November 23rd, 2015


Colder and Colder

This afternoon I doubled the size of the Big Pile o' Leaves I raked yesterday. Almost all the leaves are now off the walnut tree, as are a big percentage of those the oaks grew this year. In the front yard the mulberry has begun shedding. The raking of the back lawn is almost done for the year, and I'll soon be able to transfer all my attention to the front yard and to the back part of the back yard where there is no grass and where I have removed only about a third of the year's crop. A lot of those leaves remaining in back will go onto a compost heap rather than being binned and hauled off. I also like to leave part of them lying, as they cut off the sunlight to the ground and that diminishes the number of weeds that will grow next spring.

Although the air is noticeably chillier tonight there are still no other signs of the storm that is to arrive tomorrow, unless it be the haze that is giving the near-full moon a halo. The Arctic air is definitely here now, though, and tomorrow will be the coldest day yet this fall. The snow level could get down to 2,000 feet, so there is some possibility of a light dusting at one time or another over the next couple of days. The storm is not very wet, and less than an inch of rain is expected, so any heavy snowfall at this elevation is pretty much out of the question. There could be some this winter, though.

Some of the leaves I raked today were brought down by a pair of squirrels who were raiding the trees this morning. They shook down lots of leaves and a few more walnuts. The nuts were hard to find among the fallen leaves, and I think I might have missed a few which then ended up in the leaf pile. If they did I suppose the raccoons might find them tonight, if they visit. I haven't seen any signs of raccoons for the last couple of nights (when the come to eat they almost always dirty the water in the bowls I leave out for the feral cats.)

There was a skunk around late last night, though. I don't know what hapless creature it sprayed, but the smell lingered for quite a while. Maybe it was one of the raccoons, and that's why they didn't come here. Happily, none of the feral cats stank today. But then I think cats must be pretty smart about avoiding skunks, as in all the years I've been here, and all the cats I've had around, I've never once known a cat to get sprayed— not even a couple of years ago when one skunk took to eating cat food in my garage several nights running.

If the rain holds off until the truck hauls off the leaves in the bins tomorrow I might try to get some of the leaves I've got pied up into the bins before they get wet. The yard waste truck usually doesn't get here until fairly late in the morning, especially this time of year when there is so much stuff to be picked up, so it might be too late. If so the leaves will just have to get wet and will probably be well on the way to moldering by the time I can get them binned. But at lest my rain gutters are cleaned out so I won't be getting a soggy mass of leaves stuck in them.

This is a perfect night for a big bowl of hot soup. I only have to decide which can to open. I've got some bread going stale which will make good garlic toast, so maybe I'll have some minestrone. I'm sure I've got at least half a dozen cans hoarded in the cupboard. But first the wheelie bins have to go out, before I forget. And before it gets any colder out. I hate pushing wheelie bins when my fingers get numb.