Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chickens and Camels and Country Stores

On Saturday I went to Tractor Supply before I headed to the house as I wanted hand warmers to put inside my gloves, it was going to be another cold day.
 They didn't have any hand warmers but they did have lots of baby chicks and ducklings as well as everything needed to rear the little chaps. I went to another Tractor Supply which also had no hand warmers but finally struck gold at True Value so I bought 10 packs, hopefully enough to see me through until spring.
Jamie wasn't at the house so we couldn't finish the electrical work so I helped a couple of the guys with the house trim. There were actually more volunteers than there were tasks as far as the women were concerned so I kept that in mind and planned an early finish.
 We had to trim down these long planks made out of a wood and plastic composite. They are shown on the completed house next door above, the white lengths under the roof and the porch. I kept thinking that saw dust was blowing around us until I realized that it was in fact snowflakes. But my hands were warm so I carried on happily enough. But after a while, the men left the job to climb up to the roof and do some measuring. They were gone a while so I chatted to Rob who was manning the saw. He's accustomed to arctic conditions and had no qualms about standing around. Then John came out for a chat and wanted to know if there was anything to be done. Well yes there was, he could take my place. I offered my hand warmers to the men but they both declined so after a few more minutes Rob actually told me to, 'Get out of here!'. I needed no second telling. I signed out and left. It was wonderful to get home and relax for a bit which I did with a huge mug of tea and the cats.
 They both took in in turns to enjoy the still very warm hand warmers, resting on their backs like little hot water bottles. Then I had to get dinner ready as Rob was bringing up a truck load of wood. I'd bought this as a special deal from one of his friends but it really wasn't any cheaper than wood up here. It had been sitting down there for nearly 2 years and was starting to rot and get really dry. If I didn't burn it this winter I don't think it would have been any good for next season.
I was so pleased to finally get it to Meadow House and was able to postpone another load due to be delivered. The stacking kept us warm as the temperatures seemed to be dropping again and then it was inside for a huge plate of steak and Guiness casserole cooked in the crock pot with vegetables and dumplings and a large dollop of mashed potatoes. That hit the spot!
The next day was still very cold but sunny so I decided to go out for some local exploring in the car. I'd seen in a local newspaper that there was an old truss bridge close to home so my first stop was there. I'd seen it in this great little article:
I parked the car and walked over the bridge and then climbed down to the river bank.
The video doesn't show the bridge as being as noisy as it really is when someone drives over it. I stood to one side as the odd car went by and could hear every board creaking and cracking under the weight and felt myself moving also. It's a wonderful bridge and although in need of a few coats of paint seems to be in great condition.
I decided to carry along the quiet road, crossing over the relatively busy Rte 211, and back into peaceful countryside again.
I found this quaint country store with a sign by the road, Viewtown Saturday Sandwich, which promptly induced me to drive in. Unfortunately, maybe because it was a Sunday, the little store was closed, but I'll be back this way to try a sandwich, that's for sure.
A little further down the road I had to pull in, turn around and drive back the way I'd come. I could've sworn I'd seen camels in a field. Sure enough as I drove slowly past a farm there were 4 camels, dromedaries. This type of camel is common to Africa and the Middle East. It was exported all over the world and is now relatively common in Australia and North America, where is has been used sporadically over the years as a pack animal. Dromedary camels are much more common than two hump camels. I climbed out of the car with my camera and immediately they strolled over, as curious about me as I was about them. They were incredibly friendly and although I was a little nervous as I'd heard they could be a little aggressive, before long we were all the bestest of friends with lots of kissing and soft blowing taking place. I later found out that their reputation of being bad-tempered and obstinate creatures who spit and kick is false. In reality, they tend to be good-tempered, patient and intelligent.
What wonderful new friends! I was very reluctant to leave but after some farewell smooching I got back in the car. I weaved along little country lanes, barely passing a soul and then came to another little country store, but this time one that was open. I found the link below on it, referring to its sale last year, and there's some interesting information and photos.

I didn't take many photos inside the store because the owner was keeping a keen eye on me and making me feel a little uncomfortable, but once we started chatting she was great. I quite liked this dispay at the back of the store showing local goods but couldn't quite work out the relevance of a stuffed raccoon. I bought a greetings card and some local lemon hard candy and headed off again.
This sight made me stop. Obviously the grave site of a much loved and revered cow or bull. How poignant. And the model looked homemade, not something from a toy store. I almost wished there was an actual gravestone so I could learn more about the bovine in question.
I stopped here by the Hazel River and walked about. The water seemed a little shallow but might be worth trying out in the kayak.
After driving many miles along bumpy stoney roads which at times seemed more like trails, I decided to get back onto smoother paved roads and slowly make my way home. I love the orange grass in the photo above which is prevalent all over the countryside. It's called Little Bluestem Grass even though it is always orange through winter and most of the year although it turns blue in spring. It's also known as Poverty Grass because it's often found flourishing in soil that lacks nutrition.
Kota catching the late sun in all of his feathery whiskers and fur, looking almost as though he has a halo.

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