Friday, December 30, 2011
What 2011 had going for it: The world got rid of several murderous dictators. The U.S. has stopped warring on Iraq. That is plenty.
Selecting a new wall calendar for a new year is always fun. My 2012 finalist calendars were "Hunks" and "The Missouri House Rabbit Society Calendar." I will let you guess which one I chose. Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Saw this pickup today where Bald Pate Road meets the highway. Never saw it before. Turned around, pulled over and trotted up saying, “How much for brown eggs?”
The tall thin older man, wearing flannel and a farm cap (more squarish than a ball cap), extended a very dry, cold and toughened hand. “H'are you today?” he asked. (In the country you don’t run up and demand to do business right away. You greet the person. You look into their eyes and get to know them. And you give value-added. City habits still plague me.)
I said, “Your hens laying already?” (I know they start laying in earnest very early in the year.)
“Mine do year round,” he said. “These eggs yesterday morning and the day before. Three dollars for one dozen.” His egg cartons were a miscellany from all sorts of places and there weren’t many left. He opened a carton and showed me the eggs. I wanted only one carton. But I got my value-added. “What you do with these,” said the farmer, holding the carton and demonstrating, “is turn ‘em upside down and leave ‘em that way every seven days, if you remember to do it, and the eggs stay fresh for 30 days same as now.”
“I never heard that,” I said, appreciatively.
“I grew up on a farm,” he said, “and my mother and me went to seminars, and if you listen,” he said, tapping an ear, “you learn somethin. Don’t hard-boil these. You’ll never get the shell off.” (That’s true when an egg is too fresh.)
He thanked me for my $3 and wished a Merry Christmas to me and my family, and I wished him a Happy New Year.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
The one holiday decoration that is always politically and socially okay: the evergreen wreath. Here you see it on the gate of the nearby horse farm, along with a gravel road, wooden fence posts, and two cedars, photo taken today. You'll notice the scene is snowless. It hasn't snowed here at all. That -- no ice to drive on or snow to shovel -- is the best Christmas -- er, Yule -- present ever.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
I took a beautiful Sunday slog down LaBarque creek when the water was low, and along the creek edges and wet sand bars I saw evidence of wildlife traffic, come to the creek for a drink. Traces of ice were in the water that had been left in shadow; I broke it up like plate glass and pushed it downstream so more creatures could come to the creek edge and drink. What we have here is raccoon tracks stylized in wet sand and a three-toed footprint of a very large and heavy bird (each toe the length of my ring finger). Wondered what it was -- the LaBarque hosts herons and egrets, but it looks most like the track of a turkey. If it had been a heron the footprint would have had a less splayed, more slender profile and have a lighter fourth toeprint in back. So it could be an egret, but the fact is we've got more turkeys. Actually we are fortunate to have plenty of both.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Well, now I am single so I do it all. Single is fine. I do what I want, go where I want, and spend all my money on myself. But it's not like you can ask friends to help you winterize. So I covered the plant beds in drifts of fallen leaves, and cleared the roof, lawn and walkways of fallen and broken limbs and branches, chopped and sawed them if they were too heavy to drag, then dragged them into a pile near the fire bowl. Oh yeah, and I got the stepladder and sprayed the satellite dish with Pam because HughesNet told me it keeps ice from sticking on it. Fortunately it was 56 degrees F, my kind of December 3, and I decided to make my first fire on my own. Before today I'd never had the urge or the heart. Kept bringing it fallen branches and raked-up leaves; it was ravenous for them and the larger the fire the more I was cheered, and began to hear in my mind the lyrics "See the blazing Yule before us," and "heedless of the wind and weather."