Yep, things are hopping. No, not the frogs and toads just yet; it's still too cold for that. But things keep happening.
Sometime in January, I had put 12 eggs into the small incubator and forgot to keep a log book. Guessed at the dates and put the incubator on lockdown on Friday.
It was Saturday when things went crazy around here. First, the chicks in the incubator started to hatch out.
Then, there's a phone call telling me that the man with the stump grinder is in my yard so I have to move my car. You might remember about the 60+ year old Azaleas that had been removed and left 5 huge stumps.
This was what my house looked like before the Azaleas were removed. They were a bit overgrown.
These are two of the five stumps.
I was a nervous wreck listening to that stump grinding machine...After the man and his machine left, I snapped a few photos, tossed some chicken food down and asked the chickens to start the clean up job on the mess.
I let the dogs outside for a few minutes and we all took a long, long nap. Well, the dogs and I napped. The chickens were busy working outside.
I usually have to go to the laundromat to do my washing but it costs anywhere from $29 to $49. I live in an unfinished house; there is a perfectly good washing machine sitting in the dining room, not hooked up to anything. It finally dawned on me that I could actually make use of the washer even though it would be a bit unconventional. I figured that if I had a hose long enough I could hook up the washer to the spigot in the laundry room.
Yep, so I did.
Well, no I didn't.
Garden hoses have a male and a female end but washing machines have 2 female ends. Back to the drawing board. And back to the store.
I already have a short garden hose so I bought a female end repair.
Yep, did it.
Hooked up the hose.
No water came out into the machine.
Oh, maybe there is a plug in the end on the washing machine, like part of the packing material and such.
Yep, took out the plug.
Hooked the hose up.
Oh, by the way...every time I have to turn the water on or off, it's necessary to walk all the way around from the dining room, living room, hall, then through the locked gate into the laundry room, flip the spigot-thingy, the blue one for cold water, and walk all the way back, locking the gate behind me so the dogs won't get in to bother the chicks. Whew...am I tired.
Okay, turned the water on, walked all the way back just in time to see water spewing all over the place. I am not able to run but walked as fast as possible to shut the water off again. Oh, that locked gate again!
Then back to the dining room, grabbed a basket full of clean towels and threw the towels at all that water on the floor. Whew...I need another nap and back to the drawing board to figure out what went wrong this time. Maybe my repair was faulty?
The next day I drove to the store and as I was looking at hoses noticed that there were hoses for those...hose caddy things. Some of the caddies require a male/female hose but others have Woohoo! 2 female ends! Yes, didn't even look at the price, bought it and headed home.
The next day is scheduled to finally succeed and get some washing done.
But there was a knock on the door.
Oh, crap, now what?!
It's the little boy from diagonally across the street. I know he doesn't speak any English so we do our best to understand each other. His mother needs rice at Walmart. (Sheesh, wasn't I just t Walmart the day before!) So I go into the house and bring out 2 bags of rice. His face fell. Nope, my rice isn't good enough. I have to get the rice at Walmart. Well, after about 20 minutes of this nonsense he finally uses all his sign language, facial expressions, and Spanish words. His mother wants to go IN my CAR to Walmart. Oh, great. That means that I have to get out of my house clothes, brush hair and teeth (don't worry, I do use two different brushes), put on 2 sweatshirts because it's cold outside, and then clear all the junk, garbage, thrift store purchases, etc. from the passenger seat of my car. I piled all the junk into 3 laundry baskets...I mean, it's not like any laundry is getting washed today. So far, all I managed to do was get the nice clean towels dirty and sopping wet.
Drive across the street and find not just his mother, no, but his mother and one other woman who is very pregnant. (I'm joking in my mind hoping that 'rice at Walmart' aren't the Spanish words for 'labor and delivery'!) It's a good thing that the mother is petite - she settled the pregnant woman in the front passenger seat and squeezed her small self into the space in the back. (I have 4 dogs, a filthy car, and the woman is wearing black pants.) I drive us all to Walmart, park near the grocery side (well, we are going in for rice, aren't we?), and the two women immediately walk all the way to the other side of the store and start shopping for Valentines candy, stuffed animals, then boys' clothes, girls' clothes, women's clothes...but no rice.
We must be finished because they get into the line.
The line is a mile long. (By the way, I need to pee!)
All of a sudden they do an about face and head to health and beauty aids with me trailing behind. They search and search looking for something. I realize they are in the body wash aisle looking for hair shampoo and conditioner. Move them gently to the correct aisle where they are sniffing all the scents (how can they smell anything with their masks on?) and finally decide which ones they want to purchase.
Okay, back into the line which is now twice as long.
We are inching forward when it dawns on me that they are most likely gonna pay with cash. I excuse myself to talk to the cashier, yep, credit/debit cards only - no cash. Well, I'm not getting out of this line and into the longer line for cash only so I explain to them that this line is credit only but I am willing to use my credit card if they reimburse me with their cash. Yes, they seemed very pleased to not have to get into a different line. Well, since I'm the one paying, they gave me the honor of scanning and bagging every item. Two separate orders. (I really have to pee! I can imagine the pregnant woman is thinking the same thing.)
The total was $145...and they never even bought any rice!
They reimburse me, we drive back home, unload, and each woman gives me a big smile, a thank you, and some Valentine candy. The mother gives me $10 for the ride which I try to refuse but, well, you know how that goes. I drive myself home (finally was able to pee), let the dogs out for a quick minute, then drive myself to Walmart to buy my own stuff and stop at the liquor store on the way home. (Sometimes thinking requires wine.)
The next day I realized that the boy was not saying 'rice at Walmart'; he was attempting to speak English and trying to say 'ride to Walmart'. Ya gotta give the kid credit for trying. He must think I'm a total idiot for not understanding simple English.
The dogs and I go to sleep.
Wake up at about 2 am. Well, I wake up; the dogs are snoring like lumberjacks.
Remember that no water was going into the washing machine no matter how many times I tried?
I had hooked the hose to the HOT water side on the washer instead of the COLD water side.
Yes, I truly am an idiot.
Well, meanwhile the chicks are still hatching. While all this was going on, the six chicks turned into 8 chicks. Three others needed assistance to get out of the shell. Of those 3, two are doing fine but one may not make it. (This one is not very photogenic, believe me, you don't need to look.) I've been using a plastic syringe to give him/her water and some Vet/RX to see if it'll work.(Helpful chick advice is appreciated, thanks.)
The ten fluffy butt chicks are now in the brooder with the sickly chick alone in the incubator. That's 11 chicks from 12 eggs. The last egg seems to be a dud. But you will notice that I did not count any chickens before they hatched.
Here are some of the chicks eating. And yes, I did have to drive all the way across town to buy starter feed for them.
This chick is pretending to be an owl.
My dog Jack is allowed to visit the chicks. He loves his little 'babies'.
Somewhere in the middle of all that nonsense, usually around 3-4 most mornings I did some sewing. Made shamrock masks someone named Beth requested for her friends who work in the medical field. Our Saint Patrick's Day parade and festivities are cancelled due to the pandemic, the masks will hopefully provide some joy to the essential workers. Also made some Superman masks. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and not all of them wear a cape.
Today I finally washed laundry in the machine. I still had to walk all the way around to turn the water on and off, and when the water drains out of the machine it goes into a huge plastic tub since there is no drain in the dining room (but there is a handy window) But I saved some money and got lots of exercise.
One of these days, in my spare time, I'll clear a path so the washing machine can be relocated to the laundry room where it belongs.
I usually like to end on a happy note but this time the end will be a gardening note.
For anyone who is still reading, and who is a gardener, I need to mention that those ancient Azaleas were keeping company with some very prickly companions. Smilax. Think about it for just a quick minute. A stump grinder was used and ground up not only the Azalea stumps, the oak, sassafras, mulberry and all the other assorted smaller stumps, but every smilax bulb, vine, and root...
Cue the Twilight Zone music; this is just beginning to get interesting.
January 28, 2021
Ever since the pandemic arrived, I've been sewing face masks. Not much cleaning/cooking/gardening is getting done around my place.
There are a lot of people cashing in on the fact that everyone needs masks but what I decided early on was to do this to help people, not to take advantage of them. Yes, donations are accepted but I'm doing this as a 'pay it forward' rather than for profit. In addition to providing reusable cotton masks for the local people, I've also mailed masks to 7 different states - to plant friends and their extended families.
But there is another group that needs masks and other supplies but they aren't getting any headlines.
When you read the CDC numbers about COVID 19, please remember that those numbers do not include the Native people residing on reservations. The virus has hit the Native Nations hard and they could use some help.
Check this link for more information about the need and what is being done to help.
I may be old, disabled, have very little money but I can sew up a storm. Non-sewers can donate fabric, elastic, nose wires, and/or money for postage. That's the beauty of it all. I have zero money for postage but thanks to the donations of others, I was able to sew 143 masks and send them to South Dakota. This image shows part of the masks made for that shipment.
This week I ordered more supplies and will begin to sew between 50 and 150 masks. The groups mailed some of the donated fabric to me and, when the masks are ready to mail, the groups will provide a postage paid shipping label so all it costs me is time, electricity, and thread.
If you want to help people who need masks, check this link - https://wehavemasks.org/
You can offer to sew masks, or just donate some materials. If you or someone you know would like to sew masks, or even just to cut fabric into 'kits' that will be mailed to the sewers...sewists...aw heck, what was wrong with being a plain old seamstress?!!
I've also been sewing masks for anyone who may need them.
If that link doesn't work, try this one - https://www.facebook.com/maryg...
Check my Facebook page to see the latest batch of masks; these are all size adult medium and the pattern is my own design; fits really well. Tomorrow I'll work on sizes adult large and adult small. Many people are sewing to make a profit but my masks are on a 'pay it forward' basis. You request masks, send a donation of any amount and your donation will allow me to make a mask for the next person...and so on. Or should that be sew on? Anyway...whatever donations come in from the batch of masks that I posted on January 28 will be used to make more masks for the Native Nations project.
To obtain masks sewn by me, most people send money through PayPal but donations can be items such as thread, cotton quilting fabric, mailing supplies, or dog bones/antlers to keep the dogs quiet while I work in the sewing room, or even a bag of cow manure. Heck, if a local person showed up with a dump truck full of compost I'd be in Hog Heaven and my plants would love it.
Here in the Savannah area the weeds have started to grow, the Carolina Wrens are checking out nesting sites...on my front porch again, the peeper frogs are getting busy, and the mosquitoes are planning their attack.
It's time to thing about Spring and beautiful flowers.
A funny thing happened yesterday. Well, three funny things.
First, the man works cutting trees for the power company stopped by. He was part of the tree crew that removed some trees and half of my ancient Azalea bushes a few weeks ago. Here's the before and after of my house as viewed from the road.
Now that the house is visible from the road, people are forever waving or honking horns to say hello. Makes me feel like I should maybe not do gardening work while wearing my sleeping clothes. Have to get properly dressed and brush my hair. Maybe put on a dab of lipstick?
The man was here to pick up the three 8-foot cedar posts that I was giving him for free. As he carried away the posts, he offered to weed whack my yard for $200 which, of course, I politely refused since my budget would never stretch that far.
After he left, I was thinking to myself...why are some people so greedy that they receive a gift for free and then expect to get paid? Seemed sad to me. I just shook my head and got back to working in the yard, still trying to clean the mess left by the removal of the bushes.
Wednesday is trash day for many of my neighbors. Since I can't afford a private trash pickup, I pay a small tipping fee and carry my trash to the local landfill. It's fun to drive a few miles to save a ton of money plus my dog Jack really enjoyed snapping at the 'sky raisins' that end up inside the car. Yum.
So it was trash day, Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. The big, stinky garbage truck came down the street. The brakes made an ear-piercing noise as the truck stopped across the street from my house. The two men riding at the back of the truck jumped off to wheel my neighbor's trash can onto the lift. As the trash can was being lifted into place, one of the men waved and hollered something to me. What? I pointed to my ears to indicate that I couldn't hear what he said. He ran across the street, jumped over the roadside ditch, came across my from 'lawn' and said, "I don't smell any turkey cooking!"
I laughed and told him that I don't really do much cooking anymore, mostly just cook for the dogs. He asked me what do I eat and I told him I just eat some of whatever I cooked for the dogs.
But seriously, what I cook for the dogs is perfectly good for humans, too. Oh, by the way, the black things are black beans...not sky raisins.
The man said, "Do you want me to bring you a plate tomorrow?" That was really nice but I told him that I'm on a really low-salt diet and can't eat what most people have on Thanksgiving. Well, his face lit up! He said that he was diabetic and the food would be cooked in such a way that it would be okay for me, he pointed to my house number and said, "522, got it. I'm bringing you a plate!"
It's not really funny that a garbage man is bringing me a plate. The funny part is that he's not even MY garbageman.
Ten minutes later I received a message from the two sisters (the women who had a tree fall in their yard and I helped with my little electric chain saw; the same women who helped do some yard clean-up in my yard); they asked me to pop in sometime on Thanksgiving to share their feast.
There was no way I would tell any of these nice people that I really don't really like turkey, but I sure am looking forward the the part of the meal that is 'all the trimmings' since that's the best part. I could make a meal from just the stuffing and cranberry sauce. Yum.
Hope your day is fill with good people, lots of good food, and some pleasant surprises.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Oh...one more thing. If anyone tries to serve stuffing with raisins and walnuts, or sweet potato casserole with raisins, or apple-raisin dressing...my dog Jack wants to remind everyone that 'sky raisins' from the local landfill are delicious but dogs should never eat raisins made from grapes.
Let's jump into the WayBack machine for a quick minute.
This was me in February 2017.
Everything was going along pretty well until about a year ago I got sick. Really sick. Thought I was gonna die. The doctors thought so, too and did every test at least twice. I lost a ton of weight. It was kind of funny to be outside trying to weed the garden and all of a sudden my pants fell down to my ankles. Gotta laugh about it, right?
This was me in August 2019
My hair fell out. Ugh!
Well, anyway, the good news is that I didn't die. The bad news is that no work got done around here for an entire year. One whole year of junk, weeds, shrubs, debris, just piling up and waiting for someone to get to work. And inside the house there was junk, dirty dishes, laundry...I did what I could but it still piled up, and up.
Gradually, my health improved. The weight came back. And my hair started to grow back. Yep, it sure did. When the pandemic arrived I found myself, like everyone else, confined to the house hoping to slow the spread of the virus. I happened to have a room filled with fabric and an almost new sewing machine.
My Singer heavy-duty machine.
I started sewing face masks to donate. Lots and lots of masks.
Basketball masks with matching beads to make the elastic adjustable.
The masks are given away free to whoever needs them. But I'm happy to accept donations of any kind in order to replenish supplies and keep making masks; some local people donate dog food and treats, potting soil, cotton fabric and some just donate cash. My masks have been given away locally and have traveled in the mail Atlanta, Georgia and to Birmingham, Alabama and even farther - to New Mexico, Kentucky, Nevada, Indian, Iowa, New Hampshire. A box of 50 masks went to Navajo Nation and I'm working now to send masks to the workers who are harvesting fruit in the state of Washington.
One lovely local person gave me a bag of thread and some Four O'Clock seeds from her garden.
Oh, since I just mentioned potting soil, let me interrupt myself. I had rooted a ton of Duranta erecta cuttings that needed to be put into pots (just in case the pandemic allows us to have our plant swap in September) so went over to Lowe's and bought a big bag of potting soil. I normally try to save money and look for the broken bags that are discounted but for this bag I paid full price. It was in the back of my car... (Did I mention that I'm old and forgetful?)
A couple of days later, I decided to take the dogs for a car ride to the park. All four dogs in the car together. They were having a lot of fun playing in the back of the car. They love a car ride. And for some reason they were especially enjoying this ride.
Can you see what's happening behind me while I am totally oblivious in the driver's seat?
Remember that bag of soil? The one that I paid full price for because the bag was not ripped.
Well, this is what a bag of potting soil looks like when four dogs decide it's a fun toy.
Gotta love those dogs! Even though I live alone I do have lots of company. There are two roosters and two hens living in my yard. The smaller hen decided she wanted to hatch some eggs and she did. She has four beautiful chicks and they are growing like weeds. Here is Dottie, Jr. with her four chicks on May 16, 2020. You'll see the chicks again in the video.
A black rabbit showed up in the yard. He (or she) seems happy here so I provide carrots and fancy rabbit food. He mostly hangs out in the front yard with the chickens.
I already had two dogs but back in September , when I didn't yet know how sick I was, I adopted a third dog so that brought the count to 3 matching rescue dogs keeping me company.
In the first week of January 2020 someone asked me to hang onto this big brown dog...just for a couple of days. Ha! She was in heat when she arrived so had to be kept apart from my 3 dogs. At the appropriate time I took her to the veterinarian to get spayed. At that point the plan was to re-home her but the darn pandemic made it nearly impossible to safely do any interviews or have a 'meet and greet' with prospective owners and their dogs. So she stayed. Her name is Coqueta and while I'm busy sewing she keeps herself occupied destroying things in the house. Here she is right after she ripped the binding off a blue quilt. She did a very good job and if you look closely you'll see some blue threads stuck in her teeth. Silly girl. The veterinarian and I think she is a Chocolate Labrador mixed with Vizsla which equals Vizslador.
At this point I'll have to jump over to YouTube to upload a video. So many gardeners love to share their beautiful yards, gardens, blooms. I decided y'all needed a video tour of my place.
In the video I mention that I have 'big plans' I had for the second gate? I happen to have a gate similar to the one in this photo. The image is from an article right here in The National Gardening Association but I can't find the name of the photographer.
The plan is to build an arbor around the gate and plant my Evergreen Wisteria which has been patiently waiting for a permanent location.
Evergreen Wisteria (Callerya reticulata)
Well, thanks everyone for spending time touring the garden. I will smile and wave good-bye. You won't be able to see my smile because, like everyone else these days, I'm wearing a face mask. Stay safe.
(See, I told you that my hair grew back!)
If this hasn't already come to your attention, people have been receiving unsolicited seeds from China. Please, if you receive any seeds that you did not order, do not open the seed pack and do not plant the seeds. Do not throw the seeds away.
A member of our local gardening group in Savannah, Georgia recently received one of the packages (the label said the package contained wire connector) and contacted the local agency and was instructed to mail the seeds to the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) in Tifton, Georgia.
These two links are from a story about a person in Virginia who received a package from China marked as 'jewelry' but it contained seeds.
Here's another article:
Contact your local agricultural agency if you receive unsolicited seeds. There is no way to know what is inside the package. There could be a disease or insect that could damage our food system. Or something even worse.
Please spread the word. Let everyone know. Even your friends and neighbors who are not gardeners need to know about this.
Edited to add:
27 states have received warnings -
Edited to add another: