Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Drying clothes in the snow

Had to put out the wet clothes on the line while it was still snowing because I had errands to do in the morning.  Clothes do dry in freezing weather.  The water freezes into ice and then sublimates into a gas.   As I have said previously, I started pulling the clothes sleeves out straight and letting them freeze that way.  Then it's easy to tell when things are dry because the sleeves will fall earthward and flap in the wind.  Some people might wonder why I'm opting to use the clothes line in freezing weather.  I think a better question would be why I'm still wearing short-sleeved shirts. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Frosty morning on the river

Nancy's husband Don is deer hunting this week and she is off work so we planned an afternoon to watch movies.  My pick was the Thanksgiving episode of  Northern Exposure.  Who wouldn't find Native Americans chucking tomatoes at the whites funny?  Nancy decided on the Thanksgiving episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.  Nancy had never watched the show so I tried to remember and explain all of the characters and their relationships.  (Nancy said a couple of times that the show was a fav of her grandmother.  Made me feel old.)  After that we started on Holiday Inn w/ Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.  OK but neither of us was prepared for the black-face number.  By this time snow was falling again in earnest.  It was within an hour of sunset and the hunters would be returning from the woods.  We stopped the show right there and decided to watch the rest on our next movie afternoon. (So much more fun to watch this stuff when you can make snide comments out loud.)

Friday, November 16, 2018

Black Willow in fall

Took Indy out for an early morning walk into the forest.  Tomorrow is the beginning of the 9-day rifle deer season and our walks will be confined to the open areas near the house.   My neighbors and I were talking about how deer hunting has changed from when we were younger.  Hunters tended to tramp through the woods looking for deer then.  Now they put up a deer stand and stay put - hoping a deer saunters past their location.  Either way, I don't want to be around when a bunch of people who probably haven't used their rifles since last year about this time and are on an adrenalin rush to shoot something are out and about in the wild.  Indy and I walked again after sunset.  Followed part of the same path we did in the morning and I found my leather gloves (that I hadn't realized I'd dropped).  My idea of a successful hunt.

Thursday, November 15, 2018


I have often maintained that if men's testicles were squashed to the degree women's breasts are during a mammogram, doctors would have come up w/ a less painful method to take x-rays years ago.    Thought about that today while the technician was positioning me for my annual test.  Of course, there are lots of female doctors around now so maybe things will change.  After all of the pictures were taken, the technician handed me a package.  Someone in the area thinks that after a mammogram a woman could use a pick-me-up so she makes and packages blanket throws to be given out as gifts.  Got to admit that the pastel pink throw I received did significantly make my day brighter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Getting closer

Sunrise this time of year is magical in my house.  As soon as the sun pops up it's as if all of the lights in the house came on because the dining room and living room windows are positioned to let the winter sun's rays flood in.  It's also truly remarkable to see how far the sun moves along the horizon during the year.    At winter solstice the sun will rise just beyond the village water tower.  It's close enough now to get sunrise and the water tower in the same picture frame.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Ski Hill making snow

Excerpts from the Sheriff's Report:

12:13 a.m. - Physical altercation involving an intoxicated female throwing pumpkins at her fiance' after he attempted to stop her from driving.  (Nice seasonal touch to the fight.)

5:14 a.m. - Suspicious activity of a male wearing a black snowmobile jacket and a dew rag.  (Not a common spelling for do-rag but then we see more stocking caps here.)

9:58 a.m. - Suspicious activity of a large hole with clothing laying around it.  Determined to be a bear den.  (Who do you think was wearing the clothes?  The bear or it's lunch?)

12:32 p.m. - Extra patrol requested for suspect in white or silver pickup stealing newly piled wood from the side of the road.  (That's akin to rustling cattle!)

7:23 p.m. - Screaming and yelling reported at residence.  Determined citizen had his music playing loudly and no one else was there.  (Turns out Mom was right.  Today's music does sound like the singer is angry.)

5:55 p.m. - Harassment via walking past a citizen's house reported. Officer advised citizen it's not harassment when someone walks past a residence.
9:11 a.m. - Suspicious activity of a female walking without pants or shoes.  (That the police would check up on.)

6:58 p.m. - Report of an outlet sparking and causing half of a citizen's house to be without power.  Fuse removed and citizen advised to contact an electrician.  (Sheriff's deputies need to have multiple skills.)

7:09 p.m. - Report of an explosion on Sawdust Road.  Determined explosions caused by commercially available tennerite. (Shooting a target isn't enough anymore. Now the targets blow up too.)

9:10 p.m. - Report of a male and female entering a home uninvited and using the bathroom together.
(I'm trying to envisage what I would do if I was sitting in my stuffed chair and saw two people walk by me and go into the bathroom.)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Deer Rub

I was on my way home from church and stopped in the road.  A large buck had come out of the woods and was standing on the road looking at the car.  We tried to figure out what the other one was thinking for a moment before he decided to trot off past my car and on down the road.  Reminded me I'd taken a picture of this stick last week.  As you can see all of it's bark has been rubbed off.   Bucks like to remove the velvet from their antlers, leave their scent, and spar w/ sticks like this.  (Think all of those mating hormones play havoc w/ their brains.)  Found instructions on how to make a horizontal deer rub.  Might put one, at least temporarily, in the meadow.  See if I can get a glimpse of 'Big Foot'.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

On a snowy path

Thought we would have a bit more snow today. Still went along w/ my plans for the day. I made a pot of chili in the crock pot. Went on a walk w/ the dog. (This is my 'Downton Abby' shot of Indy's behind.) Curled up in a stuffed chair and watched a special on Shakespeare's "The Tempest" (loved the comparisons between that play and science fiction). Started up a fire in the fireplace. Fell asleep w/ both cats curled up on my lap. As I said, the day wasn't quite as wintry as I had hoped so I also hung a batch of wet clothes on the line to dry. Think I've figured out a way to tell when they are done. I wait about fifteen minutes after putting them on the line and then go back out. The clothes are usually frozen but still pliable enough to be repositioned. I pull the arms of the shirts out straight and parallel to the ground. Then it's just a matter of checking on them periodically and when the sleeves have fallen earthward again, the clothes are dry.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Paper Wasp nest

Enough snow had fallen last night for tracking.  Found six sets of deer track and two ground squirrel tracks across the driveway in the pre-dawn walk.  Also saw that the ski hill lights were on.  Means they think it will stay cold enough now to start making snow.  Found more tracks on the walk this morning through the fields and woods.  One set of deer tracks was made by a very large deer.  I looked around to see if maybe a cow had gotten out somewhere.  The tracks on closer inspection though were definitely deer.  Will have to be on the watch for 'Big Foot' in the future. 

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Downy Woodpecker

A  hairy woodpecker has been daring to come all the way from the woods to the suet feeder on the deck.  This is the first year for that.  Now a downy has been flying in.  Since both bird's coloring is much the same they are sometimes difficult to distinguish between.  The downy has a more pronounced tuft of feathers at the base of the bill, shorter bill in relation to the head, and some dots on the side tail feathers (that you can't see in this picture). If you could see a hairy and downy together you'd notice immediately that the downy is the smaller.  Unfortunately, the two species don't always oblige by sitting next to each other for comparison.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

What the woodpeckers are after

Kept busy at library duty tonight.  Only had one person come in to drop off books, two people using the computers, and one call from a lady that wanted me to find a book for her.  However the rest of the time I pulled books requested by other libraries and removed books from the hold shelf that had expired.  The librarian gave me a printed list of around a hundred or so videos to remove from the stacks.  Videos aren't called for much any more and these particular titles hadn't been out of the library in over a year - time for them to go.  Unfortunately the list wasn't in the order that they are in the stacks so it took a bit longer than really necessary.  It was 7 p.m. when I finally finished w/ the regular ones - still have to pull the juvenile videos.  However, since I'm filling in tomorrow afternoon should be able to get it done then.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018


A picture from my friend Nancy Dauffenbach.

Back in July Nancy and I had bought plaster gnomes but decided to come back to the shop later to paint them. Maybe when the weather wasn't quite so nice.  Today it was cold, rainy, eventually turning into snow. So we spent the afternoon painting.  The shop provided the smocks, paints, brushes, and some advice when we had questions.  They also had various types of coffee/hot chocolate/tea and munchies available while we 'worked'.  Was a lot of fun and I think the shop owner found us amusing. As you can see, Nancy and I don't agree much on our choice of colors.  Fortunately, we thought they both turned out very cute (and that our own was best.)

Sunday, November 04, 2018

New Deer on the Block

 I was on my way home from a walk when I noticed a dark shape near the fence between me and my neighbor Wallace.  If I wasn't tired, I would have trekked across the field to see what it was.  Instead I got out the camera w/ a zoom lens and took a picture.  Could check it out later.  Received a call from another neighbor Doug.  He was checking out his back forty and could see there was a dark shape near the edge of the woods on my land but it didn't seem to be moving.  That reminded me to download my picture.  Sure enough, my neighbor Wallace, who had put out a statue of a moose near the creek and an elk on the fence line between our properties, has added a new one - a jumping deer.  Haven't ever talked to him about them.  Maybe he thinks the woods could use some statuary or maybe he's hoping they will lure in like creatures.  Either way, something different to look for on my walks.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Tamarack swamp

Wanted to try making Boeuf Bourguignon.  Takes a while but every step looks simple enough.  Went grocery shopping this morning.  The recipe called for a bottle of Pinot Noir.  Walked into the liquor section of the grocery store and stopped.  Fortunately, the guy behind the counter had no other customers and asked if I needed help.  I told him what I was looking for.  He led me to the back and waved his arm over some shelves of various brands of wine all w/ the title 'Pinot Noir'.  My eyes must have still been glazed over because he asked what I wanted the wine for. "I'm cooking w/ it." I said.  He chose a bottle off the middle shelf.  "This is probably what you want." he suggested.  "The top shelf are great for drinking but could overwhelm in a cooked dish.  The bottom shelf is for winos."  OK, good to know.  The steak is now marinating overnight in a fermented liquid that isn't fine wine but isn't potentially toxic either.