What a wonderful January we are having in the foothills of Southern Alberta. Our temperatures have been near—or above—freezing for much of this past month. It actually feels like spring in many ways—but we know it isn’t really. True to our Canadian obsession and pessimism about the weather, we’re all waiting for the return to winter. “It may be nice now,” we say, “But we’ll pay for it later.” Whether we do or not, time will tell. But, we’re all enjoying the nice temperatures in the meantime.
The weather is so much easier on the wildlife as well. Our three resident moose—the bull, cow, and junior—are enjoying their time in the environmental reserve munching on the willows. One evening they were out on the side of the highway—watch out! One morning they were in our neighbor’s yard—very close to their back deck. We get frequent glimpses of them with occasional close-up views when they are on the back path. They are huge mammals! The raspberries could use a tad more thinning so perhaps they’ll take one stroll down the middle through the bushes and get that job done for spring.
The mule deer are here as always. A young buck was on the back berm just south of our house a couple days ago, a doe and two fawns were by the windmill. I was able to get a good picture of the buck from the kitchen window.
The redpolls—totalling 40-50—are eating us out of house and home. They are plucky little birds fighting each other for places at the feeders on our back deck. My granddaughter and I went to the Wild Bird Store in Calgary to buy bags of bird seed and bought another very large tube feeder. Last week, the birds—mainly the redpolls—ate 20 pounds of seed. I thought buying the extra feeder would decrease the number of times a day I have to fill it, but they just seem to eat more, faster. Not that I’m complaining because I love to see the birds, but the chickadees, white-breasted and red-breasted nuthatches, and downy woodpeckers don’t have much of a chance to get near the feeders. The hairy woodpecker who sometimes frequents the feeders has given up coming at all—he usually only shows up in very cold weather though.
So what am I doing besides filling bird feeders? Well, this Branching Out Book—the tentative title of Book Two—continues to, well, branch out. I’ve met more of Doug’s relatives on line, and we are sharing some interesting stories. I’ve gotten as far as trying to put the approximately 40-some stories in an order that will make sense to the reader. (Yes, I know it would be much simpler if I just wrote them in order to start with, but that’s not my style.) I’m receiving tremendous cooperation from all the people I’ve contacted whose names are in the book. I still have a few more people to track down. Several of you have also offered more details and anecdotes that I want to add to the stories.
I’ve become so focused on completing the book that everything else has been set aside. As soon as I’m finished breakfast, my butt is in the chair, and I’m rewriting and revising—did I mention that I detest revising? I had to take a few hours off the other day because my eyes would not focus on the screen any longer. The branching out continues. My goal is to have the manuscript to the editor by the end of February.
Thanks to everyone who reads my Musings, and enjoy the weather because it won’t—or may—last. Heart-shaped wishes to all of you for Valentine’s Day.