More Tractor Supply Goodness

I LOVE this place.  As its name implies, it does have tractor parts, which we occasionally need, but it also sells other related things, like feed, fencing, saplings, and … some clothing.

For several years, I’ve wanted to find a good pair of overalls that will stand up to rain, dirt, snow, etc.  TSC had a fantastic pair of winter ones in my size.  Good price, too, for quilted lining duck cloth ones.  The inseam is a couple of inches short on me, barefoot, but it won’t matter over a pair of pac or hunting boots.  And, yeah, they’ll fit fine over a couple of layers of normal winter clothing.

It’s not the best time of year to plant fruit trees, but we finally found the ones we wanted last Spring:  Kieffer pear (has to be cooked), Bartlett pear (edible raw), and Honeycrisp apple.  TSC ran out of Honeycrisp whips last Spring, but the one we got today is at least twice the size, and well branched, so I’d call it a good sized sapling.  In fact, all three of the fruit trees we got are good sized saplings.

And, yeah, we picked up a couple of tractor parts while we were at it.

Jury Duty

I haven’t gotten stuck with jury duty in almost 30 years.  Bingo bango, I suddenly got hit with a jury duty notice to be on standby for the one week this year that I’m going to be out of state on the first real vacation I was going to have in years.  Haven’t had a real vacation that didn’t involve family obligations in several years, so it would really suck the wind right out of the clouds to have to cancel it (and lose my 50% upfront deposit) to be “on standby” for jury duty.

No, I didn’t cancel my vacation, and forfeit the 50% I paid upfront to the B&B.  I took a wait and see approach, and filled out the jury duty form, checking off all the boxes that didn’t disqualify me, but requested a deferral.  All I did was simply state that I was going to be out of state that week, but didn’t want to shirk my civic duty, and asked whether it could be rescheduled for another week.  I stated nothing about being on vacation, and having to forfeit half the cost of it if they didn’t honor my request.  The form states that “your request may be denied.”

I got lucky.  The county granted my request to reschedule.  So, my vacation will happen.  But, in exchange, instead of being on standby for an entire week, I’ll end up getting assigned for one particular day, TBD by the powers that be who schedule these things.  I’ve done jury duty before.  It sucks, and involves a lot of waiting around.  I think I’ll bring a Mary SanGiovanni book.

Knowing when you need to show up is better than having to call some number every night to find out whether your juror number is on the “get here tomorrow morning” list.  Besides, if you’re on standby, you will end up having to go to the courthouse for jury duty one of those days, so knowing ahead of time which one is a good thing.

Baby Got Back

The loaner car my dealer let me have for a week was super sweet.  It was a 2017 S90 T6 AWD.  Nice.  Very nice, but it’s bigger than I’m used to driving, and I was never quite sure how far to pull into a parking space.  Its turning radius was pretty good for a car that had that long a wheelbase, but still …

I test drove one of those before deciding on a zippier S60 T6.  The S90 I got stuck with for a week while my car was in the dealer’s service department to fix an oil leak that never should have happened on a new car was fine, but I’m glad I didn’t buy one.  Kudos to my dealer for giving me a loaner at no cost, without my having to ask for one.

Oh, man, am I so happy to have my car back!  So, I turned in the big ass one for my own that doesn’t have so much back.  I got my midsized baby back.  How many people actually love the car they drive?  I do, and my mom does, or she wouldn’t insist that we drive it to visit her, and ferry around in it to take her out shopping.  She has her own car, and a license to drive it, but she’s afraid to go anywhere farther than half a mile from her place.  Frankly, she should be afraid to drive.  The last time I was a passenger in her car, with her driving, she was going to pull out right in front of a motorcyclist until I yelled “STOP!”  That was two years ago.

So, yeah, I’m thrilled to have Helga back.  Yippee skippee!

Best Neighbor

Apparently, while the solar eclipse was working its way over my part of the country, I was busy fobbing off a whole bunch of freshly picked produce from our kitchen garden on my neighbor.  Here, it never got any darker than ordinary afternoon cloud cover.  Much to my relief, when I handed him the basket over his pool fence, he picked out half of it, put it in a bucket, and handed me back my basket.

Apparently, their garden is a bust this year.  His basil started off well, then turned yellow and died.  The groundhogs are getting his tomatoes and eggplant.  Our herb garden is separate from our kitchen garden, but the basil is going ballistic.  Told him to come on over any time he wants to grab some, and told him exactly where our herb garden is.  He can have all the rosemary, thyme, and oregano he wants, too.  We can’t use it all.  Doubt he’ll take me up on it, but I wouldn’t have offered if I minded him raiding the entire herb garden.

We’ll give him some tomatoes, later, because the groundhogs got his crop.  They got some of ours, too, but we have enough to share with the critters, and our neighbors.  The crop’s a couple of weeks late.

FWIW, this is the same neighbor who brought us a load of sheep shit, for free, drops off free range eggs every so often, also for free, and all he asks is that we chicken sit for him while they’re gone for a week, because his SIL is terrified of the chickens.  I’m pretty sure the reason our crops are doing so well this year is because of the sheep shit.  Fantastic neighbor!

Deer Hit

This happened last night, as the sun was setting, which is the time the deer tend to come out.  My other half was out walking our dog, when he saw a roughly 250 lb. “rackmaster” buck lying down in the grass along our property line.  It’s highly unusual to see a deer lying down in the open at any time of day.  Ben went nuts, as he always does when he sees a deer, and the thing got up and ran away — on three legs.

We knew it had to have been hit by a car, even though we can’t see the road at this time of year without walking all the way out to it.  No police cars had gotten there yet.  A few minutes later, two police cars arrived.  My other half went out to speak to the police about what he had seen.  One cop was headed in the opposite direction of where the buck ran, so at the very least, my other half saved the police a lot of time finding it.  Led the cop back to where he had last seen the buck, and they both saw it lying down again.  The buck got up again, ran down into the woods at the back of our property (and our neighbor’s), and somehow managed to hop the stream.  Probably didn’t go much farther before lying down again.  Not sure whose side of the property line it ended up on.

The good news is that the cop decided the buck did not have to be euthanized, because in his experience, they can live another three or four years with a broken leg.  More time saved for the cop, because didn’t have to discharge his firearm, and file the paperwork related to doing so.  He’s seen more than a few of these incidents.  I’m sure his judgment is good.

The collision occurred across the street from our neighbor’s house, not in front of ours.  That car wasn’t going anywhere.  Its front end was pretty badly smashed in.  I’m pretty sure everyone in the vehicle is okay.  No ambulance was ever called.  A tow truck was.

If nothing else, the driver or owner of the vehicle will have a police report to hand over to his or her insurance company, to back up the claim.

Although I’ve never hit a deer, I have had a few close shaves.  Hit the brakes, don’t swerve, and wait to see if there are any others following it.  There often are.  And, especially be on the lookout for them at dawn and dusk.

That buck may well survive for another few years, but he won’t be able to run as fast as he used to, and his days of fighting for the ladies are over.

Coyote Kill

I don’t care whether you pronounce it Cuy-o-tee or Cuy-ote.  Same critter.  We have them around here.  Seems one took out a fawn last night, and a flock of black vultures were all over the carcass.  It was down in what we call “the bottom.”  A fox couldn’t take out a fawn, but a coyote could.

Some people would be all freaked about it.  Nature happens.  I’m more interested in why we have a flock of black vultures, instead of the usual turkey vultures.  Between eating sprees, they roost on our annex roof.  They’ll be gone when the carcass is down to bare bones.

On another topic, I’m so thrilled to see and hear so many blue herons sticking around by our pond.  They do a good job of keeping the fish and frog population down.  We get a few great white egrets, too, but it’s the herons that do the real work.  And, they don’t poop all over the roof.

I Love these Three People (Not THAT way)

One is a bird-like woman who’s probably pushing 70.  She works checkout at a local deli.  No nonsense, but she’s really nice, and polite.  Number two is a Swedish guy who works a few doors down from the deli.  He never lost his accent, or his ability to be polite.  The third is a hefty woman who calls me “hon.”  As long as she doesn’t call guys “hon,” I have no issue with it.  In all cases, when our capitalist transaction is done, we wish each other a good day.  That’s how it’s supposed to be.

Chicken Sitting

Our neighbors are going away for a few days, and have asked us to chicken sit for them.  It entails making sure they have plenty of fresh water, letting them out of the coop in the morning, and back in at night.  That’s all there is to it.  Oh, and we get to keep whatever eggs they lay.  Today, there were 10.

I found out what happened to the leghorn rooster that vanished a few months ago.  He attacked his owner one too many times, and paid with his life.  The Rhode Island Red rooster has flupped me from behind with his wings a couple of times, but he’s never pecked me, or used his spurs on me.  We once had a bit of a Mexican standoff, but he’s generally not aggressive.  Still, I keep an eye on him when he’s out with the girls, especially when I’m out there bare legged.

On another topic, my other half bought two used 300 gal. fuel tanks from a couple of gals who run a farm in Frenchtown.  I don’t know that we’ll use the gasoline one, but we will use the one for diesel.  Best part?  They sent their father to meet us, who had all the farm equipment to load it onto our big trailer, and another guy showed up who secures loads for a living.  He knew all the laws for securing loads in various states around here.  Just as well, since we’ve seen a number of trucks get pulled over by state troopers during the past couple of months for load checks.  Our fuel oil company will deliver bulk diesel.  The previous owners of this property also had a diesel tank by the side of one of the outbuildings, on a concrete platform, but they took it with them.

Strawbs Tix

Suh-weet.  I just snagged tickets to see Strawbs at one of my two favorite venues, and got our two favorite seats!  They’re contemporary with Moody Blues and Wishbone Ash, and sound like a weird mix of both, plus a few others from that era, including some country and Irish things, with their own sound.  The tickets were a really reasonable price, or I wouldn’t have bought them.

Some people spend spare bucks on going to movie theaters.  We prefer to spend them on live music concerts.  Funniest thing is that this venue originated as a movie theater back in the 19th century.  It’s almost as old as my house.

Gad-zukes!

Brought over another “care package” for our neighbors yesterday.  Since their zucchini crop is underwhelming this year, we tucked in four zucchinis, a couple of straightneck yellow squashes, some bell peppers, jalapeños, Thai chilis, a loaf of homemade zucchini bread (the recipe I use from Beard on Bread makes two loaves), and a half-pint of homemade hot pepper jelly.  Used our zucchini, and their eggs for the loaf of bread.

They had a kid’s birthday party pool party on Saturday, so I didn’t want to intrude on their property while that was going on, even to just leave the box by their front door.  They decorated the whole pool area, and even hired a DJ.  Made sense to wait until Sunday to drop it off for them.

I’m not sure why they’re having zuke problems this year while ours are going gangbusters, but it does give me the opportunity to give them our excess.  We only planted two hills of zukes, and one of yellow squash this year, yet our harvest is as good as I’ve ever seen it.  It’s all organically grown.  The tomatoes are all coming along nicely, but won’t be ready to harvest for another two weeks, since that’s how late everything is this year after a cool Spring.

It’s going to be a fantastic year for hard squash.  Those vines are taking over the garden, and every so often, have to be redirected so they don’t strangle other things.  They’re are an odd mix of pure butternut, pure sugar pumpkin, and a couple of other things that seem to have hybridized, so we don’t really know what they are.  Regardless, they’re all edible.

The canteloupe vines seem to have made a comeback from the critter chewing they got earlier in the season, but the cuke is so pathetic after its chewing that I expect nothing from it.  Oh, well.  If I want to make dill, or bread & butter pickles, I can always buy the cukes at a grocery store.  They’re inexpensive in season — assuming I can find the pickle sized ones, instead of the long slicers.

This growing season for our kitchen garden is turning out to be a really good one.  It’s always questionable the first year you plow a grassy spot, fence it in, and try it.  Obviously, I picked a good place for it in the yard, but year to year is always a surprise, regarding what produces.