Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Two for One

Taken yesterday. These pileated woodpeckers are both females, probably mother and daughter. They played peekaboo on this oak tree for an hour.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Messenger

This pileated woodpecker was swooping around the house at 8 a.m., joyfully screaming, "Wake up everyone for a mile radius! It's Christmas!" I ran outside to hang the suet for her. After two solid days of rain, the earth has today a very light dusting of snow. A blessed Yule to you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Gift of Warmth

Really good wool blankets, like children’s beloved “blankies,” serve as full-body hugs, hiding places, coats, curtains, shields, bedrolls, bags, tents and more. I treasure my two.

The Hudson Bay Company, founded in England in 1670 and still around, made this unbleached wool blanket with sky-blue stripes and three “points” or lines along one edge, a reminder that North American Indians and trappers traded three beaver pelts to get one. Dense and scratchy, it's windproof, wears like iron, gets passed down as an heirloom, and is priced to match. A wire brush loosens the twigs & grass & beggar lice it picks up outdoors. Bought from L.L. Bean. After 10 years of very severe treatment, including somebody dying in it, it has only begun to look “lived in.”

The navy-blue blanket was made in Portland, OR by Pendleton, founded in 1883. Lighter in weight and softer, this is my house blanket, kept on the bed. It’s banded with rainbow stripes (rainbows and stripes are divine). This one bought from REI. Again, pricey, but like the other, you need to buy it only once.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Times of the Signs, Part 3

Nothing heartens me like the sign "Live Bait," and the Eureka Feed Station has that sign up all year. Another sign too, seasonal, mentions Christmas; the only one like it in town! Divine purchases there include birdseed by the sack, bales of straw, cases of suet, deerskin leather work gloves (8 years and grubby-lookin but still good!), mousetraps and poison, salt blocks, tools & fishing license. Run by a father and son. Used to be closed on Sunday and Monday also. One time Demetrius left his wallet on the counter on a Saturday and it was in the same place when he returned on Tuesday. The Feed Station now, somewhat reluctantly, has Sunday hours. Posted on the door:

8:30-10 Church
Open 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Don't Hate December

Don't hate December, the month with the prettiest name; it's only doing its job of helping us appreciate the rest of the year. Leafless trees offer 360-degree views of enchanting sunsets -- when December has some sun as raw material. Good month for cutting back briars and Japanese honeysuckle and cedars, for changing batteries and windshield wipers, and for cleaning out the garage. A bunch of great holidays. Plus the Solstice, just two weeks away now -- when days will commence getting longer.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Come & Get It, You Little B-------d

Today on this first truly cold day of the season (high 32 degrees) I was making my famous Christmas cookies and had just lit the stove when a little gray blob shot across my kitchen floor. I hate meeses to pieces. So I loaded up a mousetrap.

Over many years I have learned:

  1. Bait it with peanut butter.
  2. Just a scant trace of peanut butter. Even a little too much and they’ll eat it without triggering the trap, the little cowards. The photo shows the bait dolloped and OVERFILLED.
  3. Lay the trap in a tight spot so the mouse has to wend and elbow its way toward the trap and can’t weasel back out.
  4. Listen for the sweet “snap” and gloat when you hear it.
  5. Set the trap the night before you expect a guest or guests who is/are a real mensch and not too squeamish to take the icky trap with the broken-necked mouse outside and dump the body in the field.