My week (week!) of vacation time kicked off with a trip up to see my dad in Wisconsin. Paul, Tchazo and I wanted to check out how his combo birthday/Father's Day gift was working out and wish him a happy Father's Day in person.
My dad was injured at work and, as a result, is living with chronic pain. Some days are better than others, but anything we can get him to ease some of the manual labor is a helpful thing for him. This handy garden tractor seems to be a big hit. He is demonstrating how he can sit and shovel! My dad and I are alike in that each day is measured by what we accomplished. His worst pain days mean he can't move around much. Those are hard days for him. Here's hoping this next year brings him better luck with the medical/insurance system so he can see some progress with his health.
Some of the garden gnomes are getting a little raggedy looking.
Since he is around his house full-time now, he has been able to get back into poultry. There is a mix of butchering and laying hens in this group. Cutie pies.
And, these guinea hens were an experiment for him. By his account, they are not very smart birds and his much larger batch has been whittled down to these two due to a combination of predators and birds that aren't great at coming back to the coop at the end of each day.
They are laying for him, though, which is neat. The eggs are smaller than regular eggs and have really tough shells. We took some of these with us and they held up in our bags!
He is planting a big tomato crop this year, because we plan to go up again to do a big batch of tomato processing in the fall.
Macro! This dragonfly is pretty from farther away and super intricate when you get up close.
Look at all of those parts!
A walk to the end of the driveway and back is always a popular stroll up north. Tchazo doesn't like it when I lag too far behind taking pictures. He likes to keep track of his pack.
British Soldier Lichen. This stuff tickles my fancy. It is so showy for such a small plant!
The lady slipper orchids were out in full force! I've never seen so many! There were at least 50 of them scattered through the woods on either side of the driveway.
We had time for Paul to get a lesson cutting steel. We are working on some creative solutions for the front yard that would include raised beds edged in salvaged barn roof steel. There would be a lot of cutting involved to make them happen.
Paul favors a grinder to do the cutting, but I like these giant nippers.
We were there to see the start of a lot of berries. The photo above is of wild blackberry blossoms.
Some wild blueberries starting to form green berries.
We were a little bit too late for fiddleheads, but we did get some oyster mushrooms!
We saw some of the plugs from maple syrup season.
Wild strawberry blossoms:
There are pileated woodpeckers in the woods around my dad's house. Luckily, they stick to damaging the trees...
and not his lovely siding!
After a sendoff breakfast of blueberry pancakes topped with his own maple syrup, we bid my dad goodbye and headed up the road to our next adventure.