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Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

February 2020
Lately, I have been getting little done in my apartment. Seems I have no interest in dusting all the pictures, furniture here. But I did just tear my bed down, doing what I call BEDBUG PREVENTION. Since bedbugs live in this complex, diligence is necessary to keep the little suckers OUT of my apartment. So, every 60-90 days, I pull my bedding off, examine the mattress for any signs of bugs, remove all the sealed totes from under the bed, vacuum under the bed, the totes, the mattress and mattress cover and look for signs of any bugs. I spray the carpet under the bed with Zodiac flea & tick spray for upholstery. Clean sheets and pillowcases finish the job. I spray my doorway, door door trim and outside my door with Zodiac. It takes several hours to do this job.

After I moved into this apartment, I had several bug bites and discovered a bedbug on my bedding. The "bug man" came to my apartment to examine my bedding. When I moved in, I was NOT going to buy a new mattress till I was sure there weren't any bugs in my place. Well, it seems the policy is not spraying between tenants...and the last tenant probably had bedbugs. The bug man pronounced my bedding clean (same mattress I had been sleeping on for four years in the camper)...but wanted to spray my apartment. I am chemically sensitive and declined. The bug man was wearing boots, gloves and a mask. I should live in the pesticide? And my little dog, so close to the carpet should have to be in that bad stuff? I didn't think so!

I went on a vengeful attack in my apartment, taking off the outlet and light switch covers, vacuuming inside them and spraying with DEET. I had some outlet and light switch insulating additions and sprayed them and installed them with the switch plate covers. I then laid down a narrow layer of diatomaceous earth along every baseboard and on each threshold of every room. The bug man gave me some sticky traps for scouting for any invaders. Since then, I have had no signs of bugs. But diligence is the answer!

One gal has had bedbugs twice, been sprayed twice. I did tell her about diatomaceous earth, she bought some and followed my procedure.  But foolishly, she vacuumed up the DE in a month or two. Then she got more bugs! How foolish can you be!

My order for crab meal came yesterday. I will work in the garden and turn the soil and apply the crab meal. I hope this will effect the root aphids that infected many of my plants last summer. I have some snap pea seeds coming also and hope to put them in on St. Patrick's day. Last late fall, I harvested my kale but left the roots in hopes that springtime would bring kale from last season's plants. But I did have some plant aphids (not to be confused with root aphids) on several plants. If the aphids have survived the winter, I shall pull the plants and put in new seeds.

The apartment complex did NOT schedule me for a gardening class in March, even tho' I requested that at January's residents meeting. I have requested to be scheduled on April 1 or 2. Possibly my pea seeds will have emerged by then. I hope some of the residents will attend this class, but I feel most of the gardeners here think they know all there is to know about gardening. We shall see if the April schedule includes my class. And how many bother to attend.

Today, I will walk BB at the bike path. We love to walk there! A lot of p-mail to read, many replies...to the point that BB has no pee left! And he is tired and well-exercised as am I.

Today, it feels like March...warmer and sunny. So we will enjoy this day for I am sure rain will come soon.

Year 2020
Today it is sunny for the first time in about a week. A welcome change from the dreary, rainy days of late. My amaryllis has finished blooming, I shall cut the flower stem off today. It had five beautiful blooms that lasted over two weeks!

I re-potted my orchid, seems I needed more information on the potting medium, which I packed too tightly when I re-potted it last year. Many of the new roots had rotted, so I clipped them back and used a terra cotta pot and pre-soaked moss, which I didn't pack so tightly. There are many new leaves on the plant but no bloom spike. I can only hope that the plant will recover from my lack of knowledge and give me a flower sometime in the future.

On a sad note, my friend in Washington has decided she cannot be my friend anymore. The reason for her decision is b/c she is a Jehovah's Witness and I will not convert to her way of thinking. It seems she has "gone into the ministries", whatever that means and since I will not accept her god as mine, she can't have me for a friend. Seems she thinks I used some "harsh words" when I told her she was indoctrinated into that faith. She was raised in the JW religion, her father and grandfather were ministers. Earlier in our  friendship, I asked her to stop sending me religious texts from her book/pod casts, but she wouldn't cease. When I called her on the subject, she was not understanding that we all have the choice what to believe. She just can't accept my opinion!

I remember days when I was outside in my garden, working in the dirt and the JW women would stop by, parking right in the middle of the driveway. They wanted to talk to me about their great Jehovah. I told them I had work to do, but they were welcome to sit with me and pull weeds if they wanted to chat. They would persist until one day I told them I was Jewish. They left me alone after that.

I was raised in the Seventh Day Adventist religion. I attended Seventh Day Adventist schools and attended church on Saturdays as well. I was well indoctrinated into that religion for my "formative" years. When I was old enough to see the inconsistencies in the "elders of the church", I began to question may things I saw that were contrary to what we were taught. I was pressured to be baptized. I declined and was ostracized in school. In the end, I left that faith and have not been a participant in any organized religion.

But because I can't accept the Bible as the "way", my friend has dismissed me. Such a small issue since we have so many other things in common. She is an excellent photographer but has cast that aside for her religion. I have a BFA in photography and encouraged her efforts, sending her my books from college. I am sure they are gathering dust on her shelves.  We have gardening in common but she doesn't see that this common interest is enough to remain friends. I will miss her. But not enough to change what I believe in!

On a bright note, I have reconnected with my cousin. She lives close to me now but has been a self-described hermit since her husband died 18 or so months ago. She cared for him for the last years of his life, he was the center of her world...him and her dog Hunter...a 160# Rottweiler. She has recently started to connect with friends again. She came over last Sunday to visit. We had a wonderful time! Yesterday, I saw her at Wallyworld as she was leaving. I was headed in to the store to return something. Having not seen her for a number of years, then seeing her twice in a week was interesting.

Time to go for today. Enjoy the sun while it is here. Temperatures will be very cold tomorrow morning and continue cold all weekend. I am prepared!
New Year
Some of you still look for me on this blog. I have been busy with all things, here in the apartment complex, out in the countryside, neighbors dirty vacuums that are so neglected they stop working...helping with a kitty that needs some TLC & medication. My friend/neighbor's sister suddenly died last week...another friend/neighbor lost her kitty and is looking for a another for company. And then there is the daily housework, walking BB and taking care of him.

My neighbor/friend Stan, our resident astronomer, has a kitty about 12 or so years old. I have noticed Zenda (her name...funny since my name is Cynda) has been loosing weight over the past 6 months. I convinced Stan to take Zenda to the vet, altho' he is in a tight financial situation, he did. Zenda had been sneezing a LOT along with her weight loss. Turns out Zenda had a sinus infection and her thyroid was working overtime, causing her weight loss. In August, while Stan was hospitalized for three days, I was checking on his place (doing a lot of cleaning, too!!!) and feeding Zenda and caring for her needs. It was then I noticed kitty's hunger and weight loss. Vet put her on an antibiotic, antihistamine & thyroid medications. Zenda accepted the thyroid medication in her food but wouldn't eat the food with the antibiotic & antihistamine.  I was drafted to "pill" Zenda twice daily for several weeks. This gave me a chance to touch base with Stan twice daily to see how he was doing. Stan now has weekly help cleaning his apartment, most is "light housekeeping". His place was in such turmoil, I am certain anyone going in to work would be overwhelmed! I worked in his kitchen, sorting out his counter tops, reorganizing his pantry, finding lids to all his plastic storage containers, etc. Things started to get a bit more under control.

One issue is that neither of his vacuums worked. So...I took his Shark home and cleaned it. Filters had never been washed, so they were totally clogged. All the brush heads were totally gummed up, there was a hair brush handle in the intake tube. Never mind the dirt bin! All was cleaned, washed, wiped and returned to him. His house cleaning help said the vacuum worked (and looked) like new. Then I started on his Dyson rechargeable stick vacuum. Well, Dyson surely does make things tough for keeping the cyclone head free of dirt and dust!!! I cleaned all components, put it all back together and it works very well. I figured out which attachments go to the Dyson, which go to the Shark. My dining room table is almost cleared of my unfinished projects! And Stan has two vacuums that work!

I missed yoga class on Monday...I had been fighting a sore throat over the weekend and overslept. I completely forgot about the 11 am class...and was still in my PJ's till noontime. I think I have defeated whatever it was that thought it would nest in my nose or throat, drinking Dr. Christopher's Plague Tonic with raw honey, eating onion sandwiches on rye bread with mayo, Netti Pot and Ponaris Nasal Emollient. A combination that will kill most anything! Today, I think it is gone. Now, I must set up my humidifier since it's possible that dry air was the issue.

I am finding time to do fun things. Tuesday, I met Syd at her house. I dumped my compost in her pile and we walked the dogs. Her new dog Haskell is coming along. Since he was rescued from a puppy mill and was used only for breeding, he has a great need for human companionship and requires a lot of attention. Syd has been working with him, training him and he is coming along. A Jack Russell Terrier mix, he does have the look and entire attitude of Jack Russells. He desperately wants to play with BB the dog, BB has NO use for Haskell and avoids all contact with him! Haskell is young and full of zip. BB is more sedate since he is now 12. But both of them MUST sniff every corner, blade of grass, pile of anything and leave a reply (p-mail).

We had a nice walk. Then I looked at her apple tree, a very old tree. It has been very neglected and is now home to a million carpenter ants. I suggested I would look for someone who might be interested in taking the tree down...as well as her Black Walnut tree that split off a large portion last fall. The apple tree is good for smoking meat. The Black Walnut might be good for making furniture. We shall see if I am successful.

My amaryllis has bloomed again, just in time for my birthday. Five blooms this year! It is a happy sight during this time of brown and grey, flooding red blooms, making my eyes happy!

I re-potted my orchid last week. I have been over watering it and had packed the moss too tightly in the bottom of the pot...and it was a plastic pot. I watched a video on UTube to find out how to properly pot up an orchid...and found a new terra cotta pot. We will see if it responds. I have had it for 16 months and no bloom yet. One can only hope I can undo the damage done.

The other plants I brought home from Vermont in fall of 2019 are doing well. This is my first time with a Rabbit-foot fern and I haven't killed it yet. It has started to loose a few leaves but I think this is a natural process. Last years Pointsetta has set some red leaves at the top. Of course, not as dramatic as those that are forced in greenhouses, but I am happy. The small start of Christmas Cactus is blooming for the second time this winter. A different cactus from Krista in Vermont is growing madly. I cut off the top of the avocado shoot since it was getting spindly. Maybe another shoot will come?  

I finally created a terrarium in the old one gallon fish bowl that Odette gave me (after Parker the cat broke the light in the cover) using some plants I collected from Syd's woods. I'm not sure if the bog moss will grow or the cranberry vines but the two other plants are doing well, one has put out new growth.

On another subject...one that some of you may recall, my traveling companion from my trip in 2017 out west has made contact with me after a long silence. She wanted to "update" me on her new house, her 4 dogs and two cats. I am aware of her animal collection but it seems she doesn't remember. She wanted to let me know how much impact I had on her life with all my organizational skills, practical knowledge and healing skills. However much she would like to "keep me in her life", I am still remembering all the bad things she subjected me to during that trip. At this time, I can't continue any communication with her. Seems she may have lied (or her son lied to his wife) about a serious health issue last September. Her son flew out to Memphis and spent 5 days with her. She didn't exactly deny the health emergency, but questioned how I found out. She was more concerned about who told me. Here's the thing...the money that her son used to fly to Memphis was to buy me an airline ticket to visit her son and daughter-in-law. So, I didn't make the trip to Washington state.

Enough for today. Thanks for reading this blog. Hopefully, more will come in the near future!