Sunday, August 20, 2006

blue spotted salamander

Although I don't recall ever seeing one before, I guess the blue spotted salamander is fairly common in Minnesota woodlands. Calvin found this one while helping The Hermit pick up a load of firewood; apparently they like woody debris, and there were lots of small earthworms under the woodpile for this one to eat. We are keeping it in a coffee can for now; I need to find some salamander food tomorrow!

I mentioned firewood; on Saturday we picked up about four cords of mixed oak, maple, and birch firewood, cut and split, from a guy about two miles away from us. It took three trips with the pickup truck; The Hermit and Calvin made the first two runs while I was at the farmers market with Starflower and Mr. Attitude, then when I came back I went and helped with the third load.

There's something about heating with wood, something tangible. You know where the wood comes from, it's not like the furnace coming on automatically, being fed by a natural gas line from somewhere. We got to know a neighbor by purchasing wood from him; since when does one interact with the customer service rep at the gas company? You can look at a woodpile and see where your next winter's heat is coming from, something not to be taken lightly here in Minnesotarctica. Plus, forced air does not compare to the warming power of a woodstove.

I mentioned the farmer's market. While I'm not participating as a grower this year, I'm making up for it by being a customer. I must say I am impressed thus far; the growers are all truly local, there's no flea market junk allowed, and there has been some high quality produce. I came away this week with organically grown watermelon and muskmelon, green beans (mine aren't quite there yet, but all the growers say theirs are just about done), green peppers, sweet corn, apples, and a mix of heirloom tomatoes that didn't look like any variety I was growing. Everyone seemed to have an abundance of cucumbers, which I myself am experiencing, so no sales there.

That's the first half of my weekend. Today we went to church, which will be a post in itself, and I spent the rest of the day washing dishes and folding laundry, seemingly mundane tasks, but somehow I enjoyed just being home doing them.


Prairie Chick said...

Yet again you bring back memories. I grew up with a wood stove- every summer that was our chore-dad would cut, we would stack & stack. I am working on getting a wood stove for my soap shop as we speak, because like you said, there is no heat like wood heat!

Floridacracker said...

That is a gorgeous salamander. I kept a tiger salamander in the kid's bathroom (in an 1/2 aquarium) for a year. Very shy and neat to have around. He ate earthworms and when his visit was over, I let him go on a rainy spring night, right where I had found him.

Pam in Tucson said...

That's an awesome salamander! Hope he adapts to his new home. What will you feed him?