* * * * * * *

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Back Home

Good morning, friends!

I’m writing from the sunroom as I drink my morning coffee.  I’m watching the cats watching the five new finches I bought yesterday to FINALLY stock the aviary!  I was awoken at 6:00 AM by the strange sounds of both the cats AND Tucker attacking the beautiful piece of furniture.  I was expecting that from the cats, but not Tucker!  After some quick fortification of the aviary to ensure they couldn’t get the door open, I stumbled back upstairs and to bed for another four hours.)

I got three zebra finches and two Bengalese (aka society) finches.  In finches, it’s always good to have odd numbers (at least, that’s what I think I remember reading years ago).  Making it my last stop at the end of an exhausting trip and once I was out in the car yesterday, I transferred them from their five individual boxes into a small cage I’d brought with me to the “big city” of Duluth (where I’ve been the past two days), and they’re still in that, sitting in the bottom of the aviary, waiting for me to finish setting up the big unit and then release them.  It was a comedy in PetCo yesterday as two of them escaped while we were getting them from their cages into the boxes, but, between to PetCo employees and myself, we managed to catch them both.  So, there are no finches living in the rafters of PetCo today, as is an apparently fairly common situation.  :)

So, finishing the aviary set-up on my list today as well as wood work, snow plowing, and unloading the car . . . before going to friends’ house for dinner.  And, speaking of snow removal, this, indeed, seems to be turning into the year that Winter Never Ended.

It was snowing buckets when I left on Monday (not exactly the best weather to be driving 3+ hours), and I had to delay my noon start by two hours in order to plow (the 8+ inches of snow that had fallen) enough to get out.  I was somewhat apprehensive about what conditions I would discover last night upon returning to my Swamp River Ridge.

The loggers, who are working again about a mile down the winter driveway, had plowed in to their logging site, but I was greeting by a snowbank as their plow had curved off the road and into their site.  A snowmobile had broken through the snowbank and so, uttering an oath that rhymed with “Spit!” I aimed for that hole (although not as wide as the car) and punched the accelerator.  I made it up and over the pile of snow but landed in what was, in all practicality, now nothing more than a snowmobile trail.  The track I’d plowed out the day before wasn’t even noticeable anymore.  Propelled by nothing more than sheer determination (I did NOT want to have to walk home, fire up the truck, and then drive back to retrieve the birds, etc. after such a long, two day shopping trip), I kept the little Yaris moving over the snowmobile tracks.  Had I stopped, that would have been IT.  Amazingly enough, I made it all the way up the hill to the base of the driveway.  (I’m not sure how!)

While plowing on Monday and seeing that there was still that glare ice underneath the snow I shoved around, I’d wisely left a 5 gallon bucket of ashes at the bottom of the driveway, thinking I might need to use it coming home last night.  Without getting out to spread the dirty stuff, I made my first attempt up the driveway’s hill.  Nope.  Second attempt.  Nope.  Third attempt.  Nope.  Dammmit!  I did NOT want to get out of the packed car until I was in the yard!  Determined (and knowing I had the back-up of the ashes, which helped), I backed down and gave it a final, good ol’ college try.  Annnnnnd, spinning, spinning, but making inches of progress . . . AHHHHH!  We crested the hill!  “Yayyyyy!” I told the dogs, “We made it!” 

I’ll take pictures today, but, when I got out of the car, I could see we’d been draggin’ trow:  the new snow was at least 6” deep.  So, what’s that?  Upwards of 14” of new snow.  I had to shovel the deepest parts of the yard-to-the-house path so that I could transfer the bare essentials (birds) from the car into the house.  This winter’s been crazy:  snow, snow, and MORE SNOW!

So, with this limited post (but it’s all I have time for), I’ll sign off and suit up for a day of work . . . but rewarding work!  It was SO wonderful, as always, to arrive home last night.  Even though it means so much more work, I’ll take the pristine white of the deep, deep snow that’s still found once one turns north and off the dirtiness of late winter on Lake Superior’s North Shore!  Is it easy to get around in town now?  Yep, but it sure is DIRTY and ugly!  I wouldn’t trade my pure white surroundings for that ease ANY day of the week!  :)


  1. I was just wondering where you were able to get finches and thought to myself, I bet she made the trip LOL, duh, all I have to do is read and all will be answered! I have a finch book (that's what I wanted, too but can't right now) and you are correct, it recommends an odd number. Would love to see a photo of the little tweeties. You need to be in a commercial for Toyota, that Yaris can rival some of the escapades on my beloved Subaru commercials, and without the AWD, too! Drive safely, please! Dinner with a friend or dinner with a "friend"? I'm so nosy :)

  2. You are one brave lady, mastering the snow like that. I'd be scared spitless, but that's cause I've never driven in snow. Enjoy your new finches.

  3. Dinner with FRIENDS. Bundle of Joy and her parents . . . and the ex. :) They're trying to get in as many visits with him before he leaves as possible. No "friend" on my radar. No one has shown interest. (Sigh.) ;)

  4. Ruth, YOU'VE NEVER DRIVEN IN SNOW??? But, but, aren't you in Oregon? Even on the coast, don't you have snow on occasion?? I'm . . . FLABBERGASTED!

  5. It's been awhile since you've had birds, right?! Well, very cool, although I prefer my birds to be outside of my house...which reminds me that Leah and I "caught" a sparrow? House something or other? the other day...opened the door to let Goldens out, and bird came in - scared ALL of us...but probably the bird more. 10 seconds of total adrenaline-fused excitement.

    Anyway, I digress...happy birding! Email me soon...will you!?!? Danke.

    LOL ha ha ha ha ha....turning 40 is not progressing my maturity...the word below is "payste"...ha ha ha "pasty?!?" As in the color of all of us after this interminable winter?!?! Sorry, clearly struck my funny (ahem...immature) bone...

  6. Okay, I don't REALLY wish I were you (as I clicked in the box earlier) because I think ramming my car through snow banks in the middle of nowhere sounds very unappealing. HOWEVER, I do wish for your pristine snow! Actually, I wish for a 78 degree tropic beach, but that unlikely...I'd take pure white snow over the grey, nasty slop we have down here. And, how come my kid thinks ANY snow is good to eat, including grey slop??? Yuck! I should ship him your way!

  7. Britty, yeah, all the birds were (conveniently?!) at the end of their life cycle and died off (one was euthanized due to blindness) right before the move up here in 2006. It *IS* so nice to enjoy the chirping again!

    Claire, oh, come on . . . ya gotta do it ONCE in a while! (The ramming of the car.) ;) And, your son is OBVIOUSLY a true MN boy, that's all! (Okay, except for eating the grey-slop snow, too. I wonder which is worse: that or the yellow snow?) ;)

  8. Hi,

    Seeing that you’re a green advocate (and blogger) I wanted to reach out and see if you were interested in an article that I recently have written. It's on the Olympics and the steps they're taking to go green and decrease the environmental impact that it has. While sports is something far from the topic of your blog, I think that you will find it interesting and informative, and not overwhelming on the sports content, besides a few facts on the last Olympics, it is primarily about the Olympics going Green.

    I'm looking to spread awareness of the fact that even though the Olympic Games are fantastic and unifying, they are it's quite a carbon-rich event and are not that environmentally sound.

    Nerissa Barry

  9. While random (!), the above post is legit. Here's a link to a copy of the article (http://thegreenists.com/energy-saver/u-s-looks-to-bring-green-changes-to-2022-olympics/7327). Or, if you're interested, just Google 'nerissa barry olympics': that's what I did.

    Ha! Word verification: "flogic"! Some logic makes no more sense than flogging oneself? 'Flogic' = f-ed up logic? ;)


If you are familiar with me and where I live, please respect my right to retain some anonymity by not referring to me by anything other than Chicken Mama nor mentioning city/town/villages by place names. Thanks!