I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
John Burroughs

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

“Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, Of cabbages and kings “

 February 21, 2023

 Thank you, Lewis Carroll

Well, not so much that, but bits and bobs of other stuff. For some reason, perhaps because of the disappointingly un-wintery winter we are experiencing, my writing mojo has fled.... The weather has gone from low +C degrees yesterday, with beautiful sunshine, melting snow and making mud appear here and there throughout the ice that is the driveway; to -11C(12F) this morning, and now we are living in a snow globe. Huge, soft flakes are mesmerizingly drifting down, obscuring the landscape....and covering up all the ice.

We've been keeping relatively busy doing various things. One project has been replacing our smaller solar panel array (circa 2006, we think.) with new, more efficient panels. Hubby has done his research, and with input from our Solar Guru, it was determined that the system could accommodate the added power from new panels. All these miserable mild cloudy days, that have been most of our winter so far, has had us using the generator more than we ever have had to before. Getting the new panels into the system has involved; getting new mounting angle iron, welding sections to get the length needed, marking and drilling the mounting holes, then cleaning and applying paint. The old panels and their mounting frame were dismantled, then the new frame was put up, and finally the new panels mounted. We just bolted the panels on this morning, it being a still, calm day. All that remains is to hook up all the wiring.

Taking them down.....

Up, and finished for now....

The usual winter birds are here, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, and the somewhat regular visit of a female Pileated Woodpecker to the seed tray. This morning a Snow Bunting arrived, and was on the snowbank under the bird feeder, pecking at bits. That is the first early spring migrant. We expect his mates will be showing up and hanging out for a while as spring proceeds north, and patches of bare ground emerge from the snow.

Our resident fox has found himself a mate, as they were caught on camera together. Marten tracks have been regularly all around the buildings and vehicles, and right across the step by the back door. Recently, we got to see him in person, contorting himself on the hanging suet holder, trying to get at it's contents.

Another day, on returning from a snowshoe hike, our attention was drawn to tracks visible up on the roof. Yes...Marty had scaled the end of the woodpile in the house woodshed, hopped up on the little roof over the back step, on up, over the back porch roof, and onto the house roof, going as far up as the ridgepole. Guess he wanted to see the view from up there!

The mild temperatures, interspersed with days of snow has kept the snowshoe trails firm with those odd skiffs of new snow padding them and making for quiet walking.The foxes use the trails regularly, their precise little canine tracks trotting along on all of the trails. Recently the coons have awakened and ventured out, their little five-fingered hand prints very distinct in the sun-softened snow. A moose has been checking out the line trail between us and our neighbour to the north, its tracks earlier were deep, well spaced punctures down through the snow, and are now big ovals, melted out then snowed in, dimples in the snow.

Recently I got the urge for a bit of baking, other than the regular bread and muffins, and tried a braided sweet egg bread, with rum-soaked currents kneaded in, after which each strand was rolled in cinnamon before braiding. It makes nice toast.

Another morning was spent making pierogi with the fun help of “Hunky Bill's Pierogi Maker”, something our son gave me for Christmas a long time ago. After trying several recipes for the dough, I've found one with a whole 500ml carton of sour cream mixed in, that makes a nice pliable dough. After covering the HBPM with a sheet of dough, the filling is pressed gently into each pocket, then a second sheet of dough is spread over the top and compressed with some vigorous pinning, which presses through to separate the pierogi.

The filling was potato, roasted garlic and cream cheese. 

Seed orders have been prepared and sent, and notice has been received that the first one will be in the mail this Thursday.