Image may contain: Wes EllisI have a friend by the name of Wes Ellis. I love this man and his family. I don’t know if he even knows this, but he and his family, and their quiet and unassuming love helped get me through one of the more difficult times of my life. He is currently the Associate Pastor of First UMC of Tom’s River and I tell him, periodically, that he is still pastoring me from afar. We don’t speak very much, but I do follow him on Face Book and via his (occasional) blog “Searching for God in all the Wrong Places”.  The other day I ran across this FB post from him, “Avoid pessimism. But avoid optimism too. Choose, instead, to be hopeful.” I read that and thought, “Wait! I’ve been trying to be so optimistic!” Even when you’re not – fake it till you make it – right. And here he is saying, just be hopeful. In the comments, he goes on to quote Jürgen Moltmann, “Genuine hope is not blind optimism. It is hope with open eyes, which sees the suffering and yet believes in the future.” To which I further thought, “Pffft. What the heck does he know? I’m just going to continue to be optimistic. It’s so much grander than simply hopeful.” At that point, I was thinking about my life and where it was going, but tonight I’m thinking of more mundane matters. This really isn’t all that theologically oriented – as his post perhaps was, but – I ended up putting optimism into play when I last talked about how many trees we were going to get into the ground this weekend. I believe I said, “most, if not all.” Seems I should have been hopeful, rather than so optimistic.

As I said, it’s completely mundane in this instance, I know; I was optimistic, but I should have remembered that, whenever we think we’re going to be getting a whole lot done, God laughs and other things come between us and our timeline. In hindsight, we can usually discern why this has happened, but tonight I’m not quite there yet. As you know, we are in the process of trying to complete the Chestnut orchard, and were – at last – IMG_3267beginning to put the trees in the ground this weekend. We started Saturday morning after chores. I turned on the drip system to get some water soaking in the tree wells, we went in and had breakfast, then started gathering the tools and items we were going to need. Sue and I loaded the tractor’s bucket with compost and headed to the orchard. Sue made it there first with the tractor, as I was walking up the hill she says, “there’s a leak!” Meaning, a leak in the drip line. So—- 45 minutes later I’ve finally finished fixing the leak, walking the line, and replacing one emitter. We weren’t sure what we were doing so the first tree took a bit of time. The tube is one of those that Sue purchased to help keep the wind from desiccating the trees; you have to cut the tree down to one trunk and remove IMG_3269most of the leaves, then you place the tube over the tree, and attach it to the pole for stability. We always plant in welded wire baskets (to deter gophers) and add a mixture of composted manure and native dirt, this time we added mushroom straw, with a bit of mycelium remaining, in the very bottom of the hole – it’s supposed to be exceptionally good for trees. Then we used mushroom compost for topsoil in the immediate tree well. We then removed all tape from the cardboard boxes we’ve been collecting from work, friends, and our own orders, and IMG_3270placed a layer of that around in the remainder of the extended tree well. This is to help keep the grasses and weeds down – otherwise they have the tendency to take over. Finally we added a layer of chipped compost on top of that to keep the cardboard from flying away. Plus both of those layers help to keep the moisture in the soil – if there is any present. We were hoping for a really good rain to help soak everything down, but we only had mediocre rain over the three-day weekend. on the right is what it looked like when we were all done. One tree down, 14 more to go! We did get one more completed on Saturday, but we were both done in by then. It was a very muggy day and the temperature kept creeping up on us. If I hadn’t had to spend so much time fixing drip line issues, we probably could have completed the first row of the 5. Oh, well. I was a bit optimistic! From now on, I think I’ll simply remain hopeful – as far as completing projects, anyway.

Sunday is our Sabbath, so we did not work on any projects – that’s normal. Today we kind of took a down day. We had an exciting night with thunder and lightening and some rain. The dogs do not do well with that type of storm, so there wasn’t much sleep to be had; we were both tired. We ended up cleaning, doing laundry, that sort of thing. We also moved some chicken’s around, but I’m going to save that story for Wednesday.
Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!

Today’s Weather – rather cool today. started out at 60° this morning for the chores. Our high was 81°. We had some thunder, lightning, and some rain. Currently, we are at 70° with 70% humidity. Sunset tonight was at 6:39 and tomorrow our sunrise will be at 5:56. We’re looking at a partly sunny day with a high of 84°, overnight low around 62°. No more rain for the week, unless something changes.

Egg Report: Saturday – zero goose, zero duck, 29 chicken. Sunday – zero goose, zero duck, 22 chicken. Monday – zero goose, zero duck, 17 chicken.

snake releaseCool Thing: Today – the gopher snake was back. He was in the nesting boxes in the Oldies’ coop. Scared the bejeezus  out of me when I went to collect the eggs this afternoon. (Side note: when I was checking the spelling of “bejeezus”, one of the suggestions was “exegesis” – Wes would find that funny, I think.) Had to come back and get Sue, she was the brave one who reached in to lift it out of the box. Bit her too – good thing she had her gloves on! She suffered not a scratch. We put the snake in a 5 gallon bucket, with another one on top of it, to keep it contained. Took it a mile away and let it run, or rather slither, free. The chickens hadn’t laid all day, so that makes me think the snake had been in there for quite a while today.  When I went in to get eggs, one of the hens was walking back and forth on the access bar, squawking like crazy. I think she was trying to tell me there was something unwelcome in her box. Sue’s pretty sure the snake had been stealing the duck eggs, but we didn’t find a cache of them when we looked the other day. It is conceivable that they are somewhere else in the walls, but I don’t think we’re going to take down all the wainscoting to find out if that’s true or not. Perhaps, now that the snake is gone, the ducks will feel more at ease and begin laying again. I guess that the snake was also feeling quite optimistic when it crawled into the nesting box sometime today… should have been more hopeful. 🙂