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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Good Morning!

It's a shocker, I know, that I'm finally here.  What's MORE of a shocker is that I'm up with hot coffee and beginning to write at 6:39 AM!  Maybe I'm making up for yesterday when I didn't wake up until noon after 13 straight hours of sleep!  Last night, I got just over 5, thanks to Dosie (the cat) who was tearing up and down the board walkway that connects the two decks, right underneath the bedroom window this morning.  How can 6 pounds of cat sound like an elephant when they do that?!  Then, of course, just as I was plodding downstairs to show her that I'd left the front door open a crack, specifically to avoid being wakened by animals wanting to go out or come in, she came scampering UP the stairs!  Sigh.  Kids!

I was just reviewing the pictures I've taken in the past several days to remind myself what to post about, and there's a lot!  But, you won't get it all right now: tooooo much.  Last Tuesday was the day my dad, Papa Pea, came out and when I started making some real headway cleaning up the front yard and prepping for it the summer.  Within this past week, we had our first real day of spring . . . and then it was summer.  I kid you not.  One day of spring, yep:  that was all we got.  Cold, cold, cold and then HOT (by my warped standards, anyway).

Last Wednesday, I shut down the outside wood furnace and made all the appropriate adjustments necessary to transfer production of the house's hot water to the water heater (which just serves as a hot water storage tank in the wintertime when it's heated from the boiler).  The mosquitoes arrived but not in droves, thank goodness.  I haven't had to wear a headnet or bug dope yet.  No blackflies, either, but I hesitate to jinx things by even mentioning that!  I also refilled the batteries.  Papa Pea had taken a look at them when he was here (I had some concern about the sulfuric build-up on some of the terminals) and cautioned me that they off-gas and, therefore, lose more of their acid/water balance as they age.  So, I need to keep a closer eye on that.  We also discussed a new physical layout for the batteries when I get my new ones:  as I've mentioned before, the 24 large, deep-cycle batteries are place three deep and eight across, and the depth is too much to allow for any sort of personal physical comfort when maintaining them.

We northeastern Minnesotans put our hummingbird feeders out around the 15th of May, and I thought I saw a quick glimpse of one on Sunday, but I couldn't be sure.  At any rate, I got their sugar water made and out on Monday, and I saw the first . . . and then a couple . . . little guy(s)/gal(s) yesterday morning.

My days before, during, and after the upcoming holiday weekend are gonna be a whirlwind of activity:  my oldest girlfriend and her family are coming from their home in St. Paul to put the second story on their cabin, just 9 miles east of me (keep your fingers crossed for good weather!).  She's a physician's assistant, and her hubby is a physicist, so their schedules are tight.  Due to that, they'd planned this trip last fall and booked me to nanny for their two little ones - ages 2 1/2 and, let me count, 9 months - for five of those days.  I begged off from the Saturday & Sunday of the Memorial Day Week(end) so I could be in my gallery in town, hoping to grab the first of the season's tourists.  AND, my uncle and his wife from California might be visiting over those same days . . . so it's gonna be a BUSY time!

I've really kicked it into overdrive concerning my business, too, and my days "off" seem to be more productive than my in-office days.  While I'm not necessarily complaining, the problem with being in my office is that friends know that I'm in my office!  So, getting things done there seems to be a bit ineffectual.  I think I'm going to start trying to change that by keeping the door to my office closed.  If that doesn't work, I'll have to start putting the word out that I really can't be visited.  And/or just really limit those visits.  It's my own fault, I know:  when they say, "I really shouldn't be tying you up!" . . . I tend to respond, "I know, but I never see you!"  So, WHY am I complaining?  Yes, I am in charge of my own schedule:  I need to learn to put a cap on things.  ;)

But, following a COMPLETE waste of limited time in the office last week, I've made the first two of my three consecutive days here at home count.  I've put myself on an hourly schedule, and it's all about my 60-minute timer.  I'll do one hour at the computer on business work, then one hour on Swamp River Ridge work.  Rinse and repeat until the end of the day when I'm exhausted.  Usually around 9:00 or 10:00 PM.  BUT, I am getting things DONE, and that feels good!

My "around the homestead" accomplishments these past days have been based around the good weather:  laundry out on the line to dry, high-pressure washing of the second and larger slate walkway, planting a border of lily bulbs in an area susceptible to erosion, intense vacuuming (while the sun shines & charges my w-e-a-k and desperately-needing-to-be-replaced battery system), keeping an eye on the chicks (haven't lost one yet although I did have to perform an "emergency procedure" on a very pasty vent Sunday night), weeding, pruning trees, putting rock borders around perennials and trees, and more general clean-up of the front yard.  Even though there's no substantial green on the trees yet, I could already mow some of the grass . . . which I think I may start today.

I took a short walk in the woods the other day to see what I could find poking up through the duff:  wood anemones only, so far.  The unopened blossoms are particularly pink this year.

The ticks seem to be out in force already, though:  while at The Peanut's & Bunny's house for dinner last Friday night, I had to rather suddenly excuse myself to the bathroom as I sqeaked, "Excuse me, I have SOMETHINGCRAWLINGUPMYLEG!"  Their dad just said, "Mmm.  Tick."  I dropped trou in the bathroom and The Peanut came zoomin' in to say, "Can I see?!"  Yep, first tick of the season.  I showed her how to CRUSH their hard shells to make sure it was d-e-a-d!  Then, last night as I was sitting here in this chair in the library crocheting, I felt something drop onto my neck.  Yup, another one.  (How many of you are starting to itch and creep out, reading this?!)  I'd felt something in my hair earlier in the evening but couldn't find anything . . . I suspect it was the tick.  Yuck.  BUT, I'll take ticks ANY day of the week over (shudder) spiders.  (As I look overhead to make sure there isn't one ready to fall down on me.  Spider, not tick.)

I took the new header photo last Thursday as I headed into town, less than a mile down the road from home.  At first glance, I thought, "Oh, a baby!"  I was even a little hesitant to stop to take the picture, wondering where protective Mama was.  But, then I realized that it was just a small yearling:  freshly kicked out of the nest.  Cow moose (meese?) keep their calves through the whole first year until they calf again in the springtime:  then the 1-year old gets kicked to the curb to fend for him/herself!

So, with that, it's time for pictures.  Let's see what I can find of interest to post.

I took this picture a week ago last Monday to show how things were starting to green up.  Yes, that is snow in the right-hand side of the picture.  But, it's - finally - all gone now.

The soft needles of the Tamarack (aka American Larch) are starting to pop.

I took this yesterday to show that there are no green leaves on the trees yet.  This, across the driveway from the chicken house and poultry yard, is where I'd like to build a small barn - just out of view at the far left.  The structure that you see was going to be the home for the bee hives, but I've since found a better spot for them.  Instead, I will use this as a small, enclosed garden area . . . once it's repaired from the damage caused by a huge tree falling on it a couple of years ago.

I got the large front deck completely cleaned up yesterday.  Outdoor rugs moved and vacuumed, spider webs cleared.  Then, moved as many houseplants as will tolerate the outside conditions out there.  Got the new cover on the table, too.  Now, aside from the furniture cushions which need to stay inside unless being used, it's user-friendly and ready to go!

Finally, I'll leave you with a picture of the kitties, curled up on the afternoon sun.  I love it when they cozy up together!
I hope you have a terrific Wednesday!


  1. I could sit and stare out that deck forever!

    Ticks? Eeek! Whenever anything drops on my head outside I practically do a pole dance and strip down. Not as seductive as it sounds.

    You sound like me with the visitors. It's so hard to turn anyone out. But at the end of the day, when nothing gets done don't ya wanna kick yourself sometimes?

    But that's what makes you 'you'. You are like a warm cup of coffee.

    Hope you have an awesome day! You are off to a great start!

  2. Yes, not a day goes by that I don't appreciate the spot I have here!!! Corny as it sounds, it is my salvation, my sanctuary. And "a warm cup of coffee"? Moi? Well, thanks! :)

  3. Okay, so you just wrote a nice, long post bringing your readers up to date. (Kinda/sorta.) But what you don't realize, dear readers of Chicken Mama, Lady Homesteader, is the four gazillion other things she has done, experienced, lived through and done for others in the past week or so that she didn't mention. I sit here shaking my weary little mother's head in amazement over what this girl (sorry, WOMAN) fits into her life!

  4. What would you do without poppa pea ?[ bite my tongue] he sure is helpful but what are poppa's for anyway? you got the ticks already? no pun intended. my sister in law in Deer River was just complaining yesterday. I have relatives scattered everywhere in MN and beyond. my other brother in Hibbing-he does all the local on taxes even advertises on the local radio station. I also have a niece elected to office in the Keewatin area city clerk Julie Christensen Bardine. NOTHING AS FAR AS YOU THOUGH, THAT I'M AWARE OF THAT IS .I HAVE NOT EVEN MET A LOT OF THE NEW GENERATION BEING BORN OF LATE

  5. I don't think I'd EVER leave home, if that was my home. What a beautiful site. You sure have been busy - no moss growing under those feet. There's so much to do in the spring/summer - spummer? It's nice to 'hear' from you!

  6. Mom, you know why I wrote a relatively "boring" post? 'Cause it's exhausting to try to detail all the "big stuff"! :) But, having thrown that out there, I know I need to write about the cats, and the two college freshmen boys I spent a late evening with! ;)

    Judy, you have folks all OVER MN! And, you got it: what would we do, those of us fortunate to still have 'em, without our daddies? :)

    Susan: SPUMMER! Yes! That's what we're in, right now!

  7. P.S. Oh, and My Girl's birthday trip to Canada and helping out with The Peanut. ;) Anything else I missed?

  8. EXACTLY! But maybe there are "some things" you shouldn't tell everyone about . . . your night with the two college freshman, etc., etc. (Hee-hee!)

    P.S. I never said your post was boring. Quite the contrary, m'dear.


  10. I can tell you have been getting a lot done, because I can tell through your writing that you sound GOOD... and happy! The deck looks amazing, the perfect place to sip a drink and contemplate your day or what you accomplished! Ok now this... you leave your front door open??? I bet Mr. Raccoon loves that, does he tidy up after himself after he makes his breakfast?! LOL... keep up the momentum, you are doing great! Ticks, roaches and snakes... that's worst for me, I can do spiders no problem LOL At least when we move back I won't have to worry about the snakes or roaches anymore! (Because all our snakes are poisonous here!)

  11. Busy bee!!! Looks fabulous:) And I love your house, it's gorgeous:) We have the garden tilled, but haven't planted anything yet....we have been getting soaked with rain this entire week.

    Keep up the good work!

  12. Stephanie, thanks! Yes, the outside *is* lovely (I'm kinda in love w/ my house), but the inside is all studs and insulation! ;) Smoke & mirrors . . . alllll smoke & mirrors! ;)


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