Thursday, November 13, 2014

Come, walk with me...

First things first! Let's walk into the laundry room and throw a load in.  There's always wash to do,  and look who's blooming just for us.  It's the Holiday Cactus, who started blooming on Halloween and will continue blooming through all the holidays up to Easter.  The only ones who see her beauty are those who do the household laundry.  (Me.)

Next we'll jump in the pick-up and go to The River to feed the cows.  Normally it's a little early in the season to start feeding cake to the cows, but with the very cold temperatures, they need a little extra feed for their transition into the winter cold.    We've had daily highs in the single digits and nighttime lows below zero. That kind of cold burns up a lot of energy when you live outdoors.

After our chores we take a lunch break, and then I like to take a walk outside.  Since it is so cold, I pull on my woollies and heavy boots and trudge through the shelter belts.  When there is wind with this cold -- and there is -- it's really hard to be outside for long, but walking through the trees makes it a little more bearable.  They break the wind plus I get a change of scenery from the open prairie.

We do have to walk across some prairie to get to the next shelter belt.  There are three tree patches  that I walk through most of the time.  I'm so glad that Hubby and his dad planted these shelter belts long ago.  They not only provide wind and snow protection for livestock, but they create wildlife habitat too.

A jackrabbit runs by on the road and stops just for a moment so I can snap a picture.  His fur is turning white, but isn't fully white like it will be soon.  He's well camouflaged, isn't he?

The grass and the curlycup gumweed has a nice dusting of snow.

 Up in the trees you can see a Sharptail Grouse.  They blend in so well right now that often I don't see them until they move or until they fly up....

...Like this one below  How did I get this shot?  Luck.

 After our walk we'll warm up inside with a cup of tea or coffee and a cookie.  And soon enough there are chores to do.  I gather the eggs early in the afternoon so they don't freeze and crack.  The chickens are waiting for the leftovers from my slop bucket.  They love to eat our throw-aways.  The only warmth they have in the coop is a heat lamp that keeps the water bucket from freezing over.  I try to keep enough bedding on the floor so their feet don't get too cold.  They seem happy enough so far, but I might need to spread some extra bedding down if it stays cold.  The handsome Speckled Sussex rooster doesn't have a name, but he should.  Do you have some suggestions?

The sun sets early and the nights seem very long to me now.  It is fine with me.  It's as it should be.  Winters bring a slowness to everything.  You can't hurry when its cold.  It takes longer to dress and undress.  It takes longer to walk.  Cattle move slower and pick-up trucks take a while to warm up before we can go to work.  These November nights I'm ready for bed at about 8:30, but I stick it out until 10.  I'm working on more embroidery in the evenings -- both patching little jeans and stitching tea towels.  I'm going to start darning Hubby's thick, winter socks.  Mending is satisfying work.  I enjoy it. I ought to pick a new book to read too.  What are you doing to occupy the long, dark evenings of winter?  Any book recommendations or ideas for Christmas gift making?  Tell me in your comments.  

I have come to regard November as the older, harder man's October. I appreciate the early darkness and cooler temperatures. It puts my mind in a different place than October. It is a month for a quieter, slightly more subdued celebration of summer's death as winter tightens its grip.  
~Henry Rollins


  1. What a lovely walk. I really love reading about life on prairie. I like that you spend your evening with a needle in your hand.
    I have been hooking now that it gets dark so early. It is cold enough having that rug on my lap is so nice. I really do like this about November the slowing down of the world.
    I keep thinking of getting some book to read, but right now, I would rather be hooking.
    Stay warm and I really do love your walks and your descriptions. They put me in mind of when I was a little girl and listening to my Dad and my Grandpa looking up at the sky discussing the weather and what they were going to feed the cows, now that it was November. It is all good.

  2. That was such a lovely stroll, slow enough to take in all the details but with enough pace to keep the blood moving! My name suggestion for Mr. Rooster is 'Sinclair'. It seems a name that begins with an "S" is appropriate.
    A book suggestion? I am thoroughly enjoying "Those Who Love" by Irving Stone, which is the historical biography of Abigail and John Adams' life. It's well written and quite engaging for a blustery evening's read.

    Thanks for the walk!


  3. Thank you for the tour. I was hoping you had warmer weather than us. I always feel so bad for the animals when it gets below 0 and the wind starts to blow. Poor buggers. Great grouse shots. We lost all of ours in the blizzard last year. Funny how things are different. Up here to plant a tree I have to cut down three. Growing up on the prairie I planted hundreds with dad and watered them all summer. I love your quote at the end. Hope the weather warms.

  4. Just a wonderful, atmospheric I think is the word, blog post. Your jackrabbit picture is stunning - I'm saving him in my screensaver Art folder with your name in the title. Thank you, Jody, for showing us how to live a civilized prairie life.

  5. Oh, and I'm reading Peony by Pearl S Buck right now on my Kindle. It's a wonderful story but maybe not long enough to last much of the winter - sort of a page-turner for me. Feather Crowns is a longer one that is a good story for a winter's night....

  6. When I see that Jack Rabbit with those ears it makes me think of Brian Jacques Redwall series of children's books. Have you ever read them? I really enjoy children's books and these were delightful.

  7. Jody, this is such an enjoyable post and truly captures the essence of winter's edge. I go to bed around 8, sometimes 9, depending upon the day's work and energy expended. If I'm not exhausted, I'll read for a bit then sleep and rise between 5 and 6 the next morning. I'm reading Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, her journal written in the 1800's.
    This morning it was 10 and takes a while to dress the dogs and myself for outdoor chores. Next week, single digits and more snow; winter is forcefully inserting itself into autumn.

  8. Thank you for the walk; I enjoyed it so much. Here I am fighting for a little inner peace in the midst of outer chaos. Today I will do some house cleaning and lots of laundry. I have not had a chance to do any handwork in months, but I hope to get back to it this winter. Have you read any Ivan Doig? I especially enjoyed Dancing at the Rascal Fair and also The Whistling Season.

  9. I'm doing quite a bit of knitting and crochet -- mostly scarves and fingerless gloves. Made soap and bee balm :) For reading, I'm finishing up 'Ivanhoe,' which I've been slow with. I'm really thinking of reading ALL the Canterbury Tales, after I get done with the ones I'm reading for Julia's school. I also ordered 3 little books for myself for Christmas - a Jill Barklem, 'The Secret Staircase' I think; 'Knock at a Star', a children's poetry book recommended by GretchenJoanna, and 'The Railway Children' a movie I love dearly. Still making my own chai and enjoying hubby's good bread each morning. We had a warm veggie soup for supper tonight with some toasted onion bread. Thanks for your lovely photos. Isn't that grouse chubby!!?

  10. I love that jack rabbit! We never see them. Oh, the cows are coming home, aren't they? Are you surviving the cold alright? Bill's having a hard time adjusting to it. It's so cold when we go out walking!
    I have read and read and read lately. I liked Windows to Our World by Sarah Brown, Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt, The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler, Eyes Wide Open by Steve DeWitt, Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good by Jan Karon . . . just to name a few!

  11. We see a lot of rabbits around here, but they sure don't have big long legs like your JackRabbit -- what a great picture. Thank you for taking us along with you -- what beautiful days you have Jody. We got about 2" of snow last night. It seems so early to me this year!

  12. We just had our first snow - and it's melting already - Nov is a little early for the snow to stay here on the Island. Many people grumble at the sight of snow but I'd really rather have it than dreary rain. Everything is so bright and sparkly. I enjoy the long evenings too. I like reading - have you ever read The Country Child by Alison Uttley? A re-read for me - it's one of my favourites. I think you'd like it very much. I'm also reading The Provincial Lady books by E. M. Delafield - they make me snicker :) I also play the piano and practice my harp and violin. and my daughter and I are re-watching old Christmas movies. You're inspiring me to get outside more. I've ordered a good down jacket and a pair of warm boots keeping in mind that "there's no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing". Thanks for sharing your day Jody!

  13. I do so enjoy reading your posts on your farming life on the prairie and taking a virtual walk with you. I can understand why you appreciate those woods as wind breaks and areas for creatures to shelter. I like the photos of the jackrabbit which I think must be similar to our hares and also the grouse in the tree and in flight. I'm reading Willa Cather 'My Antonia' at the moment. I'm sure you know it as it must be an American classic. I like to read about rural life with a lot of description of the land as well as the farming life although I enjoy novels with a story element too. I've been rereading Lark Rise to Candleford written by Flora Thompson, which is autobiographical. I read slowly because of poor eyesight and have to magnify all close work. Keep warm when you can during these cold days.

  14. I just looked at the fire cider link and imagine my disappointment when it did not call for cinnamon whiskey. You always come up with the most interesting things to make. Your beloved holiday cactus is always a treat to see. It's beautiful. I've been in a bit of a reading slump (esp fiction) but I am reading a good book on King Solomon by Ryken. I'm going to go see what others recommend now. Hugs from Texas, Leslie

  15. I popped in from Quiet Home and wanted to tell you how much I've enjoyed looking through a few of your posts. Especially the thoughts about winter being a time of slowing down - I loved your thoughts and the cozy feelings they stirred in my heart.


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