Saturday, December 13, 2014

Catching up : Happy in Montana

My beautiful Larch Friends 

Forest floor with Rocky Mountain Maple

All that grows is not fungus 

A small forest of fungi

Diversity in Nature 

Creeping Oregon grape

My favorite Daughter (trying to avoid freezing ) 

Piliated wood pecker enjoying the bird feeder 
I am shocked to my senses realizing that I haven't posted since the end of September. My apologies. Life seems to have gotten away from me . October was spent buttoning up the yard and planting garlic for the spring. I had several weeks of fighting with the turkeys as they found my mulch very hard to resist on the garlic beds .

Then the firewood arrived . Late. The wood folks had truck trouble twice. I try to exercise patience as I am not of the mind to split 3 cords of wood in my spare time . Bob came out with his three Labs ( a mother and her two sons ) and was more than kind and gracious in his delivery. He made a perfect bull's eye and the giant pile landed without incident . An incident  would include squashing the neighbor's fence .

November was somewhat fair to begin with. This is a sense of false well being as Winter is always ready to settle on us at a moments notice. About mid November we had a heavy wind storm preceding some very cold air that stripped the trees bare. The ground was beautiful yellow from the Larch needles just prior to the snows. This did not leave much time to tackle the 3 cords and alas only a half was stacked before the snow was deep. However that is why they make tarps . I wax philosophical and realize that truly the wood is going nowhere. I am mulling a wood shed for more ease of storage. I will consult with my second son who is a bonny lad with a lot of wood and building talent. I have also fenced off a kitchen garden for next spring and secured two large mounds of Creston Loam . It has been busy . It would be nice to be 8 feet tall in order to pound in 7 foot stakes.

So the snow came and so did the cold . We had some premature cold weather with lows at Zero , and the highs at 10 if we were lucky. This usually is more of a January thing. I finally contacted a chimney sweep and we tackled the cleaning of the flue and reseting the hearth pad. All accomplished and pleased to see dry soot to clean and not the sticky creosote that likes to play havoc with one's dwelling  . When I first started using my stove I was loathed to put pine in to burn . Alas that is all there is here . I was used to the safer hardwoods of the southeastern US. I feel better knowing the process is manageable and next year I plan to sweep my own chimney as I now have the technique . Another project will be to secure the equipment including a flexible pole and brush.

We have had 3 feet of snow total at the cozy cabin in the wood. Before you send care packages laden with snow shovels we have had a nice stretch of warm weather ( that translates into highs in the mid thirties) and most of the snow has melted. The deer have been very active around dusk with 5 trying to hunt me down during the drive home last night . I feel very grateful that they made it across the highway without crashing into me .

Thanksgiving came and went with more snow ( a foot ) and a visit from my favorite daughter and her very new and sweet husband. We went to the skating rink as they really wanted to skate. It was 10 degrees and a good stiff wind of more than 15 mph. I lasted about 10 minutes outside and had to hang out in the referees booth. That would make me a weinie .

The last two and a half months have been seriously busy . The change of seasons seems to bring a flurry of activity . Truly there are things that if not done before the snow flies will not get done before the next spring. Solstice is just around the corner now barely more than a week .  Then the return of the blessed sun. I can see why the sun has been worshipped in history particularly in the higher latitudes. I feel like i have weathered this decline into solstice fairly well this year . Another 8 days of shortening and then the Earth starts to lean towards the Sun with her grand desire . A good time to reflect during the long still nights all of our many blessings that have graced our lives. Take some time to admire the winter night sky with the stars that shine so brilliantly only in winter.

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