giveaway winner and other bits

First things first: the winner of the Simplicity Parenting giveaway as chosen by random.org is Julie, commenter #1!  Congrats, Julie, you’ll be receiving an e-mail from me shortly!  And thanks so much to those of you who stopped by and left a comment!
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The weatherman has been hinting at snow*** for several days, and as kids all across town eagerly scan the skies, I decided we’d best get the garlic under wraps. 
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On Friday, Spud and I planted the last of the cloves and gave them and the already-sprouting-rhubarb generous blankets of leaves from my dad’s yard.
***EDITED to ADD***—And the weatherman was right!
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If you can safely make it to the store after a snowfall, it’s a perfect time to grocery shop—I’ve never seen so many available shopping carts (they had opened just an hour before, too, so maybe that had something to do with it.)
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(The best thing about snow on the weekend is that Cowboy gets to sled with the kiddos; I’m missing out this time due to my pregnant state.)
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And, I had a brief, but thrilling interaction in nature on Friday as well.  Since early fall we’ve been enjoying the chickadees and juncos that appreciate the black sunflower seeds we put out for them in feeders.  Recently, I decided to give them a little boost through the colder months by making homemade suet.  Our suet feeders had been empty for a day, so I quickly mixed up our third batch of bird food using the recipe found in Rhythm of the Family.
Usually when I put out new suet, there’s not a bird in sight, and often isn’t for a few hours.  The same was true on Friday as I rehung the feeders—no birds on the fence, no chicka-dee-dee-dee to be heard.  I have kind of a fascination with trying to spot birds when they’re hiding in the bushes or trees, but I saw nothing (not that I often do).
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I moved a few feet away and sat down on the steps to watch Spud playing in the sandbox.  Within seconds of sitting down, two chickadees appeared at the feeder to eat, and within a few seconds more, I could hear the calls and chirps of literally dozens of chickadees who seemingly materialized out of nowhere.  Several “messenger” chickadees swooped back and forth over the house a few times, igniting some sort of birdie broadcasting alert, and others joined the chorus, spreading the news that their food was back.  The swift shift from absolute silence to bird bliss was amazing.
I saw chickadees at the very tops of alder trees where I had never thought to look for them before (I didn’t know they perched up that high), and shortly thereafter, their more cautious and less vocal friends, the juncos, began hopping in and out from under the porch looking for the tidbits their braver counterparts had dropped.
All of this lasted less than 5 minutes; then the flurry died down, the more sensible among them convinced the foolhardy to sit back and wait until the human disappeared inside again and all was quiet. 
(I’m not even going to try and explain all of the factors that converge to make the bird photos so awful.  Just know that if I could have gotten better ones, I definitely would have Smile)

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