Monday, January 21, 2013


The last couple of days have been down right frosty.  Currently the temperature is -12°F and falling.  I don't know what the wind chill is but the dog is pacing to and fro listening to the wind gusts howl through the trees.  Last night we got down to -20°F.  I was worried about the chickens.  I cooked them a pot of hot rice and took it to them with some fresh warm water this morning.  They were all all right and obviously waiting for me.  They really liked the warm food.  I have a cute thermometer that an attorney I used to work for gave me hanging on the wall in the coop and I was glad to note that the temperature was just below zero -- about 10°F warmer than outside the coop.  Days like these make me glad I chose to raise Dominiques.  This breed of  chickens is cold hardy and has rose combs that are less likely to suffer frost damage.  Let's hope the good luck holds as it is supposed to get down around -40°F tonight and remain below 0°F for the next few days.

I placed my spring seed order the other day and look forward to getting out and planting.  I also ordered three cider apple trees (Nursery's choice) and three heirloom variety (Smokehouse) apple trees from St. Lawrence Nursery.  I still have to get seed potatoes, cover crop seed and dried distiller grains (see, here, too) (what I use for fertilizer and weed inhibitor in addition to my neighbor's mink poop).   

Well, after being laughed at -- "Does anybody actually still do ham radio?" -- and teased about the YAK (as in "yakety-yak") in my Amateur Radio call sign, I applied for a different call sign -- and got it the other day.  I am now officially W9SCF, and I'm proud to be a ham!  I have to admit that I was EXTREMELY pissed off  at the denigration I received.  Well, you can't choose your relatives, can you?  For some people, nothing has value unless it is something that enriches them.  I have been studying diligently for the General license and working on learning Morse Code.  I joined the ARRL and received the 10th edition of The ARRL Operating Manual For Radio Amateurs and have been reading it avidly.  I also bought the new Repeater Directory and Basic Antennas.  Homebrew electronics definitely resonates with the creative me!  I am still trying to decide what radio to buy, and the decision is all the more difficult now that I have discovered the increasing role of computers in Amateur Radio.  Which way to go?  I think I'll do some more research before I decide on a radio.

Well, time to study.  Take care!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

It's A New Year

It was -14°F this morning and the sun was shining.  I was happy thinking about the holidays as I checked on the chickens.  They like it when I sing to them so I sang them a song, held the ones that pecked my sleeve to let me know they wanted to be held, and gave them fresh warm water and food.  None seemed too bothered by the cold and there were even a few (frozen) eggs in the nests.  I have happy chickens.  And I think everyone who graced our hearth with their presence or voice this holiday season had a merry time, too.  Good people, fine food, glad times . . . and hopefully good memories to hold close to their hearts. I accomplished what I wanted to do this Christmas.

I'm in heaven with all the seed catalogues that have arrived in the mail.  Now that life will get back to normal, it will be fun to slowly go through them all.  Tom bought me a pH meter and one of those electric Ball jam and jelly makers for Christmas, and I am already planning to use it to make salsas, jams, and jellies to sell at the farmers market.  So, I will need to find a good determinate variety of tomato to grow and put aside money to buy canning jars and lids.  I'm also going to bite my tongue and find out from the Wisconsin Department of Trade and Consumer Protection what hoops I have to go through in order to sell eggs at the farmers market.  I have a good feeling about my garden this year.

But for right now, I'm going to do like Sandy The Swamp Creek Dog and bid you all a Happy New Year and Good Night.