Over the Fence Chat -- Dec.30-Jan.05

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

Well, this time I'm going to get the jump on all of you and start this thread off.

Not that a lot is happening at the moment....last night the hydrants in the barn were all frozen and the horses had no water, so I was busy carrying buckets of warm water as fast as they could drink them. The hydrants are working today, but I don't trust those things. The high temperature here is supposed to be 10 F tomorrow and carry on for the week, so we won't be seeing a January Thaw any time soon, I fear.

The neatest thing that has happened recently was tonight when I went out to fill the bird feeders to be ready at sun up for my little guests, and discovered another little guest out there trying to gnaw frozen sunflower seeds out of the ice. Darling little flying squirrel! He or she let me get within 4 inches, didn't quite seem to know what I was or whether to be afraid, but then at the last minute decided to jump for it. I put out more seed and peanuts and hope that she'll be back later tonight. I always wonder why they don't hibernate like the other squirrels (red and grey). I see and hear them all summer long at night, and I hear them at night in the winter too, but I really start seeing them around more when the winter gets really cold -- probably because they need more food then.

Maybe the cold will drive the starlings off.

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001


I hope this hydrant freezing means Pony now has a regular bucket back in her stall? Well, I guess we should discuss THAT privately . . .

What do you mean, grey squirrels hibernating? They sure don't down here! They're out and about all winter, even on the nastiest days, if there's food out. Blanca chased one up a tree just today.

Mentioning the flying squirrels reminds me of a story from several winters ago. One morning, after a very windy night, I was shoveling out a path in my yard to make walking easier, and I dug up some struggling little LIVE THING. I had no idea what it was -- sopping wet and frantic, but half frozen. I captured it easily in my heavily- gloved hands and took it inside and put it in a spare cage. After it dried out and opened it's eyes, I realized it was a flying squirrel. I had no idea of the sex, but declared her a girl, as I decided to name her "Amelia" (for Amelia Earhardt).

I fed her sunflower seeds and gave her water and left her strictly alone and shut away from the cats. By the time she had completely dried out and eaten a good meal, it was the next day, so I released her under a good bushy yew. The rest of the winter, when I would see a flying squirrel feeding in the back yard at night, I would wonder if it was Amelia.

I believe she was blown into the snowbank and covered up and couldn't get out. I found another in a different snowbank a week or so later. That one was frozen. Think it probably happened the same night.

I wish the wind would quit blowing. It makes the dog walks unpleasant to have a frozen face. Gee, I hate bundling up. Layer after layer of clothes. Seems like it takes me a half hour to get both of us all togged up!

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

I swear it was nearly 60 here today (the thermometer must be "broke" as it only read low 50s!). We actually got the clothes dry on the clothesline; bugs hatched and were close to being annoying; I worked in a sweatshirt (instead of a turtleneck, sweater, and vest), and it didn't rain! Mr. S. cleaned out the chicken coop and I put more bedding down in the ewe barn. Chainsaw sounds could be heard all around the neighborhood, as it was another great day to harvest all the downed trees from the windstorms we've had in the last month or so.

I have a geranium blooming. My perennial garden is doing okay (even after having been smashed by the big tree).

I took my nephew to see the Harry Potter movie yesterday, and then out for Mexican food. We had a great time and I enjoyed the movie.

Well, off to visit friends tonight...showing this summer's picture of our Grand Canyon rafting trip; home early to bed; off to work tomorrow, and then partying with the neighbors tomorrow night. Mr. S. goes back to school on Wednesday (20 credits!) Guess as far as news goes, that's all folks. Have a good week!

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

Ah...Sunday night!! My quiet night to watch whatever I want on t.v or "talk" here! Hubby plays poker on Sun. He actually does pretty good, too! His poker winnings pay the mortgage for us every month and the taxes every year...the only problem is he doesn't get home til 1 a.m. or so and for him to get up at 6 a.m. to open his shop...what a hassle! The other players are all retired. Not fair!!

I made a "wicked good" (Maine lingo!) salsa dip tonight that we ended up eating for a meal. It was loaded with cut up red and green peppers, onion, tomatoes, sour cream w/cream cheese, Monterey jack cheese and shredded lettuce all covered with MILD salsa sauce. I figured that most all the food groups were represented so why not consider it a meal!!?? About 2 a.m. I'm sure I'll be up guzzling baking soda and water :-(! But it was worth it.

Hard to believe that '01 is over already. We're still a little apprehensive about New Year's so for the last few weeks or so we've been doing a little re-stocking our supplies. Old habits die hard, I guess! Even got out the Generac to fire it up and check everything. Is anyone else still "prepared"??

Still not much snow for us here...and only recently started getting cold! Anyone from Buffalo? How do those folks deal with so much snow all at once!!!

Julie...I sure wish the red and grey squirrels would hibernate around here!! They sure can empty my sunflower feeders in a hurry.

Got my "baby" room ready this weekend. My does aren't due for another 5 wks. or so...but I'm getting anxious! The pregnant ladies were just laying around watching me as if to say "what's all the ruckus about?!" My buck was helping me...he loves to spread shavings. I just tear open a bale and he paws at it and thrashes it with his head! Really funny!!

Hope you all have a good week and a very Happy New Year!!

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2001

We just got back home after a weeks vacation (??) over Christmas to visit my husband's family in Quebec. Long drive! Cameron threw up on me on the ferry from St John to Digby. Yuck. Lots of kind samaritans to help since hubby had disappeared. He returned sipping a soda pop through a straw and our 4 1/2 yr old to see me laying on the seat with Cameron and a spewed on shirt. Memorable crossing to see the least. Oh it IS good to be home in my own space. We were showing my brother our barn that was built by hubby and my husband climbed the step ladder to admire his work upstairs when he asked "Where'd all this hay come from?". This was puzzling since we hadn't ordered a load yet and were planning to do that this week. I thought maybe he was pulling my leg but there WAS hay in the loft. Turns out my minister (who has a farm in Stewiake) had been home to the farm and since he and his lovely wife were coming back in their truck he thought it silly to have the truck empty so he brought me 45 bales of hay!!!!!! He doesn't have cattle right now since his contract is for another 2 yrs in our area but he still hayed this year to keep his fields in condition. Lucky me!!!!!!!! I gave my husband a "learn to play piano" book for christmas and he began yesterday. He is doing quite well I think. He's up to Jingle Bells in the book. This is a man with NO musical training whatsover but he's always dreamed of playing piano. We got a gorgeous upright at auction this past summer and though it needs a tuning something fierce he is plinking away with his book, sitting on a kitchen chair since we have no stool, and I think he's doing great. :o) Wouldn't it be marvelous to rest or work in the evening to his practicing rather than the TV? My critter sitting friend rearranged my barn while I was away. She built a small corral to keep the sheep out of the feed bags. Polly is so bad!!(My sheep Polly not our Polly) She's always playing the starvling and will nose at bags until she gets them open or knock down a bale of hay to strew it all over the place. Lynn decided she'd had enough so she brought some scrap wood and built the 4 rail barrier that so far is working. I was very grateful since building the stalls etc inside the barn hadn't begun yet when we left for Quebec. I had been storing the feed in our basement but to make things easier for Lynn I had lugged it all out to the barn. Well, I had best get to work on my snacks for tonights shin dig. Happy New Year to ALL!!!!!!!!!!

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2001

Well, got up this morning to our furnace (which we only use for backup and to take the chill off in the morning) was out. Gary thinks it is a thermal coupling as the pilot light would not light. He has to work today so will get a new one to put on. We have the ground very snow covered now and with the dusting of lake effect snow we get most days, it should be quite pretty for a while. I also am sick of the wind joy........makes it not very fun to take care of Sassy. Chores in the barn are not so bad as I am out of the wind.

The birds have really flocked to our feeders in great numbers. I have a flock of cowbirds also.......I thought that they migrated. Julie, what does a flying squirrel sound like?? I can recall ever hearing one, although we frequently have them nest in our wren boxes. Our squirrels don't hybernate, I never heard that before. Usually they really pester our feeders but this year have not been too bad.

We are planning a quiet time at home this evening. We traditionally have marinated herring on crackers, among other treats, on New Years eve and watch a video or two. I have never wanted to be out on the roads with all the drunks on New Years. (back in my drinking days we called it amateur night) Hope everyone has a nice evening and day tomorrow. hugs

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2001

I have a flock of cowbirds also.......I thought that they migrated.

That's interesting that you should mention that, diane. We have one Brown-headed Cowbird at our feeder this year. It's the first Cowbird I've ever seen at our feeders. And yes, this is not their normal winter range. I wonder if the unusually warm Fall/early Winter screwed up their migration patterns?

I notice that he sure likes to eat, too! He's really been gobbling up the seed at the feeders...

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2001

All you to the north sound like you are mighty cold and snowy! Sunny, 30's and just a little snow on the ground,here. I called my niece who lives outside of Buffalo to see how they were faring. She just laughed.

Well, about now is when I remember why I moved to Kentucky. I lived and worked outside, in Erie Co, Pa for 5 yrs. with the lake effect snow and wet, cold winds blowing up my butt. Nah, you can have it. I'll enjoy my winter, here.

Cowbirds came thru here. Beebee dog chases them off for me. She's handy that way. Cowbirds are real seed hogs. Mostly I have tweetybirds (goldfinches) and juncos,with an occasional cardinal or morning dove, at the closest feeder. The ones further up the hill get other species and the big feeder that holds 20 lbs gets the bigger bully birds.That feeder lasts abt 5 days, before needing filled.(My birds are totally spoiled pigs.) I hear Nick going around in the gator filling them all up now. We usually put corn out for the turkey and deer(and crow),too, so that keeps the jays up on the hill, too, for the most part.

The hawks were late flying thru this year too, bc of the warm. Bluebirds were trying to nest a few weeks ago. Deer didn't go into rut as soon either.

Last year a goshawk staked out my big feeder for the easy pickins. Haven't seen it yet, tho.

I made suet for the birds out of the deer fat I rendered down. Turns out it's harder than beef, so it should hold up better on the warmer days.

Have fun bird watching!

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2001

I heard two chickadees calling to each other this morning -- with their SUMMER song! AGGHH! What is up with that? Not into winter yet? Or are they done with winter? [personally, I'VE had enough, all ten days of it!]. I'm pretty cranky today, so I don't know if that's why I find the weather so irritating. Or if the weather is what is making me so irritated!

A few evenings ago, walking the dog, I could hear an owl hooting. The weird part is that it was between me and the giant mall about 1/2 mile away. But, for all I know, he's always there. Usually there are too many cars going by in that area to hear something like an owl hooting. It must have been Christmas, since there weren't zillions of people out driving around.

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2001

Or are they done with winter? [personally, I'VE had enough, all ten days of it!].

I hear ya, Joy. I was really enjoying the mild winter we were experiencing (sure helped the heating bill, too!) but that seems to have ended now. I would have been happy if we'd had a brown Christmas with temps in the mid to upper 40's (which was the case up till about 10 days ago) but it looks like winter has finally arrived. :-(

If we're gonna have to experience winter then I'm glad it took so long for it to show up - at least spring won't be so far off now...

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2001

Unfortunately, one of my rabbit does didn't take care of her kits (it was her first and they froze) I was able to save one for two days but it died today.

I was getting spoiled with the warm weather and started doing some landscaping in the backyard. That included putting steps in by my rabbits so I could feed and water them without falling on my fanny. It is only half done but froze in steps so it will be okay if it doesn't get warm and turn to mud.

This week was spent trying to finish the basement. DH and I have been putting up a drop ceiling all week. Looks good but he's mad at me because I had a friend come over to help cut down trees for next year's harvest inbetween. He's the type that wants to finish one project before starting another. Gee, I'd never get anything done if I did that.

Health and happiness to everyone in this new year.

-- Anonymous, January 01, 2002

Ah, I'm sorry to hear that about the little bun, Dee!!

I'm ready for winter to clear off too...ten days should be enough, right? Right? The snowmobilers don't like it much, but that doesn't bother me. I was out pounding out buckets (again. And likely to do so every night for the next 4 months) when midnight rolled around. I could tell -- I heard fireworks going off across the lake somewhere.

Noticed that the chickadees here were doing the "see-me" spring call too. Are they confused or what?

The little flying squirrels that I hear out by night sound sort of like birds singing. The first time that I ever heard one singing by night, that's what I thought it was and I wondered what bird sang by night (I found out that there is a native sparrow that does, but having tracked down the song on tape, that's not it). It wasn't til several years later that I was out walking at night and heard the 'bird' singing, just as a flying squirrel went sailing out of that tree and landed on another. Heard more 'birds' singing then, and saw the little un-feathered culprits scampering up and down the red pines.

The gray squirrels have packed themselves into bed here now, the red squirrels are still frisking about and will until it gets more seriously cold (it's a balmy 10 F now), but when it starts going well below zero, the red squirrels will start sleeping in too. They come out around here when the weather warms back up for a mid-winter snack, and then they might go back to sleep again for a while.

-- Anonymous, January 01, 2002

Joy...while outside this morning refilling my sunflower feeders, I heard a chickadee (or two) singing that summer song. Actually I think it's a mating/territorial song. Hey...maybe it's gonna be an early spring!!!??? Or maybe they were just celebrating the new year.

-- Anonymous, January 01, 2002

Well, we've had our corned beef and cabbage and a spoonful of black- eyed peas for good luck in the coming year. If anyone knows any way to fix black-eye peas so that they are even remotely edible; please post a recipe. I'm threatening to make them into baked beans or put them in 3 bean salad next year - Gaaak!!

We got first footed by a friend of my little cousin Drew this morning. Dark hair and dark eyes, but he had an orange juice rather than a snort! The boys (age 16)had stayed down at Uncle Ivan's cabin (he's Drew's Grandpa) the past couple of nights. Only wood heat and an outhouse and these kids decide to stay down when it's 8 degrees with a windchill of -2. Oh, to be young again!!

Cory (Jessie's new sweety) had to head back toward St. Louis and home today. He didn't want to leave and we didn't want to see him go! He did admit to being a little homesick though! He still won't eat tomatoes, but he offered to help me get the wood chips around my garden beds this spring so I reckon I can put up with him being a little eccentric! The house will be much quieter this coming week; and much more boring, I'm sure!

Well, the almanac says that Jan 2 is the day to start a diet to lose weight; so all of us at work are going to begin a diet. The 6th is also a good day to start a diet; just in case we slip! I tried the low carb diet this fall and it got to the point where my co-workers were threatening to hold me down and force feed me sugar if I didn't quit being such a crab; so I think I will just try eating less of the things that I do like to eat, and exercising more as soon as the doc lets me do resistance type movements. My problem is that I really, really like food. I like the taste of food, the smell of food, the texture of food....I just like food, dang it!! Maybe if I can just keep from adding any more weight on before garden season....

Our bird feeders are loaded with gold and house finches, jays, cardinals, juncos, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, flickers and red headed woodpeckers. Probably more that I can't remember now! Pop spends a lot of time poring over his bird books and arguing with the other old fellers about what bird is what. I found him an Audubon field guide to insects at the UBS for Christmas this year; so I reckon he will be ready to argue bugs come spring!

I've got the next couple of days off work, was planning to take out the tree and take down the Christmas decorations but Hubs did it this morning while I took a nap after work, so I have absolutely nothing that I HAVE to do. Happy, happy!! I forsee trying out my new bubble bath, checking out half.com to spend my Christmas money, plotting my seed starting and planting dates and going on an expidition to find my gardening books that have somehow disappeared, then dragging them up to the living room for easy access over the next few months. The floor where I work overtime is begging for help again, so I will be calling in and letting the staffing office know what nights I can fill in for them - back on the OT treadmill!! Sigh! But, it allows me to do some things I otherwise couldn't afford to do; and I shouldn't complain about working when so many others are out of a job.

Well, I'm off to forage for leftovers - plenty of those available!! Then I'll package up some seeds for Jim and curl up with a garden book or two and fall asleep with visions of Sugar Baby watermelons dancing in my head!

You folks all have a wonderful week,

-- Anonymous, January 01, 2002

I'm getting a freezer! doing a little happy dance MIL gave us a lovely check for Christmas, so I'm getting a freezer and Keith is getting a snowblower. (We haven't had a flake of snow all winter but it's what he wants) This will make it so much easier to do once-a- month cooking and I'll be able to save even more produce from the garden this year. We may even talk with his sisters to see if they want to share a side of beef.

-- Anonymous, January 04, 2002

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