Saturday, November 26:

   The warm weather is nice, but the mud is wearying.  Where the spring development project is drawing to a close, the hillside is churned to gumbo, very slippery.  Antidote to this is to take the cover off the stock tank and watch the water pouring in – and out.  Surely, and if I was really sure I wouldn’t have to say so, surely at this rate of flow the water will resist freezing in all but the most arctic weather.

   We are watching the classifieds for laying hens cheap.  That infernal fox carried off so many hens last summer, and left even more to be buried in the composts bins, that we simply don’t have an adequate laying flock for our needs.  The eight Speckled Sussex which are all that are left of the fifty with which we began the summer have only just come on to lay, and the four or five pullet eggs, along with a smattering of eggs from the three-year-olds, do not meet our needs in the egg department.  It goes against the grain to buy eggs, but buy eggs we must, and meanwhile we are in the market for hens.

    Not afraid to fill traditional roles, the girls – that includes me – spent most of the day inside doing the Saturday housework and baking pies.  Tomorrow begins the season of Advent, and we dug out the big candles, purple and pink, and polished them with turpentine and crumpled newspapers.  They will light the wreath which decorates our table for the four weeks before Christmas.  The men, meanwhile, worked on S-5’s big project, the construction of a multi-purpose platform back in the woods where we light hot dog fires and play in North creek.  No mean structure, it will be eight feet by eighteen, and two stories high, and progress on it depended upon the help of tall people with big muscles.  Enough was done today that now said son can work on it alone for a while.  It is a noble edifice, and I am thinking we should christen it with a barn dance.