Over the fence chat for 4/15 to 4/21, 2001

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Happy Easter Everyone!!

I know I'm a bit early starting this post; but I'm in now-or-never mode! I'm working back to back 60 hour weeks (this week and then next week) including this Sat and Sun nights - AND having Pop's whole side of the family out for our annual Easter Dinner and Death-Threat Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday. (All games in our family begin with death threat - We have death threat Uno, death threat Monopoly, death threat Aggravation....the death threats usually start when someone starts winning too fast, or too many people start losing!) The only really lethal things around here are the fried chicken and 47 different cold salads all made with real mayo!! How many fat grams can YOU eat!?

So anyway, the upshot of all that is - I won't be doing much but eating and sleeping the next few days. I'll probably check in but won't have much time to post, so I wanted to get this going early so I can keep up with what everyone else is doing. I want garden updates, folks!!

Right now, the weather is beautiful! Temp in the high seventies and sunshine. The 2" rain we got the other night, plus a couple of smaller showers have really perked up the garden. Pop and Hubby had to mow the yard for the first time yesterday and Pop swears he can hear the morel mushrooms popping up! The peonies went from barely poking through the ground to a foot tall in two days and the asparagus has performed it's usual surprize act (Don't tell Pop - I ate the first batch myself!). The bullfrog chorus has joined the peepers - no whip-poor-wills hollering yet, though.

Pop has hauled home some more onions and rhubarb for the garden and I hope to talk him into driving buddy Mike's farm truck over to the sale barn for me on Monday to get another load of manure. The truck is the same age as I am - but a lot more cantankerous!! Then maybe I can talk Hubby into going and getting a load of wood chips while I'm at work later in the week - I want to be ready and raring to go on the weekend when I finally get some days off! Pop promised to help me mark for my fruit trees on Monday; and since the new parts still haven't come in for my tractor, I guess I will have to have Mike come over and till where my second set of bed go - Dang! What am I gonna have to swap him for that!?

Well, I'd better get to cleaning this house - it's been getting ignored while I've been out in the garden! Hope everyone has a really great week!

-- Anonymous, April 14, 2001


Beautiful day here in Southern Wisconsin -- mid 60's I think. I got some yardwork done, and looked longingly at the garden plots which haven't even been staked out yet. I don't think it's too early to be working stuff into the soil, even if it is too early to plant. Ratz!

Tomorrow, cooler and rain. Monday, SNOW! Yuck, even if it is just light snow -- not even going to make it to 40 degrees. More ratz. Oh well!

Hoppy Ether to you all!

-- Anonymous, April 14, 2001

We had some sunshine today, expecting snow on Monday also. Yuck, could pass on that. I have been in a terrible funk for a couple of days. We bought this 40 acres of "junk land" fairly cheaply because we happen to love wetlands and the wildlife that goes with it. Our neighbors "up stream" decided that they wanted to drain their wetlands and the county drain commissioner declared our brook a "drain". No place anywhere was there an easement or right-of-way or anything. We fought long and hard, right up to me getting a ride in a state police car on Thursday.

I have never thought much about Carlos Castenada in years, but in thinking of it I would have to say that back there next to my friend the marsh would have been my "power spot". I feel so violated with the big ditch going right through the middle of it. I sit in my "spot" and it's like my friend is bleeding to death and there is nothing I can do except sit with it. Kind of gruesome I know. But then, we can't always have wonderful things to share now can we. God Bless, and say a little prayer for me if you happen to be the praying type. Coming from a very passive-resistance background, I have found myself having some VERY violent thoughts for the last few days.

-- Anonymous, April 14, 2001

Diane, I will definitely pray for you. That situation sounds weird.

Sheesh! Castaneda! Haven't read him in about 30 years. Should I dig my books out of the garage???? (I save all my important books...)

I went to the Snohomish (a town nearby) Easter Parade today. It was so wonderful that I found myself with tears in my eyes from time to time. I haven't been to this event for a few years. There were marching bands; drill teams; horse-mounted color guards (not so many this year, as there are many horsey things at the fairgrounds this weekend); the fire dept. all decked out with each engine; the local Ford dealership with the Little League kids on the trucks; the visiting Seattle Seafair Pirates; various church groups, including the local biker club/church; the local garden club; local day-cares and their kids; local assisted-living communities with buses driving the residents through the parade; the local "funny" band, the local high school band; a rodeo queen and a miniature horse; lots of candy and American flags, plus daffodils handed out to the crowd! My husband's service club sold a net of $500 worth of hot dogs in a few hours, and the sun shone. What a grand time! The Easter Parade is only about 5 blocks long and the only one in W. Washington. But what small town Americana! Talk about community. Glad the weather was so cooperative, too.

And also today, I washed a lot of clothes and hung them out in the sun. We also cleaned mud from around the ewe barns; I put up new temp. fence for the big rams; we discussed a couple of new gates; I soaped the aphids on my Lenten Rose bushes (!!!); and figured that the new cherry trees I planted look like they're going to bloom tomorrow (along with the apples and pears.) Peas are up and so's the spinach. Had a HARD frost last night, though!!

Tonight we are making food for tomorrow's feast...having the family in after big doin's at church, including a big breakfast for the community between services. What a glorious time of year!

Glad I have Monday off! Oh, and btw, my CS magazine arrived. :-) Hoooray!!!!

Happy Easter all of you!!!!

-- Anonymous, April 14, 2001


No, we cant allways have wonderful things to share Di, and I don't think that any of us should feel like we have to allways be up, cause that just wouldn't be truefull would it!

Now just what happens to a brook when it is used for a drain, please explain just what is happening, will it affect your property forever or is it a temporary thing.

Why did you have to ride in a police car Di? No wonder you are down, it's easy to put the destruction of this earth in the back of our mind untill it is happening right before our eyes, then it becomes oh so real.

My heart goes out to you , YOu will be in my prayers and thoughts.


For those of us who care,the earth's destuction seems like more then we can bear.

Though we fight and scream and cry, and lift up the question why.

It continues, they succeed ,to destroy because of greed.

And when the battle we have fought, but the things we love have been lost.

Let us hold true, that theres a master plan, that we can't yet understand.


-- Anonymous, April 14, 2001

Aaaaaah Diane!! I'm so sorry. What a tough time you went thru. Just want ya to know your not the only one who feels violent some times!!!....with love.....Kirk....P.S. Did ya get tossed in the slam?

-- Anonymous, April 14, 2001

Oh Diane, my heart goes out to you! I had a similar situation happen to me three years ago, so I know what you're going through. When I had this house built, it was in a brand-new subdivision and the reason why I built here is because I was told that this particular lot would butt up to on two sides an 11-acre nature preserve. The "nature preserve" was beautiful, black walnut trees bigger that I could put my arms around, all sorts of other trees and wild herbs. I frequently saw deer tracks, and a family of red-tailed hawks made it their home. I had additional windows put into my bedroom to look out over the trees.

Six months after I moved in, the developer cut down the nature preserve and put in 100 houses. I was out of town the week that it happened. Keith had warned me about what to expect, but when I got out of the car I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. I could still hear the screams of the trees, and the wave of psychic agony that hit me was so powerful that I fell down onto the ground sobbing.

This was supposed to have been my dream house. Keith and I watched it being built, we put special charms and blessings into the foundations and walls to make it ours. Now I can't wait to move. My plan is to buy enough land so that nobody can cut down the trees. Thanks for sharing Diane, now I know to check the water rights too.

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2001

This is so sad, Diane. I know you must be feeling really badly. If there's time, take pictures so that you have something to remember. Maybe also go on a plant hunt to see what you could rescue.

My mind is straying to beaver that "miraculously" appear to dam up the ditch . . . . .

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2001


My heart goes out to you - I just wish I could do something to help. But know this at least: you are in my thoughts.

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2001

Thank you all for your kind responses. I was telling my husband this afternoon that this was the only place that I felt like I could share this since most people in the world don't have a clue how I feel about the land. No Kirk, I didn't go to the slammer, just got "taken" to the house. I never swore or was disorderly or disrespectful. I just looked them in the eye and told them that every tree along that brook had a name and that they would pay for each one that they cut down. Must have put the fear in them because instead of cutting all the vegetation and trees and bulldozing all the way to the creek, they just dug through the marsh and left the brook alone. I think that they think because we are Mennonite that we won't sue, but I feel like we have been really violated here and we are going to seek legal assistance.We believe strongly that God made us "stewards" of this land and that we are to take care of it and respect it. We have here in our county a kind of "good-o-boy" system where all depends on who you know etc. People like us are "strange" and environmentalists are few and far between. The county drain commissioner has more power in Michigan that people can even imagine. Very strange. Well, thanks again and the "beavers" are going to be hard at work here next week to try and save the marsh from total death.

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2001

Diane, I have been thinking, praying, and being very affected by what you wrote all weekend. I tried to send you email separately, but I couldn't get anything to send. I'm glad you gave some more detail. I think looking into the legal aspect is probably a good idea...just to get some ideas if nothing else, or if you have to take a stance quickly, you will be prepared.

-- Anonymous, April 16, 2001

Oh Diane, I'm so sorry about your marsh - I don't blame you a bit for feeling angry and violated. Yes, do seek some legal advice and write an article for your local paper about the loss to wildlife from losing your marsh. There may be more of those shy environmentalists lurking around than you know about! We have one neighbor that ran a tile across a portion of our field into our gully to try to drain his yard - without any notice to us before hand but it didn't bother us because he is a good neighbor (and besides, it drained a boggy spot in the field where we would get stuck when it rained!) Then we have another one who decided to build himself a driveway across us because it was easier than going the long way around - him we took to court and won. After he sent the sherriff out to try to make us move some farm equipment that had somehow been moved to the spot where he wanted to cross. Long story and not real pretty.

On to happier stuff - I know I said I wouldn't have much chance to post, but today is my one day off this week so I am taking advantage of it! Couldn't haul any manure today as Mike had a water tank in the truck - dang! Went out and weeded two looong rows of berries - hey, I'm 10% done!! Took one plastic grocery sack of weeds to Bun, and split 3 more between the big and little chickens - the last two went into the gully. Too darn many dandylions in there to risk composting!!

My tomatoes that I was starting indoors finally sprouted up Easter morning - when I was too busy to mess with them. So today, I put together the plant stand and got one light up and the plants set under it - boy is Pop gonna be surprized when he gets home, cause I set it up upstairs in his sitting area!! I figure he can babysit them while I'm working this week. We took a walk Easter afternoon with Uncle Ivan and worked out a loose plan on what goes where in the fields this spring. Guess I'm going to have to give Pop some of those Jiffy 9 peat pellets and let him get the melons started - 7 different types. Plus we have squash, pumpkins and gourds that need to be started also. I don't have to leave for work 'til 6 pm tomorrow, so I hope the weather is fit to plant the onions that Pop brought home, along with more beets. I swear I've got some okra seed around here somewhere......oh well, I need some more nasturtium seed anyway!!

We ended up with 32 folks in for dinner yesterday - had my 3' X 10' kitchen island covered with carried in food and had to set up another table to put the desserts on. We had people sitting upstairs, downstairs, in the dining room, in the living room and out on the front porch! I had bought some frozen roll dough and made up a couple of pull-apart lambs with it. Bought an extra bag of rolls and made up three more at work, one to leave there and two to send home with co-workers - everyone just loved them! Got to admit, they were kind of cute! Cousin Laurie thinks we need to get together every month! We were looking at the almanac trying to pick out the hottest day of the year so we could plan our big family reunion - Aunt 'Retta and Velma said it is traditional to have it on the hottest day! We usually have it at a local park, but I have volunteered the farm this year - guess I'd better pick up a few extra boards to replace the worn ones on the picnic tables! So far we have planned volleyball, horseshoes and cow pie softball - any other suggestions!?

-- Anonymous, April 16, 2001

Report from Wisconsin, Land of Bizarre Weather: Cold, sun, no sun, snow, no snow, sun, sun, no sun, sun, blizzard, sun AND blizzard, no sun/no blizzard, sun, no sun, snow huge flakes, no snow, sunset, who knows what it's doing now. Hope the daffys and tulips and crocus don't freeze -- going down to 20 tonight.

Got my van fixed, tax checks written and mailed, and took boxes to a friend who is moving. Also a ton of laundry done.

-- Anonymous, April 16, 2001

So warm today! I think it was pushing high 70s in my garden this early afternoon. (Of course then it clouded up and is threatening rain. Good for my new fruit trees, though.) I dug up 70+ raspberry starts and stuck them in gallon pots (I need to relocate my berries...the raspberries are too aggressive and are shading my strawberries!)

My 10-year-old (from the city) nephew helped me today (spring vacation.) We also went to the co-op and looked at chicks, week-old goats (just looking, not buying!) and bought straw for the henhouse. We fed and watered critters, visited my neighbor who had the farrier over (so we got to see the anvil, forge, and shoes put on.) We also curried a pony, saw some old donkey engine rusting in the woods, saw a couple of trillium in the same woods, collected eggs, and just sat on the stoop and talked. What a lovely day!

You folks with kids probably get to do this often, but for me it was a real treat! Tomorrow, back to the office...ugh.

Hope you all have a good week.

-- Anonymous, April 16, 2001

It sounds like you had a great day, Sheepish. I'm sure that your nephew grows up he will treasure the memories of all the neat things he got to do with his cool aunt.

-- Anonymous, April 16, 2001

Diane- My thoughts and prayers and good wishes are still with you girl!

Hey, It's snowing, its snowing on my peach and apple blossems!It's snowing on my tulips and Lilacs! Last week it was in the 80's now the temp. has zoomed downward. I have never seen yellow tulips in the snow before! I just cannot believe what I am seeing. I gotta admit , it is beautiful, I just hope that everything is O.K. The leaves on most of the trees are allready leaved out, and I will be soooo sad if my Lilacs dont make it, Its snowing! me tren

1I can't believe that it's snowing! Last week we had temperatures in the 80's and now it has zoomed down, there are allready leaves on the trees and everything. It's really weird! I have never seen yellow tulips in the snow before! I CAN'T BELIEVE MY EYES! guess I'll just go look at it some more. me tren

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2001

Diane-Check into regs on draining wetlands for your state.Most states require construction of a wetland if you remove or destroy one - even my own backward state has them. Most people don't bother messing with the wetlands anymore bc it's expensive to "build" them. However,local gov. often sneaks around and gets away with things,as expected,unless "turned in" for it.Nick and I have fought local authorities (and state ones,and yes even a federal one) on different mattters and won in the long run.You have to know who to call and how to cut thru the red tape.He worked for Feds and I worked for State,and we learned a thing or two.I try to help out locally when people run into "government problems" One of my ways of giving back to my community.

I have a dear old friend in Michigan whose husband works for SCS or Natural Resource Conservation or whatever they are called now.I can contact them and find out what the guidelines are in MICH.He would know.Let me know if you need me to do so.

Snow in KY this AM.Guess that's makes it a Dogwood Winter,except everything popped open at once so I'm not sure what to call this one.

Good to see you all. Missed you! Can't post much as this is the busy season.Up to my ears in seedlings plus two trainings to go to this week. Planning a picnic here over the weekend so Nick must get cooking! He's a good cook. I'll throw some things together too but I gotta do most of the cleaning instead-yuuccck Been eating asparagus (yummy) and picking voilet flowers to dry for tea.Now that's quite an excercize in.... what shall I call it-zenlike persistance? I rather enjoy mindless work.Gives me plenty of time to think. Tootles, for now.

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2001

Sharon, yes, would really like contact with your friend. I just returned from the State Police Post, their officers were here most of the morning in question, and they only have a 4 sentence report indicating that they had "assisted" the County Sheriff. We had gone to the Prosecuting Attorney's office early that morning to file a complaint with hopes of an injunction and had been told that they couldn't rule on something without a "complaint" from a legal entity and that we should file a complain with the Sheriff's Dept. I then went to the Sheriff's department (my husband was here at the land holding off the ditch diggers and the State Police) and filed a complaint of potential damage to private property without proper authority. The sheriff's office supposedly went to the prosecuter's office but when I asked for a copy of the complaint and ruling the next day I was told no complaint was ever filed. It's like the whole thing never happened and two different law agencies where involved. We had previously sought help from the DEQ who refused to even look at it on the grounds that they never won against the county drain commissioners anyway and that there was less than five acres involved. As a private citizen who owned the property I could not have done what was done to my property but because the drain commissioner said he had the right to, it was done. Sorry to all who are bored by this rather long dissertation, but I am totally frustrated here. I am about to go to the State Attorney General's office with the whole thing because I am feeling that because I was a woman, and a Mennonite, I was denyed due process under the law. I am not a kook, nor have I any record of filing complaints, litigation against others or have I ever been sued for anything. I have a couple speeding tickets from over 20 years ago and one seatbelt violation. My dander is really up here!!! Oh, and it is SNOWING. LOL any advice anyone???

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2001

diane what a bunch of sh,t! if you wanted to do anything with that water they would say no way!what ever you do don't give up! on to a happier note we had a very exciting weekend!we had a cow due to calf, well thursday night i was sure she was in labor around 11:00 pm, so hubby calls the neighbor whom has exsperience with cows, i also should put in last year was her first time and she lost a set of twins(so sad) so the neighbor comes down and looks at her and tells us to get a good nights sleep because she's not going to freshen for a couple more days and that it's probably not twins. he didn't have me convinced!but we went in and went to bed needless to say i didn't sleep well. i was back up at 5:45. went out to check on her. she was in the back pasture and i could see a little head layng next to her so i ran back and got hubby!it was very cold out. so we go back and sure enough there's a little black and white bull with a white face, on closer inspection we find another dark brown little bull!it took us awhile to get them warmed up but now they are both doing great!sorry i've carried on so long but this was so exciting!and all on good friday,friday the thirteenth and our daughters 17th birthday! oh by the way moom's(nutmeg)doing great. the calves names are gizmo and cinnamon. thanks for letting me go on so(like you had a choice lol) cindy

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2001

Diane, you have probably received lots of resource suggestions, but have you thought about the local Audubon Society? Wetlands are usually bird habitat. They might be able to direct you to resources they have worked with in the past, be knowledgable about local laws, and maybe even have publicity avenues open. Good luck. This totally sucks...

Cindy, congrats on the bull calves!

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2001

Just checking in. My mom (78 almost) had suprize (I won't say emergency) surgery for a cecal volvulus (there ya go, med fans...) last night. She had been experiencing severe stomach cramping and nausea for a couple of days. Turns up that her bowel just sort of twisted and migrated up on top of the rest of her intestines and decided to make her look like she swallowed a beach ball. Anyway, they resected her bowel and she's doing fine this a.m. She's in pretty good health for her age and has a great attitude. How it happened, is anybody's guess!

I have been spending time at the hospital and will have work to make up so I may be here infrequently. Or more frequently, who knows? Anyway, just thought I'd let y'all know.

She has a tulip tree outside her window at the hospital. Last night the sun was shining on the lawn, and two evening grosbeaks came and sat in the tree briefly (they aren't common around here.) It was a lovely break from all the excitement of the day.

Gotta run. Take care all.

-- Anonymous, April 20, 2001

sorry to hear about your mom sheepish, but glad it turned out o.k. Will pray for speedy recovery. Take care - diane

-- Anonymous, April 20, 2001

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