This year we've noticed hordes of squirrels squirreling away winter sustenance. There seems to be a frenzy of hoarding among squirrels and chipmunks, not unlike the rush on bread and toilet paper that happens every time an inch of snow is predicted. They race across the road, up trees, and perform highwire acts clutching walnuts as big as their heads in their mouths. Linda and I agree we haven't before seen such squirrel intensity, but also concur it's possible we're noticing it more because we're out every day with Yeti. We've also been catching sight of a flock (flocks?) of ugly, comical wild turkeys as they determinedly scratch and forage in assorted yards along our dog-walking routes. Did you know wild turkeys roost in trees? It's a very weird sight to behold! Frankly, given the air shattering report of shotguns all around us these days, if I were a turkey, I'd be following Weight Watchers....a skinny turkey has a longer lifespan in Fall than a well-fed one.
We too have been acting squirrelly, and it feels wonderful; we're just a wee bit smugly snug here in our little nest. The freezer is slowly filling up with chili (okay, I'm dying to make some terrible pun about chilly chili in the freezer....), sausage and white bean stew, cassoulet, carrot soup, pumpkin bread; this is the time of year when one begins longing for hearty, homey meals eaten by the fire. On Sunday we received our three tons of pellets to keep the aforementioned homefires burning through the Winter. Linda has new warm slippers on the way, and I have a brand new pair of Solmate socks waiting for that first snowstorm.
The socks came from the Sheep and Wool Festival this past weekend, and the preparations for Winter continued as we browsed the countless exhibits and vendor booths. In addition to having already secured delicious yarn for two more scarves and a blanket (all of which I'm trying to complete by Christmas!!) between my two local yarn shops--Country Wool in Germantown and Amazing Threads in Saugerties--I left the festival carrying lots of roving for practicing spinning (including some luscious alpaca); some fleece (gray and cream from Cricket, a Lincoln sheep, and a black-dark chocolate-milk chocolate fleece from Ozzie, a Border Leicester/Romney lamb); and some felting kits so I can finally try my hand at that. The next two months will be consumed with knitting, with breaks for felting because I dearly want a felted sheep on the tree this year, and because one of those felting kits could yield the perfect accessory scarf for someone I know. The roving and the fleece are for the deepest part of Winter, when the holidays are past, when the January craziness at work subsides, and the days are cold, gray, and easily remedied by the shush of the by-then-it-will-be-stained-and-assembled spinning wheel, and the heat of the fleece-washing water.
So we're squirrelly these days, here in the foothills of the Catskills, and the nuttiness feels good!