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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Early Winter


Winter has come to the Inland Empire. About two inches of snow on the ground, bearing the tracks of turkey and deer from the house to the mailbox. They've come down from the hills, scrounging for food. This morning six does and yearlings were milling about under the willow trees in the front yard, eating leaves that had blown down during the week and digging through the snow for still green grass. I threw them some apples that had gone bad in our cold room; a few of the shyer deer, skittered away when I opened the door, but the bolder ones went right for the apples, some of which were purloined from under their black, wet noses by large turkey hens. Later, when I walked a couple of letters to the mailbox, about 20 turkeys were gathered across the partially frozen creek, and another 40 were huddled along our north fence line.

The forecast is for rain and snow most of the next 10 days, but no prediction of accumulation. So, I'm holding off on fixing the plow blade to my ATV, thinking I'll get to do some more work on the hills - cutting wood and building up our burn piles - before the serious weather hits.

Hunters are out in force; the gunshots sporadically echoing in the valley throughout the day. Last week a deer hunter knocked on our door, saying he'd hit a turkey on the county road with his truck, asking if he could remove it from our property. I told him he could. Kerry later said that he went through the wire fence along the county road and didn't reattach it to the gate. I'll take care of that when the weather warms a bit next week. We think he might have left a pile of turkey residue, including it's final bowel movement. Pete, our black, long-haired cat, showed up later that day with his head-fur full of turkey crap. Had he rolled in the remains? Kerry cleaned him up with a handful of baby wipes, and now he's back to his usual handsome - though crabby - self. Another hunter knocked at the door a day later and asked if he could shoot "one of your deer." We declined. During the years, we have come to think of them as our deer, and they're not for hunting.

Piles of firewood have been building up in the back meadow: mixed pine and fir, aspen, and apple. We've advertised it in the local free ad paper, and have sold a cord of the softwood. People have become really particular about their wood - they need the rounds split; the logs are too long for the wood stove; they really want just red fir; the apple wood is too old and holey. Maybe the wait-till-the-last-minute crowd won't be a picky as winter closes further in.

So, with snow on the ground, there's less time working in the hills. Watching a lot of football (great game between Oklahoma State and Iowa State yesterday) and waiting for my Kindle Fire to arrive, so I can catch up on free e-books I've downloaded to my computer. Amazon.com shipped it Nov. 14, and it's been on the milk train since: Phoenix, Los Angeles, Kent, Washington. Funny thing is, the Kindle comes with a two-month Amazon Prime try-out. One of the benefits of Prime is two-day shipping on everything - except, it seems, the Amazon Kindle Fire.

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