Messy Eater

img_4440

My daughter romped about in the woods the other day. She got her boots muddy. She left them on the porch overnight. She left them there to dry. She also left them there to avoid cleaning off the mud.

In the morning they looked like this. I just recently hung the bird feeders. I filled a couple of them with sunflower seeds. Someone else did not want to clean up their mess. A squirrel? A chickadee? A mouse? I’m guessing a chickadee was flying back and forth from the feeder to the trellis over these boots. It ate the centers and left the hulls.

I cleaned up after the messy eater. I left the boots for my daughter. I am glad the chickadee wears no boots. I am glad my daughter has some skill with a napkin.

Ah, December

It is finally cold. Waiting for the bus is a chilly experience. The puddles are skimmed with ice. The wind bites. I wear my orange knit hat out and about. The woodstove radiates.

Holiday music plays everywhere. Too much of it is twangy countrified versions of holiday classics.  Who needs that crap? I guess lots of people like it, however.  Who am I to judge poor taste?

Snow flurries keep spitting. One of these days we will get a full on storm with real snow. Ideally this happens before teh 25th. We celebrate that winter holiday in this house. And the solstice.  I have been rising early to run still. These days it is pretty dang dark when I do so. Porch lights are on and my headlamp gets as much a workout as I do. I might have to have a big old party to celebrate the solstice this year.

I have these slip-on boots from L.L. Bean that I wear in the winter pretty much every day. One of them has a big old tear in it.  I should have sent them back this summer but who remembers winter boots in the summer? I still should send them back. I bet they would replace them. They did rip unexpectedly. It’s not like a was jumping over a barbed wire fence or something. I noticed it walking down our driveway. Not a high impact activity. What will I do without my boots? I have missed them lately.

The year has just about wrapped up. I might start thinking about resolutions so I am prepared when January hits. Blog every day? Run a marathon? Read some book I have wanted to read? I’ll think about that later. I want to think about doing good deeds this month, and giving gifts to those I love, and baking desserts. Chocolate covered lemon cake anyone?

Now that would be the way to celebrate the season, baby.

Getting Muddy and Gathering Trash

Those were the two highlights of the day.  My wife went skiing for most of the day.   I stayed home with the children.  We stayed inside for a bit to let them get their craziness and creative play out.  Then we had lunch of tortillas and cucumbers.  Then we headed outside.

We took a walk down the road.  We spent a good deal of time exploring the ditch that runs along our road.  The town road crew has spent lots of time over the past couple of years clearing and improving road drainage in town.  Last year they got by our way.  The ditch is filled with ice, which is covered in sand and dirt, which is mostly just under the surface of the flowing melting snow.  I was cautious about letting the children walk on it at first but it was solid and we hopped back and forth all down the road.

We also picked up trash which consisted mainly of discarded beer cans and bottles.  There were many.  The children had fun both spotting them (“I see one under that bush!” “That one is buried in the sand!”) and fishing them from their various hiding places.  We couldn’t carry them all so we set up stations of them along the roadside.  We wouldn’t have been able to carry them back either so we left them to pick up later, cairns of aluminum and glass for drivers to wonder about.

We cut across the field to get back home.  It was rutted and frozen and muddy and wet.  Not all in the same place, of course, but we found some mixed terrain.  By the time we made it back, the children were wet and muddy.  “My feet are chilly,” explained the boy child.  His boots were soaked through.  Plus, he hadn’t bothered to wear socks.  Despite this, they stayed outside for a while before heading in to clean up.

They played outside together for a good chunk of time after they did get cleaned up.  Then they had to clean up again.  They each went through three sets of clothes today, not including the pajamas they wore this morning.  They got wet and muddy more than once.

Last summer I bought a pair of tall rubber boots.  They were one of the best purchases I have ever made.  Those things can take me anywhere and I am confident going.  Hike across a wet muddy field?  No probs, babe.  Step in a ditch of meltwater?  Easy.  Hike to meet the bus in the rain?  You bet.  Those puppies served me well today.

Tomorrow I will need to head down the road and collect those bottles and cans.  I hate seeing all that garbage on my road.  What gives with someone who will toss their empties for someone else to clean up?  That’s crap, if you ask me.  Heck, even if you don’t ask me, it’s still crap.  In any case it will give me a good excuse to take the kids for another walk.  Maybe we can see if the spiders are still crawling all over the grass by the big culvert.  And if they don’t want to come with me, it will feel good to gather the refuse and see that it makes it to the recycling bin.

Somebody’s got to take care of the empties.  If the end user won’t do it, that selfish butt, I will take it on myself.

Cold Lately

It has been below freezing for a few days now.  Cold.  The wind chill was eleven degrees yesterday afternoon.  It has been chilly waiting for the bus.  We have it down so we do not have to wait long, but still, the wind cuts through the cotton pants.

i have been wearing my down jacket and it has been a good move.  The first day I wore it I forgot that wearing it while driving feels good for a short time but then I roast.  Luckily it is easy to slide off at a stop light.

Snow still clings to the ground from a couple of days ago.  The temperature will likely stay in the twenties until next week.  Even then it will get, at least as predicted, just above freezing.

I busted out my boots the other day.  The mud boots have been great for kicking around and walking as far as the end of the driveway in the rain, but they have no insulation.  Too cold for the toes.  The warm boots are the winner in that contest.

I never got to mulching the garden with the leaves that fell from the silver maple.  It may still be possible but at this point it may be moot.  I do need to toss something on top of the strawberries before the ground freezes too deeply.  Soon.

Our compost pile is starting to freeze at the edges.  It was still warm in the middle when I added to it tonight but soon it will freeze through.  I will add to it all winter but the freeze thaw cycle will do more to break things down than any bacteria.  At least until spring.

The wood stove is humming now.  I need to pull more wood in for tomorrow.  And it is dark early.  Winter is basically here.  I was remembering with my son how it was just a few months ago when we felt too hot in shorts and bare feet.  He fell asleep smiling about that.  Soon he will be smiling about sledding and tunneling through snow.

As long as the cold keeps up.  And at least for the next week, I expect it will.