Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Threshold Kind of Day

Something felt a little different this morning when I first went outside.  Actually, I sensed a potential hazard with my first few steps out the door.

Slick, slick, slick.  A solid mass of bone-breaking ice extended all around the area near the back door.  

As the first out with the dogs this morning, I stepped very carefully into a safe walking trail where Liam could do his business.  He didn't have to do too much sniffing for the perfect potty sights, so that meant turning around and hoping for no sliding into the house.

As an aside, I must announce that we let Liam run loose for a while yesterday morning. Bill, the other two dogs and I went to the woods south of the house where Liam had a grand time scampering this way and that way through the trees. 

Of course, we were armed with treats for the just in case, but when I announced "Biscuit Time," Liam finished first at racing to the gate to the dog run.  We will be taking great care in letting him run loose, especially when the snow melts around the barnyard fence. 

He's growing fast, but he could still slip under that fence with the horses, and we need to teach him "that's a no-no." 

Back to this morning:  when Bill took the dogs out for their second potty run, and I headed toward the barn, I turned around with the first step into the driveway leading to the barn.  
Again, the surface was so slick that choosing the right steps without falling down would be challenging.

So, when I returned to the house, both Bill and I put on our Yak tracks.  Yak tracks make a huge difference in safety and confidence when icy conditions take over all walking areas. 

I walked to the barn with no problem and noted that we were actually on the verge of early daylight.  That felt good, as did the air outside.

We had another day of steady rain yesterday and a light freeze overnight, but the patches of green are growing.  

After finishing my chores and walking to the paperbox at the end of the driveway, I detected a slight smell of early spring.  No way to describe it, we just know that the season is making its early appearances through subtle sounds and smells.
Topping off this sensation that just maybe the burden of winter and its weighty doldrums may just be subsiding would have been the sound of a CHEEZE burger bird, but I think the chickadees were sleeping in on this Sunday morning.

Speaking of birds, I haven't seen our visiting brown thrasher for a few days.  That doesn't mean it isn't still around.  Maybe I've been too busy to be looking for birdie entertainment---would that be another sign of impending spring?

Whatever the case, if Brownie's gone on to another residence, we have enjoyed the time he/she spent here along with the outside interest.

And, speaking of outside interests, I received a letter from a doctoral student at USC yesterday morning.  It was in my junk mail, so I read it with skepticism, but it seems for real as his lead professor does, indeed, exist in the creative technologies at the university, and his name appears also. 

He sent me a survey to fill out regarding my blog.  Apparently, it has been chosen along with countless others to be studied and to reveal how the personal stories and opinions projected on the blogs reflect society as a whole. 

Information collected resembles the same kinds of facts revealed through polling for political races. 

I find this interesting and will more than likely complete the survey.  As I think about the subject matter which usually shows up on this blog----dogs, pretty scenery, family happenings, community events, horses, nature, etc., I have a feeling that may, indeed, reflect certain segments of our society. 

This has become especially notable through the blogs I personally follow, reflecting life in New England and in Oklahoma. More often than not, photographs and slice-of-life details strikingly similar to my own experiences here on the North Idaho farm show up in those blogs.  

Sometimes, the specific subject matter may even reflect exactly what's on my mind that particular day, so I take care to not look like a copycat. 

It's fun knowing that this virtual slight detour of the past 11 years has found its way into a study conducted by a prestigious university.  Knowing that, however, will probably not change the subject matter from day-to-day.  

After all, "Mutterings of a Country Hick" often come easily, thanks to the rich life I enjoy, thanks to the land, the people and the animals here in the Selle Valley---even in January.

Happy Sunday.   Go outside, be careful where you walk if it's icy, and see if you can smell that early, early spring air.  It's quite exhilarating!

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