It was the last day of first semester today, and the teens of the household rejoice and clap their hands, figuratively at least – such a visual display of joy in front of parents would be far too uncool. Above are the teens themselves – call them Sound and Lights, because that’s what they were called during the Senior musical theatre production last week – and here’s the picture of them in the booth to prove it.
At the beginning of the month was Dad’s birthday – the cake was made from scratch by our eldest daughter – as in eggs, flour, blood sweat and tears (not really), and a lot of chocolate. I could have only the smallest sliver thanks to the gallstone diet, but that just meant more for everyone else. Please note that the candles do not represent his actual age (though that might be what he wished).
This is why it’s called Island View Beach – the nearest island is Canadian, the others you can see in the picture are American – the small islands in this strait are called the Gulf Islands if they’re Canadian, and the San Juan Islands if they’re American. Way in the background, more or less centre picture is Mount Baker, a volcano that is pretty much asleep but which steams occasionally – it’s in Washington State in the US. I don’t know why, but Mt Baker is always referred to as “he” around here – as in “he’s looking really clear today”.
This is one of the smaller flocks we’ve chased off this week. I was asked why I cared about the Canada geese being on the field when I go to great trouble to put chickens on my field for their fertilizing value. The geese certainly provide that, but they also mow the grass very short in a season when it’s not growing, but the main reason I don’t want them is that this field is quite soggy and the geese paddle around with their feet making craters and mudholes. If it was a couple of pairs, or even a dozen birds, I’d probably ignore them, likewise if they were just passing through on their way North or South, but they live here year round, and as you can see, this small flock of 80 (I counted) is more than just a few. Earlier in the week, I counted 120 at one time. We’ve been chasing them off every day, so far, and the numbers are dwindling, so hopefully I can be more persistent than them. Hunting is not an option – no gun, no license, and there’s about 10 square metres in the middle of the field where I could actually shoot them, as I have to be 100 metres from a perimeter border. Moreover, I’m told these are often called “flying carp” by hunters – as in more bones than good flesh.
Blackie the headless dog – she dug that hole with great enthusiasm, chasing after some prey, real or imagined. Feeling her age at 12, she flopped in happy exhaustion a moment later, muddy but content.
Snowdrops! I look forward to them every January – the very first signs of new life. My Dad planted them all over the place – along the fencelines in random places in the field, in the orchard, beside the house, in what I now use as a herb garden. They are a delightful surprise everywhere I look. I’ve had three or four laundry worthy sunny days this month. No, even here in the PNW, it’s not quite warm enough for shorts – that’s someone’s gym strip.
And that’s the kind of January it’s been here on the soggy, foggy, but unfrozen Small Farm of the Sailor.