least two-thirds this winter.

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In the front, we have green tomatoes, a few peppers, and coreopsis providing a welcome burst of yellow.

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The foxgloves are winding down. The azalea blossoms have turned brown. Every year I am tempted to remove these white azaleas. I didn’t plant them and I don’t particularly like them.  Note a calla lily that is emerging in the center of the photo below. It was given to me as a potted plant twenty years ago and I planted it just to see what would happen. I always forget about it until it surprises me each year. Hopefully I will get a bloom this year.

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One of the best things about the front porch and how we are so close to the street is the interaction with our neighbors and people who are walking, often with their dogs. There is a certain corner of our yard that I have dubbed the Dogs Community Board because every dog stops to sniff it. This morning I heard again that our yard is a green oasis on their daily walk. That makes me feel good. Consider that when we bought this house, this was just a small patch of grass and the white azaleas, with many electrical lines crossing above.

This is how I repurposed the original bird cage that Bernie and Liz lived in. Squirrels loved to dig in this plant box. Usually I grow lettuce here but this summer I am growing basil.

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Back Forty, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters, depression/anxiety, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

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^Statue on the corner of Walker and Elam Avenues, Greensboro, NC

It’s still comfortably cool on the front porch, but according to the weather forecast it will be turning to summer temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s soon. Dry, too, with some drought concerns beginning to pop up. When I was at the lake last time, the water was already pretty low.

Both of us have been in better spirits this week. Sandy is going to the Aquatic Center for water exercise classes and swimming laps, and he started the steroids on Thursday. He will be on them for a month and then the doctor switches him to something else.

I’m kind of craving a steroid shot in my wrist again since of course I have overdone it with the yard work and otherwise usually holding a book, Kindle, or phone in my hand until my Dequervain’s tendinitis in my left wrist has flared up and my carpal tunnel has flared up in my right wrist. So I’m typing this with two different kinds of wrist braces on, and will try to hold back on the gardening and weeding this weekend. However, this pain is old news to me and even though it is distressing (I had surgery on the left wrist 8 years ago) I don’t struggle with it as much mentally as I used to.

I bought some more tomato and pepper plants at Deep Roots Market on Sunday afternoon and planted them into the pots: Pink Brandywine tomatoes, hot banana peppers, and jalapenos. Then when we popped into the Bestway for a couple of things I noticed that they had a small pot of sweet basil with lots of seedlings crammed into it for $2.99. They are not particularly happy now that I’ve pulled them apart and planted them, but I didn’t really expect them to be. If I get two healthy ones out of the dozen or so that are in there, I win.

We both had massages Monday night and the therapist, who teaches it at the local community college so knows her stuff, basically said that I needed more work that one hour could handle. Ha.

Late Tuesday afternoon I saw my therapist for the first time since November, 2018, when the election results helped calm me down for a while. I told her that I was seeing her on my best day in at least two years and I couldn’t make the appointment to get help earlier because I was too depressed to do it. Such a vicious cycle, depression and agoraphobia. I really like her and was happy that I started it up again. There was also a nice surprise – my insurance doesn’t even charge a co-pay now. I don’t know how long that lasts, but yay.

Anyway, the point is that Sandy and I are both busy getting our shit together and back to living the best life possible. I have a podiatrist appointment on Monday, too, so new shoes will probably be in my future. We both need to do a bit of clothes shopping.

We are planning our summer – in two weeks we go up the road to Elkin, NC, for my Tapestry Weavers South retreat. I’ll be taking a tapestry design course from Tommye Scanlin on that Monday and Tuesday.

Speaking of Tommye, I set up a Bookshop of my own and right now I am featuring tapestry design books. I get a small commission, and a book wholesaler, Ingram, hosts the sites. It’s a way to support local bookstores and publishers online without going through Amazon. You can buy Tommye’s book “The Nature of Things: Essays by a Tapestry Weaver” or pre-order her upcoming book “Tapestry Design Basics and Beyond” there. The link is on my sidebar and also here: Slow Turn Books. I ordered “The Nature of Things” from my shop and it arrived within a week – what a lovely book! I have ordered from Boomerang Bookshop as well, and the entire Bookshop website is fun to search.  You can order from many independent bookstores there.

I will be adding more book lists as the summer goes on – probably focused on the fiber art/mixed media/collage artists who I’ve taken courses from and love the most. I’m not trying to compete with any bookstores or make any money off this – just promote the books and art that I love and have some fun. I miss my bookstore days, but I don’t miss the poverty wages.

Here’s a wildlife shot: The mighty cougar stalks his prey.

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Back Forty, Coronavirus Chronicles

Monday morning

20210506_184420Writing on the front porch, working from home still. Soon, that too will be a memory. This is the climbing rose that is technically on my neighbor’s property. I saved it from the landscapers that plowed up everything else because they think that two foot strip is on our side of the property line. We are going to see if we can root some of it and plant some in the back forty. It has a lovely smell. And of course, there’s the daisy fleabane that I let grow each year as a backdrop.

Like most people, I have mixed feelings about the new CDC guidance on wearing masks. On the one hand, I am happy about it and tend to trust the scientists. On the other hand, there is no way to tell if an unmasked person is vaccinated or is being a maskhole, so I’ll continue to be cautious and wear a mask in inside spaces and in crowded situations, but mainly, I’ll avoid crowds and inside spaces the same way that I did before. Plus, I am not yet sure what we will need to do about masks with Sandy’s medical situation, although the doctor did say it should be fine to go to Europe in September.

However, Sandy and I did eat dinner inside the Green Valley Grill at the bar last night for our anniversary. I knew that they were a safe space, and they had spaced out their tables and put clear plastic dividers every 2-3 seats at the bar. I had the pecan crusted trout – I always have the pecan crusted trout, I should try something else but it is so good – and Sandy had the Athens pasta.

We toasted my friend and colleague, Karl Schleunes, a retired historian of the Holocaust who passed away yesterday. I already miss Karl. He was a kind and funny man, a good friend. When I first began at UNCG, he was the associate head and I was his admin, then he was interim head the next year and his admin was on maternity leave, so I had a great working relationship with him as well. I never, ever was made to feel that I was anything but his equal, and that was rare in professors of his generation. Since his retirement, he stopped by our offices to visit often, and took “the history girls” out to lunch once or twice a year. I miss his smile and deep soft voice and chuckle.

Yesterday I mainly rested my feet, but we went to Deep Roots for groceries and Sandy rearranged the “living room” to a cozier, less cluttered space. Well, it will be less cluttered. We are still working on that part. It is embarrassing for us to have anybody come inside.

Sandy is starting to sound enthusiastic about going to Europe so I think that our situation will turn out okay as long as Europe lets us in by September. If not, I’ll cancel everything and we’ll figure out something else.

On Saturday afternoon I did a lot of weeding and filling containers with potting soil and adding a big bag of raised bed soil that Sandy had bought last year to the new hugelkultur bed. I’m still not sure what I will plant there, considering I watched four little groundhogs playing in and out of the holes in that cement block wall in the background this morning. One climbed a tree. Maybe basil. I planted pink Brandywine tomatoes, hot banana peppers, and jalapeno peppers in the remaining containers. There is still a whole lot to do, including killing a healthy stand of poison ivy growing around the maple stump.

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Back Forty

Garden time!

My front garden is getting into full swing now. The foxgloves reseeded themselves down in front this past year. I have not had to replant foxgloves for years now, although I have moved them around.

The roses that I saved that are really on my neighbor’s property have come back. Most of the flowers over there were plowed up and mowed down, but they don’t know or care that this little strip is on their side of the line. I always let the daisy fleabane at the end of the path bloom.

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This borage was a nice surprise volunteer.

I reduced the size of my hugelkultur bed in the front in anticipation of needing to roll the jet ski out to the street, although that hasn’t happened yet. I made it deeper and I like the smaller size better. Yesterday I moved a few herbs around and planted a couple of swamp milkweed plants for the monarch butterflies. I repotted and potted containers with one plant each of Cherokee Purple tomato, Big Beef tomato, Better Boy tomato, Sweet 100 tomato, red bell pepper, and Anaheim pepper. Today I’ll plant a couple of English thyme in different places. It is my favorite herb but I’ve never found a place where it is happy. I’m still trying!

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My neighbor offered me some rich looking dirt from where he dug out his driveway to pave it, and so I set up another hugelkultur bed, this time without digging the wood in. The dirt ended up having a lot of gravel in it, but that’s okay, I found a use for it!

Not sure what I will plant here, but at least I remembered to get a before shot.

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Continue reading “Garden time!”

Back Forty

Back Forty Update

I don’t know, I guess I will always call it the Back Forty.

It is cleaned up to the extent that I can clean up the rest of it now! You couldn’t even get into the area in the back of the outbuilding because it was so grown over and tangled up in wisteria. At one time I had started a shade garden back there, and my compost pile was there until it lost all sun.

They clipped and pulled all the vines off the gazebo structure! I don’t know if we will buy another fabric roof and screen for it. They kept getting ruined by big tree limbs falling on it. It was my “wet” studio for a while. That rusted metal thing is a press for my handmade paper. I do miss it, so maybe I will look into a reorder on the screen replacement.

First, here is a before photo.

Now this:

Now flowers – the purplish Lenten roses just started blooming this year. The other is a flowering quince that has been there forever.