Wassail, traveler, and welcome to The Gable Grey -- a place of retreat, of renewal, and of resistance: a tree-shaded refuge in Dark Times. Now pass the threshold, and rest from journeys! For a cold wind is blowing; and here, if you wish, you may hear tidings of the world without...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Deep South, Deep Freeze

Many consecutive days of below-freezing weather here in south Mississippi.  Not used to it.  Inch-thick ice on the dog's water trough and the creek each morning.  Deer are on the move, many tracks at the back of our property.  The goldfinches have not yet arrived, and I wonder if they will this year; though they are erratic and hard to predict in their movements.  But even the local avian fauna are laying low, conserving heat, I imagine.

Set out another Ouachita thornless blackberry last week, and have one more to go, once the weather warms back up again, as I don't want the roots to freeze solid after I plant it and water it.  Next I need 1 more turkey fig, to go with the two I got last year; 1 more Jackson pecan, to go with the two from last year; two more cypresses; and 1 Jap red maple.  That'll do my plantings for the year, unless I play around with sunflowers or corn in odd corners of the yard.  The latter will do for chicken feed.  The poultry yard is nearly complete.  I hope to have it completely ready for birds come April.

I am nearly finished with my silver buying for the year.  I honestly cannot afford to get much more.  Silver is fast approaching $20 an ounce (outperforming gold!), effectively pricing me out, for the most part.  I still find silver dimes in change at work, and I always know I'm gonna have a good day when I find a silver dime in the mornings.  I have a roll of fifty now, and at $1.50 melt value per coin, that's $75!  But now that I am easing on my personal silver buys, I am putting away a roll of nickels each week.  They are actually worth five cents melt value now, and will likely continue to increase in value.  JWR makes a good case for stashing nickel rolls over in SurvivalBlog.

My brother gave me a hawking vest and a hawk call (made of deer antler) for Christmas.  What a wonderful thing to do.  I have been practicing with the call, and am beginning to sound somewhat like a buteo.  Tax time is coming, and I hope to add a set of digital scales to my hawking gear, bringing me that much closer to my goal of working with a hawk.  I have decided to look into keeping quail (coturnix or bobwhite) as a side hobby, which will afford a ready food supply for my raptor, and bridge my limited knowledge of both keeping poultry and working with a hawk.

The flower buds are swelling on the Japanese magnolias in our yard, a reminder that winter is not forever.

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Whiles carried o'er the iron road,
We hurry by some fair abode;
The garden bright amidst the hay,
The yellow wain upon the way,
The dining men, the wind that sweeps
Light locks from off the sun-sweet heaps --
The gable grey, the hoary roof,
Here now -- and now so far aloof.
How sorely then we long to stay
And midst its sweetness wear the day,
And 'neath its changing shadows sit,
And feel ourselves a part of it.
Such rest, such stay, I strove to win
With these same leaves that lie herein.

-- William Morris, from
"The Roots of the Mountains"