At least I’m eating well except for the very bad for me comfort junk food that I eat to excess – read that crunch salty things and chocolaty sweet things. No embarrassing pictures of that.
Early in May, I have a socially distanced dinner with my wonderful friend Pam.
She brings a vegan mushroom spiral noodle main dish and I provide a salad. Unfortunately I didn’t take any close ups of these delicious dishes. But the mushroom dish was so good, that she gave me the recipe and I fixed it again for myself. We thought we’d have leftovers; she brought a lot. But NOPE. We ate every bite.
Of the many many things I miss about being alone without David is his wonderful cooking. Now I have to go back to doing it for myself. I don’t love cooking like he did so the 10 year break from it was terrific for me. But there is one compensation. I can make two dishes and alternate them both and have food for nearly a week. Obviously I don’t mind eating the same thing over and over if it’s something I like. For example, here’s Sweet and Sour Tofu with a vegetable mix. I alternated that with the mushroom/noodle recipe
Here at the farm things are growing, growing, growing with all the rain. The lawn is filled with buttercups and my rugged lawn tractor mower needs maintenance for which I have to get a date on Shannon’s schedule since I have no way to get it into the back of the truck to take it anywhere for oil/filters etc. David, of course, always did it himself.
So the buttercups will stay for a while at least.
Another casualty of all the heavy rains is that the newly done road is washing out where we thought we could save the cost of yet another culvert. Not terrible yet but it will only get worse if I don’t have something done about it. So I arrange for the Mays, father and son, to come out again to fix it.
I know you may not be interested in pictures of my road but consider it a cautionary tale about owning country property. The pictures are mostly for my records. The blog has proved invaluable in that regard many times.
No damage on the stretch leading into the barnyard just on the part leading up to that.
The full moon rising in the west just before dusk is a wonderful calming sight from the second story bedroom porch. A sign that some things are still very right with the world.
This amorous pair are frequent visitors. Actually, I suspect they live here abouts. He is pretty handsome so I can see why she might like to cuddle with him.
Other visitors include deer of course. These pictures were taken on 3 different days and in 3 different locations. The fawn pictures were taken right outside the fence near the lilac bush I’m trying to reclaim.
In the woods when I was cleaning the ditch. More about that later.
Mom had left them hidden in the tall grass which will mow as soon as it can get on his busy busy schedule and it isn’t raining.
Few things cuter than baby fawns.
Birds other than turkeys visit too. I often don’t have my camera but I did get the blue birds who seem to be quite happy with the never used 30 year old Purple Martin House. The Blue Birds are much quieter than martins. I thought they were moving in but then later in the week. . . . . .
Later in the week here came some tree swallows obviously building a nest. Blue birds won’t build near to anyone else so I need to QUICK get some blue bird boxes up or I won’t be seeing any more blue birds. We had a blue bird trail when we lived here but the boxes have deteriorated over the time we’ve been gone. I don’t know whether to set some back up or not. How long are we going to be stuck in place???
Other visitors were the sweet Carolina Wren singing her heart out and making a song twice as large as she is.
Also the Chipping sparrow with his rusty cap hoping around in the grass.
I didn’t take any pictures of the road work done to get rid of the washout and install the culvert and more gravel. But my friendly road man advised that I might want to get the leaves out of the ditch that comes through the woods before entering the little valley. He said just use a leaf blower. Well, all of my “yard machines” are battery operated and suitable for taking on the road so I didn’t even try my little quiet RV campsite cleaner as I call it.
Instead, I used a rake. Here I’m just getting started and am looking from the culvert back up the drive to where it comes off of the county paved road.
I look fairly pleased at this point. I’ve gotten about half the span cleared out on to the road but I still have to rake them accross the road and off its other side so they don’t just get blown back.
Here’s the pile when I got to the end, looking back and before starting all over to rake them across the road. It was a big, long pile.
The completely clean ditch and the leaves mostly off the other side. This all took 3 hours of raking a chore I don’t do much any more so you can imagine how sore I was the next day. The farm lane is 3/4 of a mile long from the county road. I did about 2/10ths of a mile and it felt like A LOT more than that.
Wondering if I should have at least tried the little battery operated leaf blower.
We’ve had our share of rain and the clouds were forming and darkening up on this day as I came walking the road toward the house after my road leaf clean up.
I’m throwing this picture in as a cautionary tale and to remind myself not to try making potato chips in a food dryer. Usually I do them in the microwave but it takes numerous in and outs to test for crispness. I thought I’d just put them in the dryer for a few hours and they’d be fine but though this picture of them in the after about 4 hours doesn’t show how small and chewy they were, that’s what happened. I had tested them every hour and after 3 they just got smaller but no more crisp. Think of dried fruit and the chewy thing. They shrank down to half their original size and had zero crunch which was the whole point of course. Crunch without oil or salt. Oh well back to the microwave.
Another fun thing that has happened due to the pandemic in addition to outdoor dining Socially Distant Dinners (SDD) with my friend Pam is a weekly two person zoom book discussion with my friend Laurie who wasn’t too fond of my taking this picture but she’s so cute that I had to. She’s giving me a semi snicker.
We’ve discussed May Sarton’s Plant Dreaming Deep and Oliver Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield. We are now working on The Overstory, Pulitzer Prize winner by Richard Powers. Laurie is still working so we can’t possibly read one book a week even if I have all the time in the world so she divides the books up into bits and we discuss those bits each week. The first two we divided into thirds but Powers book is over 500 pages so it will take longer. This is top of the line fun for me. Thank you Laurie. I’m a book maniac especially now so any of you reading this who would like to do a Zoom or Facetime book discussion just let me know what book to get and I’m there.
Last post I spotlighted the city flowers so here some of the, you don’t have to care for them, country ones starting with my favorite mountain laurel. The farm is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains just east of where the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway meet. I have BRP views from my bedroom porch. These laurel lucky for me are right here at home. No need to drive somewhere else for a hike in the woods.
And then there is Golden Ragwort making a stream of sunshine in the unmowed fields. It’s a lot brighter than this more distant picture shows.
Not sure what the allergies which cause my coughing are but these don’t seem to trigger it.
Other grass plants included small daisies with ruffled petals and larger daisies with rounded ones.
Near the pond I found what looks like star chickweed.
And always the blazing ray of sunshine which gets no respect at all, the dandelion.
From the farm house, there is another nearly 1/2 mile of road that goes to our lower field. It’s the most secluded place on the property and once had a labyrinth mowed into its field and a sweat lodge by a fire circle.
That field is at the bottom of this hill but the grass is so tall that I don’t dare go down until Shannon mows it for fear of ticks.
Mornings in May have fluctuated from totally fogged in to views of the mountains depending on the rain and thus the humidity. These are morning views from the bedroom porch. They tell me a very hot June is coming up. I’m not a fan after my experience last summer.
But before June, there is a birthday and a road trip – FINALLY – coming up next.