Sunday, September 13, 2009

Water is Essential to Life

And we are going to be hooked up to Traill Rural Water. Finally.
Hi Mary and Jeni,
The local rural water district is putting in a new line. The first in many years. Jim and I will get hooked up sometime this fall or next spring depending on how long it takes the plumbers to run our line from the 'curb' stop into our house.
The post above is in the spot where our curb stop will be. Below they have reached it and crushed it beneath the machine tracks.
The curb stop is out in the middle of our lawn but I guess they are called curb stops no matter where they are.
The main line went right through the corn field about two blocks east of our farmhouse and traveled from the north going around all our woods. After about a half mile it turns west and goes along the west side of the road to Galesburg. It was horrifying to see all the crops that the farmers worked so hard on dug up and trashed. However having clean fresh water will be worth it. While we watched the machines from afar they didn't seem so big. Once they were near our house it amazed me how huge they were.
They had to dig the line to our curb stop half way across the corn field and then across our yard. The line is being put in quite deep. I would say at least 10 feet.
The two machines worked in tandem.
The first one digs the ditch and very gently (with it's huge metal fingers) moves the water line into the ditch.
Then the second one covers it up.
It took them two days to run the line from the main line to our curb stop and then to cover and smooth it out.
When they were done the bare dirt was about 40 feet wide and about 2 blocks long.
I made Jim buy a big bag of grass seed and we will see how much of it grows and how much of it gets eaten. At least I got the lawn seeded near the house where we pulled out the old swing set.
This has sure been a year for changes. First the swing set is gone, then I got a porch and now we are getting water.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Creatures in my yard

Hi there Mary and Jeni,
I have been going through this years photo's and have come up with a collection of creatures that I have captured, photographically, in the yard. One of the first thing different this year were the two Canada Geese who decided to hang around on top of the decrepit old barn. They used it as a vantage point to honk at all the other birds in the slough just beyond. They came into the yard for several weeks to do this. My were they noisy!
At about the same time my tulips from last fall were starting to bloom. At my feet you can see the asparagus stalks which will cover that corner of the garden are starting to come up.
Next is the froggie from my pond cleaning. I am not sure if all the little tiny frogs I see are his babies, but I have seen many little ones out in the grass. They shimmer with gold when they are young. Soooo pretty.
Another frog, a tree frog, spent some time on our furnace exhaust pipe one day.
It let me get really close for the picture.
We also had a good looking buck and two of his buddies come into the yard. I had never seen three males together before. They all had quite big racks so I hope they make it through the hunting season. He sure was pretty.

After the garden started to green up a little we had a young woodchuck come visit our Sugar Snap Peas. The little rodent!
And a racoon who visited the bird feeders in the late afternoon.
And of course I took lots of pictures of birds. It was hard to choose. Here is my shy Grey Catbird. He didn't see me, he was intent on the jelly feeder. He has to fight the Orioles for it.
Here is a mama oriole finding stringy bits of the milkweed stalks from last year for her nest. That is why I don't allow Jim to go all Norwegian on me and clean up the garden in the fall.
And an Oriole fledgling on a daylilly stem. They eat your flowers you know! They especially like the unopened buds.
Here one is munching on my heritage purple morning glories.
I also got a good look at a Golden Shafted Flicker. What a noisy bird!
I also had several swallows nesting on the house. This is a bank swallow nest. I love the grumpy way the babies look. We also had barn swallows nesting. Their nest is more open and the nesting birds tail sticks out. More like half a robins nest stuck to the wall.
Alice is occasionally allowed in the garden. But only under strict supervision. She lives in hope of course, and whenever one of us is in the garden takes up her post on the chair in the mudroom and watches intently.
This is latest 4 legged visitor. He came in shivering and sopping wet and smelling like the slough. So I toweled him off and he decided I was his friend for life. He is a cute puppy but we called around and found his owner. Turns out his name is Bolt (after the movie, not his wandering tendencies). He was named by a three year old. He was a very nice visitor for a few hours.
This is the most recent picture, taken on Wednesday. One of only 6 monarchs in the garden this year. Usually we have hoards! It likes the zinnias Jim is partial to. I like the ones that look like they have bed head myself.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Farmers' Market in Whitefish

All summer long, I worked on Tuesday nights, across the street from Depot Park where Whitefish has its Farmers' Market.  I knew it had grown and didn't really mind that I wasn't fighting the crowds.  But now it's September, tourists have (mostly) gone home, and I wanted some fresh produce.  My coworker agreed to trade hours with me, so yesterday evening, I ventured out to my first market since...well since 2007.

It was wonderful.  I knew it had gotten bigger, and I don't like to share my hometown with strangers, so I was happy with the local crowd.  We had a band that I had never heard before; I love them.  
Bluestone - jazz, funk, and electric jam (I think I read it on their website.)   Of course, no public festival with music is complete without toddlers dancing.  They're the best dancers in the world.
There were Hutterite women selling jams and jellies,

a John Deere ice cream machine,

a recycled metal sculptor and his bird bird-feeders,

and a truck full of melons, surrounded by people and (of course) wasps.

I went to the Yak burger stand - AKA the Cuisine Machine - the Yak burger is fourth down on the menu -
and got a Yak burger with sweet potato fries.  Tasted like lean beef, and it was on the most delicious whole wheat (I think) bun with sesame, sunflower, flax and another seed I forget.  They also made a fresh looking salad and Pad Thai bowls:

Too bad I won't be at another Farmers' Market to try those.  
But my haul wasn't too bad:

varied cherry tomatoes, tiny yellow patty-pan squash, carrots, purple potatoes, and a wooden hat given me by a woodturner, just because I admired it!   I am going to be eating some delicious food...while admiring my new hat.