Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's been an ugly week for poultry around here. The duckling died, first two when the door blew open one night (they were living in a cage in the mudroom), and then the next 3 the next night when they got themselves too wet in their water, despite our best efforts to ensure they would be warm enough. And this morning I found a pile of blue-black bones and feet, and a few hair like feathers, in the chicken yard. Not sure whether the other roosters or the turkeys are responsible for this, but either way, our new bantam silkie rooster has met his doom and been eaten. Just yesterday he was crowing and running around the yard. Uh oh. Sagey will be really distressed.

This morning the skim of water on the deck was a thin skim of ice, reminding me that if we get a few dry days, I really need to bleach the boards, or we are going to go sliding like crazy across it all winter.

Yesterday we woke to snow covering the hills and floating gently from the sky. It clung to the needles of the pines and firs, spruces and cedars, and seemed to defy the flaming warmth of the fire orange sugar maple leaves it coated. The kids woke up excited, flew into my room to open the shades yelling, "Wake up! Wake up! It's snowing!! It's snowing!!" While I drove Sage to her early morning violin lesson, Aidan and Nadia dressed in their winter gear and went out to build a very shirt snowman. He fell over as the day warmed, and even rained a little, but this morning he was the only remains of yesterday's beautiful white blanket.

The ravens have come south in the last few days, their ragged "craaaaahhhhh" replacing the clear, clean "Caw!" of the crow, and their huge wingspan is shocking when you happen to look up out the kitchen window in time to see them glide from tree to tree, or from tree to the road. They are circling the chicken yard, and I realized that the time has come for me to be sure the door is closed at night, protecting the birds from the various critters who begin to get daring as the weather gets cold and the human population drastically drops in the town of North Calais. The ponds are quiet, just the occaisional kayaker or canoer floating by. I woke early on Saturday morning, after hours of contractions and total exhaustion, and walked up to number 10 pond. It was cold, and I needed to wear a wool sweater, a wool hat, warm boots, and a scarf. My breath lingered in the air, and when I got to the pond, I was delighted to watch the spooky, wispy mists floating rapidly across the water, like so many wicked witches flying by, then fading at the north end as the sunlight peeked under the clouds and over the hills to warm the air.

The mists and ravens and blowing leaves make this little windy back roads unbelievably spooky and a very cliche'ed October picture. Pumpkins on the lawns, orange in the hills, mist in the valleys, and ravens calling and echoing across the whole scene. Beautiful, strange, spooky.

And now, as I write, Nadia is thickly painting black water color across her green butcher paper, seeming to express the coming darkness of the late fall.