Monday, February 23, 2009

the Plow Guy Cometh

The Plow Guy, working his way down our driveway about 6:30 this morning... I am not sure how much has accumulated over night, but the porch drift was as big as I have ever seen it, and snow is still falling and predicted to continue until late afternoon. Plow guy says "I will be back!" and I am sure he will... went home to get the chains on his truck.

When we let the dog out this morning, she ran into a wall of snow in her yard, too. I work a late, short shift at the store, so I have time to get out and clean off the porch, dig out Under House Cat and maybe strap on the snowshoes and take a bit of a walk. I am very glad that I got the compost, trash and kitty litter carried out yesterday, though!

This snow calls for PLAY!!! .... lovin' it! hopefully more photos will follow!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another snow from the East

We are under a winter storm warning through tomorrow afternoon, about the time I need to be at work.

Thus far, at almost 11 pm, we have about a little over an inch on the porch (more where the porch door drift is beginning to form) and predictions for up to 14 inches and increasing winds which will mean more blowing snow.

I find it interesting that, through January, ALL the snows came from the west and starting in Feb, thus far, all have come from the East.

We got a small electronic thermometer with a remote sensor for outside, that will do max/min readings at the hardware store today and (after a trip back out for AAA batteries, of which we had none in the stash) got it installed. The remote unit is on the north wall of the garage and at last look was reading 30 degrees F. That pretty much goes along with what I felt when I walked out on the porch to check out the snow.

Our plow guy was here today to clean up the remainders from the last storm that had drifted around and to finish up his work, which he felt had been incomplete as the plow broke before he got "done" when he plowed us out from the last snowfall.

On other topics, March 4 I need to take my hex sign "Everything She Touches Changes" (shown here) down to the Community College in Bangor, to be part of the first installation of a rotating show to be put on by the Maine Crafts Association. "As part of MCA's partnership with Eastern Maine Community College in establishing the new degree program in Traditional and Contemporary Craft, we have arranged to create a permanent display of work by MCA members in a large museum display case on the EMCC Bangor campus in Maine Hall. MCA's staff will maintain the display, changing the exhibited works on a regular basis, approximately once each semester." I am a member of the Association and was selected, along with about 8 other crafters, to be included in this initial showing.

This piece was created for a show of work by the Worldwide Women Artists Organization and was included in their international show through March, 2007, at the New Port Ritchie (Florida) gallery. That show was entitled "A Woman's Work is Never Done."

Friday, February 20, 2009

pretty snow

Hopefully after a short bout with the creeping crud, I am on the upswing again. I really have no choice but to go to work today and tomorrow and they are usually heavy days. But I will cope. At least I don't have to try to "look nice" and wear business attire. Our normal gear is jeans and t-shirts (for me, sweatshirts and turtlenecks) but one gal came in one day wearing fuzzy PJ pants (the only clean pair of jeans had an inappropriate rip at the last minute!) so if I feel like sweats, I'll do it. I AM going to layer, as my temperature has not stabilized yet. I was sweating much of the night though upon awakening, the thermometer told me I was about 2 degrees F below my usual normal. I don't feel woozy or weak, at least, though I know I am not 100% and will likely not be as aggressive in the heavier work as I usually am (no 2-litre or mop-bucket workouts this evening! LOL) and for the safety of the customers, I will wash frequently and try to stay on the register (where the $$ is most likely already totally contaminated with germs) and away from the food.

Looking out the window, I am not sure if it is still snowing a bit or if I am just seeing drifting, but I will have to shovel off the porch a bit and the plow guy has been here. We are back to looking like winter in Maine -- as we should in February -- with a fluffy layer covering the brown crud.

After going to let to dog back in, I can report that it is snowing, gently, from the west as usual. The previous snow, all yesterday, came from the East. Most unusual here!

This being Friday, it is the day I set aside to especially honor Frigga and her Handmaidens and tend the cauldron of the Needfire. As long as I have been doing this practice I have done it in the evening after tending worldly chores and concerns. Since I get off late now, and have been worn out from the busy Friday nights at the store I have been thinking about doing it earlier in the day and today I shall do so. We'll see how it works and whether it will become a usual practice. After I am done with this entry, receive and post the Words of Wisdom and have had breakfast and a bath (which I dislike doing in the morning, but after a night of sweating, it's pretty much necessary before I scratch my skin off!) I will go attend the Ladies.

Then when I stagger home from work tonight I can plunk myself straight into bed if I like.

Monday, February 16, 2009

it's SPAY and NEUTER Month!

< soapbox mode >

February is spay and neuter month. I am not sure when/how it started but for the last few years, every veterinary clinic I have know of or been associated with, as well as most humane/animal welfare groups, have had some sort of incentive program to encourage and enable pet owners to get their animals "fixed."

Today our two newest kitties, Moose and Thirteen, are at the Corinth Veterinary Clinic for their surgery and Brandi has been scheduled for the exam that is required for "high risk" critters, a category she falls into on account of being 10. If surgery is found to be an acceptable risk for her, she is scheduled March 2.

If you have animals that have not yet been spayed or neutered, please contact a local vet and talk to them about making arrangements to take this step. It is my opinion that it makes for less stress and more contentment both for the critters and us humans (both pet owners and their neighbors) as well as reducing pet over population.

Thank you for listening. Now DO IT!

< / soapbox mode >

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's been a while

Sometimes life just takes over, but to be honest, I am not sure what it did or how it happened.

I've had a few shifts at the store (one closing, last night followed by a return engagement at 9 this morning undoubtedly fried more than a few brain cells today) and a couple of nights of insomnia (made worse by an increase, though only at night it seems, in congestion and crud flowing down the back of my throat that, because of work the next day and the crazy notion that if I am not drugged, maybe I can actually USE the morning) has been pretty much untreated. Which of course means that I have been less then totally productive in the mornings as well.

Ah, life. sometimes preferable only when you take the time to consider the alternatives! LOL

Yesterday, I was surprised to discover that Valentines Day is apparently a heavy drinking holiday (who would have guessed?!). I came to this conclusion based on the amount of hard liquor and beer that left the store last night -- much more than a typical Saturday. K's comment: Maybe that's what it takes for them to get their women into bed! LOL I did have time to throw a pizza as a surprise for K.. he had been wanting one from the store and I managed to make it heart shaped. We ate half when I got home last night and the rest is for supper, with salad, tonight.

Today I spent the afternoon catching a friend up on a missed Master Gardener class (not that he needed it, though I did need the review, and much more! He's studied botany previously.. I have not) and visiting, as well as returning a canning jar to another friend and making another visit. Both live near each other but not near me, so I didn't get home until after dark. And with my odd hours of late, I am tired.

I won't get to take my NiQuil tonight or tomorrow night either.. Tomorrow I have to have 2 kitties at the vet by 8:30AM for they neuter... Moose and 13's times have come. And Tues starts in Dover at 9 with K's counseling appt, followed by a busy (and as they will be for another couple of months, LONG) day: pick up paycheck on the way to Bangor, EEG appt (for which K needs to be sleep deprived... another reason I won't be getting much sleep Mon night!), and stop at the PO and CU, along with a bit of catch-up grocery shopping and lunch, and of course get K home in time to turn around and head back into Bangor for my Master Gardener class at 6. And they call this a "day off!" LOL Gotta do some shopping though to make sure I have all the stuff to be able to throw chili in the crock pot for supper with friends who are coming over on Thurs (my REAL day off!)

Which reminds me, K likes kidney beans in his chili and they take an inordinately long time to cook.. I better get some started tonight and they can get stored in the fridge, if need be, until time to make chili.

On another note, I am amazed at how well snow melts here in Maine when the temperatures are well below 32 degrees F. As far as I understood the temperature scale, water freezes at 32, which seems to indicate that when it is around 10 degrees lower than that it should likely remain frozen. Not here, apparently, as we have been having constant snow melt for the past few days. First it appeared that the birdbath was getting taller... then there was a small dark patch near it that caught K's attention and wonder. Before I could make good on my intention to snowshoe out to see what it was, the melt continued to reveal about the top 2' of the large flat rock, the existence of which I had forgotten.

Even in the solid ice of the driveway, puddles of standing water appear to be, well, standing... and we have used no salt anywhere but immediately by the steps.


There are chances of snow in the forecast through the week, with the best chance they say come Thurs. Hope it doesn't blow our dinner party!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Yesterday was a day!

Well, they usually are, I gueess...but this one was a long one spent "away" -- appointments, shopping, class... and as much as most of those needed doing and some are sometimes enjoyable, a long day still wears on me.

It started off oddly, as K (apparently) had one of his times of being "not here" during the session with his shrink that started off the day. I am thinking that overall this will be a good thing, as she needs to see the whole picture and when he manages to pull together enough, as he seems to have done up to this point, to self-censor and put the best foot forward, it is not as supportive of his disability or terribly helpful in diagnosis or treatment. But, like many folks I guess (I know this was what make it take so long for my doc, who even knew me fairly well, to recognize my depression) we desire to show ourselves at our best, even when it is overall not to our best advantage.

I am not sure what happened, but he was a bit "off" when we left for the appointment. I dropped him off so I could hit the local drugstore in search of old fashioned Mentolatum (found it! and also found that it is now Cadbury Eggs Season! WOO HOO!! and they were on sale, even... ) When the session was over the counselor came to get me to accompany him out of the office, and I found him just sitting, initially non-responsive and cold/sweaty to the touch even on his hand. He did come back enough to walk to the car, slowly as if he really were not there.. and indeed he wasn't as he "winked out" again halfway down the stairs... stopping as if someone turned off the switch. At least I was able to get him back, saying, "Kevin you are still on the stairs, you need to keep walking"... and he did not fall.

We got him a snack before we left town, as we both sensed that part of the issue might have been his insulin hitting a bit harder/faster than usual, and our second stop in town was Olive Garden, for lunch (after a very quick stop at the PO box). By then he was coming back to this side, remembering, perhaps, bits and pieces of what he had said at the shrink's office...

His new med, prescribed to remove some of the lactic acid (I think) seems to be causing him lots of pain in the kidney area. I keep trying to get him to force fluids more, suggesting a glass of water and a drink (thirsty or not) every 10-15 min... but so far he doesn't seen to be able to do that. Today is a half day at work and I am going to try to give him a drink every 15 min while I am here and see if that helps. A good nurse, I really am not...

We did get groceries stocked up a bit, though to my frustration WalMart was out of the indoor cat food and Beneful in large bags for the mutt... which will mean buying it locally in smaller quantity for now and another trip next week. Ugh.

We did a bit of research at the hardware store on ways to get the weather station up -- didn't buy parts though -- and found that Home Depot here never carries the portable greenhouses that they offer online, so I will not even consider buying one unless someone else in the area springs for one over the 'net and I can see it installed. They say they are good to 60 MPH winds, but I am concerned that they might not hold up well to our blustery hill.

I did have the thought of building a smallish wooden structure, on skids of a sort, with strong eye bolts for ropes and designed to be pulled from location to location by a small tractor, our lawnmower or even people power... wondering what qualifies as "temporary structure" for the town building inspector. I need to make an appt to talk to him at some point SOON... was thinking of that today, but I am still a bit under the weather and feeling like laying low for now.

Our last stop of the day was Hannifords -- not that there was much on our list that we needed to find there (I had not found kitchen matches at Walmart... not sure if they don't stock or I just don't know where to look... so that was about it, but I had a STRONG urge to stop there and was rewarded with finding JONQUILS!

I have this thing (I have written about it earlier) of having daffodils on my altar in February and I was quite frustrated that I had not found anything like them here this month. Hannifords (and other placed) had the potted jonquils LAST month (too early) and there have been tons of tulips - both cut and potted -- this month but it seemed that the minute the calendar turned to Feb. the daffy type things vanished. I have no idea where these two pots of jonquils came from (they were likely left over from last month, as one was rather long in the tooth and they were sporting a "special" marker at 3/$9 marked down from their former price of $3.33 each) but I snagged one and now, all is well.

Though I do have a bit of a complaint for the commercial florist suppliers to stores like Hanniford and WalMart... WHY must you put most of the flowers in bunches of identical items? I see tons of tulips, sorted in bunches -- a bunch of red ones, a bunch of yellow ones etc etc and none mixed. I see other flowers done likewise, and never a bunch of mixed color tulips. And the bunches of mixed flouwers seldom feature the "seasonal" varieties (other than, this time of year, a rose or two). Just makes no sense to me...

Monday, February 9, 2009


... as opposed to leaks, of course. LOL

Today I MUST go to the garage and bring in at least one of the containers I have been saving to use as a mini indoor greenhouse to start seeds and plant the leeks.

Also on the list is a snowshoe trip out to the back with kitty litter and around to the compost with another bucket full.

I have learned from my first Master Gardener class what I knew in the first place, I have a slow compost pile -- because I don't have the "proper mix" of stuff at hand to build a fast one. And that will just have to do. I am also not going to be insulating my pile to keep it working through the long Maine winter, though I did see a great use of pallets in one of the slides at class, to contain the pile. Come spring, when I have use to the farm truck again, I will seek out a few as this will at least allow me to keep the pile from blowing over!

We have lost a good bit of snow over the past day, judging by the amount of fence and post visible in the corner of the dog yard, and the forecast for mid-week is showing temps in the melt range again, though they are also teasing with hints of snow, and rain.

The little birds, now identified as Snow Buntings, seem content to visit every day and yesterday a group of from 4 to over a dozen spent much time sunning themselves on the peak of the garage roof (which annoyed the bedroom cats no end!) and occasionally flitting over to the ground where I am scattering some seed each day.

For the crows, yesterday was a bust. I saw one sitting on the snow pile near the seed with a look of "no way!" on its face, but I did not have any old bread to throw. K fixed that, though, snagging the extra uneaten dinner roll from our lunch out yesterday and I have thrown its crumbs this morning.

Much to be done today, and it is a day at the store, too... tomorrow we will head out for K's appointment at 9 and while he sees the counselor, I'll hit the nearby drug store and then we'll pick up my pay and head into the city for our monthly major shopping, so tomorrow will pretty much be used up away from home.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

January thaw (late) or hints of spring (early)?

A record high temperature of 47 degrees was set at Bangor Maine today
at around noon EST. This breaks the old record of 42 set in 1990. (WeatherUnderground)

It was above freezing when I came home from work last night, shortly after 9 pm and warm today (though it felt a bit cooler thanks to the VERY BRISK) wind we have blowing (gusting to 26 MPH).

We have had some serious melt going on, though the total height of the snow doesn't seem to have dropped much (as per an eyeball assessment of the amount of birdbath visible in the front field.) The driveway was slush and it was easy to clear the dropped snow and ice from the floor of the garage.

I had planned to plant the leek seed today, but the NiQuil I took last night to allow me to sleep kinda ate into my day, so I will go out and pick through the recycled packaging I have been saving for seed flats tomorrow and put them in.

Mostly spend today working on a web site redesign for the Corinth Historical Society ( I am volunteering my time and server space to get them moved off Angelfire -to look more serious and remove my annoyance at the freeserver crap when I go to their site.) I also think it will be a good way to meet folks and to get to know my new home town.

I have been hurting quite a bit of late, at least part is the due to my coughing and such from the crud that I keep almost -- but not quite -- fighting off and part is surely on account of my being "off" a bit after cutting my finger at work while slicing onions. It is healing but of course still hurts (who would guess how much one uses the SIDE of one's left index finger!) and at work I must wear a glove to do anything involving water (for the sake of the finger) and food (for the sake of sanitation, and the finger. I don't think antibiotic ointment and pizza dough make a very healing poultice. LOL)

Tomorrow the forecast is back to more seasonal temps, but by mid-week, once again, they are showing highs in the mid-30s and teasing possible snow. We will see...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Turning Tide 3

Today marks the end of Imbolc-tide as I have it marked in my calendar and there are some things that are interesting to me to take note of...

Without reference to the calendar, my internal calendar prompted me (more like kicked my butt, to be honest!) to take the candle-leavings I had been saving -- mostly unburnt remains of tealites (that do not burn completely if you use them, as I often do, for multiple shorter periods) and re-craft 12 tealites for the Handmaidens and fill a small glass flowerpot-candleholder as a container candle. I had saved enough tealites to have good metal parts and figured how to re-wick the little metal wick holders with bits from the votive wicks I had bought (one of which went into the flower pot, whole. And, of course, I had JUST enough wax for my project!

These candles were used, last night, as part of my tide-turning Hearthfire workings...

And, on a thread that I had much less direct control over, the last of my seed order arrived by post while I was at work yesterday! Now, I seriously need to attack the file cabinet -- or maybe some boxes -- in the garage to find the article I wrote may years ago on the timing of plantings and seed starting indoors to see if it tweaks as well as I hoped when I wrote it, for climates as northern as this.

I am reading that Robin has already started her leeks and some tomatoes, and I am hoping that these are for planting in her season-extending greenhouse (of which I do not have one... yet!) and that I am not too far behind the seed-starting curve.

I know "local wisdom" is to plant everything in your garden after Memorial Day weekend. Not sure where that came from, as I would think most gardeners would be aware that not all plants have the same needs and ability to tolerate cold on one end and heat on the other... but who knows. That is one reason why I am asking the Universe to hook me up with a small tractor or a big tiller (ok, in a pinch a smaller tiller will do... but, Universe, you CAN see the size of the plowed fields thus far, can't you?) because I am concerned that getting "the tractor guy" to come till as early as I would like for the leeks and spinach and lettuce and the like will be impossible.

But, back on track, my seeds have arrived and tomorrow I have a day off so I will get the chance to sort through them and decide who goes into the potting mix now and who waits a bit and which ones I am sending part of up to Robin, to start as backup for me, as I have in the past had a hard time with this part of gardening.

And the Tide rolls on...

I just wish that cut daffodils were not only a March thing here!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

not quite so backlit birds

Well, a few of the flock were at the seed a bit after lunch and did not even attempt to fly when I approached the door, so I was able to try to get a bit better photos.

Still not good ones, on account of the distance, having to use the zoom at max AND the funky double pane window that seems to have just enough fog in the are I have to shoot through in order to get the closest ones, eating on the ground, to make those photos badly out of focus. However, the birds on the snowbank were easier to shoot, even if they were not so cooperative in positioning themselves.

The DO have ruddy bits on them, somewhat as the photos and illustrations of the Redpolls indicate. Perhaps young and females? winter coloration or variation in the species maybe??

Backlit birds not easy to identify

While we were eating breakfast this morning, K noted bird shadows moving past the window (he faces the south kitchen window at the table, I face the north one) and I was not only able to grab the binoculars for a good look, but the camera... and managed to get off a couple of shots before the skittish little fellows took off as K walked into the living room.

I believe that the comment on the previous post, suggesting they are redpolls, may be correct, though I did not see any strong signs of the reddish patches. Even with the binocs, though, I was working at a disadvantage... through a somewhat funky double pane window and against the sun.

However they did stay around to eat today, and play on the snowbanks and that means most likely I will get many more chances to see and photograph them.

Now, if I can just get them around to the north side of the house, in the sunshine!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

BIRDS! -- proof

So I know it's not a great -- not even an adequate -- shot but it was all they would let me get, skittish flock that they are.

These are the same guys I saw the other morning, making an afternoon visit. I have not seen them ON the feeder. I took one that we had brought in, on its stick, as it was leaning badly in the soft soil (pre-freeze and snow that was) and stuck it in the plow guy's snowbank just off the porch, near where I had scattered the seed on the snow and ground and where I throw the bread.

I had thrown bread that this morning... just after seeing a crow casing the joint, and before we headed out for our early morning trip to Milo to the doc and following errands in town, and noted that it seemed to have all been eaten by our return around two.

Sitting her at the computer, my eyes were attracted to flighty movement at the top of the window and when I looked I saw small bird motion flying back up over the roof. Looking out the front door, I spotted the flock on the ground just past the porch, but apparently even my slow motion as I reached for the camera that was sitting on a box nearby and tried to position myself for a shot spooked them. This shot was taken out the office window, as they had regrouped about 25 feet away in the field. But, here again, apparently my movement in the window spooked them as they took off almost instantly. I got off just the one shot, and all are in the air save the single bird far left, which I have enlarged in the oval top right.

If these are your Juncos, (not that anyone can tell from the pic! LOL) are they always that skittish? and are they mostly ground feeders or will they eventually land on the perch area on the feeders?

Monday, February 2, 2009

No groundhog worth his salt... (and other musings)

No groundhog worth his salt would be out, here in Maine, at this time of the year. So I ignore the media hype (but pity poor Phil, the reluctant media 'hog) and instead turn inward.

For a week or so I have felt like I am standing in the ocean, feeling the tide coming in… with each incoming wave washing the shore higher and harder and pushing me forward along with it.

The push to clean and organize, to think of and plan the garden, to put on my farsight vision and look into the coming year, is strong and palpable and seems to come from far outside me. This morning, as I was sitting drinking my coffee and contemplating the universe, I first felt very depressed, tired, sad and overwhelmingly overwhelmed. But I was sitting in my Craft room, before my altar and almost immediately came a bit of reassurance: "hang in there.. this is the year for settling in, for getting in sync with this time and place. You'll have it figured out by next year." While that is good to know, it doesn't REALLY help my feelings of "OH MY GODS how am I to cope at the moment" but I know that too will pass as I continue to put one foot in front of the other. At times, that is not only the best, but the only approach. Just do it...

This is also, in the Northern Tradition, a time to honor the female ancestors (Disting) and to bless the plow and other implements of our work. And since I am working this as a Tide and not, thankfully, a particular day, there will be time enough for me to do this with ALL the implements of my work... from the computer (which was blessed physically, most recently, with a reinstall of software and a new external hard drive) to the paints and brushed in the Craft room, to the (as yet not physically present) tractor/tiller that will help in the garden, along with the cart.

As a physical manifestation of that blessing of distant tools, I will take the time to clean and tend the riding mower, which was (despite K's intention) put away dirty. And I have had the prompting to melt down the remaining candle ends and bits, to pour new small candles -- what part they will play in all this has yet to be shown to me, but I have put that on my list for tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a day that will start early, as we have a dr. appt for K Milo, at the doc's request, to talk about some of the issues we have not yet addressed. Some time back the counselor gave me a list of things she thought the MD should be looking at, and I have been holding the list, waiting for the "right time" to bring it up. Tomorrow it that time. We "should" be doing a major shopping trip but with me working and doing some eating at the store, we are not going through food as quickly as we had been, so I am unlikely to do it this time, in order to make the town trip a shorter one. K (and I for that matter) both need shoes and I need boots, so that will be on the list, but I do want to get back home effeciently so that I have some time here before heading out for my first Master Gardener class. Which reminds me, I need to take a check so I can pay them the $100 for that class!!

I had planned to do the candles tomorrow, but we will see... Wed I have to work (just a short day) so it may get put off until then, if I do not have sufficient time to properly do it tomorrow.

I am wondering if I am going to have to fight to keep from getting close to full time hours at the store as the season progresses? I am hoping not, as I told them, when I signed on, that I didn't want more than 32 hours -- 35 max... This week I was scheduled for 37, but managed to trade away 8 of them to a coworker who had a very thin week, so I am down to 29 which made me much happier, as it is closer to what I have been getting all along. I am glad, especially in this economy, to HAVE a job; I am even happier that I am in a position where I can live on less than full-time-wage-slave hours and at a realtively low wage at that.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


As I commented on Maine Nature News some time ago, we had put out bird feeders shortly after moving to Hearthfire Hill, but they went totally ignored. At first I figured there were lots of weed seeds in the back fields, and indeed we saw may (unidentified) small birds clinging to the side of the growth and flitting about. I had hopes that, once the snow fell, they would move on to the feeders, but it didn't happen.

Eventually the seed all blew out and I did not refill, as it was hard keeping the seed IN and removing the wet, untouched seed in the feeder cups on a regular basis when no one seemed interested. Indeed, we saw and heard almost no birds.

Then, later, I would hear larger ones at a distance, occasionally spotting them from afar....crows mostly.

This put me in mind of how the birds came to our feeder in NC. Originally, there, with trees and houses and -- one would think -- others feeding, we also noted a lack of feathered ones. Then, gradually, I would notice a gull flying high, or sitting on a distant lamp post.

I began feeding the gulls, who soon came to be my regular Sunday congregation, and shortly after that we began to notice other, smaller birds beginning to appear at the feeder... doves and song birds, first a few then by the dozens.

I began to wonder if the crows would serve a similar function here.. if I could attract their attention, if the smaller birds would also eventually come. So, as I reported to MNN, I began throwing out bread crumbs -- when I had them -- for the crows. Eventually I saw one in the area where I threw crumbs and began to do it more regularly. And they began to come more regularly... not like my flock of gulls, but often enough that even without watching I would see one or more in the yard each day.

A few days ago, when I went to the garage to bring in the bulbs I had not gotten planted last fall, I spotted the bag of bird seed and on a whim, grabbed a handful into a container and threw in more or less in the area where I throw bread. It is at the side of the drive, accessible by a hand-toss from the porch or driveway and the closest (currently still empty) feeder is a snowshoe trip around the corner. Only about 12' or so, but in deep snow.

Today as I was washing dishes and K was sitting in the living room, able to see out the front door, he commented on a small bird, then many, that he could see on the ground! I did not get a good look at them, but they were not sparrows (larger, but smaller than a robin), all in grays, black and a bit of white, possibly on their undersides and wings. There was a pretty good size bunch -- maybe 30 -- and the flew away in a definite flock when something startled them before I could grab the camera.

A glance at the bird book makes me guess possibly chickadees -- though not likely as I know these guys pretty well, having had one hop down my leg once, as I lay in the hammock, being part of the universe -- or possibly nuthatches or juncos. When I saw them fly, they seemed to have kind of swept-back wings, like I associate with swifts and swallows... and they were definately eating the seed that was on the ground.

Hopefully they will return and I will be able to photograph or at least identify them.

Tomorrow's chores will include filling the feeders when I go to take out the kitty litter, you can be sure!


I wonder if, here in Maine, I will be able to find bunches of cut daffodils with which to grace my altar? Thus far, I have not seen any in the regular places I look for flowers -- the grocery and big box discount stores -- though they have potted and forced ones.

But then, so do I, when they grow. I bought a big bag of (unfrozen!) potting soil and dragged in the plastic throw-away pots from the berries I planted last late summer, along with the bulbs that had not got placed in the ground.

Gods help the ones I planted, by the way... I will be out there hacking away at the snow banks pushed up by the plow guy, to allow my "early spring" flowers to grow before summer. Next year we WILL BE marking the "do not disturb" areas...

I have 6 pots with an assortment of a few daffys, a few tulips and a few more crocus. Some of them were starting to push little ends out of their bulbs, even though they were stored, willy-nilly, in the back of the (uninsulated) garage.

I have never tried starting these babies in the house, so wish me luck.

I still would like to find some cut flowers. Though I am not feeling the dread of February, I do feel the call for spring flowers -- specifically daffys -- on the altar. This harks back to years ago when I first separated from my husband, was living in a tiny, mostly uninsulated cabin, with no money and not much else (I moved out in October, survived the winter with scrounged wood, my home canning that he hadn't wanted and veggies gleaned from a neighbor's market garden). Every now and then I was able to catch a ride to town to sell plasma for a few bucks for eggs or the like and on one of those trips, at this time of the year, I saw a bouquet of daffys and recalled a poem I had read: (as I somewhat badly recalled it)

When of all thy worldly goods thou art bereft,
And of thy meager store
Two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

But I don't like hyacinths... and when I saw the daffys, I heard that in my head as "buy daffodils to feed thy soul" and so it has been ever since.