The Raccoons have gone into torpor, which is sort of a voluntary hibernation. If there's snow or ice on the ground, not a single raccoon will come to the Wildlife Buffet Gary runs by the pear tree out back. (Latest dish: Purina ONE Turkey and Venison Formula). If it's temperate, above 40, we still get about five raccoon. Just the local ones, not the dozen or so that take the sewer to our yard.
Since I know how much Gary will miss the animals, one of his Christmas presents is a bottle of doe estrus. I imagine he can spray it on the pear tree and we'll get a slamming buck scene at the Buffet. (Of course if we do we'll take the venison off the menu).
I've really felt the loss of the raccoons, and was hoping for some deer to fill the emotional gap, so on the drive home Christmas Eve I made a point to crane my neck so I could see if there were any deer behind us in the special deer field on Pitman Hill.
There were none. That's why I sighed, "No deer ... " and turned my face to the road ahead, where there was a giant deer running directly across our path.
I saw the deer before Gary did. I gasped, instead of what Gary argued would have been a better reaction: screaming "DEER!" Still, my gasp alerted him and he was able to swerve into the opposite lane and avoid hitting it / totalling our car / ruining our impending road trip to Nashville - Asheville.
About once a month I've been going to my friend Anne's house and baking. This month we started with the plan to make Christmas cookies. But, we both like to learn (well, unless it's a Zumba dance routine), and neither of use knew how to make a French Macaron.
Well, full disclosure - this is how the time at Anne's was spent:
20% - playing with Anne's cats
30% - eating baked ziti, which I've never had before
30% - drinking hard cider by the fire, because Anne's house is like a resort
20% - baking macarons.
The original plan was the make the macarons and then paint little miniatures on them with egg wash paint. (As I say, Anne is of the same mind as I.) That's why we didn't add any of the coloring you usually see with macarons.
And that's how we learned WHY color is added to macarons, especially when you put chocolate ganache in the middle. If you don't add the color they look just like mini hamburgers.
Another new thing I tried this month was Zumba. I needed exercise, and Zoomba seemed like something cheery. Usually I exercise and I feel worse after. Angrier, more anxious. I know, that's the opposite of what's supposed to happen.
The first time at Zumba was hard, but for the most part I was able to move in the same general direction as the rest of the class. I thought, "It's okay, I'll be better next time." And then there was the next time and no, no, I was not better, I was considerably worse. Miss Abby from Dance Moms would sneer at me.
I cut my losses. Now instead of the Zumba class, I shall make my own version of Zumba in which I do the grapevine step and that's it. I'll grapevine three steps left, then three right, on and on until the dance playlist is over.
On the upside, while I am not coordinated enough to Zumba, it would seem I'm coordinated enough to make jewelry, put it on Etsy, and sell it. I've had two site visits in the two days the shop's been open and one of them resulted in a sale. I was prepared to wait for months. I'm just gobsmacked something sold. Gob. Smacked.
Well, my stint as Retail Barbie went as well as could be expected. I went with a friend who had loads of really gorgeous jewelry, and she sold one thing, and I had a meager amount of weird-looking jewelry, and sold two things. Both buyers paid cash, so no one wanted me to use my neat new swipy Square device that turns my iPhone into a credit card reader. (Retail Barbie: accessories not included.)
However, even with the low turnout some of the other vendors came by and they were very encouraging. Evidently making jewelry out of jigsaw puzzles is a code that's been waiting to be cracked.
Now I'm taking things to the next stage and peddling wares on the favorite marketplace of introverts: Etsy. I won't have to make small talk or even tell anyone my name. And my research says it takes MONTHS to make a sale. Given that it's been open since noon and only one person made it there (via Google, I suppose), I'll "Always Be Closing" at a nice leisurely pace.
Gary's making the raccoons do new things too. You'll notice on the right foreground, on the right front corner of the mat is a pile of a cheaper, reddish, beefy dog food.
The new dog food is an experiment to see if we can offset the price of the Lamb and Rice dog food because, as I told Gary, "They're not show raccoons."
At about 2 a.m. the skunk decided to dive in. He loved it.
This raccoon is perplexed. He seems to think his normal food must be hiding.
Eventually at five in the morning a raccoon decided to give it a taste. It doesn't look like he enjoys it.
Sorry, raccoon. We all have to try things we don't like just to keep things interesting.