Rain, Tornadoes and Softball

I saw a meme the other day that hit pretty close to home. It said, “I’m glad it rained again; my mud was getting dehydrated.” From the last blog post a couple of weeks ago, we’ve gotten another seven inches of rain, giving us a total of 34.3 inches so far this year and 17.45″ for the month of May. I believe it is already slowing down as there is no rain forecasted, for a few days anyway.

One wet morning, I discovered that one of my rabbit does had given birth. It was odd to see the kits scattered about the cage though and I panicked a little. I called my friend that had sold me the rabbits and she calmed me a little, then told me she would come over in an hour or so. I put the kits that were still alive in the box I had provided for the doe and waited for my friend. She helped me with medicating the does’ ears as they had crusted over from all the rain. She also confirmed that the other doe was not pregnant. Despite our efforts with the kits, they all died within a couple of days. I don’t believe she was feeding them. I struggled with this failure, especially when my buck escaped a couple of days later. I don’t even know how he did it. Now, I need to get another buck and try everything again before the weather gets too hot for the summer.

I have another friend that gave me several empty cattle supplement tubs. We already used one for a pig waterer, but I now have designs in mind for planters in front of our porch. I cleared the debris and raked the area smooth. I found one of Kinzie’s old orthodontic retainers in the process. I laid down weed cloth and Tom and I spent several minutes the other day trying to separate the tubs that I had stacked so they wouldn’t blow away in our Oklahoma wind. We did finally succeed, but the day was getting hot and I went inside to do other work. I’m looking forward to finishing this project and have six nice planters lined up across the front of the porch. I still need to drill drain holes before I fill them and then plant in them. I left enough space for the dogs to be able to crawl under the porch where they like to be.

I spent one wet morning in Tulsa getting my car serviced and then going to another place for new tires the next day. Hopefully, the car will be in good shape for awhile.

My foot continues to heal, enough that I renewed my gym membership. That Friday morning, I attended class with my favorite instructor. It just so happened that she had to do a short class that day and had prepared a shorter version of an old Zumba class that she used to teach. I was scared to death at first that I would re-injure the foot, but the class was so good and so fun, that I was thrilled to be there! It was wonderful to reconnect with several of my classmates too. My first return to the gym actually brought tears to my eyes. Even with a shortened version of the class, my foot didn’t hold out for the entire time, but I was thrilled to be able to participate again and see so many of my friends that I had truly missed dearly. Since that day, I did a session at the gym that was not a class, working my lower body and then did a few minutes on a stair master. I’ve also participated in another class with another instructor. I’m getting better all the time and I’m very grateful. I was surprised that I was not able to return to the gym any earlier than six months after surgery, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

The cattle supplement tub was not big enough as a waterer for my pigs so Tom and I bought a 55 gallon barrel and made a larger waterer for them. That video can be seen here.

On Saturday night of the 25th of May, a tornado, probably with a few vortices hits the city of Claremore, just a few miles from our farm. The house where we used to live seemed to have weathered the storm with only a broken window but it was hard to tell because of the huge tree blown over in the front yard. The First Baptist church just across the street lost its roof. The neighborhood behind our old house was completely strewn with downed trees. The ground has been so saturated from the rain that the trees just couldn’t stand the high wind. Many houses in that neighborhood were damaged, but mainly by the downed trees and not from the actual tornado. Other neighborhoods were not so lucky. The trailer park on the east side of town sustained significant damage and the race track outside of town had campers tossed about like toys. I have not seen the damage in other areas, but I am told that other places were hit pretty hard. Many went without electricity for several days and passage on many of the roads in town was blocked from downed trees and power lines for some time, too. The recreational league end of season softball tournament for Kinzie’s team was cancelled.

I was relieved to learn that my grandson and daughter in law were not in the damaged areas and were safe. They had been living in a camper at the race track but had moved out just days before.

On the 27th, Kinzie played in a softball camp in Chelsea. She was supposed to be in two games that day, but we did not get enough notice and she was scheduled to work at her job. She played in the one game against Sperry that day and in two more the next against Grove and Ketchum. I am really glad that the coaches are able to get the girls in some scrimmages and practice time. We got those games in just in time for a day of heavy rain.

Kinzie was invited to play in a tournament in a competitive league in Weatherford. It was an expensive trip as the first thing she had to do was buy the accessories to the uniform she was to wear. The team had decided that a certain motel had good prices and recommended that we book our rooms there. I got my work done on Friday and decided to leave a little earlier than the other grandmother as she wasn’t even going to get off work until nearly five and I didn’t want to be driving four hours that late in the day. Kinzie rode with them and I headed west.

The day before, I had booked the room but had accidentally booked it for four nights instead of three. I tried to change the reservation on line, via chat, email and also held on the phone for thirty minutes. When I checked in to the motel, I explained to the owner the issue and he assured me that it would be fixed when I checked out. As I wandered looking for my room, I was uneasy with the people who stood in the doors of their rooms, smoking cigarettes. I could smell marijuana being smoked and one woman insisted on following me to help me find my room. I was finally able to shake her before finding my room. I sat and watched part of the softball women’s world series while waiting for my friend and the girls to arrive.

I did spot a bug on the bed and I grew even more uneasy. I cannot be certain, but a google search indicated that it could be a bed bug. I had already decided that when my friend and the girls arrived, I was going to tell them it was not safe for them to be wandering around. Before I could do so, the other girls from the team ran up to our girls to tell us that they had bugs in their room. I had not wanted to be a hassle as we were not technically part of the team, but the other grandmother had worked in the pest control business for several years and was not going to stay at the motel. We decided to share a room at another motel, that was much nicer and cleaner, with a pool and an exercise room. My friend and I shared a king sized bed and the girls shared a pull out queen hide a bed. I was much more comfortable here and really glad that we moved.

Saturday was sunny and warm but not too hot. Regardless, after six hours in the sun, I was beginning to burn. The girls played two games that day. The fields were in an interesting formation, like spokes in a wheel that made getting from one field to another was easy, with access to the restrooms and concession stand in the middle. The problem was the foul balls. You never knew which field a foul ball was coming from and many people got hit from behind while they were watching their girls on another field. We learned that teams had traveled from New Mexico, Kansas, Texas and Nebraska to be in this tournament, some driving twelve hours to get there.

The next day, the girls played on a completely different set of fields across the street from the first day. After about a two-hour lightning delay, the girls got their games in but the adjusted schedule confused some coaches who were becoming cross with the delays and confusion. The girls played well that day, but it definitely was a long day. We celebrated by going to a Mexican food restaurant. We had a really good time and that was nice.

Our game Monday morning was at 8:00 on the SW Oklahoma State campus. This meant that we had to get up about 5:30 to pack up and check out of our room, find breakfast and get to the field by 7:00. Another storm was coming, and it was going to be a strong one. We tried to get the game in. I was filming in the cold, blowing wind while the rain fell sideways. It was pretty miserable. We ended up stopping the game for the storm to pass before we tried to get the rest of the game in. We were losing 0-14 so I was not really wanting to get back out to the field. Half and inning later, the lightning started again, then the field flooded. We were instructed to drive back across town to the original fields, only to learn that they were flooded also. The last of the tournament was canceled and I was glad. It had been a long weekend and I was almost too tired to make the drive home, struggling with sleepiness the entire way. I was greeted by three ducklings that hatched that day.

The next day, Tom’s cousin from Kansas was passing through and they came by to visit. We had a really nice time while Tom and his cousin reconnected with childhood memories. That was cool.

While in Weatherford, I had missed the first day of kid’s camp at our church. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I made large batches of deviled eggs and took them up to the church. I find it a little odd, but I get requests for my deviled eggs a lot and I am happy to provide them. Especially this year. I usually volunteer to work in the kitchen for 10-12 hours a day during camp. This year, I was not able to do that. My foot can only tolerate standing on hard floors for about an hour at a time. It was a little difficult for me to not be able to participate as much as I had wanted to this year. I can aim for doing more this time next year.

I did start incubating thirty more chicken eggs for future layer hens. I believe my incubator has been pushed too hard the past couple of years and my hatch rate for my ducklings was very low. Of the thirty duck eggs I had started, I only got three ducklings. Previous to that, the hatch rate for my layer chicks ended up being nine chicks to the thirty two original eggs started. I have ordered a batch of broiler birds that should arrive any day now.

We have quit harvesting asparagus for the year, just in time for the first of the jalapenos, onions and tomatoes to start coming on. Looks like I’ll be canning these foods very soon. It looks like I’m finally going to have an elderberry harvest this year. That’s exciting to think about.

I have been collaborating with Toolman Tim Cook on a project that I am excited about. He has started collecting recipes for the Cookbook of the Collapse. I offered to take over that project for him to make it into the book. I am also doing a series of videos on cooking from the pantry. I am experimenting with using food items exclusively from the pantry of long term storage foods so that people can eat well with food that also tastes good with shelf-stable ingredients. I have already done two videos that Tim highlights on his show, Work Shop Radio. My most recent video, Fried Rice: Cooking from the Pantry can be seen here.

I am really excited about this project and I’m learning a lot as I research dishes to do videos on. When everything is finished, we will have a cookbook available for people to purchase. That’s way down the road though. I’ll keep you informed.

This has been a particularly long post as the past couple of weeks were quite busy, so I guess I’ll close for now. See you next time!

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