Archive for December, 2010

new year’s eve

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It’s been a quiet and peaceful week at 3 Crows Whidbey. I don’t have to return to work until 1/3/2011, so I’ve been padding around the house in my slippers and PJs since Festivus. It’s been so nice to be able to sleep late, have a couple or three relaxed cups of coffee while catching up on email and blog rolls, and then spend the rest of the day doing whatever comes to mind to get done — without all the usual hustle and hurry to squeeze it into a weekend. Mostly what I’ve done is read books, watch movies, and visit with a couple of friends in town (is this what the Mad Scientist does all day every day? I am so jealous…).

We just finished a leisurely dinner of ribs that I braised in coffee and spices all afternoon while I was working on the bills. I’ll probably pull out my beginner knitting projects tonight, after more than a month away from them. In fact, it seems the only actual work that has occurred this week was the digging out of the base of one wall of the chicken coop so that we could fill the space with hardware cloth and cement. Rodents (we’re assuming they’re rodents) keep digging under the walls and munching on the organic chicken feed at night, and we are not willing to allow this to continue. It took a couple hours of digging, mixing, and pouring the other day, but we got it completed while it was relatively warm and dry outside. We’ll likely have to do the other walls too, as soon as the little bastards figure out how to get around this new obstacle.

This morning we woke to snow and hail, which eventually grew to about a 2 inch layer of heavy, crunchy whiteness. This would have been pretty if it had not been immediately destroyed by the racing play of four dogs. Amazing how they seem to trample every square inch of this property, and how quickly. No unbroken blankets of pure white loveliness here. Still, I’m thankful there’s no need to walk the four dogs. They can trample the snow all they want.

We seem to be well and finally settled in here. I expect there will be little to report besides wind and rain for the next couple of months. Maybe a few more snowstorms. I’m hoping for a complete lack of drama — no physical or emotional meltdowns, no destructive wind storms, no unexpected household maintenance, no appliance debacles. I’m hoping the New Year brings us nothing but peace, tranquility, and quiet happiness. Spring is only 12 weeks away. We’re looking forward to getting out into the yard and planting when the sun finally comes out. Until then I hope we’ll each be sitting by the fire reading, with contented critters at our feet and on our laps. We’ve worked long and hard to get here, it’s time to be still and enjoy it for a while.

Happy New Year from 3 Crows Whidbey. I hope for all the same quiet wonders for you all.

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siren song

“Did you just hear something strange?”

“Yeah, it sounded like a fire engine.”

I strain to listen more carefully, above the noise of the dogs wrestling and the heat blasting out of the wall heaters in the living room as we try to warm up the room while the wood stove gets going. There it is again, that “wah-wah-waaaah” of a fire engine trying to enter an intersection. The warning string of abbreviated siren notes that says, “better get out of the way“. Then I hear voices over loudspeakers — unintelligible over the din inside the house.

“We don’t hear that very often”, I say, “we’d better see what’s going on”.

I open the guest room door, kept closed all day against the cold, and pull aside the curtains on the windows overlooking the driveway and the street beyond. There is a whole string of fire trucks and ambulances coming down the street. The lead fire engine is pulling Santa’s sleigh, which is lit up like Las Vegas and blasting Christmas carols. Santa himself is perched upon the seat of the sleigh, waving and calling “Merrrrrry Christmas!

This is our new life. I couldn’t be more enchanted.

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A couple of weeks ago I discovered a tunnel into the chicken coop. It was small, so I guessed at baby possums or rodents. In order to avoid attracting the attention of such tunneling critters, I try not to give the ladies so much food that there are leftovers scattered about at the end of the day, but there’s always a feeder with a couple of cups of organic feed hanging within. And there’s always water available. The Mad Scientist and I wedged the tunnel full of rocks so tightly that even we would need rock hammers or shovels to get them back out. And then we occasionally checked back for more activity.

Today there was a second tunnel on the other side of the coop. Inside the henhouse I found evidence of something with white fur and claws, as there were a million scritchy-scratchy marks on the cover of the rubbermaid container in which I store the feed, as well as a fine coating of 1/2 inch long white hair, like the first dusting of snow on the gravel driveway. I closed off the second tunnel as we had the first. They were each located between the post of the outer coop and the wall of the henhouse, where there actually is a little more vulnerability to tunneling. It must be some sort of small critter, because I’ve heard no panic from the ladies and they’ve suffered no attacks or harm of any kind. We’ll need to keep a close eye on things nonetheless.

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We walked all over the tree farm, saw in hand, looking for the perfect tree this morning. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and in the 40’s, so we took our time and finally found the beauty pictured above. I don’t know what kind of pine it is. It has long slender needles and little pine cones growing on it. It’s about 6 feet in diameter and 9 feet tall! I actually had to bring in a ladder to get the lights on it. In the city we would have paid well over $100 for this baby, and it would have been cut weeks ago and starting to shed needles already. When I got home I found a tag on it that said $49.95, but the lovely folks who run the tree farm gave it to us for free. F.R.E.E.! I’m so glad we moved out of the city and amongst such nice people.

The Mad Scientist bought a used truck from the family when we first moved here and has since become friends with the Dad, Tony. We also purchased a load of wood from them a couple of months ago. I was worried they’d dump it all in the driveway and I’d have to spend the entire weekend stacking it, but no, the boys cheerfully unloaded and stacked it for us too. So when we heard they had a tree farm, we filed the info away for the day we needed a Christmas tree. We wanted to support a local business and a friend. We didn’t expect them to give us a tree. How super fabulously nice was that?

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