March 2

   Hello!  March came in like a lamb here in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania.  The temperature outside my kitchen window is 60 degrees for the third day in a row.  All the sunshine and warmth of the last two weeks has been wonderful and most welcome, but winter hasn't completely let go.  Most mornings we still wake to frost heavy enough to require scraping and defrosting of windshields and while the snow is melted here, I can still see spots of white here and

there up on the ridges.  The ice remains as well in any location where it piled up and the lakes remain frozen, though I haven't seen anyone ice fishing for more than a week.  I have yet to see a robin and I usually spot the first one in mid to late February.  The pussywillow that grows just off the back walk is getting ready to sprout its furry little buds, though.  I can just see them poking out along the branches.
   This past week had me taking both kids for eye exams at the new Walmart.  Matt had a vision test at school that showed he was having a bit of trouble and at hearing her brother needed to go, Megan found a reason for me to get her eyes checked, too.  Turns out they both need glasses.  Matt needs them to see far away, but his prescription is so mild that the doctor said it's really up to him if he wants to wear them or not....except for when he is driving.  He is not too pleased with the news.  Megan sees just fine, but has an astigmatism that causes eye strain and results in headaches (which she has always complained about when reading).  She will only need to wear her glasses for reading and it should eliminate the headaches.  I'm hoping that it will encourage her to read more as well.  Having the Walmart handy is going to be a godsend, I think.  The eye exams were only $40 each and the glasses are under $100 per pair.  I paid around $60 for the eye exam alone the last time I went.  We also plan to begin getting all of our prescriptions filled there.  I just had Megan's strattera prescription filled at Kmart's pharmacy.  It cost $112 for 30 pills.  The same prescription at Walmart will cost $93.  That's a pretty big difference and will add up to nearly $140 in savings over a year.
   We stopped in the local Tractor Supply store Saturday to pick up chicken feed.  They already have tubs full of chicks, ducklings and bunnies for sale.  We looked them over and considered buying some pullets, but I really wanted something besides Rhodies.  In talking with the sales clerk, we found out that they would special order anything we wanted so......  Sometime during the next week or two I should get a call that our new babies are in.  In the mix will be 10 Buff Orpingtons, 5 Black Australorps, 5 Silver-laced Wyandotts and 5 Aruncana.  The bigger breeds will mostly go to butcher, but the Aruncanas and maybe a couple of the others will stick around as layers.  I hope to reach a point where we get enough eggs that I don't have to buy any.  The one hen I have now is a good layer, producing 1-2 eggs a day, but we have a real hard time beating the rooster to them.  Most of the time he gets them first.  I'm getting kind of disgusted with him....even though he is one big, beautiful bird.  Tim is wanting to get rid of him when it comes time to put the chicks in the coop.  I will probably allow it because I am afraid that he will harm them.  Hopefully I can find him a home by then because he is one bird I just don't think I can eat.  I let myself get too attached.
   Mom informed me the other day that she and John are going to garden here this year as the deer are really getting to be a problem at John's home up on the ridge.  That means we won't be able to use the garden space.  I'm a little disappointed, but decided to channel my energies into flowerbeds and such this year instead and I'd like to have a small raised bed out near the chicken coop to raise a salad garden...just enough to keep us in salad fixin's through the summer.  One of the ladies at work lives in her grandmother's old farmhouse and shares my interest in gardening and creating old-fashioned type flowerbeds.  We have been pouring over the plant catalogs for weeks and our order is going in today.  I've ordered a lot of hostas as we are going to be moving the deck from the end of the house around to the back and it will be shady most of the day.  The hostas are a nice way to get a lot of plant material for a low cost.  I also ordered some cannas and zebra grasses for around the pool.  Out front Tim is going to put in three or four sections of post'n'rail fence out near the street.  I want to plant climbing roses along that.  Tim wanted red roses, but I saw a spectacular blue climber.  As a compromise of sorts, I ordered one of each plus a white climber.  Red, white and blue climbing roses across the front fence will be unusual and I hope quite lovely.
   Tim is working all the overtime he can now that the weather is getting nicer and the days longer.  He wants to make sure we have plenty of funds for our vacation and has promised the kids we will also stop for a day in Washington, D.C.  Trips are picking up for me at work, too.  Spring means the start of field trips and more sporting events.  I am driving as many of those as I can without short-changing Matt and Megan.  That means I usually pass on the Saturday trips.  Since Megan is only 11 I don't like to leave her home (even with her brother) all day.  Some have suggested Tim stay home with the kids so I can drive trips, but I make $8/hr on a trip.  Tim makes $27.50/hr working overtime.  Guess whose Saturday work comes first?
   Well, that's all that's new around here this week. I hope you all are getting this wonderful taste of Spring and are enjoying it.  We surely are.  It feels so good to get outside and be able to do some work other than trying to chip through ice and snow.
   Carpe diem!