Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Quiet of Winter

 

I love every season. Winter no less than the others. The quiet only makes the song of birds more amazing. The lake has frozen with the below normal temperatures of December and the ice makes these haunting sounds as it cracks as a part of the freezing process. I don't really know the mechanics of it but the sound is really amazing and even though I expect it the cracks and strange echos often take me by surprise.

It's been two months since my last post!! I've spent most of that time doing the usual fall/winter chores. Winterizing the waterline behind my cabin was the top priority and beyond that it is the usual of chopping wood, keeping the wood stove going and keeping an eye on the chickens. We've already dipped into the single digits and had about a whole week below freezing. Last December was pretty cold too but I think not quite as prolonged. I think I prefer the extreme cold of winter to the extreme heat of summer. At least in the winter I can put on as many layers as needed and I'm plenty toasty. In the summer one can only be so naked.

Another thing to love about winter is soup and I make it constantly once the cold sets in. Mostly variations of vegetable soup and pumpkin coconut curry. Not only is it hot and tasty but you can't make a cheaper meal.

We never got the door on the greenhouse and while the improvised door put on when we built it does a fine job of mostly keeping out the wind and cold, it does nothing to keep out mice. It fits pretty well but does have some entry points for mice and so my winter greens, mostly kale, have largely gone towards keeping those furry little shits well nourished. Really need to figure out a way to deal with them. Yes, yes I know traps would work but honestly, I think there are quite a few in and around the chicken coop, I'm not sure traps would really do the job. Maybe that is the only way. It goes without saying that I don't use poison... (wait I just said so I guess it doesn't go without saying). Funny, I never really thought about mice as an issue with a greenhouse until I had one.

The girls have finally started laying more eggs. For a couple months I was getting no eggs, or very few. While I think it is fairly rare in the U.S. I'm convinced they had a virus called egg drop syndrome as they had numerous symptoms that matched such as weak shells, bumpy, rough shells, and sometimes no shell at all, just a membrane. Some have told me maybe it was the combination of the extreme heat of summer and molting but I don't think that totally explains at and the shell irregularities point to something else. At this point not only are they laying again but their shells are much thicker and pretty much back to their normal color and texture.

Potentially sad news regarding Petunia the deer... I've not seen her in almost a month. Now, she might be fine but she's never been absent this long before. I'm hoping she was not shot during deer season and it may be that she really is fine, I don't know. She might well have mated with a buck this year and perhaps that might change her behavior? I know that there is a little cluster of deer that she seemed to be hanging out with so maybe she's just with them. Still, I would not think that she would just completely stop visiting me after being so consistent for the past 16 months.

Okie Dokely, I think that's it for the moment. Hope you all are doing well.

4 comments:

Jason said...

Hey Denny,

This is Jason (Mat and Heidi's friend in Memphis)... it's been a while! I've been reading your site for a little while now and enjoy hearing about what you're doing up there.

I had an issue with mice at my house last year and did some reading up on prevention. As it turns out, mice don't like peppermint because of their sensitive sense of smell, so I used peppermint essential oils on cotton balls and placed them near entry points. I didn't have anymore issues with mice after that and my house smelled nice. So, I was thinking that growing peppermint near the access points would help deter the mice from entering. Just a thought.

Your mileage may vary, but it seemed to have done the trick for me.

Take care!

denny said...

Hey Jason! Glad you like the blog. I've got LOTS of mint growing here and will try some out at the greenhouse. Thanks for the tip! I'll grow some out there and spread some of the dry stuff I already have. Can't hurt to try!

Hope you are well.

Anonymous said...

just started reading the blog, but wouldn't a nice cat take care of the mice....or at least minimize them?

denny said...

Anonymous, you'd think so and so did I which is why I adopted a stray cat. He's a sweet cat but he's also about as lazy as they come! The upside is he doesn't catch and all the song birds that come around to eat the chicken scratch. The downside is he's not all that interested in mice either. He does enjoy laying in the sun for hours on end.