Journal December 13, 2004

It’s been a quiet few weeks at the farm. Last weekend I worked on seeding the new prairie.
We still had about an inch of snow, although it was melting as I worked – it helps to have snow so I can tell where I’ve already seeded. The garbage cans of seeds have survived the animals – they were all upright and didn’t look like they’d been touched.

The only unusual animal event was seeing some wild turkeys in a tall oak tree at the top of the ridge. They look so ungainly up there – balancing on the small branches near the top of the tree.

This weekend was the last hunting weekend, so I didn’t do any seeding. It was also extremely windy – gusts up to 75 mph – so walking wasn’t much fun. But the clouds were spectacular – scurrying across the sky – wintry, snow colored clouds.

I spent most of the weekend cleaning and dividing the last of the seeds – I’m almost finished. I would love to get a hammer mill, or something like it, to help with the cleaning next year. New ones are very expensive, but maybe we’ll find an old one that’s small enough to fit in our basement, or maybe there’s a different machine that would work. I just need something to break up the dried plants and loosen the seeds. I can do the rest of the cleaning by hand.

We discovered that we have mice in the basement, so we set traps, and I put all the seeds in what I hope are mouse-safe containers.

I tried several times to take pictures of the goldfinches at the feeder near the window – there are so many sometimes that they completely cover the seeds. Then, if one of us walks by, or if something else spooks them, they all fly at once – quite a sight. This is the best I could do for a photo – it’s difficult to take a good one through the windows, and they fly away when I get too close.

The Mississippi is starting to freeze – the shallow areas around Nelson froze over the weekend. The wider areas of Lake Pepin, at Maiden Rock and Bay City, aren’t frozen yet. There are lots of eagles sitting in trees along the shore – in one place there were two or three trees with at least 20 eagles looking like ornaments on a Christmas tree.