My wind chimes on the porches have been active this season. In the still of summer, I almost forget that we have them. How nice that their music is whipped up by the winds that come after all the songbirds of summer have gone. The only bird sound now is the call of crows and the squawking of starlings. The bald eagles that visited the farm for Thanksgiving left right after the holiday, and we have not seen them since. As I expected, the ducks, heron, and kingfisher returned once the eagles moved on.
I recently learned that 400 songbirds have gone extinct in my lifetime, many of them due to rat and mouse poisons. Traditional rat poisons dehydrate the critter, sending it out in a slow, torturous search for water. In their weakened, slow state, they are prime prey for birds. There is a different option – a poison based on an overdose of synthetic Vitamin D, Cholecalciferol. This poison is toxic to children and pets as well as rodents, but not to birds who eat the dying rodents. Please consider the Vitamin D option in any future purchases.
My evening commute is now after dark, but I was tickled by the Christmas lights folks have put up in Normantown when I rounded the bend one evening last week. Albus Dumbledore (from Harry Potter) said, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Frank and I don’t put up outside lights, but for the first time in several years without, I put up our Christmas tree this year. Our artificial tree is huge and takes several days to assemble, attach lights (I like lots of lights), repair and place the ornaments (some were my grandmother’s), and then apply the icicles. I’m an icicle girl, and I remember when those suckers were lead–REAL metal with WEIGHT. Now, I’m lucky if I can find a pack of cheap plastic ones that are drawn to pets, passers-by and my vacuum cleaner by static cling every time we come near. Pretty soon metallic, shimmery tree icicles will fade completely into the past, and our Christmas Tree will never be the same again.
Normantown has five boys who compete for Calhoun Youth Wrestling. Their program is having a Pancakes and Pictures with Santa Fundraiser Friday, December 13, from 6-8 p.m. at the Arnoldsburg Community Building to help cover costs associated with competing across the state. The pancake dinner is $5 per plate, and photos with Santa are $6 each. These boys work hard all season and are great representatives of Normantown. Don’t pancakes sound good? You should go have some.
Normantown Historical Community Center is planning to have Crafts for Kids every month. The first class was held on December 7. You can follow their Facebook page or visit nhccwv.com for details on future classes. Good things are happening at the center, but more help is always needed. The facilities need maintenance and repairs, and all efforts need funding. A membership form is available on the web site, and a page where you can donate funds online. Members receive a 25% discount at Center events.
Jeff Lowe has some lovely slabs of cherry wood for sale, visible when you pump gas at Fred’s Store. With the bark still around the edges, they also have an interesting grain. One slab is 25x56x4” and, in my opinion, would make a lovely coffee table.
A local father and his young son spent more than 80 hours in the woods recently, waiting patiently for the right buck to come along for the young one to get. The son scored his biggest buck yet. Several traps in the Stumptown area were tripped by deer or were intentionally tripped for the safety of hunters coming in. However, the coyote population of the area is still being reduced. Trapping coyotes is a service to all of us, for the safety of our pets and local livestock. More than once my beagle and I have happened upon a lone coyote on our walks, and one time we happened upon a pack – puppies being trained to hunt in the deep hollow. Another time, we spooked a doe who, in bounding away from us, leap-frogged over a coyote who was drinking from the water. There simply is just too many of them, and for me, they’re getting a little too close.
Daytona Wine called to wish our region and all of West Virginia a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. If you read the obituaries, you would note that our community has lost significant loved ones recently, through illness and accident. Please take time this holiday season to spend time with your family and friends, and let them know how much they matter.
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