Abandoned. Our summer birds abandoned their house for warmer winter quarters back in the fall. The temperatures have stayed stubbornly cold and we find when we walk in the mornings that most other walkers have abandoned the streets. They are quiet and we have them to ourselves. This morning even though it was only 3 degrees we are noticing more bird song. Cardinals and blue jays are calling loudly to one another and give us hope that spring really will be coming. We look forward to the sparrows moving back into the bird house and watching another cycle of new life.
Driving home down Main Street this beautiful boy was sitting high on top of a Maple tree next to the tire shop. I pulled into a parking lot to take a look then went home to grab my camera drove back and he was still there! This is the first time I’ve ever seen an eagle in our town. Now that’s a lucky day.
You know winter has been too cold and is feeling too long when you get excited when it is warm enough to go for a walk without your snow pants on! (That was last Saturday. It’s been bitter cold ever since!) Most mornings when we head out for our walk at 6:30 I feel like Ralphie from A Christmas Story bundled up with my snow pants, two sweaters, down coat with my hood pulled over my wool hat and my double thick mittens. The cold makes my eyes water and the tears freeze on my cheeks but I’m determined to get a bit of fresh air and exercise each day so we go anyway.
Dear spring . . .I know you are coming.
Magical. Ice palace. Breath taking winter wonderland.
I don’t think my words or photos can quite capture the sparkly beauty we walked through on our hike yesterday morning. We set out early. We had two snow storms earlier in the week and then it rained heavily on Friday evening. Temps were supposed to hit the high 40s so we wanted to get off the mountain top before the snow got too soft and we were posting it on the way down. (Posting is when you sink down into softening snow; each footstep creates a “post hole” as your sink down into snow up over your knees.)
The hike up was perfect with mild temps in the 30s, no wind and a brilliant deep blue sky. The mountain slopes were pure white with fresh snow. The sun poured through the trees casting patterns of shadows and back-lighting the trees. Then we crested the top of the mountain and walked straight into wonderland. The trees at the higher elevation had frozen during the night and were coated with sleet and ice. Everything sparkled and shimmered everywhere you looked. You could hear ice droplets falling off the trees as the sun melted it loose from the branches, a steady raining tinkling sound. Come and see!
Anything green and growing this time of year feels like such a treasure when we have been buried in snow and cold for the past three months. This is a close up of some hyacinth bulbs that I just “planted” today for some early spring forcing. They have been chilling in the refrigerator since November. The gift of sunshine pouring through the window just added to the happy feeling.
Here they are from a bit further back.
I try my best to eat healthy and often buy a serving or two of fresh fish at the fish counter each week. I weigh the toxic load considering whether it is wild caught or farm raised? High or low mercury? But never in a million years did I think I had to wonder how much Windex it might contain.
Last week I was picking out some grass-fed steak and decided some fish would be good too. I look up and notice the fish counter man cleaning the glass at the front of the case. I walk up and order some haddock and as I stand there while he weighs and wraps it I notice an increasing stinging feeling on my face from the mist of the cleaning product still hanging in the air.
I am very chemically sensitive and try to avoid toxic chemicals so I ask him what he had just used to clean the front glass. “It was Windex”, he says. “I can still feel it in the air”, I say. It’s probably not a good thing to have on my fish.” By the time I get to the check-out I am revolted by the idea of eating fish with a mist of Windex and leave it behind with the check-out girl.
The manager comes over and says, “I can assure you that will never happen again.” (“Oh really,” my inner skeptic thinks.) “They are supposed to spray it on a rag”, he continues. “It’s an aerosol”, I say. “It gets in the air.” I don’t mention my skin still stinging from my mist bath in Windex but do say. “I’m all for cleaning but there has to be a better way than spaying aerosols in the air. I don’t want to eat Windex.” Maybe I could have found a better way to talk to the manager about this but I was feeling rather self-conscious put on the spot, and standing in front of other customers and several store employees.
I have always appreciated that my local grocery store is clean. The bathrooms are always clean and there is always soap in the dispensers which is a good thing in a place where people handle my food. But I have to say, I have never considered what sort of toxic cleaning chemicals I might be eating from their cleaning practices. Have you?
Now I’m having second thoughts not only about the fish counter but the olive bar and salad bar as well since I will always be wondering did they Windex this case before or after they put this food in here?
So what can happen when you swallow Windex? I’m sure it depends on how much and which formula but I’m sure no one would recommend it for culinary uses or spraying on your skin.