The days recently have been such a hodgepodge of events and activities. We returned from the Folk Festival on Sunday and on Monday Larry took off for a doctor's appointment and I caught up on house things. We were both still tired from the late nights and good times of the festival, but managed to get a little gardening done.
Tuesday was my birthday and we had town things to do. We did not plan a big celebration, just as we didn't plan one for Larry's 60th birthday or our 25th wedding anniversary in May. We do like a party, really! But just as when we got married, at this time of year gardens and other things take a high priority and we're so busy that we don't want to take the time out to plan a party! When we got married, we just came home and worked in the tomato patch, so you see we are still going on as we started. We went to the library, the grocery store, feed store, post office, and all the usual go-to-town places. Tuesdays are a good day to go to town too, because groceries are 5% off for seniors on Tuesday. I don't feel like a senior, but hey, I'll take a discount anytime.
We also went out to dinner with our son Derek and his family--and he surprised me with a gift from him and his brothers: a 32-inch flat-screen television and DVD player. Now we haven't had a television for about four years and we don't miss it. However, now that I am retired I'd like to watch a movie occasionally since I have more free time. Larry watches movies on his little portable DVD player and he likes it but I can't see or hear it. So now I can see movies in style! We are currently trying to figure out where to put it. One thing is certain--we won't be using it to watch TV programming. We have grown so far away from it that I cannot imagine that noise in my house again. But it will be nice to watch movies and actually be able to see and hear them.
On Wednesday Melissa Rogers returned to finish my interview for her West Virginia Storytelling Project. When she came before, we visited and ate blueberry muffins made from my first blueberries, then I taught her her how to make a lavender wand. I had to leave for a storytelling performance so we scheduled another meeting. This time we got right down to business, and about 4 hours later (she has a lot of video and sound recording equipment to set up when she interviews) the interview was done. Melissa is an interesting lady--a college student in a MFA program at Emerson College in Boston, pursuing a degree in Media Arts.
While we were busy, Larry worked hard in the gardens; they are showing the results of his care. We will have our first squash by this weekend, and beans before July 4th. Tomatoes have baby green tomatoes on them, the carrots are ready for digging and the onions are nearly ready to be pulled.
Today we had to go back into town. Not by choice--but my driver's license was expired and the police are picky about such things. We also needed to pay taxes, get Larry's truck license, talk to the investment company about my retirement funds, pick up the tractor radiator (a bolt came loose and the fan kinda dug a hole in it) from the repair shop, and a few other errands. The weather continued its erratic pattern of sun, rain, sun, storm, sun, rain, storm, sun, all day long. I managed to cut some lavender before we left this morning and made a few more lavender wands when we got home and Larry checked on the gardens. He didn't like what he saw in one patch. Colorado potato beetles in the tomatoes!
The biggest headache this year is this beetle. While we were away this weekend they literally stripped the potato vines. I have never seen the like of the infestation this year. I saw them walking on the sidewalk and when I checked on one of my little pear tomatoes, it was covered with these beetles! I dumped some charcoal ashes on them and they didn't seem to like that but we are concerned now for our tomato patch. Larry had to break out the spray for the main tomato patch, something we don't like to do, and he also dusted the plants with wood ash. We cannot afford to let these beetles destroy our tomato crop, so we'll be fighting back. In the past few years we've had only a few of them, nothing to worry about but this year, good grief! It's incredible. We may be out with jars of kerosene and hand-picking them if necessary. This is W.A.R. and all weapons are fair.
We had a little fire in the firepit this evening and watched the birds diving at the feeder before the final storm of the evening arrived. I counted the following birds at the feeder:
cardinal--male, immature male and female
woodpecker--a downy variety but I'm not sure which one. This one had no red on it that I could see
a bird I could not see well enough to identify, but could be a yellow-breasted chat
I think that's all. It's a busy feeder, and the birds seem to pay little attention to us. As the night closed in, we could hear the melodic song of the brown thrasher deep in the hollow. I am sure he sings down there because he likes the way the hills echo and reverberate his singing. The whippoorwill soon started and the evening was officially over. A hoot owl may call soon, or a yellow-breasted chat might call out, but the birdsong is mostly still until daybreak. Only the lightning bugs are busy; the rest of us tuck under covers and rest.