Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May Showers

The advent of May showers leaves me antsy. Due to the late spring, although the garden has been worked up, I have not been able to get in and plant. The clay soil holds water and if one goes in too early we end up with golf sized hard mud balls, which are really a pain to work around. According to my records for the last eight years of residing up here In the North Woods, I am not too late, and the things in the greenhouse will be ready to put in…however My body may not be able to handle the influx of all the bending, stooping, pulling, digging that is required of doing such a chore in minute time required before the heat hits. This getting older bit sucks…but if the truth be known….. it may be the extra weight that sucks more, not the age that is slowing me down. Sigh…never ending battle one way or another.

The orioles have been crowding the make shift hangers that hold sweet orange slices under the sunflower feeder. Their splendid orange and black suit coats flash with the sunlight, and the melodious singing in the early morning is an alarm clock not to be ignored as they sway on the liquid feeder hanging outside the kitchen window. The Rose Breasted Grosbeaks argue for room at the sunflower feeder, the males tidy in their black and white suites and red ties, constantly singing for their mates who even in their brown sultry dresses are a vision to watch. The Finches have changed their costume from dull winter brown to bright startling yellow and flit from sprig to sprig on the birches and poplar trees, adding to the chorus of spring, catching the raindrops to glisten on their wing tips. A silent flash of blue and the whisper of a Blue Bunting slashes the air as he steals a seed here and there, from under the beaks of the Grosbeaks. Not to be outdone by this spring spectacle at the sunflower tables….. are the woodpeckers, hanging from the suet feeders, with the Red headed woodpecker peering over the side, threatening the smaller Hairy and Downy woodpeckers as if to say ..The King has arrived….please make way…..so they make a swift retreat to the nearby oaks….sailing up and down the tree trunks like the swift running sap that is bringing the leaves into full dress while the almighty red head savors the small morsels of homemade suet.

Down on the ground another scenario is taking place….as the common Red Polls silently drift down to catch the falling black seeds, along with dozens of White Crowned sparrows, Chipping Sparrows and field sparrows partake in the bounty that the greedy birds above have let fall to the earth. Nothing goes to waste these days, as the frisky chipmunks pack their cheeks full with delicacies they have found hidden in the long strands of unmowed grass, or the gray, black and red squirrels have carelessly left behind.

Somewhere, way high in the front yard tree a treble of notes float and tango across the roof and then rebound with flirty fun as a Bobolink has flown in from the green swaying grass fields, to make sure he too could be heard, stopping to listen as his mate answered him from a sheltered nest in the woodline, …..Soon they will be feeding on the thousands of dandelion seeds from the fluffy yellow blossom heads bobbing and bowing under the gentle southwest winds. The Red Winged Blackbirds call and dance along the garden fence while the Barn swallows sweep and dive to catch the insects that would dare to come out to see the ruckus. Suddenly there is a swift dart and dash….and the hummers are heading for the nearest blossom, to find the insects hidden there, or the sugar water in the feeder just awaiting their return. Down….., deep in the ravines echo the calls of the Sand Hill Cranes, …somewhere in the thick undergrowth the partridge are drumming…… calling for their respected companions….and soon in the evening you can hear the Loons adding their own creative calls with the croaking of the spring frogs. These are the masterful chorus sounds of spring that cannot be heard in the opera halls of the city…..and cost not a penny; continuing on through the day, ending with the lonely closing ceremony of the hooting of the owls in late evening as the sun has set, bringing down the curtain of shadows.

In this splendid rendition of the Chorus of the Homestead, one must sit back and take time to relish the music of the woods, now minus the frosted white snow, and full of the life that continues to emerge with each plump cherry blossom, or shiny rain drop frosted leaf. The clouds are parting, the rays shinning down to warm the wet ground, Mother Nature has let her children out to reclaim the skies, and revamp the earth. My garden will get planted, the grasses will grow, and the weeds replenish , all is well on the homestead as it should be….new life will soon be appearing, and another saga is about to begin. It is my good fortune to be able to witness all, and……. sit and…… watch…..and listen….and ….enjoy as everything eventually takes care of itself and worry is for naught..

Friday, May 13, 2011



The odysseys of April


Somewhere back in the month of January, I said it was the worst month….I was wrong there played another month to test my sanity………I say this because the snow continued, day after day with no sign of amnesty. It was like Mother Nature was disciplining her children of spring and not allowing them to come out to play. There was no blue sky with fluffy white clouds…instead; she used the dark heavy gray clouds to corral them into a secret area with no escape. She called upon the bitter cold winds of the north to guard the gentle spring breezes with the frost crystals sealing in their fate….but allowed the snowflakes to continue to fall, sinking the rest of the world into utter melancholy. In my special dogmatic verdicts there was only one word to describe it all…….IT SUCKS!

To add to this bitter dissolution, my husband was laid off his Job as of April 1. The company had changed insurance companies, and due to an accident two years before, they would not cover him…, his only accident in 36 years of driving. They laid off another driver, and 15 employees in the plant. Unemployment papers filed, and many, many resumes were sent out, and the weeks continued to slowly slip through our fingers…we couldn’t work outside, the weather was bad, so his school work dominated the long hours of the longer daylight hours of SNOW. I did however start the plants, in the house at first in the kitchen window, and then as the days grew slightly warmer transferred them to the green house and got the heater warming them at night even tho I knew the electrical bill would skyrocket …there was no choice. Growing slowly, they are doing just fine, and sometimes now in the month of May, the sun actually shines, and spring does seem to open the door a couple times a week.

However, the Month of April, was shining for the women in my family, you see I have three sisters, didn’t grow up with them, since I left home early, but have kept in touch……and as sisters go, we agree to disagree at times, have led entirely different lives, but when the chips are down, the blood runs hot. So, I have to" honour" them this month, as they have all captured great moments in their time of life……No.1 is baby sister Denise…..she has finally acquired that educationary degree that sets her above all the rest….I would tell you what it is, but quite frankly it is so long I can’t remember it, or pronounce it, but it puts her first in her choice of medical worlds……Yeah! Then next comes middle sister, Rose, or Rosie as I always call her……she has landed a job after being out of work for almost two years…..and it is right where she wanted to be, a single mother raising her beautiful daughter, she has completed her schooling, hit the rough years, and now the reward….a job that is perfect for her……last but not least comes Ann Marie, the lady who was always ultimately groomed, and now holds the title of having the most stitches and staples in the world, but is out of the American Cancer hospital in Zion, at home…ready to tackle the next steps of recovery……..being the luckiest person in the world who doesn’t have to worry how her hair looks when she gets up in the morning….that would be my dream….I can’t get mine short enough…UG….hate that woman in the mirror with porcupine looking gray hair that just won’t calm down. These are very strong, wonderful women of my family that I am proud to know…., they have met the fate of their destinies, and have won…..now I just have to figure out what mine is…..but then it never was a priority with me……I just wander on behind all the little animals…..

Our septic tank sprung a leak….now if that isn’t a S_______ turn of events, nothing is…..so on the one warm day of last week, we had the shovels out, and dug out the very wet clay earth down a couple of feet to find that the top central round piece had lost part of its seal, and we have to reseal it. But of course now we have to wait for the weather to be a certain temperature to spread the sealer around the cement…..and hope the one who is painting it on doesn’t fall in…..ya know that did happen to someone around Eau Claire a couple of years back…..the outcome was not the best…..I will not go into details…..but now I know how that can happen. We are also replacing some of  the fence around the barn yard, as the old one was one we recovered from my brothers Ostrich pen about 8 years back, and is in sore condition…..you see the goat stands there and sticks her tongue out at the dogs, and when they come to the fence she butts …or tries to butt them, eventually leaving gaping holes in the fence which I have tried to cover with various screening stuff….and then Avi decides to dig under the fence to get at whatever delicacy she thinks is on the other side leaving more holes in the ground and the fence….or try to climb over the top for reasons I cannot understand. Sometimes she would make holes in the fence just to entice the chickens to come out on the other side, so she could put them out of their so called misery……so with Tim home we are putting up another 100 feet of 8 foot high of 2x4 squares of welded wire, fence, and straightening out all the fence posts that the goats butted over the years. And the garden plots are cleaned out, and ready to till, along with all the fruit trees, and roses, pruned for another year of beauty. If the rain would stop for a while, and the sun come out for more than 2 days we could till the garden…but…no hurry, the plants in the green house are still young….and let’s face it SPRING is very late.

May has brought good news, Tim has a job…driving for a trucking company in Medford…….70 miles away….yes a long ways away, but he will be gone for 5-7 days, running down south carrying anything from paper products to pizzas. The raises are good, the tractors are new…and looks like the gas prices may drop…so we have our favorite garage owner looking for a vehicle for me so Tim can take the truck to work. For now however, I will have to drive him to work and pick him up…..140 miles round trip …UG…

…I understand that they have a few drivers that also drive along way, Rice Lake, Bruce and… Yes even…. Iron Mountain, Michigan……..but that’s the way it is out here….gain a little, give a lot….that’s homesteading in the north…..some days I would like to shove it…but other days…I know it’s where we belong. If only that sun would shine a few more days………..yup……just never satisfied…following all the little animals,…….ya know the trail….

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