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ctw1949
Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

Life in general
The days of October have been plenty rainy! My work in my friend's Syd's yard is coming near to completion. We are almost finished in the Lilac stand...which had many vines and weeds growing. The stand had not been cleared in 16 years or so, there was a lot of dead lilac growth that needed to be removed. Since no fertilizing had been done in several decades, the lilac canes are thin and spindly, snow had weighed them down and there was a lot to be removed.

It seems the lilac stand had been planted over the old dump, started over 200 years ago when the house was built. There were no formal dumps back then, so all the tin, glass, ceramic went into a large pile in the yard, usually close to the house. I believe the house was built by Quakers since it is a Center Hall Colonial, their favorite style of homes.

I have been working at Syd's for about five or six years now, trimming, pruning, gardening and giving her advise. I found Sam last fall, he is what I call my "left-hand man". Sam lives in a rooming house in New Bedford, a noisy area with noisy people who like to drink. Sam is a recovering addict and alcoholic. He likes order and quiet, so I admire him at his ability to stay where there is so much turmoil. He is eager to learn real gardening and how to make things grow. He is strong and easy-going. I couldn't do the heavy work at Syd's if not for Sam. He catches on quickly, remembers what he has learned and is dependable.

I have been in my usual fall slump. I spent many days napping all day, sleeping all night. I hope that phase is over now that the moon is full and shrinking. I had several nights when I didn't sleep till the very wee hours of the morning, but that seems to have passed, too.

BB has been very itchy the past 6 weeks, keeping him clipped and bathed is helping. I am concerned that his broken tooth (when he was attacked by a large dog in April, his canine tooth snapped off at the gum) is starting to give him trouble...he is not eating all his food the past few days. I don't have the money for any tooth surgery for him, so I don't know how to cross that bridge.

My small garden did well over the summer. The cucumber harvest was good, lettuce was OK, but the soil I bought to replace the removed soil was not as good as I had hoped. Seems it was mostly wood, so the termites came and started to eat the stems of many of my plants! I will need to improve the soil over the winter months. Then root aphids moved in and caused sickly plants. The kale is coming on but was blown over by the last four days of high winds. I will straighten them up...and wait for the frost before I pick the kale.

I planted Scarlet Runner Beans and put up trellises for them to grow on. The poor soil grew pale leaves but many blooms. The lack of pollinators in the city prevented any beans from growing...so sad. I saw only a few bumblebees, not one honey bee in my garden.

I bought in some organic parsley starts in May, they are doing nicely. I have been picking and freezing for winter. Someone shared a great way to freeze parsley. Clip the leaves and freeze in a jar for later use. I have always put the parsley into a zip lock freezer bag, but this works so much better!

The dill didn't fare as well, was spindly and not so productive. But over the summer, I had many Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars in both the dill and parsley. Of course, I am always willing to share with nature! In the Borage I found Painted Lady butterfly caterpillars, so my garden was a good place for nature to thrive in the middle of the city.

I put in a second planting of lettuce in mid-August and it is growing much better than the first planting which went bitter int he heat. The parsley is growing like mad now in the cool, wet weather.

Late fall, I will go to West Island and harvest some sea weed, go out to my friends and get several bags of horse manure for the garden and spread it out for next spring. I can hope for better soil next growing season.

That's all for today. Time to take BB the dog to the park




Wrapping up the trip out west in 2017
It doesn't seem like two years since my return to the east coast after my strange trip across the country with Arianna.  I have heard from her maybe four times since then. Of course, once she paid me back what she owed me, we had little need of contact. She knew how I felt about her lack of consideration, how she manipulated me, used me to pay our way after she said she had ample money.

When we were in Olympia, WA, I met her son Rob, daughter-in-law Rebecca and their grandchild, Ava. Rebecca and I hit it right off with our love of gardening, wild life and photography. We are in contact often and I have heard her speak of the relationship she has with A. It became obvious to me that A has often asked her two sons (Rob & Joe) for money when she can't pay her bills. The situation is so bad that Rob and Rebecca can't even speak of his mother and how she uses him. It saddens me to know that A has not really matured to the point where she can take responsibility for her actions.

Last spring, Rebecca mentioned that she wanted to fly me out to WA for a visit...with BB my dog. We were both looking forward to this trip this fall. In August, A called Rob and said she was in hospital with failing kidneys. She asked Rob to come to Memphis. Rob flew to see her, using the money that had been saved for my flight. Since Rebecca has no information (from Rob) regarding A's failing kidneys, no information on how she is doing, all speculation leads to the conclusion that A was in dire financial straits and was just using Rob to get her out of her financial hole.

Since I have no contact with A, I don't know what her situation is...and I can say that in all honesty, I am not interested.