Tails and Feathers

Northwoods Journal

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I actually slept relatively soundly last night, a rarity up here.  I had some really bizarre, mixed-up dreams and didn’t even hear Mark and the dogs get out of bed this morning.

Knowing we had a full morning planned, I got up not long after Mark left for hunting.   He had left the harvest tree glowing and the Christmas lights on, so I sat in the dark with my coffee and tried to soak in the silent beauty.  The first chickadees arrived at the feeder at 7:30 and the blue jays not long after that.  I counted 12 blue jays at one time!  I had been wondering where the squirrels were and this morning as I sat at the kitchen table I saw three stealthy black squirrels climb down out of the trees.  Eventually they made their way toward the feeders but Ruby spotted them and started to bark, scaring them back into the woods.

Thankfully the temperature was hovering just above 20 degrees when I put out the bird food and the water pump worked just fine.

I wanted to surprise Mark by being dressed and ready when he got back from hunting.  I washed up and did my hair as best I could with my limited resources, since I couldn’t “shower” with the tub filled with gallon jugs of water!  All perfumed up with my “face” on, I waited for my hunter’s return, enjoying the antics of the white-breasted nuthatches, chickadees, hairy woodpeckers, blue jays and black squirrels while I waited.  I have also found a Christian radio station that I have been enjoying while I’m here alone – 90.5 The Promise FM.  They have been playing a mix of contemporary Christian and Christmas music.  The CD player has decided, after 12 years, to give up the ghost.

More blue jays.

More blue jays.

White-breasted nuthatch.

White-breasted nuthatch.

Another decent chickadee photo!

Another decent chickadee photo!

Mark came in from hunting a little later than usual.  I had hoped that meant success, but unfortunately, he didn’t see anything except a fox.  He had requested waffles for breakfast, so of course I obliged.  Funny, we never eat big breakfasts at home, except on holidays, but up here we eat them every morning!  I always go home feeling like I’ve gained 5 pounds.

All bundled up for a hike.

All bundled up for a hike.

Before heading out we took the dogs for a quick walk up the road.  (The above photo was actually taken on Wednesday but I forgot to insert it into that post – probably because I was trying to do it in a hurry using public wi-fi at a sport’s bar!  I pretty much looked the same every time we went out.)  Seemed just a tad ironic that as we walked we saw a big doe cross the road just ahead of us!  The sky was heavy with clouds and looked like it could snow any second, but it didn’t, which was a bit disappointing.  Daisy was less than pleased with her short period of exercise but we had other things to do, so she had to get over it.

Originally I thought our plan for today included a trip to the dump, but thankfully Mark nixed that and said we didn’t have to go this time.  Instead, we just went into town to the Baklava Shop for baklava and shortbread (which we certainly don’t need but wanted!) then to the Atlanta High School for their annual Christmas bazar, which is huge.  We had fun looking at all the handcrafts and found a few items I couldn’t live without.  Leaving the craft show, we headed back into town in hopes of spending a little time with our friend at the junktiques store, but he was closed.  From the looks of things, he doesn’t plan to be open over the winter months.

With no place else to go but home, we returned to the trailer.  Mark was still a bit worried about the firewood so we scrounged up some more logs from our woods.  I had found a really nice maple that had fallen in our front woods and he was able to cut some of that up with the ax.  A few other large pieces we drug under the overhang at the back of the trailer and he will bring his chainsaw up in January to cut it up.  He was cutting some of it up with the circular saw and said that was just too much work!

Early afternoon Mark went out for his last try at a big buck, or a big doe, or even a small doe would make him happy at this point.  I kept myself occupied watching the birds, reading a magazine and a book, packing up some of the dirty laundry.  I also broke out the Cocomotion and made myself a cup of hot chocolate.  If you don’t have a Cocomotion machine, I am sorry for you.  They are the best and unfortunately the Mr. Coffee Company no longer manufactures them.  The one I have up here I found at a garage sale.  My one at home, I used it until I burned up the motor and thankfully was able to find a new one on e-bay.

Mark came in a bit early from hunting.  He was hungry and somehow his feet had gotten wet.  (I later found out why, he has a giant crack in his boots!)  I quickly started on dinner, a fancy chicken and kale casserole from a Martha Stewart magazine.  Even though I halved the recipe, it still made way too much.  I haven’t gotten this cooking-for-two thing down to a science yet.  After dishes Mark put the dogs out and could hear coyotes howling so he came in to get me so I could hear them, too.  The temperature must be rising because we could hear the snow drip, drip, dripping.

Yesterday at Meijer we got the dogs a couple of new toys – monkeys that are stuffed with something that makes a crinkly sounds.  It’s funny because they are just like children – we bought two of the exact same and they still wanted to fight over one!

Ruby guarding her new toy as she looks for the pesky black squirrel.

Ruby guarding her new toy as she looks for the pesky black squirrel.

Ruby and her new toy.

Ruby and her new toy.

Daisy and Ruby wanting the same toy!

Daisy and Ruby wanting the same toy!

I struggle knowing that this is our last night here for two months.  The plan is for me to come back up with the guys in January when they come for Sno*Drift, mostly to keep the “home fires burning” while they are out in the cold watching the rally race.  But I worry that my female presence may put a crimp in the guys’ style, even though Mark assures me that won’t be the case.  Plus I will be cooped up alone here for the entire weekend as the plan right now is to leave the beagles at home.  Oh well, that is a long way away yet, so no need to get ahead of myself.

Tomorrow I will have to take down the harvest tree, pack up all the decorations and start thinking about Christmas at home.

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