Houseful of haints gnawing on the corn cobs

By TIM BEELAND,

I suppose it’s all up to the ole groundhog at this point. Winter, that is. Of course we’ve still got a little over a week before Groundhog Day and “officially” knowing what to expect for the next six weeks, but after the last half-a-month or so I’m hoping more than ever before that Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow this year.

We were fortunate to make it through the Great Deep Freeze of 2018 without any major water problems at the house or at the office. It might have been a bit expensive since I feel sure we filled up the septic tank dripping water at home and drained the Propane tank burning heaters, but we made it.

The cold water line to the kitchen sink did freeze on the next to the last night of the Deep Freeze, but it thawed out by the next afternoon and doesn’t appear to have blown out anywhere. On the other hand, last Thursday night I put some sheets and underwear in the washer — I’m a firm believer in combined loads and not wasting any washing machine space — and although the water came on and the wash cycle commenced, when the drain and spin cycle took over the water blew out from the top of the drain tube.

Apparently there is a low spot in the drain line from the washer somewhere beneath the house and that froze up and, well, well those sheets and underwear probably needed to soak a day or two anyway, if you know what I mean. I know that white shirt that was included in the load did. Plus, I’m sure the floor behind the washer and dryer needed moping anyway.

I’ll work on that drain in the spring.

Speaking of spring, the season which frigid, icy, weather always turns ones thoughts toward, I’m already envisioning a grand little garden out front. Mainly consisting of tomatoes, which regular readers of this column, know that I am obsessed with growing/trying to grow.

They did pretty well last year planted in a feed barrel and big enamel canning pot next to the kitchen porch, and we’re still eating some of them out of the freezer this week. I would, however, this year like to be able to boast about my abundance of the sweet, tangy fruits to my friends, and family, and neighbors, and perhaps even give away some to boot.

I would also like to have enough to make a big batch of tomato jam, which we did a couple of years ago, and it was delicious, and we gave away some at Christmas to those same friends, and family, and neighbors too.

I saw on a social media Internet site last week some folks in a gardening group saying it’s time to get gardens ready and, even, time to start planting some greens and things.

We like greens and things at our house and as a matter of fact enjoyed the last of the collard greens, which I planted last fall in an old washtub, with our black eye peas and hog jowl on New Year’s Day. So, I believe I might take those folks advice and get some seeds in the ground real soon.

Sunday was beautiful on our hill and we took the opportunity to get outside and absorb at least a little of nature’s sun-ripened Vitamin D. I put out some dried corn-on-the-cob for the red birds and seeds for the other members of our fine feathered friends family.

Those big fat Cardinals love corn and if folklore is true that when a red bird appears it is a family member or friend that has passed coming back for a visit, then we’ve got a whole houseful of haints gnawing at some corn on the cob this week!

Wife, Danny, took the opportunity of the mild temperatures and sunny sky to clean out her car and rinse off the road scum from the last few weeks of icy travel. I, on the other hand, believed the weathermen and women who proclaimed widely over the weekend that storms were headed our way Monday and saw no reason to follow her lead.

Those prognosticators were correct and I got a hands free washing of my ride in the back parking lot and got it re-coated with thick, red mud on my return trip to the house.

As I said, it’s up to the groundhog to do the prognosticating now, so we all might as well use this coming week as a planning period for those gardens.

And for all you long gone friends and family members stopping by to say hello this winter, slow down on the corn a little bit. We’re glad to see you, but they don’t give that stuff away. You hear me Delia, Herbie, Elma, John, Stewart, Bob, David, Shirley — I know which one is you Shirley, I see you’re still smacking — Gary, Barbara, Laura, Janet....you hear me don’t you?

Hmm, maybe I need to plant some corn.