Snow on the ice shows most of the pond surfaces have shifted from liquid to solid. The last single migratory duck has landed, swims on the open water, and will be headed south again. The flocks of turkeys have made the shift from grasshoppers to seedheads. Bambi and his mother graze in the front yard.
We’re in the open burning window – snow and rain have made a safe fall for burning branches and downed trees. Cleaning up forested land is a task that has to be self-satisfying . . . nobody notices the mess that disappears so much as the guy who squares it away. It’s a constant task, and the easy solution – bringing in a logging operation – just leaves things looking so, well, I suppose that there is no better descriptor than logged. Cleaned up, I want a forest that has around 20 or 25 percent canopy. The 100 percent canopy I work into makes sure little sunlight reaches the ground, and too many small trees bend this way and that as they compete for the light that makes photosynthesis work. But the snow is here now.
It’s time to clean and organize the garage – the work that has been postponed until the weather worsened. It’s also time to find my ragged, 40 year-old, original thinsulite coat that I wear for work that is dirty and cold. The question is, where did I stash it when last winter warmed into Spring. Ah, well, there are plenty of old coats, and some fit better now.
The garage smell is different – a dehydrator works on the last of the garden’s tomatoes. Sunflower heads are close to the woodstove, continuing to dry. The slower pace of winter is welcome after a long, warm growing season.