To get to the other side.
Why did the frog cross the road?
He was stapled to the chicken.
- elementary school
While we're in North Dakota, I think I'll call these long, varied updates, as well as region-specific posts, "from the prairie's edge," eh?My mother-in-law, Barb, was amazed by the quietness and isolation each of her nine days here. She lives and works near D.C., where the traffic can keep you for an hour from your destination two miles away. We shook our heads whenever we saw on the road a dead gopher or bird, who would've had like 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 30 seconds of the day when no vehicle would've crossed its path, but instead chose one of those rare, fateful seconds to make a run for it.
|This snake doesn't qualify as road kill, really, because it was still alive.|
It was real slow, probably a victim of road glancing.
I wouldn't post actual road kill on my blog. Sheesh.
Jason is having a blast teaching Kaladi to "find the girl." Kaladi seems to love search work, and she's kicking tail with very little training. She naturally ground tracks, which means she follows the scent someone has left behind while walking. Some dogs naturally track by sniffing the air, which isn't as good for a lost person, because they're reliant on wind conditions. Maybe they're better at sniffing out drugs. Anyway, Jason shuts Kaladi in a room in the house, and he has Zoralee walk to some location on the property and hide behind a garbage can or a building or a bale of hay. Then he lets Kaladi out and tells her to "find the girl" or "find Zoralee." She puts her nose right to the ground, gets on the trail, and RUNS to her. Zoralee then drops a treat for her and says, "Good girl! Good girl!"
Blue. Every day at my house, six blue eyes look back at me. Eight, if you count Little Lamb, Zoralee's favorite stuffed animal.
And speaking of local flair, when we were driving through one small town, we picked up their local newspaper. A couple of the highlights are as follows. The front page news was that the paper will not be printed in color for some time; the guy who did that has quit. Very cute, and sad. Also, the reports from the surrounding towns are mostly who went to whose house for supper. I quote (with names changed): "Donald and Edna Verhorn were Friday visitors of Pete and Joann Sanders." I'll tell you one thing, I better not hear these old-timers moaning about privacy lost via social media. Hello. These are totally status updates, but put into print, albeit several days later.
* * *
Fall is upon us, no question now. Last week we woke up to a downright chilly house, and it lit a fire under each of us independently to shape up and get ready for winter. The voice of Elephant from Mo Willems' I Am Invited to a Party! keeps haunting me: "WE MUST BE READY!" So I bought canning jars in town for putting up the crab apples in the yard. Aaaaand, that's it. That's the only canning plan I have; if we get stranded out here, it's apple pie 'til spring, baby. Unless I send Jason out on snow shoes to fetch a can of cool whip. Then, it's apple pie and cool whip 'til spring, baby. Oh. And while you're at it, honey, grab some Cream Soda - that's what I'm talking about. That same day, Jason took off work early to come home and cut wood. Little update: we have now had freezing weather a couple of nights, so the apples are mushy. I missed the window to can them. Ridiculous.
The thing is, Jason and I are actually excited for winter. We don't say this when the locals lament the departing summer, but since we had that stint in south Texas before this, we're basically coming off a whole year of summer. We both like power outages and crazy storms and having to cancel plans and hunker down, so a winter here on the frozen plains could be fun! It feels like, if we're going to avoid a Donner party type situation, we better know what the heck we're doing.
At this juncture, I'm going to enthusiastically recommend a children's book called, Ox-Cart Man. It'll get you excited to stack wood and can beans for winter, as well as plan needlepoint projects to sell next summer in nearby villages. Not the catchiest title ever, unless you're in a sarcastic mood, but Ox-Cart Man is a right dandy story! We have it from the library now, and it is definitely one I'd like for my kids to own. Ahhem, Grandma or Nana, givers of Christmas presents. Even now, I feel like a dimwit spending time on the internet instead of dusting off the old loom and spinning out a few shawls.
While we were in Montana last month, Jason got a wood stove, which we hauled here to ND, along with the 800 pound beastly upright piano I inherited from my great-aunt Wilma a few years back. Mom and Dad cried and cried to see that dust collector leave their basement, but boy was it a nice wagon trainy feeling to bring it and the stove to our little house on the prairie. Jason finished installing the stove a couple of week ago, and we've been enjoying it so, so much. We've been disappointed when the weather pendulums back to warmish. I know - we should be slapped.