57

57 degrees today and sunny. Woohoo! Still quite a bit of snow and ice on the ground, but it is melting nicely.

Our water is on and we didn’t have any damage to the pipes.

The septic has thawed and working just fine.

I am definitely not moving any farther north. This was not my idea of a good time.

I celebrated today by ordering more seeds for the spring garden. We had just started our greenhouse at the onset of the first winter storm. It did well, stayed warm enough not to build up a significant amount of snow even without heat. Our seedlings stayed in the kitchen since we didn’t have time to finish the construction.

The chickens are much happier now that things are warming. Our coop is still a work in progress and has been designed for 100 degree summer days. There are things I would do differently as we finish it if I anticipated much of this type of weather. We didn’t have enough plastic to wrap the trampoline cover we used for the front and back. A heat lamp with concrete block pavers underneath it held enough heat when combined to the deep bedding method we’ve been doing. All our compostable stuff and kitchen scraps go in there so they do the work for us.

I’ve been learning as much as I can about permaculture through books and videos on You Tube. I can really appreciate the differences in northern and extreme Southern gardening now. Our rock-lined paths are pretty dangerous obstacles under layers of snow and ice. Heavy mulching seems to help things thaw faster so that was helpful. It’s also helping to absorb the water as everything thaws. The “waterways” I’ve been digging to help save water and divert it to our raised beds don’t really work for snow and ice the way they do for our heavy but infrequent rains.

We are learning as we go and re-purposing and salvaging as many materials as we can. It’s sometimes hard to watch the You Tube videos and see the beautiful gardens. We are just starting out and our set-up seems a little junky. I like the idea of making do with as much as we can without purchasing, but sometimes I wish it looked a little better. Baby steps, right?

Now that the water is on, it’s time to go catch up on dishes and laundry! I hope that where ever you are you are warm and enjoying fresh, running water. Both are a precious gift…

Peace.

Alliteration is Good…unless it’s Saturday’s Snake

We’ve had a very wet spring season following an unusually warm winter.  As a result, the news has been full of dire snake warnings and reports of snakes in homes.  Ugh.

Kind of everyone’s worst nightmare unless you are one of those weird people who like snakes.  Some reptiles are okay – even interesting – from a distance.  One or two are even okay up close.  Snakes are horrible.  I’m not going to apologize or try to understand snake lovers, at all.  I understand, intellectually, the necessity of snakes in the whole ecosystem thing.  I don’t want to exist peaceably with them.  I want them to live somewhere else.  If they venture into my world…they will die.  They have their space – somewhere else.  I have mine.  I really, really, really don’t like snakes.

Last night, when my youngest went out to lock the chicken house, she heard a rustling in the leaves and saw a snake.  With relative calm, she came to let me know.  I encouraged her (shrieking) to go tell her Dad.  There are, after all, women’s jobs and men’s jobs.  Snakes – definitely man work.

Husband deftly shot the head right off of that 5+ foot rat snake.  End of story, right?

Tonight, youngest daughter quietly suggested that it might be my turn to shut up the chickens.  Sure, no problem.  Son bravely volunteered to accompany me armed with his sword:  A Dunedain chieftain’s longsword that was used by Aragon.  Not the actual sword, but a replica.  Inwardly I was laughing at him.  As I was locking up the chickens, he asked why we had left the snake in the netting surrounding the chicken yard.

I replied that the snake had been thrown way across the yard to be part of the ecosystem – to be eaten by some kind of predator farther up the food chain.

He replied that this had obviously not happened as the snake was right there in front of him.

Sure enough, there was another snake.

Oldest daughter comes to the rescue with the shotgun.  Son and oldest daughter argue over who will shoot the snake.  I will spare you the ensuing lengthy discussion (argument) between siblings.  Oldest daughter shoots snake with the double barrel shotgun.  Son claims she missed and she claims she winged him.  To be fair, the snake had a very small head.  It was dark.  It is unclear whether she mortally wounded the snake.  Son hacked at the snake’s head with his sword.  Son’s friend removed the snake’s head with a bowie knife.  I’m pretty sure the snake was dead at that point.

During this process, I have called husband at work.  He is listening to the play-by-play commentary by youngest daughter as she sits in the house watching through the window.

He repeatedly asks what kind of snake it is.  It was hard to tell at this point.  Remember, it was dark outside and the snake was not in one piece anymore.  Closer examination of the corpse revealed it to be another rat snake.

A cleansing ceremony with fire has completed the evenings’ events.  The snake has been doused with lighter fluid, cremated and finished off with a fire extinguisher.

Oldest daughter is online looking for ways to discourage snakes from taking up residence around here.  A brainstorming session came up with numerous possible solutions including ordering mongoose urine online.  I’m encouraging further research.

Decluttered today:

  1. a snake
  2. more construction left-overs
  3. a shirt
  4. a pile of cardboard boxes saved for some unknown future use
  5. a bowl