The dog days of January

Senior Musical Jan 2013 006

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.

Senior Musical Jan 2013 010

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).   Dog walk, dog days 006

A favourite dog walking place called Island View Beach, on a beautiful day last weekend, with our younger daughter in tow – or is the dog the one in tow?   Dog walk, dog days 011

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”. Dog walk, dog days 016

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. Dog walk, dog days 021

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. Dog walk, dog days 024

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. Dog walk, dog days 028 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.

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4 thoughts on “The dog days of January

  1. Beautiful. What a great place for a walk. Too bad you don’t have any options but to chase the geese away. Marinated and slow cooked breast should be great! The snow drops are beautiful. We have daffodils coming up already but it’s been so cold here I don’t know if they’ll make it. We’re getting plenty of freezing here and still no running water because of frozen water in the line by the pump. We’ve finally had to resort to carrying water up from the spring. Doing laundry by hand enough to get by as my ringer washer on the back porch isn’t cutting it in below freezing temps. Oh well. Winter won’t last forever.

    • Maybe if the dog ever works up enough speed to actually catch a goose…:) Daffodils are my favourite flower – I noticed the other day that the tips of them up are up here too, but we’re not getting nearly as cold as you are (chicken waters have only frozen a couple of times, as opposed to your entire water system!). They are pretty hardy – in previous cold snaps, I’ve still had a good show. Hopefully you will too – there’s nothing so cheering in all the mud and browness of March as a daffodil.

  2. I’ve had goose jerky that was pretty good.

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