Ma’s and my vaca turned into forced down time unlike any of our other vacations in the past.
Between my leg injury and the winds all week long , we both did less work and more recouping than we would have thought possible for us.
The quick run down
Monday , we went into town for groceries . From the time we walked out the door to the time I finished breaking stuff down , it was close to an eight hour day. My hip , leg and foot were killing me.
Ma had picked up a brace for my knee according to the doctor’s wishes . I hadn’t used a brace on my leg before so that was new and interesting. It felt like it was twisting my knee back towards center . With in the hour of putting it on , my right foot was dragging . I am not absolutely sure that was overly helpful , but it was what it was.
When we finally got home , unloaded and I was breaking things down for freezing , I was definitely ready to get off that leg.
Funnily enough , by morning , the leg felt better than it had in weeks….Until I walked down the short stairs at the end of the deck to check the asparagus .. Oh yeah .. That is familiar ….
Tuesday then found us out in ” Eden” in the herb gardens harvesting chives, parsley , and sage . Ma got them all into the dehydrators , there was a lot and still is much more..
To get to things , Ma had pulled the dried peppers from last Summer. They were still in paper bags . I pulled all of the jarred as well as the un-ground peppers out . Made up a need batch of Zen Pepper mix… probably a little hotter than the last batch looking at the color..oops.. Then it was time to grind.
Ma on the other side of the island , I started grinding down the hot peppers in the herb grinder…. As usual.. I started getting a runny nose and then the coughing started .. The haze was pretty spicy around the area I worked in . Ma walked around the breakfast bar to grab the jars I had emptied and got caught in the miasma of heat . Now Ma was bent over choking .. Good Times… Ergo , my hesitance at the grinding .. Until Ma pulled them out so I could see them… Crap!…
The next thing on the list was to head to Evans’ Orchards to pick cherries. When we got there , we were told they wouldn’t open until the next day.. But then he broke down and let us pick…… Fifty pounds later , Ma waddling like she was preggers; her basket was too low so she was fighting it back to pay for them…25 pounds plus the 3 pound basket.. Ma is tiny . If they didn’t off balance , I would have carried them both. They just aren’t designed to work that way.
Fifty pounds heavier, Ma and I walked into the house to cook them down and can juice. We had purposely picked the Bings a little before they were ripe so that the juice would be a little more sour.
Cleaning the cherries then filling eight quart pots ( two of them ) with cherries , an inch of water in them as well, we tossed them on the stove to cook down until just when the skins burst. We pulled them , ran them through a strainer , pressed out the last of the juice from the pulp and transferred it to a larger pot.. rinse and repeat. We ended up with 40 pints of concentrated cherry juice . We had started the first batch on Tuesday but did everything else on Wednesday.
By late Wednesday we had them all canned and cooling on the Harvest table. It had been another quick but not horribly busy day. The pressing and canning went smoothly with a single can that didn’t seal.. I think it was the one I thought I had filled a little too full.
The cherry juice is good for dealing with uric acid ; Gout and Arthritis . We should have enough to make it well into Winter if not through the year. We’ll have to wait and see.
Thursday was probably the most frustrating day for me.. I was working on setting up equipment : my amp with my board with my guitars. The amp has software so I can run it into my Mac as does my board..well and one of the guitars for all that . Running both amp and board software , however, gives one heck of a hum. Setting up the amp to the board had to run everything through the Mac so it was hours of ” *HUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM*” That drove me nuts . I’ll probably have to do some more work on it as I go however… Another one of those tasks I have been holding off on for months. It is so slow and noisy that it is hard to get into it…Without bringing an axe in when I get frustrated.
Every day , allll day long and alllllll night long , the wind has been shaking things it has been blowing so hard. I have to think that Zen decided that would be the only way to get Ma and I to slow down….Yeah , ok , Fine…. Probably but still annoying when we had so much outside stuff to do.
Ma knitting and I messing with my music made the days go by absolutely quick. The cold temps and raging winds had us needing to sit by the wood stove a few days. Average day didn’t see 50F so add the chill winds to it in the 20mph lows and 30s and up for the upper winds , let alone gusts. Even with a vest I would be all but shaking to pieces by the time I got back into the house. Hell , my hands are cold and stiff right now as I type.
Saturday , Ma and I picked what cherries that were ready and not munched by birds. This is the first harvest worth thinking about with this tree. She gets all but wiped out by the birds and friggin squirrels . There is still a BUNCH of cherries not ready but our first batch was at three pounds , So nice start.
The Hummie Clan
Hummie’s family grew in size again. What I had thought was just more Calliope hummers turned out to be four more baby hummingbirds. Beings that they have two per hatch and Hummie was hanging with them , that means Hum and Mrs as well as Liam and Mrs both had a batch hatch recently. We have several other hummingbirds coming in but Hummie’s family is the strongest group.. Go figure ; it’s their home.
Hummie is sitting outside my window right now making sure I get this put in this week.
The feeders are going down really quickly now with all the hummers visiting and the clan growing with the babies needing to put on weight… Though they are a bunch of little chubbers right now.
Well , back to ten hour days starting in the morning , and back to an alarm. Of course by the time I leave and come back it’s more over twelve hours , but that’s how it goes. Up at 3:45am so that I can get there by 6 am so that I can get home about the time Ma gets off work.. and hoping make it to the Post Office a few minutes before they close .
Going back to work means dealing with my leg again and SAIF again and the florescent lights that give me the headaches from my eye injury as well as the chemicals and whatever we run into at work on top of trying to get our jobs done . Saif is the worst of it. I tried hard to not think about them most of the week. Who knows what they have for me in the PO box.
I haven’t checked email or phone texts etc so it is hard telling what kind of Crap Monday will bring.
I could very easily just spend my time on Zen without missing work.. Plenty up here and the other problems , Saif , eye , knee , etc would mostly go away for the most part. MY eye and headaches have gotten better during the week , so yeah, excited about getting back into it tomorrow.
We have tons of work to get done this summer if the winds ever stop. The plants aren’t doing great , go figure , with the cold and the constant winds. Usually these come earlier, sorta like the late heavy snow storm.
Fortunately , we put in a ton of drip lines this spring so watering can still happen.
Soon we will have more cherries , if the little beasts share. Currants are VERY close to ripening. It doesn’t look like a good plum year , but our Prunes are coming on as well as pears. It also looks like a lean apple year but we’ll see soon enough.
Asparagus finally is ferning up. We had a great season . Pretty much from Spring Equinox to Summer Solstice .. That’s a heck of a run. We had them coming up to cut just as soon as they started poking out of the snow. Just the last couple days ferns are coming on and other stalks are getting all ugly
We have a ton more herbs to harvest.. We just need tons more time.. and less wind on our days off.
Zen it gusted
The winds had kept us up most of the night as it pounded against the windows. I looked over at the clock to see it was almost 5am It won’t do any good to try to be lazy , I’d just be listening to the winds.
Ma and I made it to the front room , looking out the window to see Hummie hovering in the covered porch.
” We’re up little guy. What’s up? A feeder getting low? Little Timmy fell down the well again ? “
Hummie just glared at me as I opened the door , at which time he gave me an ear full …Mostly Hummie swearing and that “Yes! There is a feeder that is too low with all the mouths we have to feed and SOON everyone will get up to have breakfast with Ma and Da … SO Get it Filled already !”
” Yes Hum . Whatever you say O Masterful Mouth with feathers. “
Which , of course, earned me yet another glare as I pulled the feeder for Ma.
Hum and I chatted away while Ma filled the feeder and brought it back out. The flying herd of fuzz balls swarmed about Ma as she tried to get it put back up , giggling at the babies flying about her head and shoulders.
Ma and I sat down to watch the kids as they ate and played … and chewed each other out while Hum sat on the fence by us.
The Sun just then began to slip over the far mountain range , peeking through a small set of dark clouds , giving both Ma and I “rain envy ” . Slipping behind the bank of clouds , the porch got even more of a chill . Cold winds blowing around the house and even into the porch made it feel more like early spring rather than the tail end .
Our doe walked by slowly looking back , then at us and munching.
” Where’s the baby , Mama? ” Ma crooned to her .
” Sleeping. “
” She is always sleeping . “
” Yep , pretty much . The wind is too cold and too strong so she stays in the trees”
” Ok , fine. Soon ?”
” Meh. “
” Grrr. “
” Oh , that’ll change my mind. “
” Bah. “
The little doe turns back around , not wanting to leave the baby for long but always liking to come say hi when she sees us outside.
Zen is pretty quiet with the winds. Only the Hummies put up with it. Everyone else stays in the trees . I sit listening to the wind howl and just shake my head. I had seen that they were suppose to calm down this coming week… once we are working again… But.. Today , it is blowing like crazy and it simply makes it
Just another day on Zen Mountain