I know. The title of this post is so over the top. But the reality for me, silly or not, is that after the last eight years, I have been pathologically focused on tomorrow’s election. I spend far too much time at my desk checking and re-checking the news. I haven’t had any exercise other than chores in a month. I’ve been listening to news updates in the middle of the damn night using an earbud and a tiny FM radio. And let’s not talk about my consumption of that fluid that kept the Irish from ruling the world all these years. As a not unexpected result of all of these, my acid reflux alone is keeping at least one pharmaceutical company in the black this quarter.
But I am poised for all that to change.
Until then, I’ve just been trying to take a little extra time at home and pay attention to the arrival of fall. The evenings are growing quieter in the cool temps, and the lack of insect clatter allows the other sounds to carry. Three times in the past few weeks I’ve heard the coyotes a mile or so away. The surprising thing to me is that they crank up for less than a minute at a time, then go completely silent for at least an hour if not longer. It’s like they don’t want humans to be able to get a fix on their location and they cram all their chat into a few seconds. If so, pretty crafty….
Then there have been the waves of birds heading south at sunset. A couple of nights ago we counted six small pods of then, each five or ten minutes behind the previous one. No more than fifty to a pod. I have no idea what they are, with only an occasional ‘peep’ coming down from on high. Our local numbers of goldfinches, chickadees, etc. seem lower than in previous years, with the feeders pretty much ignored, but I expect that will change as the cool weather settles in. We did watch a couple of flycatchers sort of ‘corkscrew’ toward the ground in quite the aerial display the other morning.
As for bugs, we’ve had more yellow jackets this fall than I ever remember seeing. They’re well-behaved but in much larger numbers than usual. We’ve had the usual wave of ladybugs in the last few days. I’m pretty sure that these are the real deal, and not false ladybugs. But now that I know how how to tell the difference, I’ll have to give them a closer look. On another bug note, two neighbors about four miles away each reported their first summer of fire ants as the little buggers migrate closer to us. Oh, goody.
It was a very dry October, with us only getting 1.3 inches for the entire month; less than half of normal. My cistern is down to less than 3000 gallons, but that’s still enough to hold us for another six weeks or so, even if I don’t backfeed from the well. There’s a chance of rain over the next 48 hours from a pretty good rainmaker system southeast of us that’s sorta-kinda headed our way. Fingers crossed.
In any event, I got maybe half of the new firewood sliced into rounds and tarped this weekend. Since it’s green, I’d like it to start drying ASAP, though I have a fair amount of dry wood laid by. I was hoping to get all of the slicing and stacking done but got side-tracked on getting up some new garden fence to allow the chickens access to more of the garden now that the tomatoes and pole beans are done. That pretty much completes my garden rotation structure that we use with the chickens, previously described here. The Jersey Giant pullets are growing quickly, with the largest almost hen-sized.
I also got side-tracked helping a good friend get in some of his firewood. It’s more than a fair deal for me since I get the use of his hydraulic splitter when I’m ready. He had picked out a damaged hickory that he wanted dropped that was about two feet in diameter, with most of its remaining branches on the side that seemed to have a slight lean in our favor. It seemed a piece of cake. First he cut the wedge. Then the back cut. Nothing. OK, a slightly bigger wedge and a deeper back cut. Still nothing. More back cut. Nothing. At this point this substantial tree is perfectly balanced on a strip of wood less than two inches wide. At that point the saws were shut down and the steel wedges and maul were called in. Two minutes of wedge-driving and down it came, right on target. The slicing and hauling (thanks to his front-end loader tractor, equipped with a carry-all) went smoothly, and the wood was deposited a half-mile through the woods at his house. Love me some tractor.
On Friday, I also managed a couple of hours of fishing at another friend’s pond, resulting in my catching a two-pound bass on my last cast. I’m not sure which of us was more surprised, me or the fish, because he was landed in short order on six-pound line with no skill involved. I kissed this one on the lips and gave him a get-out-of-jail-free card. A great way to end a gorgeous day.