Saturday, October 29, 2016

Harvest

Just a quick picture of my potato harvest:

Friday, October 28, 2016

Boo!

It is definitely Fall in our neck of the woods.  Last week, our route into town looked like this:

 
Last weekend, we got 3 more inches of rain, which emptied many of the trees of their leaves, and leaving it not quite so pretty.  The evenings have been cool, however, and we've had some overnight frost in the low lying areas a couple of times.


Consequently, I have been working hard in the garden, trying to get everything harvested and weeded before winter sets in.  It is coming along fairly well.  All of the tomatoes are pulled, so I am FINALLY done with the weekly canning/cooking of tomatoes!  Same with the peppers, although I still have a bag full in the fridge, waiting to be chopped and frozen - I already have about 3 gallons frozen...should never have to buy another pepper for cooking!  Half of the cornstalks are pulled as well.  I dug the carrots, and they were fairly nice this year...there are still a few beets to dig.  Most of the basil has been harvested, and I plan to make Thai Basil Chicken for dinner tonight.

 
Unfortunately, October is the month when 2 of the vehicles need to go for inspection, so I have spent a lot of time at the Auto Repair Shop over the past 2 weeks.  JP's old truck, which mostly just sits around these days, has had issues with the battery draining over the past year.  Last year we bought a new battery, but the thing died again.  This time it cut out on me in the driveway (luckily I was on the way home.)  I also had to take Ole Bessie in a few weeks ago, as it died while Dad was hauling water - had a cracked fuel line.

On Tuesday, I happened to check the cistern on the way back from the garden.  It was distressingly low, especially given that Dad had just hauled 6 loads (1200 gallons) 5 days earlier.  I cleaned up slightly, and jumped in Ole Bessie to go haul some more, and the ignition was locked - key wouldn't turn at all.  Unfortunately our Fix-It-Man (Dad) was out of town for a couple of days, so we had to break down and get a truck of water delivered...much more expensive. 

JP messed with it a bit that evening, and ended up with the key stuck in the ignition!  Dad was able to remove the key lock cylinder (with the key still stuck inside) yesterday, and it is my job today to take it back to the Ford dealership to try to get a new one ordered.  Yesterday I was at the Subaru dealership to order a new glovebox, which L destroyed back in the summer when she was having a temper tantrum in the car all the way to the next town.  I Gorilla glued it, and it limped through the past 4 months, but now it is done for.

So...sigh...there is still the question of whether our well is also done for, and the water hauling truck is still out of service.  I am getting a bit weary of all of these extra worries and expenses.

Luckily we had some fun stuff going on that lifted our spirits!  As relative "newbies" in town (we've been here over 13 years now), we are still trying to wrap our minds around the strange custom of holding Trick-or-Treat festivities on the Thursday BEFORE Halloween.  It makes no earthly sense!  In any case, that happened yesterday.

J was informed last year that she would be too old to go this year.  Instead, she and a friend took her friend's little sister around.  The 2 of them dressed as "Spice Girls."

J had this spice bottle pinned to her shirt.  She was
 "Cayenne", and her friend was "Curry."
 
L walked around with some friends in town.  She was Hermione this year, and one of our friends was Harry Potter.

 
She and I made our Jack-O-Lanterns last night.  Alas, J was too busy with Geometry homework, so perhaps she will do hers tonight.  We used the volunteer pumpkins from the chicken yard.  Mine had a hole in the top from insects of some sort.  JP suggested that I use it as a bullet hole, so mine ended up as a sad, deceased JOL.  L's has a deathly hallows symbol (more Harry Potter stuff) amid many flourishes.


I hope you all enjoy your Halloween festivities....when it actually rolls around!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Quarter Century

The girls and I have recently returned home from a road trip.  We left right after school on Friday, and drove down to VA for my 25th college reunion.

We had a really fun and busy weekend!

We stayed with JP's cousins, who hosted one of their sisters & her husband, as well as JP's sister & brother-in-law, along with us for a delicious breakfast on Saturday morning.

Afterwards, the girls headed off with their Aunt and Uncle to the Book Fair, which was a place that JP and I enjoyed going once a month to stock up on books.  While they were otherwise entertained, I drove the couple of miles to my Alma Mater, and met with the other 10 people who showed up from my graduating class of 1991.


After lunch in the cafeteria (which hasn't changed much), the girls and I met up again with my sister-in-law and niece to walk in a nearby park for an hour or so.

We returned to the school in time for the women's soccer game, in which 3 of my classmates had daughters playing!  We managed to find a food truck from our favorite ice cream joint in the parking lot, so we could eat our Kline's ice cream during the game.  I also got to hang with our Loyal Royal mascot, Herm, for a couple of minutes.

 
After the game, we went to one of my friend's homes to continue catching up.  It was SO MUCH FUN!  J had a hard time believing that all these women were part of "my squad."  I think it's because sadly, I don't have many friends that I hang with anymore.  She was also astounded when I said that college was a lot of fun.  "I thought it would be a lot of work, "  she said.  I assured her that we put the work in too, but living with your friends 24/7 had a lot of positives, along with just a couple of negatives.


My "Squad" (along with a little photo bomber in the upper left!) 
This morning we drove back to our corner of PA, and have spent the afternoon catching up on laundry and homework.

My mom & I went to the orchard last week, and came home with 2 bushels of apples of 4 different varieties, so it's time to make my Special Ingredient Apple Sauce tomorrow.  Sigh...the weekend flew by way too fast!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Critter Update

The minions are back!  By that I mean the swarms of nasty stink bugs that have been visiting our neck of the woods every Fall for the past few years.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB)
-By Yerpo - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32004988
JP wages war with them every year, but usually it seems to be a losing battle.  This year, however, he found information that they can be killed with a solution of soap and water.  Most evenings lately, he has been outside, spraying hundreds of BMSBs with his squirt bottle of soapy water.  There are minion carcasses everywhere, and splotches all over the siding and windows from the soapy water.

Yesterday I hosed down the front door, as the glass was all smudgy from the soap.  I guess I did too good of a job, because early this morning, before the sun was even up, a little bird flew headfirst into the storm door.  I was cautious opening the door when I heard the thump, because I was a bit concerned about things bumping into my door at 7 AM when it was still fairly dark out.  The little guy was on his back, and I thought he was a goner.  I nudged him with my toe, which flipped him right side up, and he stood and hopped a bit!  I put him in a box of wood shavings on the deck - safe from marauding kitties, and an hour later, he had flown away.  I was able to identify him as an Eastern Towhee...a pretty little thing.

Photo by Jim Hully of smugmug.com
Ernie cat has been looking a bit bedraggled lately.  Over the weekend, I noticed that one of his cheeks was puffed out pretty significantly.  He unwillingly let me feel around, and I didn't see any wounds on his face or neck, and his ear on that side looked ok too.  He wouldn't let me look in his mouth though.  Last night, JP told me that I should probably take Ernie to the Vet today, because he was "smelling."  This morning, the poor guy had goo all over the side of his face and neck, but the swelling was gone.  This afternoon I was able to examine it better.  He is obviously feeling better, and purred the entire time that I washed his face and sprayed it with my magic farm boo-boo spray.  He apparently had an abscess that ruptured on it's own.  Right now it looks clean and should probably clear up on its own.  Whew...Vet visit averted!


Now I am off to clean out the chicken house a bit.  It was pretty smelly this morning when I opened up after closing up for our chilly 38* night!

That's the critter report from Poplar Ridge.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Autumn

I have been feeling nostalgic this week for the walks that the girls and the dogs used to take with me.  Every walk was an adventure, and we were guaranteed to find something interesting.  I would hold the girls' little hands, and we would chat about anything and everything.  J no longer cares to go for walks with me, and I no longer have 2 dogs to walk with.  In fact, I find it so much more efficient to get on the elliptical for 30 minutes, that I haven't walked regularly for a long time.

This afternoon after L's soccer game, she and Stella and I took a walk around the property.  We found turkey feathers, cow hoof prints, and Stella almost had a conniption when she spotted a squirrel.  L held my hand, and we chatted about this and that.  It was lovely.

It did a great deal to relax me too.  This is J's last week of soccer, which means that we can soon eat dinner together again at a decent hour most evenings.  Things are looking up!

Enjoy Fall!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Country Life

I never know what sort of hick thing is going to make me late on any given day.  Earlier this week, the chickens got out, and I had to spend time herding hens.  Today I got behind this guy:


If you can't make it out, there's a cow walking down the middle of the road.