Winter on the homestead

When the days are short and the nights are long and cold I take advantage of every dry, sunny hour to get chores done and make sure everyone is fed and happy.

The ground has turned to mud and it is much too wet to do anything other than prune, weed, and clean up between the storms. Aside from a row of green onions, parsnips, and carrots, most of the vegetables in my garden plot have been harvested. While it is possible to plant crops like cabbages, peas, rutabagas, and asparagus, I do little winter gardening. Digging the earth when it is as wet as it is here ruins the structure, compacting it and turning it into a hard plow layer that can be impossible for plants to grow in.

Instead I walk the land, looking for damage. The wind and ice bring down branches and sometimes whole trees that must be cut and moved to the woodpile. Often they damage fences that have to be mended before I can let the animals out of the barn.

Winter brings its own brand of beauty. A walk across the pasture reveals the night wanderings of skunks and raccoons. The air is silent except for birdsong. Deer materialize out of the mist to flash the white of their tails before bounding away when they catch sight of me. It is beautiful. It is glorious and to be immersed in the experience opens my heart and makes me feel so alive.