Monday, September 10, 2007

Random moments

My stepson was here today, and now our (new house) roof is just over 3/4 protected from downpours. In a surprising twist, my dad said on the phone the other day he would like to come here one weekend and help with building! This is the same dad who came up here 13 years ago when we were building the cabin...err, house that we are living in...and helped finish the roof after The Hermit broke his ankle in a fall from the roof. Actually, I can take credit for most of the actual roof covering on this place. I specialized in it, in my day. But I'm not about to take on metal roofing on a 12:12 pitch. And I don't know if I want my dad up there either!

I've been doing laundry in the wringer washer again, for the last month or so, and hanging it out to dry. Sure saves a lot in laundromat fees, and I actually enjoy spending the time in my backyard instead of that beacon to the lowest common denominator that we call a laundromat. Today when I went out to the clothesline when I got home from work, I got there just in time to see a Cooper's hawk swooping just above the clothesline, chasing some some small unfortunate bird. It all happened so fast, all I saw for ID was a long barred tail, crow sized bird with bluish gray feathers. It took my breath away.

Speaking of taking my breath away, I woke up several times last night, gasping for breath. Dang it, I think I may have sleep apnea, or maybe some anxiety thing. My sleep has been a bit more disturbed in the last month or so, for some unknown reason. And I'm having some really epic, vivid dreams when I'm sleeping. Weird.

I'm within 75 pages of finishing my first 500 page book in a long time. I think the last long book I read was "Prairyerth" by William Least Heat Moon. I don't even think I finished that one. What I'm reading now is "Collapse" by Jared Diamond. Fascinating stuff. He tells how various societies have made choices, or were the victims of conditions they knew not how to control, that led to their ultimate demise or success. I'm just getting to the good part, where he writes about how this all relates to our modern day global society. I really wish more college textbook writers would have his knack for telling a story, and for repeating the important points. Reading this book has been a real window into the history of human society for me. I especially liked his accounts of the Viking settlement in Greenland; I share some blood with the Norse.

I cleaned out the chicken house on Saturday; that is, after helping The Hermit clean out the composting outhouse. What a sh*t day, I tell ya! The composting outhouse really isn't as bad as it sounds; a couple months later, the stuff smells all earthy and nothing at all like a toilet. And, in the pile from last year, I found several very vigorous looking tomato plants. Few fruits, but they're giving it a try! So on to the chicken is home to very few chickens these days, but in a week or so we're moving our chicks from the chicken tractor to the chicken house. There also reside within the fence three very mean, ornery Toulouse geese, whom I'm secretly wishing would be massacred by some predator. But if that hasn't happened in four years and two orders of chickens, it's not going to happen. So, I entered the enclosure, made a few threatening gestures with my compost fork, and they got the idea and left me alone.

The chicken house had not been properly cleaned out for over a year, so it was layers of scattered hay and chicken droppings. all dried out to create a fine dust that penetrated the air as soon as I started attacking the tough layers with the compost fork. I would take a deep breath of fresh air, go in, loosen all I could, go out and wait for the dust to settle, and go back in to shovel it out. Luckily, Calvin freely offered his help, and with two hands the job got much lighter. Did I say "freely?" Actually, it involved a bonus to the allowance. I tend to reward work that is initially offered up without an ulterior motive.

We were perhaps rewarded for that work tonight; there is a single baby chick in the chicken house! There is one very broody Buff Orpington hen who did not leave her post the entire time we were cleaning; I'm hoping more of the dozen or more eggs she's sitting on will hatch.

In my leisure time, I've been contemplating taking up the banjo. I love the sound of it, have been listening to a lot of Bela Fleck lately, and just think it's time for something new, musically.

So can a blog post get any more rambling than this? That's life, it rambles around from here to there.


barefoot gardener said...

Congrats on making progress with the roof!

I am so glad I don't have chickens, therefore no cleaning the poop! Hehe.

pablo said...

Ramble away, girlfriend! It's all gemstones to me.

RuthieJ said...

So Deb, is it possible to take up the banjo in the 5 minutes of leisure time it sounds like you might have each day???

I liked reading about all the different things going on--especially seeing the Cooper's Hawk while hanging out laundry. I tend to see good birds while hanging out laundry also.

Madcap said...

Maybe the breathing is allergy or maybe it's chicken dust? That's pretty unpleasant, so I hope you find an answer soon.

Vivid dreams - congratulations! Something's coming.....

Lynne said...

Go ahead and ramble Deb, I love reading about your life and it feels like a chat with a good friend! It's nice your Dad offerd to help.(even if it's been 13 years) Instead of the roof, maybe there's something else he could do. LOL- I love your description of the laundromat! I'm always thrilled to catch a glimpse of a Cooper's hawk zooming through the backyard. That's odd about the gasping. Art has sleep apnea and about 2 years ago got a C-PAP machine for night. He immediately noticed that with the C-PAP he could remember dreams. Without it he wasn't getting into REM sleep. Thanks for the goose id on my blog. We figured they'd wandered off from a farm. As nasty as they were maybe they were kicked out! I'm with Ruthie- wondering when you find the time to take up the banjo!
There- a rambling comment!

momadness said...

My gosh, you have been busy and productive. Lots of work; good reading; seeing lots of great nature stuff; and the little chick sounds cute, hope you do get more.

Deb said...

Barefoot Gardener- every little bit of progress is good news! And chicken poop is not fun, but then again we will be having our own fresh eggs soon.

Pablo- you're my wellspring of positive feedback. Thanks!

RuthieJ- Well, once I finish that 500 page book, which should happen tomorrow, I will have my work breaks, and lunch break, totalling an hour, and 8 minutes late at night...I'll make it happen somehow.

Madcap- I do suspect the chicken dust, as I have not really noticed anything like this before. But the vivid dreams...if I could write it all down, I would be a famous author or songwriter!

Lynne- We gotta get face to face again, there's just too much to talk about in blog comments!

I wonder if, after you mentioned about Art and the dreams, since I'm obviously getting heavily into REM state, that maybe it isn't sleep apnea after all. maybe I was just allergic to the chicken dust. I just had to laugh when I saw that goose picture on your blog...actually I was wondering if my geese had stomach tumors, they looked so bloated down there! Meanest creatures I ever met.

Momadness- Not nearly as productive as I envision myself sometimes, but that's life. Most of the nature stuff is serindipitous. :)

Floridacracker said...

"...that beacon to the lowest common denominator that we call a laundromat."

How true. Our washing machine went down for a week recently and I spent some time in the laundromat.
It was almost a post at PF.
I like your thinking out loud rambles too. Be careful dealing with that roof. Ours has a similar pitch.