The garden is in (mostly): corn, beans, squashes of various kinds, herbs, cabbage, leeks, onions, potatoes, cucumbers. Tomatoes will go in next week, as will okra. Radishes are finished (and were enjoyed mightily while they lasted). Lettuce, mostly done, though I have mixed greens in a few big pots against the house. Peppers will be another couple of weeks, probably, and I have a new flower/pepper/herb bed for them:
It usually gets more sun; I took this early in the morning. The large black pots will have little tomatoes in them, and probably some basil and marigolds, because I like them. I'm working on perennial bee-friendly flowers around the edges, and peppers in the center. The blue tub in the foreground was going to be full of catnip, but my seeds are not doing well (too wet these past few weeks; they are damping off), so I need to start some in pots and transplant them.
I have more plants to set out, from a trip to the greenhouse on Monday, but I'm doing them slowly. My knee has been bothering me, so I'm babying it.
We have a new (to us) washer and dryer, due to the sudden demise of the old washer, which was only thirty years old (the dryer died several years ago, or the heating element did; I still used it from time to time to de-cathair my black shirts). We were able to avoid any actual cash outlay (fortunately, since we have not much in the way of actual cash these days, what with putting up a building and buying fencing and buying plants and some expensive but nice fabric to make a dragon), since John's mother had bought a new washer only a couple of years before she died, and no one else wanted it. It only took two days to move all the boxes out of the hall, move the old washer and dryer out and to the junkyard, move the new washer and dryer in . . . and move said boxes into the storeroom, after moving a bunch of other stuff (soapmaking supplies, jars, etc.) up into the newly-finished storage building. And move the bookcases from the storeroom out into the newly-vacated hall, so I can get all my books on Norse culture in one place, which of course necessitated going through all the disorganized shelves in the 'library' room, as well as the fifteen or so boxes of books we didn't think we'd need right away, and then moving them into the storeroom . . . Darla was not amused at having her retreating room disarranged, and immediately retreated into said room (the storeroom) for the past week or so, emerging only to meow plaintively for food every couple of hours. However, she came out yesterday and took up her accustomed place on the bed (behind John's pillows after he gets up; if he sleeps what she considers to be too long, she hops onto the table beside the bed and looks at him until he wakes up), so I think she's decided that moving boxes does not equal something horrible. (Oh, Earl was awful about that; if I moved boxes of stuff, as I do periodically in a vain attempt to fit 50 pounds of stuff into a 25-pound space, he hid under the bed and stared out reproachfully until it was apparent that we weren't moving . . . )
No wonder my knee hurts.
I was not intending to replace the dryer; I had intended to put shelves in that space. I don't mind using one, but I do mind paying for the electriciy to use it . . . however, John wanted it, it was free, and it wasn't worth arguing over . . . and it was handy the other day when we cleaned the closet and discovered that Kali had spent the winter sleeping on one of John's camouflage coats, so that it was now camouflaged with cat hair.
We had lovely iris blooming this spring:
These are rebloomers, and there's a huge patch of them now; they have spread all across the path between the two front flower beds. (OK, I'll walk around.) There are also some others, the kind that bloom only once, but I have no pictures because every one bloomed when it was raining! They are some that we transplanted last year from a bed that used to be full of them, but was gradually shaded out, and these were all that was left. There was a pink one, an apricot one, a raspberry-colored one, and a white one with purple edges, and there are some others that haven't bloomed this year. They were such nice surprises!
We had a late frost that got the fig trees (which are marginal up here anyway), but they both lived and the older huge one (in the south corner of the house) is putting out more tiny figs; I doubt if the younger one will fruit this year, but it's got new leaves, so perhaps next year. Frost got the bush cherries (there are some left, but not over a gallon or so, probably), the crabapples and the apple tree, as well as the yellow cherry in the side yard (not that we ever get any cherries from it, but it's fun to watch the squirrels eat them) and the chestnut. The weeping cherry, however, has berries (and the catbird has found them), the persimmons are full of flowers, and the black raspberries are loaded, as are the wineberries. The blackberries, unfortunately, don't look well . . . I think we will need to move them, or dig them up and plant new ones further down the garden for next year. I hope we have some blackberries this year, though; at least enough to eat! I'm sure there are things as good as blackberries right from the vine, but I can't think of any. (I still mourn John's mother's blackberry patch: we used to go up every summer, several times, and pick—and eat, in my case; if I'm going to get hung up in thorns, I want berries for my trouble! Right then!—and dodge the mockingbird that nested in the thicket. But it was full of honeysuckle and she had it mown down, thinking it would come back. It didn't.)
We have new chickens; several batches, due to accidents. The first ones came along nicely, grew and feathered out and were moved out into the fenced end of the chicken lot to acclimate themselves to being around big chickens . . . and then we had a bad thunderstorm, lots of thunder and lightning, and they did what chickens do sometimes: panicked and piled up in the corners of the lot and smothered themselves. Two-thirds of them. ::sigh:: And they were such pretty little chickens, too. But, you know, this stuff happens. . . so now we have more. One batch will be ready to come out in another couple of weeks, maybe, depending on the weather; the other is only a couple of weeks old and just beginning to feather, so it will be a while. And we have 15 guineas coming . . . today, I imagine. We only have three of the old ones left, and ticks are already bad this year, so maybe these will take care of some of them.
And there are these chickens:
These are game chickens, which actually belong to our neighbor Martin over the hill, but have escaped and taken up residence here. The rooster brought three of his hens with him; they're tidy little brown hens that aren't much larger than the young hens in the lot. They roost in the dogwood outside the chicken lot and wander around the yard during the day, coming up on the side porch periodically to eat cat food and have a drink, and lay the occasional egg . . . in fact, one of them built a nest on top of the brooder boxes where the young birds are growing off, and laid and hatched nine eggs. John caught them and put them and her in one of the boxes; now she's out and they're in with the middle batch of chicks, feathering nicely. She spent a couple of days sitting on top of the wire cover, guarding them, but then she either got bored or decided they were ok on their own and now she wanders around with the others.
We've had bears . . . several times. There are three of them—Mama Bear, who must weigh 400 pounds and is not at all afraid of people, a last-year's cub, and an in-between one who's probably about 200 pounds. They have eaten my peanuts and sunflower seeds, destroyed my bird feeders (thus vindicating my choice of buying cheap ugly plastic feeders which are easily replaced), and been generally highly annoying . . . so now my peanut and sunflower seed trash cans are empty, which means I must buy small bags so I can keep them in the house, and I bring the feeders in at night. Particularly the suet feeders, which I suspect is what they smelled in the first place. And the cat food.
At least they didn't find the bee hives . . . we have six now, all doing well, and it would be catastrophic to lose them.
So we are putting up a fence on the remaining unfenced side of the property, which is all along the neighbor's driveway, 300 feet or so. That's how they came down, across Rita's field and down the drive . . . they also ripped apart Robin's daughter's rabbit cage and her two rabbits escaped. They're pretty white ones, with black eye patches, and apparently uncatchable; they've been living in a patch of woods near their erstwhile home, and coming out into the field to eat clover in the evenings. I usually look for them. So does Sam . . .
At any rate, we have fencing, and stakes, and ties, and John has cleared half of the fenceline . . . as soon as it dries out a little, he will clear the rest and then put up stakes and so on. And, hopefully, that will take care of that. . . bears are lazy, and they'll go around a fence if they can unless they're really, really hungry; and there are plenty of people who put trash out with scraps in it . . . they've begun coming this way because someone down the way who own a couple of acres of wooded land that they used to cross is putting up an eight-foot solid board fence (to keep his dogs in) and has blocked their usual path, so they've moved over nearer to us.
William is dead; the same storm that spooked the chickens killed him. Lightning struck trees in the goat lot (at least two; there were four down, but wind may have downed the others), and struck him, too. He never knew what hit him, which is something . . . Jesse is lonely; he and William hung around together, but I don't believe we will get another sheep. We are getting old to be wrangling livestock.
And that's what's going on, mostly. Everything is smothered in weeds, because I have been moving boxes and whatnot and not weeding, and when I wasn't moving boxes, it was raining . . . and so it goes. I was going to weed this morning, but it's raining, so I suppose not. Maybe this afternoon. Or maybe I'll just knit.