Our First Taste of Winter

It’s cold out!  Very cold for our neck of the woods: low 20s to teens overnight, low thirties for highs.  It’s been so warm here this autumn, it’s kind of a shock.  But we even had a dusting of snow yesterday that briefly accumulated on the sidewalks and patios.  It lingers still on the ice-crusted pond; the surface is traced with skid marks from where the ducks came in for a landing and slid for several feet instead of splashing down, and the dog keeps trying to walk across it even though is sings and crackles under her weight.

The first cold is always a little disconcerting.  We’re not sure we’re ready for it, not sure we want to deal with it.  We dread the first trip out of doors for the day.  I can’t speak for my friends (read: children) but once I’m out, I think, “This isn’t so bad!”  Then I look for extra things to do so I can stay out longer.  Do the cows need more hay?  Is there something in need of shoveling: manure or snow, perhaps?  Do water tanks need ice broken? Maybe the mail came?  Are the chickens cozy?  Are there eggs to be collected before they freeze?  Should I scrape frost off of cars that aren’t going anywhere?

I always say I hate winter, but I love to wear my fur-and-leather bomber hat with the ear flaps.  I love to shovel snow. I never let anyone else do it, except that one time when it was piled up in two foot drifts; I let the tractor move it that day.  I love the way the pines smell like Christmas.  The air seems fresher and more oxygenated, easier to breathe.  I like the coziness of the wood stove, of longer evenings for reading aloud or watching movies or going to bed.  I like that it’s cool enough to bake as much as we want, and craft as much as we want, and snuggle as much as we want.  (Not that babies care about summer heat at all!)

Basically, I kind of like winter.  But don’t tell anyone; I still want to complain about it.

 

A curious cow follows me around, trying to discover just what it is I’m doing, which is breaking ice on the pond so she can get a drink.