Creek Notes: 2010-02-04

Goose Creek ~ December
Image by fred1st via Flickr

I’ve just returned from my morning Chicken Run–a routine that sends one of us–more often than not, me–to open the latch on the hen house, and if not walking the dog unleashed right away–also open the gate to let them range.

Today, and for most of the past and most of the next week, they’ll not have any bare ground to forage for seeds and grass tips. I made a point to encourage them out of the pen towards the barn stall where I scattered egg shells, shredded tortilla shells from lunch left-overs and mixed bird seed.

With any luck, that’s where they will be when–I’m thinking today is the day– the snow rushes off the red barn roof landing in the chicken pen. Fatalities are a possibility, and I’d be faced with eating Dionne, Blanche, Rhoda or Caroline.

I took the snow shovel to see if I could make our ascent up the bank from the plank any less likely to cause a fall, tossing six inch slabs of hard snow into the creek. Instantly they turned to soft saturated tufts the color of lint and vanished in the warmer spring-fed water of Goose Creek, bound for the beach.

It is now as good as it’s gonna get for some while, so I’m trying to smooth the irregular ice as much as I can for a base on which the coming 8-12“ can call. The only bare ground I see through my window is a patch of southern-exposed gravel road; by and large, the remainder of our road is in as rough shape as I’ve ever seen it.

I called the Check VDOT office yesterday afternoon to ask if they intended to make a more serious and careful pass than the one-way once-over on Sunday. Yes, they’d come take care of it. They didn’t. So I’m expecting our two miles of luge run to become even worse by this time tomorrow and stay that way for lord knows how long.

I had a new picture in mind to post here (the one you see was pulled from my Flickr gallery by Zemanta plugin for Word Press) but just realized I left my camera bag out in the car overnight. No harm done, provided I let the camera and lens come up to temperature slowly, then bring it in and leave it in the unheated room a hour or two before bringing it truly inside. Maybe that’s being over-cautious, but I’ve realized, here on the eve of my fixedness of income, that the stuff I have is pretty much the toys I’ll have when I leave it all to Goodwill and Angels in the attic. I have to make it last.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. The minute I opened this post, I saw the nice, Spring-ish photo in the header and loved it! We need to be reminded that it will come (sooner or later).

  2. Dionne after Ms Warwick, a classy lady of color (back in her day–and mine.) Our black Dionne is the smartest of the lot–the only one with good sense (if that phrase can be used when speaking of the wee-brained fowl.) She’s the only one who KNOWS the way to San Jose. The others just wander around lost.

  3. I can just imagine the potential avalanche! I keep watching one we have as it glaciates its way down the roof. I hope it doesn’t land on the dog, but I haven’t got the heart to demolish it. No chickens in the vicinity, though.

    Best wishes through the next storm!

  4. Beautiful ice and snow photo. Really colorful. I love snow scenes because of all the surprising color. They are like water paintings, with the empty spaces.