As can only be expected; Zen mountain is cool and breezy yet. All of the wildflowers have come in, slowly changing the landscaping for a few weeks. Breezes blowing off some of the flowers from our trees and bushes, but so far nothing truly horrible….not yet…
I had to stop putting our veggie plants out on the deck save for the best of days. With highs in the forties and low fifties again, the breezes, hat steeling breezes, are beating on the tomato plants pretty badly. I have lost another plant to the winds and most of them are looking fairly trounced . The peppers, however love it. Peppers are still growing while the tomatoes lay , gasping, all waiting for just another 10F in the evenings .
Lows in the low forties or worse mid thirties are still plaguing us. We have had many Springs where we have already planted and a few that we still had snow so we are holding fairly well…but try to tell that to the maters…
Spinnin and grinnin
Ma, my better half, is, of course, sitting by the fire spinning. Filling bobbins with single plys while I have to do some repair and refinishing on some very old bobbins she ran across to set up for actual ply work, they being larger. I had to make a few stops last week, picking up the odds and ends to MacGyver the repairs. One of these days , I am going to have to break down and find a lathe .
We have a bit of honey-dos to do for Ma’s oldest wheel; Irish Castle made in 1792. She works just fine, but as she sits more than the others, and the simple fact that we have been slowly working on restoration of her finish, it is simply and ongoing task. I have actually been giving her a little lovin once every couple months. The wood was so dry and dirty that any patina of the wood finish had been ruined by what looked like liquids when I first looked at her. We had gently cleaned her up and then I started the resto of the wood… Nothing we add will lessen any value or make anything weak etc and so on…. That’s why it is taking so freakin long. Cleaning and museum wax, I run over her every so often so that I don’t simply fill up the wood that is trying to do what reconditioning it can…I have lots of time for it. I am fairly slow at things, but it is because , for me, entertaining as much as completely a project. Yes we could rush through and make it look brand new…Not the plan. She isn’t brand new, why would we want her to look like she is? Hey, spray paint and an afternoon right? You have no idea how many finishes I have had to strip off from some citiot watching to many DIY shows, believing that Bright colors of spray paint are much better than natural wood finish… WTH?
I know Ma’s youngest wheel is still far from being broke in, who also could use a little tweaking, but as Ma uses her, she finds spots that bind, I clean it up and Ma works with it some more.
Ma’s Mama wheel does the brunt of all spinning… The two of them together seem to have been made for each other and put some Shetland on the wheel and the three together and that is when the magic happens.
Ma’s most favorite Shetland, as by now we all know, is Whispering Pines Fine Shetland Wool There is Shetland wool.. There is Wool from the Shetland isle, which no matter what sheep the wool comes from on the isle, it is, in fact, Shetland wool.. and then, on a completely different plane, there is Jen’s wool.. You notice, it’s called Fine Shetland wool.. There is a difference…
With Whispering Pines’ wool, Ma and Mama wheel, we get by far, the best yarn. It still has life to it, which too many fibers that Ma has run into have been scoured so roughly that it’ll cause its own coarseness , as well as simply not feeling, well, luxurious …This is where Ma’s spinning and her amazing knitting and pattern designs really show. This is where the woolie goodies look and feel like they should be carefully wrapped and put in a cedar chest, only to be brought out for the christening of saints or some dang thing…In truth, however, they are actually farmwear .
Everything Ma makes up is used daily. I can not remember the last day I wasn’t wearing Ma’s homespun for at least a good portion of the day… I know Ma wears even more than I do..
Yup, they have to be hand washes and air dried , but that is a small price, unless you only have one of whatever…Oh No! What happens if you wear it out? That would be another reason Ma is always Spinning and knitting…IN case you haven’t noticed, clothes wear out… No she doesn’t make items that are pre-torn or bleach-spotted or with sparkles…There is also no weak points, no shoddy seams or every single person in your “crew” wearing the same dang thing.. trying to stand out..
Anyway.. That is why most Sunday Posts talk about Ma and her spinning and knitting.. well, and lately, Jen’s sheep.
They are still lambing at present, and Jen is fitting in time to roo and skirt…It won’t be long before Ma is frantically trying to grab up fleeces from her favorite ewes. My Favorite ewe is Lucy… I just get quality chuckles from her and her antics…
There goes the neighborhood
More and more hummies are coming in as Summer gets ever closer. Hummie’s clan of Anna’s is here year round. I have up several more feeders now and the kids keep me on my toes, trying to keep them filled…
Yes, it is only sugar water.. white sugar and no color added. We have had multiple.. fine, we HAVE multiple generations of hummies using the feeders every year all year round. Our mix makes them happy and strong as well as keeping the little bone heads going during the winter months.
I finally got the tilling done this last week.. save one tiny area that Ma’s Baby Tiller needs to get into, but , in any case, I finally finished working in the ” Test Garden” so that I could drop the hose back down, which , if not made her happy, got Lass off my back for messing with her entry to her ” apartment. Both her and Hollywood hung out while I was tilling and putting the hose lines back in place….. They are small but full of NAG…
I ended up doing a bit of trimming to their juniper to spruce it up a bit more for them in hopes they would stop chewing me out over taking so long…
“ Took you long enough. You know, you finished the other side yesterday. You could have done this then too. “ Lass grumped.
“ Tiller only runs just so long before she starts acting up….and I was way past that time. She had to cool down so I could get this cleaned up for you.”
Lass, being the brat that she is, sat on the fence , glaring at me before she started in…with air quotes.” You could have come over here before it started ‘acting up’ ya know.”
“ Gawhhhh.. You know the job is done ..right? I even cleaned up your entry.”
“ Yeah..well…Could have finished it yesterday…Thanks..I suppose…” She said, her little beak in the air over her head , her eyes closed.
“ Well….. You’re welcome………..I suppose.”
Off the fence she flew, clipping my ear with her wing as she buzzed me.
“ Brat.” I laughed.
Hollywood, spun in to land on the Syringa bush. ” Whew.. Sure glad you got that done. She has been bugging the crap out of me since you moved stuff around….Oh.. and , you need to fill that feeder, starting to taste like spit.”
“ I just filled it yesterday.” I grumped
“ Great!.. Now, just fill it again today.. Easy Peesy . Everyone is starting to show up. Demanding rooms and something to drink. Do I LOOK like I care?” Hollywood grumped right back at me.
“ We saw that the little Calliope , Allens and Rufus have come back. At least they just visit on their ways to other places so they don’t bug you all Summer.”
“ They are early !” Hummie, himself groused from behind us.
“ Hey Hum!” We chorused.
“ Whatever. My feeder needs filling.”
I rolled my eyes at Hollywood.
“ I already told him Dad. We’re on it.” Hollywood soothed.
“ You’re getting a bit cranky in your old age Hum.” I chuckled.
Hummie glared at me…..a glare that chases off elk… I smiled back at him as he turned on the depths of evil only he could.
“ What?” I grinned. “ You gonna chase me?”
Hummie flew up. higher and higher…..and higher… Out of my sight now. Hollywood, giggled and swoop into his den.
“ Chicken!” I called to him
“ Bawk!” I heard from well within the Juniper Apartments.
IN an instant, The sound barrier cracked as Hummie’s decent stopped and reversed at my right ear. He managed to take the time in the breath of a heartbeat to flick my ear as well.
“ Ow! Dang old fuzzball !”
CRACK! Again the barrier broken and my left ear flicked.
“ OW! Dagnabbit! You rotten leetle..”
Crack! and now my nose stung.
“ Crap! Fine. Fine. Fine. I’ll fill your dang feeder…Little hoodlum. “
Hummie landed on the stand for his feeder…..Staring at the feeder, then me.. then back to the feeder..
“ Gawhhh! Fine.. It’s not like there aren’t five other feeders right here or anything. “
Hummie squinted at me, lifting off to slowly rise and hover.
“ Crap! I’m on it already.”
I fill the feeder, sliding it back onto its hanger as Hummie, Hollywood and Lass all hovered and landed to drink while I was still holding the feeder to stop any swing. “ You’re freakin welcome…leetle demons”
Lass tossed her beak at me. Hollywood grin out the side of his beak while he drunk. Hummie squinted at me while he sip.
“ Annnndddd .. I’m outa here.”
“ Byyyeeeee. ” Hollywood chirped.
Hummie simply waved me off with his wing as he sipped.
“Have a frickin Jolly day yourselves..” I called out over my shoulder as I step back into the house.
I am quickly running out of time for certain seasonal chores, however, I just have to remember that these chores have waited, in some cases, thirty years.. I imagine a few more days wont matter too much. Other chores are a one time effort, which I pick at while I work on my seasonals.
Lil Red is still pouting outside the shop. I would jump on working on her except that I know, best case, I have to figure out how to get under the hood without taking it completely off…That being possibly one of the three biggest reasons I haven’t started yet. Then there is stopping the two leaks, which I have to hope that removing the hood will give me that last bit of room I need to reseat both connections. The way she sits at present, I am having to angle in, which is why, I think anyway, I have the leaks to begin with…..Then there is the whole; “ Is this the reason she is being a pain?” Or is it only going to be another few days of irritation and cuts only to find out that whatever is causing her to throw up every time I go to run her, after I ” fix” her is still there..
IN the mean time, I am having to use Baby Tractor to do Red’s work where I can… This means that I have to do ongoing repairs during each occasion. Small equipment just doesn’t do well with Zen’s chores. I still have to replace her blades.
Red being down, I had to set up Lil Blackie to mow the fields, and as every year, we see new stone out in the fields, I can only imagine from winds scouring what little top soil we have and the weight of snow pressing on the newly exposed soil to compact it all down, we do find new stones, glass and more every single spring…. This Spring, I managed to unearth a large stone..with the blade… Turning the mower blade into a hoe.
“ CRAP!” …..and , of course,..as always…. I was far out into a field..
I brought Lil Blackie back into the shop…a routine that I have had to do with each run this year. I put her up on racks to see the blade. I was lucky in that I still had one relatively straight blade from the last time this happened.
Now, I only have propane torches. Nothing that can put out a ton of heat…probably yet another thing I have to look into… I pulled out my torch.. I lay the old blade with the horse shoe blade. I saw where the bends were and begun.
Hammer, torch, anvil and vise, I spent some quarter of an hour, reshaping the blade back to relative normal. The blade from last time , that had been bent, showed me just how much I had fixed… The other old blade showed me how far off I still was…
I ended up putting the old blade on the tractor, only to see that she has a bit of a bend as well, but fully functional…and finished the job… I still need to buy a new set of blades.. Not the least of which , so that I can see just how far off I am on the blade I had tried to fix. I think it is actually usable.
I have still, an unimaginable amount of wood to move.. Usable and unusable lumber along my Northern section of the property as well as the big wood pile from the tearing down of the old place……. and let’s not forget about all of the trimmings from this last year and this year of brush. I moved.. and burned.. a lot… I made a dent…..
I also pulled out my Dad’s old chipper.. It isn’t the strongest chipper.. again, made for town use, not Zen… But I know there is a bunch of stuff, that if I can get it running.. and I am sure I can.. I can clean up stuff where it sits…
I managed to pick up the rest of the soil for this year’s gardens, waiting till we actually plant before I break them open. Not much use in dumping them only to have winds spread them all over Zen…and Gotham below.
Having finally finished the mowing a couple days ago, for the first cut of spring… I see I need to start over again. With the drier than we like Spring, we have a lot of areas already going dormant, months in advance… Hopefully more rain will come through before the wildflowers start withering for Summer.
Ma has shawls, socks, gloves and sweaters all on needles, awaiting time for her to work on them. Each project getting some love most days. It is how Ma winds down..along with chatting with our” kids” here on Zen.
Ma is so friggin busy with work, along with them changing computers on her, not advancing but actually going severely in the direction of inferior equipment that it all but shut Ma down. We had to make a town run to pick up parts to make the daisy-chain of garbage back into a usable system for Ma to work again.. While her super computer sits next to her trashputer inches away… We are hoping we got things covered as best we can.. but considering how it worked for her already so far as well as every single person in her department...ribbons-pigs.. you know the saying… Hopefully , they will give up, realizing, and swallowing their pride..yet again…and either seriously upgrade their garbage, or let the team use their comps that are already and have always been, doing the jobs that the new shiite is hourly, or more often, dropping the ball on….
Zen You tell him
Mornings getting light out ever earlier, Ma and I make our way out to the porch, still in the dark though not for long. We had just sat down, Ma checking the spinning and knitting forums as well as checking on Jen for new vids, new info on what they are up to and the countdown to sales of this year’s fleeces.
I stand on the deck, looking North East and South for any of the kids sneaking in , all the while, listening to turkeys waking, Owls heading to bed and our single Pheasant rooster looking for friends. I see a pair of ears pop up over the rise as our does, hearing us chat, start to come in to visit. Behind me, I hear the buzz of Lass and Hollywood as they each head to ” their” feeders; Lass by my chair. Hollywood by Ma’s.
While Hollywood talks to Ma about what he had been watching on HULU the night before, I can hear Lass making disgusted noises behind me. She is NOT a fan of Hollywood’s obsession with South American Hummies. He tells Ma how, He and Lass should just pack up some extra socks and head South for a vacation while everyone is up here. Just think of all the new juices they could try….
Lass in the background grumbles something about long-tailed floozies and trying too hard for attention .
Ma smiles at Hollywood, nodding occasionally so he knows she is listening, while she winks at Lass.
I watch the girls come in, Ma’s buck following, pretending not to freak out at me standing where they are heading.
“ Mornin Babies.” I call out to the small herd of deer.
“ Mornin Da. Morning Ma.” One of our girls calls back.
Yearlings bouncing about as the few adults head to the mineral block, the buck watching me, while trying to not show that he is watching me.
“ Da! Da! Watch me Watch me!” One of the yearlings yells to me as she runs super hard and fast. getting ever closer to the ground while she kicks up sod , running in tight circles only to break and head the other direction and then L E A P !.
“ Wow! “ I yell back as I grin. “ You sure can run fastfastfast !”
“ Yup!” She leaps again, pushing off one of the other kids and takes off. The doe she had pressed chasing her.
Ma’s pet buck comes in to the feeder, trying to act tough for me when he gets slapped down by one of our does.
“ Oh behave. You aren’t impressing anyone. If you want to impress Da, make a tasty burger.”
“ Hey!….Wait.. What?” His eyes going wide, looking to the doe, who nodded, then to me, at which I slowly grin wider. “ Crap.”
“ Have you seen Limpy?” The little doe asked me.
“ No, why? What’s up? “
“ Oh..nothing…They were just following too close again so I reminded the pack of why they should maybe stick to mice.”
” Ah… Well, I have seen Rhey a few times as well as Dennis hunting for mice.” I said, grinning.
“ I thought I was Ma’s pet… You guys shouldn’t tease me about being burger…..”
The doe looked at him, rolling her eyes. “ Then you tell him. You go into the areas Da hunts and you are out of the Pet Zone.”
The buck looked to her, then the other deer, then to me…All of us nodding at him.
“ Well, Crap! Fine. I’m just going to lay right here then.” The buck sai as he folded his legs to lay, chewing on cud.. and grumbling.
I laughed. ” So… you are going to lay right there till after season. “
“ Till like, October.”
“ Yes…….Who is Awk Tobert ? “
The does giggled together. ” It’s a when silly boy. When it starts getting cold again.” The little doe told him.
” But..It’s cold now.”
“and it’ll get warm, then hot, then cool, then cold.” The doe patiently explained.
“ Like later today? It is cold, then cool , then warm, then cool and cold again.” The buck said hopefully.
“ Um… No… Like Martha has her baby. It loses its spots then gets bigger and then we all start getting our heavy coats again.”
“ Wait.. Martha is going to have a baby?” The buck said, looking to the doe glaring at him.
“ Ummmm preggers here… Why did you think I was bigger?”
The buck’s eyes grew wild as he began to panic. He looked to me Hopefully.
“ mmmmm We’re guys… He didn’t notice that you had gotten bigger. You just gains some curves.” I said , smiling.
The panicked buck nodded vigorously between myself and the does. ” Umm yeh.. Just thought you got curves. You know like when something dies and the sun makes them…”
“ Shh.. stop while you are behind.” I laughed
Martha squinting at him. The smile that had started to form, flipped back around into a frown. I could see her rear legs bunching for what would be a healthy trashing of the buck.
The buck’s eyes watched helplessly as his fate began to form..” Crap..” He leap up to attempt to get a head of the doe’s pounce, but too slow….far too slow as doe hooves beat him around the shoulders and ears.
“ Bloating dead things? I look like bloating dead things to you?” She gasped as she rattled the buck’s wee leetle brains. Emphasizing each word with a flurry of swipes at his head.
“ Sorry! Sorry! I meant it in a good way.”
“ Bloated dead things?!?! IN a good way?!?! SO I look WORSE than a bloated dead thing?” Her ears flat against her skull as she doubled her efforts.
“ AHHH!!!! Sorry! I mean, you look awesome! Like..Like..” He look to me begging for any words as he dodged her attack.
” Yeah.. I got nothing for ya leetle Dude.. You dug your hole too deep and broke the handle off the shovel.” I laughed.
The buck giving up, raced off to the south, Martha close behind, followed by her cheering section.
Grinning, I look back to the Hums and Ma. My smile dropped as I saw the hummies glaring at me. “ What?”
“ Bloated dead things?” Lass asked.
I swung my arm off to the south,” That wasn’t me. That was him. I said curves.”
Lass huffed . flying off to the Juniper apartments.
Hollywood, looked to her, then to me. “ You know, now she is in a bad mood.”
“ Yeah but….Curves.. I said Curves.. Not bloated any damn thing.”
“ Whatever Dude…” Hollywood sighed, look to the juniper, then to the trees..and off he headed to the oak grove.
Hummie sat on his branch at the top of the evergreen in the Wind Garden and laughed. “ Well, you stepped into that one.”
“ Yeah but…”
A little Calliope, swung in o the feeder.” Glow. “ she quipped.
” What?” I asked.
“Glow. You should have said that she had a glow.. Would have been safer.”
“ Phhhtttt… He would have just come up with something else to bury himself.. Glow like a torched tree after a wildfire or something.”
“ He’s not that quick. He probably would have just nodded.” She said as she sip at the juice.
“ He should have just done that anyway.”
“ Glow.” She repeated before flying off.
I shrugged, watching the sun finally rising above the far ridge. The warmth of reds and oranges spreading over the skies and reflecting off the river. Grimacing, I realized that both buck and I were in trouble and the day had barely begun..
I watched as the deer made their way to the South grove, buck in front, running hard with Martha’s posse at her tail.
Laughing to myself…
And so starts just Another day on Zen Mountain.