Friday’s Weekend Column
Christmas and New Year in One

by James Glaser
December 31, 2004

I really do like these Friday columns. Today was Red day at my bird feeders. I woke up to radio reports about an ice storm coming in and after coffee and getting dressed, I went out and found my deck and walkway covered with a thin sheet of ice and a sleet/rain was falling. I started the truck and scraped the ice off the window and headed to town to get whatever I thought I needed as my list was sitting on the kitchen table. I actually now know why my mom used to pin the list to my shirt when she would send me to the corner store for milk and eggs.

I did remember bird seed and when I got home the first thing I did, was to fill every feeder out there. When it warms up enough that you have that sleet snow, the birds are real active and like I said it was Red day. I had Pine Grosbeaks, House Finches, Red Cross Bills, and Common Red Poles. Later on the Blue Jays came and everyone else left. They all left before the ice started really coming down and by noon the deck was like a skating rink and all the rails were covered with ice. Somehow those birds knew it was time to leave.

Both of my daughters and my two grand daughters were up here for Christmas and that was a real treat. Speaking of treats, my daughter Whitney made mince meat pie, pecan pie, fudge, and she taught her sister Nikki and I how to make chocolate truffles. We made about 100 of those. I was doing real well on watching my weight, but I did blow it bad this weekend.

Last Thursday it was 33 degrees below zero and this Thursday it was 33 degrees above zero. There is now 16 inches of ice on the lake and trucks are driving out there. Last Christmas day I bet there were 75 people out on the lake fishing and this year I didn't see any, but before this ice storm came in, there were a lot out there and I can see some houses set up.

I just went in the kitchen and made a big cup of cocoa with marshmallows. I was at the store and they had a sale on for the store brand, but I bought the Kraft Jet-puffed ones. What I really wanted were the Camp Fire Girl brand we had as kids. I shouldn't even tell you this, but I just put two on the end of a fork and roasted them over the flame on the gas stove. I bet I go back and do a couple of more before the evening is over, but hey, after New Years Eve, I'll be back on the straight and narrow.

It is dark out right now, but I can see huge flakes of snow gently falling, because there isn't even a breath of wind. If it wasn't so icy out there I would go for a walk. Right now would be the perfect time as there isn't a sound to be heard, but this weekend there will be the high pitch noise coming from snowmobiles. Also ice augers will be drilling holes all over the lake as people try out their new toys.

My indoor salad green experiment isn't going as well as I wanted. The plants all came up, but there really isn't enough light and I am going to have to buy some sort of sun spectrum light. I have to ask some pot grower what works best. If I am going to get back on the health kick, I will need those salad greens.

Lidia, my new cat is still being aloof, but hey she is a female, so I expected that. She did come out when all the kids were here so they could see her and yesterday she was laying on the carpet behind me as I typed my column, but she still keeps her distance.

I imagine by morning we will have a bit of snow. Up until today we only had about 4 inches on the ground. I think we actually need more so that we have some ground moisture next spring and have some run off for the lake. All last summer it was low, maybe 12 or more inches low.

I am debating my next project for the house. I can put in a ceiling down stairs, a new floor upstairs, or finish the trim on this floor. I think the ceiling in the basement would make the biggest difference, so I will probably do that. The work is easy, getting the materials down there is the hard part. There is a door on the walk out side but you have to carry everything around the house. I might take out the big floor grate and set everything down there through the hole in the floor. We only have about 4 more months of winter so I better get some inside projects done as when it warms up, I will want to be outside working.

Really we don't have 4 months of winter left because we always get a January thaw and a February warm up and some times March is real warm, but other years we get a lot of snow then. April is like mud month and even though you want to work outside you make a mess in the soft soil.

So, I better hit it inside and get as much done as I can. I think this is the year I will finish the house. I thought last year was that year and I think I even thought that the year before too, but I think this will be the year. If it isn't this year, it may be next year, but for sure it will be the year after if it isn't this year or next year.

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