Monday, November 30, 2020

November's Garden (2020)

The winter garden looks sad and forlorn.  It was a mad rush to get the seedlings planted, the hoop houses up and except for harvesting, it has since been neglected.  My time has been spent on other projects and helping Bill recover from his surgery. 

There are ten houses - more than any previous year and they are bursting at the seams.  

This was the last area planted and was an afterthought.  Everything was used and no supplies were left.  It is made from discarded bent fencing with leftover bits of hoop house fabric tossed over the top.  This was all I could find after scrounging around in the junky shed. A package of assorted lettuces was planted under it.  This will provide many winter salads and could be done by anyone with a little bit of soil.

The front row beside the yard has varieties that won't make it through the winter and the back row is the assorted unknown greens. 

The front row hasn't been weeded or mulched because the vegetables will be picked before harsh January weather arrives.

The suspicious trailer sitting beside the shed covered in a blue tarp that keeps appearing in the background of these pictures is a load of horse manure.  It was a gracious gift from the horse trainer who is pasturing his horses in our field.  He brought it to me after they cleaned out their stalls.  I am thrilled! It is slowly being spread over the garden to decompose over the winter.  My garden has been pushed to produce and the soil is being depleted.  This is exactly what it needs.

It exudes a zesty aroma.

The rest of the garden looks like a jungle when the covers are removed.  It has been a thrill touring non-gardening friends this month.  The shock on their faces when they round the corner of the house and see the garden is priceless.

The great potato experiment continues.  Those that sprouted under the hoop houses are still alive but those out in the open died after the second hard frost.  When these die, I will dig them to see if there are any potatoes below.

The Conquistador Celery that tasted horrible all spring and summer actually changed flavor after the first few frosts and is now edible. Who knew!  The stalks have grown big and thick and are scrumptious with pimento cheese. 

The Tronchuda Kales have decided to bolt.  It is a disappointment but to see a flower blooming this time of the year is a pleasant surprise.  They will be tossed into salads.

Today something strange happened while I was picking dinner.  A small possum came from the woods, squeezed through the fence, and climbed into the compost pile.  They are nocturnal animals who are rarely seen during the daylight so it was a surprise to see one closeby.  As I walked toward the compost pile to dump a bucket of leaves, it didn't run but froze. 

When I was a few feet away, I realized his left ear was missing and the left side of his head was injured.  Since we don't have any livestock it could kill, I decided to let him enjoy my rotten pumpkins.  Everybody deserves a feast of Thanksgiving leftovers.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Not Our Traditional Thanksgiving Celebration

 Thanksgiving Eve's Lunch

There is nothing normal about 2020 so why should we expect Thanksgiving to be traditional either?  Bill chose to take a day off work the day before Thanksgiving so we could spend time together at an exclusive, expensive, health-improvement resort.  Upon arrival, we were presented with a welcome basket full of goodies to make our stay more enjoyable: a toothbrush, tissues, lotions, antiseptic wipes, his and her's barf bags, and a urinal.

Since no small detail was overlooked, the staff also gifted Bill these lovely, putrid-neon-yellow, non-skid fuzzy socks and even placed them on his feet as he reclined in bed.  Their attention to his every comfort was impeccable.  He was also dressed in a breezy gown although modesty prevents me from sharing any pictures due to its risque fashion style.  Bill did reveal more skin than is appropriate in polite company; however, the well-trained staff courteously appeared to not notice.

For dinner, the maitre de offered to prepare Bill anything from a fine selection of entrees.  Being a man with a classically American palette and preference for uncomplicated dishes with hearty substance, he wanted nothing exotic or fancy (even though it was included in the exorbitant price of the room) but instead chose his favorite cuisine - a hamburger.  He said it was delicious.

He slept like a baby when not being awakened every few minutes by the attentive staff.  His every need was anticipated, all vital signs closely monitored, he only had to push a button and a highly trained professional would arrive immediately.  The service was flawless.  

Two years ago Bill received a stem cell treatment for his deteriorating hip joint.  It improved for a while then began to regress.  It had reached the point where walking was too painful, almost impossible so he chose to have a hip replacement.  It is now an outpatient operation and he went home the same day!!!!! The physical therapist helped him walk after he awoke from surgery and then in the evening taught him how to climb stairs. After he passed the step test, we were free to go home.

A surgeon, with the help of a robot, implanted a new right hip.  We were presented with a parts list as we were leaving.

Joshua came home and together with Dustin helped their Dad get out of the car, lay down in bed, sit in a chair, and walk.  He must walk a little every hour to keep scar tissues from forming. It has been excruciatingly painful.

This year, I am thankful my husband is alive, that we live in a country with excellent health care, and my sons are compassionate enough to even put socks on their dad's feet.  We hope for the impossible, that Bill can move once again without severe pain and that next year's Thanksgiving be much better.  

Previous year's Thanksgiving celebrations

Thursday, November 12, 2020

In Search of a Bale of Hay

The previous horse breeder who kept his horses on our land will not be returning because they have moved onto greener pastures.  Being desperate for a round bale of hay to use as mulch on my garden so we can stop raking our lawn, I went in search of another supplier.  Down the street not far from my house is a large training stable. We stopped one afternoon and asked if they have any unwanted bales of hay. All of theirs are used; however, they were interested in using our pasture to board a few of their mares. They dropped by for an inspection and we passed.

"Cupcake" was the first to arrive. She belongs to the trainer's granddaughter and is a bit spoiled.  Being the smallest does not stop her from thinking she is the boss. 

They enjoyed exploring their new home.

Hey Pooch!  Why do you bark so much?

Scooter enjoyed exploring everywhere they have been.

Walmart, the feed store, Exxon, Taco Bell...

There was one problem: we couldn't see them for the weeds.  

A bush hog came to the rescue.  The horses were neither bothered nor impressed by the big machinery.  They continued to dine on delicacies and didn't raise their heads.

Life was quiet for a few days.  Everyone settled in and munched the fresh grass.

The trainer's son and his best friend wander by occasionally to ride the range, inspect the fences, and check the watering hole. Real-life honest to goodness cowboys on my land.  Yeeehaw!

The calm was broken when the trainer received a call from a lady who was in the process of moving to Tennessee and her housing deal had suddenly fallen through.  She had to start searching again but her horses were already here. Hauling them back to Virginia was not an option. Could we let them stay on our land until she buys another farm?  Of course, we said yes. There is plenty of grass for a short while.  Immediately, our herd increased to nine.

A note to the international readers:  America is experiencing a multi-million human migration of urbanites leaving high-taxed, crime-ridden, Antifa rioting, gun banning, unending coronavirus lockdown, Democrat states and are moving to freedom-loving Republican states. The housing market here is hot.  Bidding wars are common.

These are not just any old regular horses but are special show horses with impeccable pedigrees.  They have won numerous world-class championship awards and are being bred.  

I am ignorant of horses.  All I know is that they are magnificent animals and it is a pleasure watching them through my windows.  The trainers love them and they know it.

Oreo, who is colored like an Oreo cookie, is the most famous.  

It was her turn to be bred again so a breeder arrived one afternoon to collect all those who were ready.

Hey Jeannie! Be back when the party is over!

Getting three priceless, ornery mares into one trailer was not easy.  The last one balked.

You pull - I'll push.

No.  You push - I'll pull.

I wasn't naughty like her. My handsome feller is waiting for me.

"Outsmarting the trainer is my best skill." bragged sassy Cupcake.  "The other horses walk up to receive the lead rope and all they get is petted. Nope, not me. He can be easily tricked into giving treats from the neverending magic bucket. As he shakes the treat bucket I will appear interested but not too eager.  Watch me."

Shake, shake, shake.

I will stand my ground, appear aloof, and make him walk toward me. He must know I'm in charge.

Sniff, sniff, sniff.

Finally, after he has waited a while, I will let him have the honor of serving me.

Munch, munch, munch.

"Pssst, Cupcake," said Aspen.  "Smart move. Human males are so gullible."

Gullible, gullible, gullible.

Now on to my new adventure.  Enough of this boring field. 

Strut, strut, strut.
Who wants to be the boss now that Cupcake is gone?

Surely everyone is wondering - have I gotten my bale of hay?  Well, one day a tractor rolled down my driveway with this...two bales!  One for them and one for me? I was excited.

Until they turned into the field, locked the gate behind them, and acted as if I would steal them...which I was tempted but didn't do.

That lady is crazy - never know about her.

Later in the day, I heard the tractor rolling down the drive again and saw a rotten bale being drug on the ground.  

Ring, ring. Hello. Yup. Made it in one piece.  Thanks for giving me your trash.

And then he turned toward the garden.  It was for ME!  I GOT MY BALE OF OLD, DECAYING HAY!

Other women want diamonds and furs.  I'm thrilled with wormy hay.

The cost to feed these horses

Other horses we have boarded