--Critters are well and happy! Pip will be a year old this month--impossible to believe! Linda brought Pip & her four siblings home to foster on April 12 last year; they were only 3 or 4 days old. Keeping Pip, which was totally unplanned, was one of the best decisions we've ever made.
She is probably the most loving cat I've ever known, and between us, Linda & I have had some serious lovebugs. Her favorite place is on the couch, laying on both of us; she always wants to be touch us both. She wants petting and kisses, but not in a needy way. She's also a...well, a pip, always looking for mischief. Yeti's plumey tail is a toy, as are Lola's legs. But despite our initial worries about Lola and Pip, it's all worked out.
Chickens--doing well, laying huge eggs; sometimes I look at them and just think ouch! TuTu, Octavia and Julia are glad for the warming temperatures but want to know when there will be grass to forage in!
Bees--we were deeply saddened to discover we'd lost a hive due to mice. Linda had a mouse guard up, but somehow it got pried open enough that mice invaded the hive. This was the original hive, so all the more sad. Two hives survived Winter, and she just got two more last week. This is a tough time of year to get them through, but she's feeding them daily.
Planting! We've begun kale, chard, peas, arugula, spinach, thyme, marigolds, snapdragons. A weekly planting calendar is in place, along with extensive plans on what gets planted where, and when we need to build what; for example, we're not starting tomatoes from seed, but instead will buy them from Catskill Native Nursery in mid-May, so we know that in early May we need to build platforms to set tomato containers on between the rows of our younger grape arbor, and by mid-May will need to build the bean & edamame trellises. We're aiming to turn a chunk of yard into a no-mow zone; this year's biggest effort in that direction will be a huge stretch of sunblower beds! We're looking to bring whimsy and joy into our yard along with functionality and (eventually) easier maintenance.
The endless battle with food--a little over a year ago, on orders from an acupunturist/TCM practitioner, I went on a gluten/sugar/processed food free diet because of chronic hives, and stuck it out successfully for about 5 or 6 months. It didn't affect the hives, which went into a remission this past October and then began rebounding last month. It did cause me to drop 16 lbs and become far less bloated. Eventually I returned to all my bad habits again, and last week stepped on a scale at the doctor's office and felt nauseous at the number. So...it's Monday morning, the first day of a new month, and I've rejoined Weight Watchers (online)--hey, Jennifer Hudson still looks great! It's been successful for me before, and I seem to need the regimentation. Doctor told me I must start exercising, and broke it down to as minimal as possible--10 minutes a day, three times a week to start out. Even I can manage that!
We've had hints of sweet Spring, warm sun and blissed-out birds, grazing deer, geese flying over the house by the hundreds, heading north all at once as if they all got the email at one time. The quince is blushing, the Japanese maple is sporting delicate buds, daffodils are peeking out. The season is pregnant with promise, each day a new discovery, and today I feel optimistic and excited about the days to come.
I've missed all of you, and will be making the rounds of blogs this week; I look forward to catching up! And I'll be back posting at the end of the week to talk about....some very special strawberries. Wishing you a week of joy and anticipation in the season!