Publisher’s Letter: Life Changes Quickly on the Mountain

Ring Necked Pheasant on the road (Photo by Rolly Medina)
By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

Just a few weeks ago I was writing of the fun I had watching Hummingbirds getting fat at the feeder I set up. But life changes quickly on the mountain. The Hummingbirds are gone, no doubt, on their long flight south for the winter and I miss their daily visits.

This season there are also surprises. Recently, 2 families, (2 males, 2 females), of ring-necked pheasants have been frequent visitors blocking the road and seemingly unconcerned whether or not they get run over.

My neighbor said that in the past 10 years or so, pheasants haven’t frequented our area. I read up on them and found that for the second year in a row, due to hotter, drier weather conditions, their numbers are down. Usually, pheasants are found far east of here — and yet, here they are acting as if they owned the place. Ornery though they are, I hope they multiply. My neighbors and I love seeing them in the burn area — it’s a sure sign it’s coming back to life.

The other major change is the sudden drop in temperature — last week the wind was howling and the temperature was around 40 degrees. And then, it started to rain and I was anticipating that any minute that rain would turn to snow — well, not yet, but darn soon!

My laundry list for the winter is huge. The other day I was walking around trying to figure out how I was going to finish all my partially completed projects before it snows — light bulb moment: I’m not. Now, I’m focusing on priorities: #1, getting the tractor ready for plowing the 1 mile of privately owned road, and #2, finding strategies to keep my water from freezing and bursting pipes I don’t even know I have (till they freeze and crack.) Thank God for online research — let’s see: “weatherizing your RV for the winter” — that ought to turn up something.

I have always enjoyed the challenges of having property on the mountain — that’s fortunate because I bet this winter will be full of them — in fact, I’m sure of it!

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