Thursday, February 26, 2009

Note from the Editor


I am William's editor, not his rewrite man, and I try to stay back in the shadows of his blog as much as possible, but a week or ten days ago ago he stopped showing up in the mornings to hand in the frozen chicken water for me to thaw, and stopped sneaking in at night while I am asleep to make a mess of the kitchen with his hobo cooking hobby, so I had to take over all the chicken duties, and I filled out his blog with more pictures than usual, plus I included some video fluff, (of which he probably will not approve) and this editorial intrusion became necessary.
At first I thought maybe he had just moved on....without the Ark he has been threatening to pull out of here and sail, pole, or haul up the canal system to the the Great Lakes and beyond.

I might well have known how unlikely it was he would take off in the weather we were having but, to tell the truth, I didn't give it a lot of thought while I was struggling with the chores he had left to me in the awful weather we had been having.
You know about it, more or less. For much of the winter, despite global warming, we had the typical, deep, still, winter cold, and even when there was a blizzard, the snow somehow softened the effect.
In early Feburary we had a January thaw and it was even warm enough, at least in the sun, that the hens were tricked out of their house and made it all the way around the pond, but in recent weeks a terrible, wet wind has been a terrible wind coming off the lake.,
Even if you are in this general area and think you know what I am talking about....you don't. What we have here is exaggerated by the Pumpkin Hill Effect.
This is not at all the steepest, the highest, or the pointiest hill in the region, but it is isolated from other hills that might provide a wind break, has a lot of open state land and cattle range here at the top, and it rises at the widest part of the lake, so that when the wind comes up on us from its usual direction: from the West and across the lake (nd it is worse when it is from the North West) it gains a lot of momenteum as it sweeps across the lake, and , when it hits the foot of the hill and pushes up, it is compressed and speeded up even more under the weight of the air above it, so that it i blows tailers off their pads, berries off the Buckthorn trees, and feathers off chickens.
It wasn't even colder than twenty of so during most of this recent weather , but the forty perccent humidity then makes it even more chilling. It is a wind viscious and penetrating enough to drive a shadow underground. Or, as it happened, William into his peculiar type of estivation.

But then the weather changed: the wind blew away with the clouds, and, though it has still been plenty cold enough if you are in the shade......in the sun, which is so much closer now, it like spring time in the Rockies. And whether or not it was the change in the weather that caused him to appear, I found William yesterday morning.
Since the Ark had become a little to busy for him in that small space being used as a safe house for the hens He had been staying in the Chicken house cupboard, a la Charles Manson, and when he abandoned that, I hadn't looked any further.

When I went to scatter some chicken scratch and gather eggs the morning after the weather had turned around, the hens came jumping d wining into the sun as soon as I opened their door.
But as I was reaching into one of the nesting boxes, I saw William's shoe sticking out from the shavings under the shelf. i Maybe it had been sticking out all along and I hadn't noticed it. Maybe he had rolled over as the changing weather stirred him from his stupor. It was shocking at first but as always, he wasn't dead, just very slow.

The air temperature in the shade must have been barely more than freezing, but in the air itself but any bare skin felt like it was glowing with it's own heat.
I put William on the mound of peat moss among the blue berry bushes where the chickens like to dust. An hour later he had limbered up enough to roll over on his own... two of the hens were sitting on him and the rooster Long Fellow was trying to untie his shoes. I left him for the chickens to brood over for a while. Today he is up and around....somewhere around here.
I suppose he will take up flock duties again, and no doubt,
he will resume his blog posts, in which case I will I will return to clearing them up, if not quite cleaning them up, for public consumption.
but I suspect that there will be further need for the occasional editorial intrusion.