Saturday, December 5, 2009

All things considered

We have had a hard frost. Several, in fact, evidenced by the inch of ice in the duck’s water buckets back in paddock six. The ducks had not been back there for a couple days, the crunchy grass deemed too cold for more than a jaunt to the pond before returning directly back to the coop. Yesterday the sun shown bright enough for all but the shadowed frost to disappear, and when I walked the birds to the back, I found the frozen buckets, and the hose to refill them with an inflexible solid core. I dug the ice from the buckets and consolidated the remaining water into two buckets.

“It’s probably time to move the ducks up into three” was my conclusion upon reporting back to DW. “I’ll clean out the hoop house tomorrow morning.”

“I’ll help.”

And that was the first chore of the day. Tomatoes and eggplants were uprooted, loaded into the tractor’s bucket and dispersed in the tall dead grass; ground cloth was lifted, old soaker hoses rolled, and both were removed to the pile destined for the dump; the good hoses were pulled from the grass and left on the concrete pad to thaw.

The ducks and guinea seemed to like the new digs, and the coop is twenty-five feet away. The shorter hose drains better too.

As the day wore on and the sun slid just over the top of the firs to the south, a sizable hatching of very small flying insects danced up and down over the warming ground. What purpose they serve is a mystery, and with more cold to come tonight, I imagine this will be their only day to do what they have pupated to do.

DW asked, “What about the squash in the barn? The temperature is supposed to drop to 17 by Sunday.”

“The garlic is in there as well.”

It was decided that we should move them into the shed where three bushels of potatoes were already stored. DW did the deed, and a small milking heater was set on low. I counted twenty Kubocha winter squash and guessed about fifteen pounds of garlic. Two squash had already gone to the house for dinner.

At the hour I had determined would give me enough time for preparation (two hours to eat by 8 o’clock), I cut the biggest squash (nine inches in diameter) in half, scraped out the seed cavity, preheated the over to 350°F, and set the two pieces on a cookie pan with a water bath. After forty-five minutes the skin was easily removed. I processed the meat with chicken stock, placed it in a pan with more stock and a good-sized chunk of pepper jack cheese. DW steamed carrots and green beans, and made toast. We cracked a suitable bottle of wine and ate while watching Werner Herzog’s “Encounters at the End of the Earth,” a film about the people who live and work in Antarctica. It’s colder there.

1 comment:

Crash said...

You break my heart. Leaving.