Category Archives: between books

The Muckin o Geordie’s Byre – –

Jack thought it might be a good idea to get his Wednesday guest post up on a Wednesday – –

This week saw two important tasks finally achieved.

Back in November we were worried about whether our chickens might be frozen over the winter, but we discovered that leaving their poop lying in the coop would keep it fairly warm. So a win for everyone! But, of the course, the chickens always come home to roost, so I finally had to ‘muck out the byre/coop’ this week and put fresh straw over their floor. It’s probably a very good job I don’t have any sense of smell.

The other job was really odd. When we moved here we were a bit surprised to find that all the upstairs room had doors, but none of the ground floor rooms had. But we have five cats that we need to corral from time to time. So a few months ago I installed a folding door between our ‘ceilidh room’ and our sitting room/library. That was so that we would have some possibility of shutting the cats somewhere.

But it didn’t really help much to keep them out of the kitchen where they are inclined to get under our feet – or even on the counters! So, today I installed another folding door where the kitchen heads to the sitting room.

Fitting these doors is meant to be a breeze, but nothing ever is! The available space in an old house like ours is never the same size as the door, so a fair bit of ‘surgery’ was required. Despite the relatively light weight of the doors it’s still heavy going to position them. The other problem is when you have to add a length of wood to mount the top rail to and can’t find the right length of screws to fix it.

However everything worked out eventually.

The chickens are happy and so is Wendy – – -which means all is right with the world. Eggs for everyone.

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Filed under animal rescue, between books, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Nature Abhors a Vacuum

Jack once again posts his Wednesday guest post on Thursday – sigh – – –

It’s amazing the quote I remember from a School science lesson – –

The vacuum is, of course, what our lives could have become during the pandemic for the last year and a quarter!

The most obvious thing for us in fighting that vacuum is how our house has changed. Our ceilidh room was where we entertained friends, held house concerts, and even ceilidhs (hence the name). But it became our home entertainment center, with a big screen and a projector to plug into my laptop and a good set of speakers. Wendy bought a box set of all twenty seasons of ‘Law and Order’ which we along with favorite movies on some nights. (Currently rounding toward the end of season 19!)

The library morphed into Wendy’s home office whence she somehow managed to orchestrate the supply of PPE to health centers and hospitals all over the area from March-May 2020. After that it was her writing studio as she churned out a book with colleagues on COVID conspiracy theories. And it accrued quite a lot of craft items, as she discovered decoupage. Recently a friend visited and commented, “I see you found a new hobby, Wendy.”

Our guest room continued to double as my studio where I prepare my radio show. But there was a period when I unusually had to pre-record the links out in our backyard log cabin, which was slow and tedious. That was due to some noise control efforts, since we have a sound proof box in the cabin.

But a lot of our time has been spent outside trying to learn how to grow vegetables. Last year wasn’t too successful but we have better hopes for this year. Some good friends tilled an extra section of the yard and it has carrots, beets, onions and the ‘the three sisters’ (corn, beans and squash), which all seem to be coming along fine. And Wendy has taken up foraging, which she calls lazy gardening. Why ignore nature presenting us with things like purslane and burdock—especially when we turn out to suck at gardening in the first place?

Our corn is as high as a baby elephant’s eye!

It would have been very easy for us to be ‘couch potatoes’ looking at the walls, but Wendy deliberately set her face against that and made sure, from the start, we would be occupied. We read lots of books—not to mention she had two published and has another two on the way. I took on some small construction projects and we made a fence to keep our chickens away from the back deck. Despite our failures, the garden has seen results. And we had the window visitors; people came by to drop off or pick up items (when the PPE runs ended Wendy kept going with a buy nothing list for the county, ranging from food to clothing to household detritus. I believe our neighbors might think we’re dealing drugs, the number of window packages that have been passed around here, and items left on doorsteps in mysterious lumpy packages. But she’s done some wonderful things for some community members with these free items.)

I believe this has kept us mentally and physically healthy and this seems to chime with other folks’ experiences. Once we finish season 20 of Law and Order, I’m not sure what we will do with ourselves, of course…..

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, crafting, folklore and ethnography, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, publishing, reading, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch