A Duck Egg & Half a Thousand

Weather: 36* & Sunny

1-10-2015_frozen-lake1When I wake up of a morning one of the first things I do is go to the bathroom, draw aside the curtain and look out over the woods at the lake.  This is the first time that it’s ever looked like there was ice on the lake.  Of course, in the past I was usually at work before the sun came up so I’m sure I’ve missed other times.  Not having a job is tough!  I did other things around the house, but by 10:00 or so I couldn’t ignore the chickens anymore and if I’ve got to get dressed for outside then I figured I might as well go take a closer look.  My end – the shallow end – was indeed frozen.  I’m glad I wore my Wellies, because I just had to go walk on it.

1-10-2015_LakeEggI walked over to the old plastic and styrofoam boat (that was buried under some leaves behind the cabin when we bought the place) and tried to push it into the cove, (It had floated over here during a storm and has become an unsightly, permanent fixture.) but it was frozen in place.  I did, however, discover something I’ve never seen before: a duck (?) egg in the lake.  My neighbor, Diane, has tons of ducks that she lets out every morning and calls every sunset to go inside an enclosure.  She said she started raising them to keep the algae on the lake down.  I took it with me when I went back up to the cabin, cleaned it off and broke it open.  It had a clear, but filmy area in the white and some tiny bubbles!  So…  I didn’t eat it, but I did fry it up and serve it to my chickens along with an old apple that I cut up for them.

Walking out on this end of the lake I was privy to millions of duck prints in what was formerly mud.  They like coming into “my” cove because it’s shallow and I suppose they feed on the teeny tiny minnows and bugs.  The cove is FULL of leaves and I would love to have it dug out – made deeper – and have a sandy shore, but that’s not likely to ever happen.  Being surrounded by wooded hills on all sides, the leaves are never likely to quit blowing into the lake.  There were some other prints that were noticeable out there too. 1-10-2015_raccoons4 Muddy raccoon prints across an otherwise clear sheet of ice.  There were at least 3 distinct sets (unless Mrs. Raccoon walked over to the bank, circled back around on dry land and repeated herself).  See all those leaves?!

I snapped a picture of the cabin from this view.  1-10-2015_from-the-lakeYou can see my ugly (but very useful) carnival stairs that I need to finish painting.  Originally they were all yellow.  Now most of the sides and rails are a dark brown.

The large patch of vines and brush over on the right beside the boat has always been an eye-sore and something I’ve not looked forward to tackling.

Back up to the house.  Went and took the tarp off of the hoop garden, picked some dandelions for the chickens that STILL had not frozen and got the mail.  Remembered that my water and utility bills are due today and as I needed coffee I decided to change and go get some before I paid it.  Eight miles to town and I discover that I left my wallet after six of them!  I passed 4 HUGE combines on the way and wondered what in the world they could be up to.  On my way back – after retrieving my wallet – I discovered they were harvesting soybeans.  In January, with temps in the 30s!

I watched a few YouTube videos, tried to do some writing, cleaning, anything but listen to my male cat whine about wanting out no matter how cold it was.  He’s got cabin fever as much as I do, I guess.  Out he went, and after changing yet again so did I.  My little Mexican was aching to go to, but we left the Japanese princess inside as she’s not prone to listening.

1-10-2015_working-area_beginI decided to head down the slope the way I had come this morning and cut down some of those tiny trees that I had neglected this past year and the new ones that had popped up.  I cut a few down on the way along with a few low-hanging branches, but this fallen log was my real starting point.  I had intended to zig-zag down the slope staying in this general area, but I think I wandered as much as my chihuahua!  Over to the spring’s trail down to the lake on the left.  There was a line of small trees on either side that looked like they had been planted there by design.  I cut down the ones that were messing with Nature’s aesthetic, but by now the jacket had come off and I had to keep an eye on Nitro so he wouldn’t hike on it while I was distracted! Wandered far over to the right and cut down some big vines.  Closer and closer to that dreaded spot of tangles on the peninsula…

I didn’t start counting my clips until I came to the log, but when I hit a 99 I couldn’t remember if it was 299 or 399, and after I got to the tangle and started clipping vines I lost track again.  All in all, I cut down 430 (or 530)+ budding young trees today! 1-10-2015_twigs Who would have imagined?!?  The area in this photo STILL has to be cut down, but it gives you an idea of what I was facing.  I did not get the peninsula cleared – not even close – but I did make a huge dent in it.  My loppers seized up on me like they did a few days ago before it turned frigid.  And I must confess, I was getting a little claustrophobic.  I don’t have TRUE claustrophobia – MRI machines or closets don’t scare me, but put a too-tight shirt over my head or let me get tangled up in these vines and I temporarily freak out!

1-10-2015_ducksThe ducks that had been laughing at me from a distance, finally came closer.  I guess they could tell that I was kaput and no longer a threat.  Or maybe they just wanted to say “goodbye Crazy!”

1-10-2015_birdI stepped across the frozen area of the lake again to survey my work and spotted the two little birds who had been singing to me all afternoon, right above the tangleweed area.  I have no idea what kind they are and they were probably grateful that my presence had kept the ever-present hawk at bay.

1-10-2015_LakeBrushBHiking back up to the cabin, I’m surprised that it’s so warm.  I’m wearing sweat pants and a short-sleeved t-shirt!  (or is it just middle-aged me? 😉 )

It’s after 4pm and I haven’t had any lunch.  Oh well, maybe I’ll do some more tomorrow…