Friday, July 18, 2014

Snakes in the Hay

I have now lost 6 of the 8 pounds that I gained on vacation.  JP insinuated that my thyroid is overactive again, but I insisted that it is because I have been working so hard!  Not only am I working out on the elliptical 4-5 mornings a week, I am also spending several hours outside daily doing things like weed-whacking, digging, hauling, pushing the mower, or otherwise expending a great deal of energy.

Dad and I have been working on the gray water drainage issue for most of the week.  Tuesday we went out to buy pipes and supplies, and Wednesday we installed all of the drain pipes and began filling the ditch.  There were several yards of ditch that had to be filled in by hand before Dad could begin filling it with the tractor.  Yesterday he was smoothing things out with the tractor, getting it ready to seed with grass, when the tractor died.

For some strange reason, both of the girls are disappointed  that the ditch that has run through in front of the house for nearly 2 years is now missing.  L thought it was a good way to stop our sleds from going all the way down the hill.  Mom kept falling in it when she was trying to walk the path that circles Poplar Ridge.  Dad and I were unable to drive our normal routes on the ATV or tractor.  This is no longer a problem!

I made a call to the tractor place down in WV yesterday.  Lo and behold, they sent out 2 guys, who showed up last night, and were able to fix the problem (and another one, too!) in a matter of 20 minutes!  Hooray for workers who show up ahead of schedule!

Here is how things look after the ditch was filled in.
The tractor down at the bottom will die in just
few more hours.
This morning I went out to begin seeding the area.  The approximately 30 lbs of meadow grass seed that I had in the barn, only went about half way down the hill...disappointing.  There has been an old, round bale of hay sitting in the garden for 2 years, mouldering away.  I loaded it by hand, bit by bit, in the the trailer, which I then hauled to the site to spread over the seed.  The bale was full of ants, who got into my gloves and shoes, and bit my ankles and wrists. 

After spreading several armfuls, I noticed a tiny head poking out of the hay...the garden snake!  I'm ok with snakes, but I didn't like the idea of reaching blindly into the hay and coming across him.  He didn't like the idea of me reaching in and grabbing him either, so he slithered deeper and deeper into the trailer load.  I started pulling out armfuls with the garden rake, and finally uncovered him enough to gently lift him out with the rake and take him back to the garden.

I used up my moldy bale of hay, so Dad encouraged me to use the one out behind his wood pile.  I started loading my trailer with armfuls of hay from that bale, wondering what the chances could be of there being a snake there as well. 

The chances were really good, as it turns out!  Before long, a small, triangular head poked out, and then turned around to slide deeper into the bale.  I found a long stick with which to pull off layers of hay from the bale without actually touching it.  It wasn't until I came back to get a second trailer load full of hay that I finally uncovered this snake.  I quickly scooped him up under my stick, and relocated him to the nearby woods.

Luckily I did not run across any more snakes in this bale, but I used the stick the entire time...just in case!

So, 3 hours later, I had seeded roughly half of the area, hauled 4 trailer loads of hay and spread them over roughly 1/3 of the area, and I was completely pooped.  I still managed to can 13 quarts of beans this afternoon, and shell 2 pints of peas.

This, my friends, is why I am losing the weight!

On an entirely different subject, I have not managed to get into my flower beds yet this year to weed or mulch.  The big bed has a lot of weeds, but otherwise looks pretty good...very full and colorful.  This is sort of the look I was going for -  English garden style, and so full that there is no room for weeds and no need to mulch!

 Oh, and more good news:  Kali gets her stitches out tomorrow.  There are a bunch of them, as she was cut stem to stern.  She has been off pain meds for about 4 or 5 days, and has also finished up her antibiotics and Pepcid prescriptions.  Our next plan is to get her a paying job so that she can cover her Vet bills!

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