Matt and I took a day trip on Cedar River Flow. We saw an eagle and lots of yellow swallowtail butterflies. Black flies were nasty at put in and take out but not on the water.
Kathyrn and I went to Swistak’s U-Pick Strawberries to get berries to freeze for the winter. We got there at 7:50, there were cars pulling in before us and after us, and there were probably 20 cars already in the parking lot and lots of people in the fields. However, we were shown quickly to our rows and started picking. The berries were small, some too small to bother picking, kind of like wild strawberries. And seedy like wild strawberries too. Many of the berries looked like they could use one more day of sunshine, just not quite ripe. However, there were certainly enough berries that we managed to pick 24 quarts in under an hour. And they are tasty. We spoke with the owner and she said they have a buyer for the place, and agreed to stay 2 years to “mentor” the new owners. She said the berries were small because that is what happens when the vines get older. Plus they think the late frost(s) may have gotten some of the buds on the “King strawberry” plants.
For my birthday in April Kathryn got a trail camera for me. During this period of lock down it has provided some entertainment and a distraction. I try to position the camera nearby or along our running trails so it can be easily checked. I usually swapped SD cards every other day just because I am interested to see if we got something new. So far there have been lots of deer but also turkey, coyote, rabbits, raccoons, and various birds. Lots of fun!
Cullen alerted us to a Painted Turtle laying eggs in our garden. In about an hour she laid eggs, covered them up and traveled roughly 30 yards back to the pond.
The next morning, Cullen remembered the site and, at the first available opportunity, he started digging there. We stopped him, and we don’t think he dug deep enough to disturb the nest (at least we didn’t see any indication there was damage). We erected a nest protection barrier to forestall future invasions. Now we wait 72 days to see what hatches.
On June 6 Kathryn logged her 60th consecutive day of running. She “interval runs” up the hill and then run back. Over time she has extended her distance so that, for the last monthly, I’ve been running over 3 miles on my cross-country route. Every few days she runs a mile on the road for time. So far, knees, ankles, hips, back are all doing OK.
After my electrocardiogram I started running myself – a mile through the woods and occasional runs on the road. So far so good.
We dropped the two Catalpa trees before they started leafing out. Then it was a matter of trimming limbs and blocking up the trunks; about a day a piece for Kathryn and I. I split the large chunks by hand. I broke up the sessions up with the 2nd tree to reduce the strain on my lower back. It also helped that I used the second stump as a splitting platform. Eric transported the roughly two face cord of wood to the shed. Then we resurrected wood chipper. We had to clean out mouse nest and clear the chutes, but it worked great once we had it going. The branches we chopped into small chips which are destined for the trails across the road.
What a warm, beautiful day, I cut weeds on the pond dam so that we can walk across and view the damage. I used to be able to drive the tractor and brush hog across the dam, but the dam is unstable due to settling, flooding and / or muskrats. Eric and I fertilized all the fruit trees. Kathryn worked on weeding the peonies and then we dropped the two Catalpa Trees. These trees are over 20 years and came from Fran Skelly’s home.
I started a lot of plants in doors; 4 varieties of tomatoes, broccoli, egg plant, watermelon, and artichoke. In the next week I will move the plants outdoors into a DIY green house to harden up before being planted in the garden. I began to prep the garden by hoeing the garden in phases. It took a3-4 sessions to turn it all over and get it ready for planting. Today I planted some cool weather items: spinach, Swiss Chard and peas. Eric has turned into a spinach eating machine so I am hopeful to get multiple plantings. The Swiss Chard was a gift from BillieJo – I never tried it before. The peas are left overs from previous years, so I am not confident of germination – last year Cullen ate all the peas as soon as they were ready.
We have been very cautious about interacting with others. We try to fill our days with a combination of work (Jim working part time and Kathryn finalizing tests and grades at her last Utica College class, projects, exercise and play. Our projects have included: cutting firewood, planting 50 white spruce trees and 10 Elderberry bushes, starting garden plants, moving a daffodil bed, mowing the lawn – with a flat tire after 1 hour and refinishing a wooden stool that I inherited from my dad.
Kathryn has been doing the most exercise with a daily run using our lollipop xc ski trail to log a run of almost 3 miles every day. Jim’s jog is a much shorter 8/10s of a mile.
To keep us entertained we have played a modified pickleball in our garage, played various card games, held a virtual game night with family friends, watched an assortment of birds coming to our feeder and experimented with a trail camera.