Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Finally ... real snow!

I have lived in Wisconsin for 28 years.  Many people automatically assume we have frigid temperatures and deep blankets of snow every winter.

Not so!  In fact, I can only recall one memorable winter since moving here in 1982.  I don't remember just which year it was, but I do remember that the streets of our small town were mere tunnels with snow well above the roofs of our cars.  I remember that the boys at one house on Church Street had taken to skiing off their roof into the drifts.  I imagine now that their mother couldn't have appreciated their bravery very much.  At the time, I thought it sounded like an adventuresome thing to do.

We have just experienced our first blizzard in years.  We already had 4 inches of snow on the ground and another 16 inches have joined it, with more in the forecast for tomorrow.  The high winds that came at the end of the snow made for white-out conditions.  It's all been followed by temperatures dipping as low as -29 degrees.  We are so thankful that our pipes have not frozen!

Our road out to Dad and Mom's house was well drifted in.  We have been partially plowed out now, so we can get out in case of an emergency.  After the next storm passes, we'll get it properly cleared.

With no ability to work outside other than to split wood, our thoughts are turning to plans for our little homestead.

We've been looking at heirloom seeds for our garden beds.  We also need to seriously consider which breeds of chickens we want, how many and from which place we should order them.

Dairy goats, too, are on our minds.  A friend in Texas may have some available to us, but the drive will make the purchase financially difficult.

What plans are you making as winter has set in?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Red State, Blue State ...

My friends know that I am active politically.  Since the fall elections passed, I have refocused on pursuing our interest in homesteading now that we can actually live out what we learn.

As I have time, I am reading past posts on The Contrary Farmer blog.  A post from April of this year discusses some of the political and philosophical differences between rural folks and city dwellers.

"But there’s something else that I think is important in this regard. The fact that our country has become divided into so-called red and blue states is an outcome directly traceable to the urban-rural division of our society. This is something of a simplification, but food producers and their social allies tend to vote red and food consumers and their social allies tend to vote blue. The division is thought to be between conservative and liberal philosophies, but it much more reflects the difference between rural and urban values. (There are plenty of urban conservatives and rural liberals.)"

The folks in rural areas with a tendency toward conservative family values are often frustrated when redistricting includes an urban area in their district.

Our district has included two urban areas and several colleges.  Our county voted strongly conservative, but the urban voters pushed us out of conservative representation and saddled us yet again with representatives who do not reflect our votes nor our values.

This map shows Congressional District results.  We are in the blue section in Western Wisconsin.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Introducing Crockett ...

About a month ago, we visited the local pet store.  The owner takes in rescue animals and mentioned she had an Airedale Terrier mix that would soon be available.  She had taken him in because the previous owner couldn't care for him.

Unfortunately, she put the Airedale in with a Pit Bull puppy which attacked him and, among other injuries, nearly severed the Airedale's ear.

The thought of rescuing the rescued-then-injured Airedale tugged at our hearts.  However, she said he was too badly injured to allow anyone to see him.

My phone rang while I was out today.  I almost ignored the call because I didn't recognize the number.  It was the pet shop lady calling to say he was ready.

Mom and I agreed to come see him, banding together so we could keep level heads about it.  One look at the grubby little fellow and our hearts were won.  The nominal adoption fee covered his up-to-date vaccinations and treatment costs for his injuries.

Crockett is 3/4 Airedale Terrier and 1/4 Bouvier des Flanders. He is seven months old, but seems small considering his mix and age.  It could be that his breed mix is incorrect or perhaps he was a runt or stunted by his injuries.

Regardless, he is adorable and he is ours.