Welcome to 2008!

So, Oh Best Beloved, how goes your New Year?

Ours has been… well, odd, so far at least. Which is why there has been a dearth of posting.

Census of Agriculture Booklet

On January 2nd a booklet arrived at our abode from the U.S. Census Bureau, which turned out to be the 2007 USDA annual Census of Agriculture. A cover letter instructed us that we should fill it out immediately and provide, under severest penalties of federal law (with punishment presumably delivered by three large club-carrying underpaid and crabby demographers), a complete enumeration of all our pigs, cows, horses, mules, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, llamas, emu and all other assortied beasties. We then were to list every crop we had grown (or tried to grow) in the last year, down to the last mustard seed.

Um… We don’t own a farm.

Nowhere in this nice thick official document did a place exist to politely say, “We do not and never have owned one whit of agricultural land, nor do we own, produce or harbor any livestock. You’ve made a mistake.”

I’ve dutifully sent the form back, properly (and politely) pointing out the error in the nice large white space the Census Bureau provided for comments and address corrections. We’ll see how this evolves. I am not optimistic that the error which classified our little residential lot and dwelling as a farm will be easily remedied, given the bureaucracy that spawned the error in the first place.

*sigh*

That was on the 2nd.

Next we had storms. Major storms. Snow storms, you say? Nope. We had thunderstorms – a rather startling event for early January in northeast Wisconsin.

January Hail Storm

I was not the least bit thrilled by the deluge of hail that accompanied two hours of lightning and torrential rain. Yes, that is hail on the driveway – not snow – which pounded down on our cars, to my utter dismay. Fortunately, nothing was damaged.

Two F3 tornadoes formed from this system, well south of us. This is only the second time since the 1840s that tornadoes have occurred in Wisconsin in January, making this a very rare event indeed. My heart goes out to the many families who lost their homes in a little town called Wheatland.

Since then we’ve had a plethora of equally odd instances, most related to annoying time-consuming errors made by service providers (which have left me wondering how companies stay in business nowadays).

A rather determined invasion of my living space by a smallish white-tan spider has, however, given me a daily chuckle. She pops up at the most unexpected moments and shouts “Boo!” (if you’ve ever been startled by a spider you know what I’m talking about). She’s also caused me to screech with surprise several times when I have accidentally picked her up, thinking she was a little ball of white fuzz. For those of you who haven’t ever experienced a troublesome and fearless spider playing games, here’s a cleaning hint: fuzzballs should not feel rubbery or wiggle when you pick them up.

Spider saying Hi on yogurt container

Here she is, laying claim to my yogurt container – at breakfast, mind you, when I am at my bleariest and most easily startled by eight-legged intruders.

I expect I’ll find her next doing the backstroke in my glass wine.

I’ll keep you posted.