Bees and Blossoms and Frosts

The apple trees are in full bloom

After a week of 70 degree temperatures, the cold winds came blowing.

Two nights ago the low was 28 degrees; last night it was 30 degrees. We’ve been glued to our phones, watching as the frost warnings come and go. It’s always interesting when our weather apps forecast different temperatures.

According to several state orcharding sites, blossoms can survive temperatures above 28 degrees. It’s been close. Tonight after sundown we sprayed with kelp and fish fertilizer, hoping it will fight the cold. Although the forecast was just changed to a low of 34 degrees…

One pear tree has tiny little red pears on it, which is a really good sign, and there are tiny cherries on the sour cherry tree–as well as an interesting little spider on a blossom.

Any fruit we get this year will be better than last year, when it snowed in May, and we ended up with about ten scabby apples, no pears, no cherries, and no peaches.

But for now we’re just enjoying the blossoms and hoping…

Every day is Earth day…


And did you know that every Earth Day has a theme? According to, this year’s theme is “Invest In Our Planet.” The mission is simple, “Get Inspired. Take Action. Be a part of the green revolution.”

So mostly to just feel like I’m taking action for the stewardship of this earth, last month I ordered a Zero Waste Box from TerraCycle for the food packaging waste that is 90% of our garbage. The company has recycling boxes for just about anything—beauty products, garage waste, batteries, drink bottles, styrofoam… You can check out their website here:

Our small rural recycling center is limited. They take only 1 & 2 plastics, tin cans, cardboard, and paper. No glass. No aluminum. We save the glass and make quarterly trips into a glass recycling place run by the Pennsylvania Resource Council. We bag up the aluminum and give it separately to the guys who drive our garbage truck. They told Mr. H.C. that they kept it separate and sell it to an aluminum buyer. We were desperate, so we believe them. I guess. Cardboard and paper we either burn or shred and use in the garden as mulch. Food scraps are composted. So that left food packaging, meat scraps, and 3 through 7 plastics that went into our garbage bags. Oh, and kitty litter. (If anyone has any good ideas on how to environmentally dispose of kitty litter, please tell me.)

I bought the Zero Waste Box because I was just disgusted at the amount of food packaging waste we had. Mr. H.C. was unhappy about the high price of the box. I get it. It was more than I would normally spend, so I told him it was an experiment. But at some point, we consumers have to admit that we are complicit in greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, the big oil and gas companies are the worst offenders, but “…45% of global greenhouse gas emissions comes solely from the production of things we use and buy every day.” That quote is from an article “How Buying Stuff Drives Climate Change” by Renee Cho. Here in rich first-world-America we are really guilty: yes, I’m trying to make you feel guilty and think about all that stuff you put in the trash. Think about where it ends up. And our grocery store shelves are filled with food wrapped in plastic and cellophane. We’d better start taking responsibility for it, hadn’t we?

I paid $124 for the small Zero Waste Box that is 11″ x 11″ x 20″. I’ve been cramming stuff in for 7 weeks now, and it is almost full. If I really wanted to, I could dump it out and compress the stuff down a little more and maybe get 8 weeks. That is $15.50/week, and the return mailing is post paid. That doesn’t seem outrageous to me. But even better, our local library has a similar box in their front lobby where I’m going to be taking my stuff after this box is full. They are collecting plastics to be made into an outside bench.

Consider what else you can do to “invest in our planet.” And if you have to pay a little bit more, then consider it your “tax” for earth stewardship. I’ve also recently given up buying plastic baggies. I tried it one other time with some wax covered cloths and bags and they kind of worked for awhile, but I needed large bags for freezing breads, so I succumbed. But this time, I’ve found the answer, I think. These are compostable, and they work in the freezer too. And when I finish with my Finish Powerball Quantum Dishwasher pods, I’m going to be trying out the no-waste packaging of Dropps Dishwasher Pods.

Here’s your Earth Month challenge: Do something to make a difference, and tell me about it in your comments. It can be planting trees, planting a garden, making your own toothpaste, laundry soap, deodorant, face cream. It could be carrying your own silverware around so you don’t have to use plastic utensils. It can be seeming like a weirdo to the check out people at Walmart when you say, “Could you please put everything in this bag? I’m trying to cut down on my plastic use.” The last two times I’ve done this, I’ve actually come away pleased that I started a good conversation about it.

And I’m working on that kitty litter…

Laugh When the World Is Crying…

I’ve a hundred weighty topics floating about in my head.

Why are guns more important than children? Will American democracy dissolve around support of some evil wannabe autocrat? How can I love my Christian brothers and sisters who pretend to love Jesus but seem to hate the poor, the immigrant, the vulnerable? Will the world devolve into nuclear war around a real evil dictator? How did the equality movement of the seventies fail so much that now people want to switch their sexes? Are the recent storms a result of climate change, God’s displeasure with humans, or both? I could go on… but I will not. I’m sure you’re already depressed about the state of the world. SO…

Our bird feeders are giving us much pleasure and laughter this spring. We have two hanging feeders, a suet feeder, and in the winter we put seeds in our bird bath as well as throwing out seeds on the ground. There’s a large (very large) sycamore tree right by the feeders that provides a landing place and shelter for shy birds, woodpeckers, and ground feeders. There have been all the usual suspects at the feeders all winter, especially two pairs of red-bellied woodpeckers that love the suet, and we never get tired of watching them. We have giant flocks of house finches and goldfinches, Carolina chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, mourning doves, jays, cardinals, and starlings and cowbirds too. It perks us up on those gray days; I recently downloaded the Merlin Bird ID app from the Cornell Ornithology Lab, which allowed us to participate in the Backyard Bird Count 2023. Even if it is our front yard…

Last week we had a new guest.

Male turkey in front yard

He was very hard to get a good photo of because: 1. He’s FAST; 2. I’m slow; 3. We have screens in our windows, which blur all the bird photos.

But as he discovered that he rather liked the sunflower seeds and meal worms we were putting out, he got less shy. He would circle around the tree and then come back. Over the past few days I’ve had several photo-ops and gotten a few passable shots.

Our first thoughts were When is Spring Gobbler Season? (In PA it is from April 29 to May 30 in 2023.) But the more he came around, the more I discovered I really couldn’t think about that anymore. And for all of you who aren’t Western Pennsylvaniacs, it isn’t uncommon to see flocks of wild turkeys everywhere during every season. It’s common to see little poults in with the flocks, too, in late spring and early summer. But it isn’t common to see them come singly to a bird feeder.

We’ve been wondering why he seems to be solitary when most often turkeys are in flocks. I read this article by the Forest Society, which says that after mating season (in April) the males and females usually separate into flocks of their own. I also learned that the longer his beard (those feathers hanging from his chest) the older he is, and that young toms are called jakes. And that Ben Franklin didn’t really suggest making turkeys our national birds. But I can only assume that he’s solitary because he’s a lowly jake and got run off from a flock?

He’s been missing the past day or two. We’re hoping he’s just on the hunt for a lady friend, and he hasn’t had a car accident or a shooting accident or a scuffle with another tom (or jake).

And if I get a photo of him spreading his fan, I’ll be sure to add it to this post.

In the meantime, let’s look forward to spring and renewal and not let the nightly news give us nightly headaches….

This was taken in our front yard on April 17, 2021. Despite the shorter beard, this guy definitely looks older.