Last time I checked the coronavirus statistics for the county, it seemed as though we had fewer new cases this week. However, today the total number is up to 1946, which is more than 200 since last week for the county, so no, the number of new cases is not slowing down. Now we are showing 40 deaths, so right before we opened up more, we were only getting about 50 new cases a week and were steady at 29 deaths, but since then, we’ve gone up by 150-200 cases a week and 11 more deaths. Now 36,558 people have been tested, and the mystifying rate of new cases per 100,000 population is down to 74.3. Perplexing.
This Friday, Maja and I took a hike on the Siouxon Trail. We had only been out there once. It is extremely remote. After exiting the highway and driving down some country roads, you drive on some bad roads and through rugged scenery for about 15-20 minutes to get into the Gifford Pinchot Forest, and then you drive for about another half hour once you are in, the roads getting worse and worse. In several places, the pavement has buckled and the roads are only one lane wide. Finally, you get to the very end of a forest road, and there’s the trailhead. The first time we went out there, we got totally lost, because we were depending upon the driving instructions from AllTrails, and the phone lost our location. We were actually looking for a different trail and ended up at the Siouxan. There was only one other car out there.
So, this time, we were shocked to find more than 20 cars there. By the time we hiked three miles and were returning to the parking lot, people were coming down in droves. We saw lots of backpackers and several camps set up near the trail. We had to cope with the masks going up and down, and there were so many dogs around that I had to keep putting Luke back on his leash, so I finally ended up keeping him on it. It really is a beautiful trail, though, sinking down in the lush forest to run alongside the creek. It wasn’t terribly hot out, but with the exercise we got quite warm, and the trail is down far enough that you don’t often get nice breezes. Rumor has it that there are waterfalls, but we haven’t made it to any.
I also had some exercise on Wednesday, when Luke and I met Christine and Duchess at the city park where we always used to go dog walking. We set out along our usual route, but we got side-tracked when I mentioned a park that another woman told me about, called Hidden Park. She had told me it was off one of the circles in that area, but I couldn’t remember which one. We were right next to 7th Circle, so we went to the dead end, but no park. We tried again at 6th Circle. We finally found it at the end of 5th Circle. It’s a very small park along some woods. The trail goes back to the creek, and there was apparently a way to get over at one time, but now there is a sign that says “Trail Closed.” So, it was an interesting discovery but not a very big park. After that, we went back to the park where we started and then drove over to Christine’s for a visit and lunch. I don’t usually put anything on my arms, and I had little tiny ichy blisters on one arm after this expedition. I guess I got a bit of sun poisoning. I used to get it when I was taking niacin, so badly that I had to wear long sleeves in the summer in Austin and keep my hands out of the sun. Finally, I got my doctor to take me off it.
I went to art class on Thursday only to learn that my instructor Sarah is quitting again. This time, it is from concerns for the virus. She says she believes the students are safe enough but that she has to clean off everything in the classroom several times a day, and she doesn’t feel safe. She urged us to give her replacement a chance so that she’ll have a job to come back to. I didn’t have good experiences when she was on pregnancy leave, and I have been a little worried myself about my exposure to the virus, so I guess I’ll give the guy a chance, but I may quit. I just paid, so I might as well go a few times to see what he’s like. I was not happy, though, with the behavior of another class member. She comes to class with both a mask and a face shield on, but at the end of class this time, she took both of them off and then walked right up to me to look at my picture. I was so shocked that all I could do was back away from her. A few minutes later she put her mask back on. Of course, the instructor didn’t notice.
Other than those expeditions and one to do shopping errands, it’s been home as usual. At least it has cooled down a bit here. Now, we can leave the windows open all day without the house getting unbearable. Wayne has been doing a lot of weed whacking, but this morning he got a bug-a-boo about our security. I do think that we’ve had an opportunistic thief. Someone took Wayne’s 100-foot extension cord, which he left out only one day after he used it. That was a few months ago. Then last week, a small white pickup came all the way up our driveway and turned around. The thing is, you wouldn’t know we had a turn-around without coming up our driveway in the first place, because our place is up a hill, and all you can see from the road is the hill. And if you’re going to turn around on our road, you would just pull into the driveway and back out again. It’s only a one-lane road, but it doesn’t have that much traffic. Later that week when I was walking Luke on the road, I saw what seemed to be the same truck coming out of a driveway at the end of the next road, where a neighbor rents out some places on her property. These places aren’t very nice, and her property is right next door to my niece’s, who says they’ve had trouble with the renters. So, if I’m right about the truck, the guy could have been scoping out her place or he might live there. I saw the guy in the truck, and he looked like an ugly customer.
In any case, now Wayne is convinced that the day of my hike with Maja, when I left through the back door leaving the front door unlocked while Wayne was outside weed whacking (I thought he was in the house), that someone walked into our house and stole some things. Now, this is not a new phenomenon. We went through this in Austin several times, and Wayne always found whatever was missing eventually. (And we did not leave our doors unlocked there, but that didn’t prevent him from thinking we had thieves.) We have only been through it once here, and unfortunately that stuff never turned up, but that was slightly different as it was the guys who helped us unpack our moving truck who took some of Wayne’s electronics. He persists, however, in believing that periodically people come into our house and steal things, and yesterday morning, he spent quite a bit of time setting up a webcam pointing at our driveway. Unfortunately, he didn’t do his homework, so at first it had no way of recording anything except if I happened to look at it (he installed it on my phone) and push the record button right at the time someone came in. It still doesn’t even notify my phone if someone drives up the driveway. I was wondering if he would ever fix this, but by afternoon he had found some kind of card to put in it, probably from one of our old cameras, and now it records. (The reason I thought this was because we have another, older web cam system, the kind that uses cords instead of wifi, in a box that was never opened.)
One of the stupid things I did when I was planting my beds was strew seeds around in each of them. I can only hope that none of these flowers will come back next year, because they are absolutely stuffing my boxes. However, my poppies look nice, so here they are. Some of the other flowers that I planted are near blooming, but they haven’t done so yet. I also moved over my begonias to the middle box because they were frying in the end one, which gets more sun. The ones already in the middle box are fine. I was afraid to move the begonias again, because sometimes replanting a plant twice will kill it, but they were being slowly murdered anyway. We’ll see if they do better in the middle.
It has become time to water our orchard trees, and we had a little fiasco connected with that task. It is usually my job to water the trees. For the past three years, we have run a hose down to the orchard in the middle of the summer, and what I do is place our buckets at the base of each tree and then run around with the hose and fill them up. Each bucket has a hole in the bottom, so it slowly drains. Once one is empty, I move it to another tree and fill it back up again.
Well, Wayne has been busy this month.
So, I went down to the orchard to water the plants. I knew that Wayne had rerouted the hose to go down to the wolf pen (east of the house) instead of the orchard (north of the house), simply because he burned a trash pile in the wolf pen this spring and set up a base for our fire pit down there, the fire pit we have never used. So, get this, he decides having the water go there, to a place where we have burned something once, is a priority over having it go to the orchard, where we use the water every week in the mid to late summer. This would be fine if he had run enough hose out to the orchard for it to reach all the trees, but after several minutes of dragging the hose out, I found that it only reached halfway across the orchard. Wayne had watered the trees the week before, and I asked him how he did it. He said he took a smaller bucket and walked it over to the tree where the hose didn’t reach and dumped it into the bigger bucket. (There are actually two trees it doesn’t reach, so I assume one didn’t get watered at all.) Now, this is a tough enough job already. It doesn’t sound tough, but it means a lot of walking up and down the orchard, and I told him if he thought I was going to make several trips, uphill, just to fill one bucket, he could forget about it. Geez, I don’t understand how guys think. I suggested to him that we run the hose down to the orchard the way we did before and then bring it to the wolf pen in the unlikely event that we need it there. (I didn’t say “in the unlikely event,” though. I have some tact). Then he suggested I get one of the other hoses and add it on. Those hoses are both on hose reels, so they would have to be unwound and detached, and by the way, I use both of those hoses where they are, one for watering my garden and raised beds and one for watering the lilacs. As it is, I have to detach the hose that runs to the wolf pen and attach the hose on the hose reel if I want to water the lilacs, and then put them back. By the next day, he had fixed a broken hose and added it on so that it reached across the orchard. That was an unusually prompt fix for him, probably caused by my going back into the house and not finishing the watering as soon as I realized I would have to be lugging filled buckets of water.
I am sitting here wondering why Wayne’s brilliant ideas always result in more work for me.