Friday, June 26, 2020

Squirrels did this



We almost had a crushed flamingo!  I had a mint plant on top of the stump and the squirrels had been digging in there.  I put a rock in the place where they were digging but I guess they came back and got a little too aggressive!  I've since moved the plant to the ground.  I thought about nailing the planter to the stump but they could still rock the entire thing over.


After the accident, with more rocks added to prevent digging.

Mint spreads fast so we've put it in a pot to keep it stationary and it helps prevent mosquitoes.

The stump in the back is there to give the squirrels and occasional cat something to jump down on instead of the birdbath which can also fall over.  Now I guess we have two stumps for that purpose.



Quarantining Just Got Real

Wednesday I attended a funeral with my cousin and aunt.  Yesterday we got the news that a family we sat beside had spent time over Father's Day weekend with family members that tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Their 25 year old relative from Florida, flew up to visit for Father's Day weekend.  She felt sick enough to get tested and while waiting for test results, visited with family on the 17th and 20th but neglected to tell them she was waiting for test results.  The 20th gathering was outside, and that's the one that the family we sat beside attended for three hours.  The 25 year old attended church the next day and hugged everyone in sight, then got her results the next day that she was positive.  The church has been forced to close for two weeks.  The family that sat beside us, has not been tested but say they feel fine, their grandparents who attend my home church have tested negative.  

We have my family reunion this weekend of which only half the family were attending, but it was still considered a precious time to spend with family we only see once a year.  Now due to caution and concern that could have contracted the virus, we are forced to stay home.  My aunt will be devastated, she has dementia and was really looking forward to this reunion, so much that it was all she talked about and it's going to be really hard to explain to her why we can't go.  We don't know how many lucid years she may have left so it's extremely hard to stay home.

Our logic in staying home is this:
  • My brothers both work for companies where they have to report if they've come in contact with anyone who is known to have the virus or even suspects they might have it.  This could result in them being sent home for two weeks.  One brother can work from home, the other would be sent home with no pay for two weeks.  One has to fill out paperwork every day that states he hasn't to his knowledge come in contact with a sick person. 
  • I reflect on how upset I got on hearing the news that someone thought they might have it and got tested but meanwhile went about their activities like nothing was wrong and I said to myself, I just can't do that to my family.  How could I put my family through that frustration?  
  • While the event this family attend was outside, they have 3 young girls, given the nature of 25 year old hugging everyone in sight, it's best to assume she probably cuddled with her nieces and thus they could be carriers.  
  • The family that sat next to us had a daughter that coughed throughout the service, a deep cough that sounded like bronchitis to me but enough of a cough to wonder why did they bring her to an indoor service?!?  I don't know the time line of how fast a child or person could get infected, we sat with them on the 24th and the event they attended was on the 20th, could she get sick in 4 days?  Seems like it could be a cough from another illness but the doubt is still there.
I'm told that it takes at least 48 hours to become symptomatic, which means today at 10am we've reached 48 hours. We are now going into strict quarantine until I can get tested next week, Tuesday or Wednesday and hopefully we can get a test result by next Friday.  I'm trying really hard to not be super bummed out and discouraged.  

Saturday, June 20, 2020

2019 Garden VS 2020 Garden


2019 June Garden - covered in lettuce towers


2020 June Garden - one lettuce tower on the outside of the fence

I liked the wooden rows last year, but it didn't stop lettuce from invading and we didn't do a very good job of keeping it weeded out so it kinda took over.  This year, it never showed up in the main garden so I guess we got it out last year.  

Our garden fence needs rebuilt, we've decided to do it in the fall when things cool down.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Canoe mounted, Squash planted

Today is a victory in terms of the honey-do list.  I've been pestering husband to get the canoe mounted to the fence for quite some time and today was the day it went up onto the fence, thus making way for a small squash patch.  I've been trying to keep these squash happy in two pots but they are out of space and clamoring for a patch to spread out in.  How do I know this?  Every day they get hot and wilt no matter how much I water them.  This shows me they need to dig deeper than the space I've given them.  





We are still working on getting the claw foot bathtub out of the yard.  Last year I filled it with sand and gravel from the wider path than we wanted.  Husband has been steadfastly finding places for it and promises to get rid of it one day.  The stone path leading to the gate needs reset and check out our work in progress shed - it's made from reclaimed pallets!!

 

 

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Purple Sweet Potatoes have arrived!

I've been waiting a week for these babies to arrive, somehow the roots were still damp.  All are planted and waiting to be taken to the garden at my mom's house.  They look sad now but once planted all should be fine.






Monday, June 01, 2020

The Library has re-opened for curb side pick up!

Last week I got a phone call asking if we still wanted the items we had on hold since the library closed suddenly in mid-March.  I may have gotten a little too excited and promptly took the first appointment available which was today at 10:45am.  Husband was at school working with students who haven't turned in their work and hadn't answered their emails in the last two months so I dragged all four kids out of the house - two were not even dressed yet - and off to the library we went!  We got there 10 minutes early and two people came up to give us various instructions like call this number and let them know inside that you are here.  While calling the number a third person came out and told me to back the vehicle up 4 spaces, then when I got out she said my name and told me to grab the bag on the table.  The kids didn't even get out of the vehicle!  The youngest was peeved because she can't read and didn't get anything.  The oldest was miffed because she had asked for new items three days ago when we got the call and they weren't pulled yet, so basically two out four were happy.  Then after we got home I showed the oldest how she could read one book she hadn't selected as it looks interesting and now she's happy.  Sorry 5 year old, I'm sure you will find something to do today.

Well I guess May is over

And I guess school is mostly over for the school year - the last day coded into my calendar at the beginning of the school year was May 25th, it came and went with no ceremony last week.  Usually husband plays that horrid song from Alice Cooper "School's Out" and there's a school picnic.  Instead we have a two week extension for those who need more time to complete their assignments.  I was a bit surprised when my two oldest hadn't finished their work last Thursday with both declaring they had a few things left to do and would do them on Monday.  I just thought you'd want to be done but that's my aptitude and I'm careful to let them manage their own schedules.  See I'm adapting to this home school thing just fine.

I've not minded having them all home since mid-March.  I was the organizer of schedules and lesson plans which came from teachers email, text message and posts on the school website - everyone has their own way of doing things.  If it's language related I'm your teacher, if it's math or science track down your dad for help.  Join me on the daily walk with the dog or not.  Occasionally we might take all to the empty parking lot for relay races at lunch time but don't expect it every day.  Help me with the gardening or not.  It's my hobby, not going to make it mandatory.  Help me with the baking or not, also my hobby.  Just don't fight about it and I'll make sure each gets a turn who wants one.  The only thing I've been super adamant about is daily chores.  You want screen time?  Get your school work done, or at least a couple of hours progress, finish your assigned chores and then you can have two hours or more if we lose track of blissful screen time.  

Things are slowly opening up.  It was announced last Friday that pools can open with 25% capacity, drive-in theaters, youth sports and day camps with 10 or less may operate.  Restaurants may open with outdoor dining.  We are now in part two of phase 1 in re-opening Maryland.

I've grown used to life of working from home and projects with no plans of needing to be anywhere.  We haven't gone to church since March 15th, or the YMCA, or art classes at the museum, and no work trips since January.  I'm afraid the children have grown feral, the girls hair is certainly tangled enough.  I honestly wonder how we will ever get back on schedule but I'm sure when the time is right we will persevere.  For now I'm enjoying an empty calendar.  

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

We didn't do our usual bar-b-que fest, it didn't seem right to celebrate with the subdued mood from corona virus casualties reaching 100K in this country and to be honest, it's really more about honoring fallen soldiers.  Still, it's a day off work, so we worked on the kids/guest bathroom and painted walls, grouted tiles, etc.  At the end of the day we sprung a blue jello with whipped cream and strawberries on the kids to be festive.  

At mom's house we weeded our primary garden and planted one butternut squash (bought at a local nursery) and one zucchini grown from seed.  I'm super nervous about these because last year my butternut got fried from the heat.  I've asked husband to set up a separate bucket with soaker hose just for this small plant bed. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Happy Dinosaur and Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

We learned our lesson from the last announced theme holiday to be prepared with an idea before the day arrives.  Husband decided to create the La Brea tar pit with chocolate pudding and crushed cookies for topping.  It literally took less than 5 minutes.  We got so excited we forgot to make lunch, fortunately it was chicken nuggets and they only take 10 minutes.  We then covered the table in trees and boulders from the kids dino play sets.  Then, after lunch, I made chocolate chip cookies with Sam.  As he was the nominated baker, he was given a handful of chocolate chips to eat.  He counted them out and gave each sister 7.  Random acts of kindness make this mom's heart so proud.

May 15th is also the day Maryland reopened parks for kids to play on playground equipment!  It feels so good to be in phase 1 of recovery from the coronavirus lock down. 







Primary Garden is Planted

Update on the big freeze that came after our first attempt to plant - it killed our tomato plants, that we bought at the store, but strawberries and potatoes survived!

Today is May 14th and we are now quite sure the cold weather is over, the next 10 days are predicted to be 50 - 70's.  It feels a bit late to be planning as we usually plant after Easter, but it's been an unusually cool spring.

Here is a our landscape plan for the garden at mom's house 16 x 16':


Tomatoes are all grown from seed, strawberries are from my cousins garden that were overgrowing her neat rows, potatoes are from last year's crop that were too small to eat so we let them take root, pintos were grown from seed, and the purple sweet potatoes were ordered from Filaree Garlic Farm which should be shipped to us soon.  I'm really excited and super nervous about putting these babies into the ground but all we can do at this point is cross our fingers and hope for great weather conditions!!

As a side note, we are aware that strawberries and tomatoes are not traditional companion plants, but there is nothing saying they cause harm when planted next to each other so we elected to plant in this order although after further research, potatoes and tomatoes can grow side by side and strawberries and potatoes can grow together so maybe next year we move the strawberries to the front and grow in order of strawberries, potatoes, tomatoes, pintos.  I might even eliminate regular potatoes because they are cheap to buy and I don't do any canning or freezing with them.  I might switch to one row of purple sweet potatoes and two rows of strawberries.