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Archive for March, 2024

Easter plans

March 30th, 2024 at 11:40 pm

Dad had no plans for Easter, but I already knew that cooking for him is impractical because I'd need to start something in the oven, go pick him up (30 minutes, there and back at least) and then return home, get him up the stairs with his walker, finish cooking dinner, and then bring him back home. It was just too much, and right when I felt I could finally sit down and relax after dessert last time, Dad announced he was ready to go home.

This year I'm trying something different. It allows us to spend some quality time together on a  holiday but without all the extra work of cooking. I'm taking dad on a driving tour of historic barns in the area. There's an interesting website that catalogs all the barns in the state. I searched the town where he lives, and 76 barns came up. We obviously won't get to all of them, but I picked the most interesting ones that had a written history, painstakingly mapped them all out on a map and decided we could probably check out 9 of them. It's just something for us to do together, and I often wrack my brains for how to entertain him, but he can't see or walk well, and I'm not a big fan of driving. So this is local enough for me to handle, and if we find a Starbucks or restaurant that's open without need of reservations, maybe we'll pop in.

I am pretty much done with my massive burning bush. I worked on it all winter, cutting branches with my pruner saw, but I could only do so much. A friend in town then came over twice with her "mini" chainsaw and did quite a bit more. Then, today, she returned with her husband, who wielded a full-size chainsaw to cut the burning bush to about a 2 foot high stump, which I promptly painted with an herbicide. Hopefully I won't get a lot of regrowth.

I made 3 trips to the transfer station today with my trunk filled with cut-up branches from the burning bush. No bigger than 4 feet long, cus that's what fits. Very time-consuming, but most of the lower branches have been hauled, and much of what remains are the cut-up trunks, which will be heavier to carry across my lawn but quicker to load in my trunk. It's a process. Luckily I'm fairly methodical about things like this and eventually, it gets done.

I'm actually glad to be wrapping up with it as I still have a very narrow window of time to work some more on pulling smaller burning bush out of the soft ground, as well as wineberry and multiflora rose. Once things leaf out, it's much harder to get in these brushy areas without risking contact with ticks, but the poison ivy is also coming up, but not let leafed out. (It's still toxic.)

I am behind the eight ball a bit on spring veggie planting, which I would have liked to start indoors. Then I discovered I have no more peat pots, so they are on order and I should have next week.

I also belatedly realized I needed to stratify the ironweed seeds I collected last fall before I plant them. It's a gorgeou plant and butterfly magnet. So the seeds are in the fridge now for at least a month.


Building a different kind of life

March 17th, 2024 at 11:29 pm

PSA: A while back I was informed that my account here had been hacked, so consider this as a good time to change and strengthen your password.

Not too long ago, I'd been contemplating scouting around for a 4th volunteer opportunity, but now, like a race horse settling into a comfortable gallop, I am finding more things to do with the two groups I'm involved with, so I'll just pace myself and see how things progress.

This week I'm helping the founder of the litter group staff a table at a vendor fair at a local VA, and this weekend is our 2nd cleanup event of the season, at a reservoir in a rural town. I wrote a story about the history of that reservoir to help promote the cleanup in the newsletter, and I'm now basically in charge of FB social media; so far, I've been finding it fairly easy to post once a day, culling interesting litter articles I find and writing my own little synopsis for them or otherwise calling attention to "microplastics" in the ocean and the problem with polar fleece. I would honestly like to take over the newsletter too, only because writing/communications is what I've done all my life and I just enjoy it.

At the other group, things are percolating also. After writing the first grant, we paused as my colleague nixed the next grant we were set to move on after realizing our nonprofit partner would not like seeking $$ from this particular utility company, which had cut down their trees by mistake, and things have gotten contentious.

I am quite enjoying getting more and more involved. It's nice to feel wanted, and that the work you do is highly valued and appreciated.  This has definitely taken the place of paid work for me.  I've volunteered, in very limited fashions, over my working career, but never really dug in the way I am doing now. Both groups are small and pretty new, so they could use all the help they can get.

Really, if I had to sum up my retirement thus far, I could say it centers around 3 things: 1) my volunteer work, 2) my exercise activities and 3) dad. I truly wish I had more family to spend time with, but being unmarried and without kids, I don't.  Dad doesn't care about holidays. It doesn't make sense to make an elaborate meal for 2 people, especially when I'd have to drive and fetch him and bring him back, then cook, then bring him home again. I tried that a few times and it was pretty exhausting. Easter will be tough because I'll be thinking how everyone in the world, practically, is spending quality time with loved ones.