Winter’s Middle – We’ve reached the half-way point

Winter’s Middle – We’ve reached the half-way point

Winter’s Middle

We’ve reached winter’s middle, the half-way point of the season. It finally feels like a real winter this morning. When I went out to let the ducks and chickens out, bring them water and yogurt I don’t like, and a drink of water water that will melt the ice in their indoor pan, it was 0°. Some days zero doesn’t feel bad but today it’s sharp and stinging. I thought I’d go for an early morning snowshoe through the woods to look for animal tracks but came back inside instead. I’ll see how well it warms later on this afternoon.

winters middle, february 2, groundhog's day, imbolcAs I type I’m watching a blue jay resting in the hydrangea bush, recovering from a crash into the window. It’s awfully cold to not be at their best. He breathed hard and hunkered down, and I waited for him to fall off the branch into the fresh snow. The blue jay pictures were taken through a layer of plastic over an old farmhouse window and two pains of glass. I thought they were a lot more clear than they are.
winter's middle, blue jay, February 2

Inventory Day

February 2, inventory day on the homestead. A well-stocked homestead still has at least half of its needs on this day. Firewood? Check. We have more than half of the winter’s supply and all of next year’s cut, split and partially stacked. Vegetables?  Check, but close. The absence of fresh greens and roots from the high tunnel is missed. How I’d love a fresh cut salad with spinach, tender beet greens and winter-hardy lettuces, thin slices of just-pulled carrot and turnip, and onions from the pantry… The snow and rain is washing the soil this winter. We’ll recover it when I decide the soil has had enough spring rain.

Meat? This date doesn’t apply to meat for us. The bear went into the freezer in September, the chickens and partridge in October, turkeys in November, and half a pig in December. I hope we have more than a year’s worth of meat now. I hope in the spring we add four wild turkeys (we won’t, but one or two might happen) to the larder. We won’t hunt for meat again until September when bear season opens again. We intentionally put up more than a year’s worth of meat because I’m not raising any this year.

More Daylight

Daylight is 65 minutes longer now than on Winter Solstice. It’s noticeable and welcome. The ducks started laying again late last week, first one and now two. It shouldn’t be long before there are for or five duck eggs each day, and then for a short time seven. The chickens are doing well too with none of them broody and trying to hatch straw at the moment. It’s the first time since November that there’s been a full carton and more in the fridge.

After a while the blue jay noticed me watching through the window, turned as though to say goodbye, and flew away. I think once its aches and pains are gone it’ll be just fine.

My plans for the day were changed at almost last minute so I’m going to plow through writing work. I’m attending a workshop on Saturday and have a lot of reading and critique left. This weekend’s On The Fire recipe (homemade Italian sausage) has to be written. And there’s a big piece due on Monday that I’ve only scribbled notes on so far. I wish I were at the half-way point of something in the writing work right now. Maybe by lunch!

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5 thoughts on “Winter’s Middle – We’ve reached the half-way point

  1. Your reference to bear meat reminds me how different your life is than mine and most. Duck eggs, too, which I admit make my mouth water (not so much the bear meat, which I have never tasted). I love that you notice things like this blue jay’s trials and when we’re at the halfway point of winter and how many extra minutes of light we’re getting. I get to vicariously notice them, too, through you, and I really appreciate these details. Thanks, too, for the gorgeous photos, and good luck with all the writing!

  2. Yeah, we are in the middle alright! Today in the 70’s, tomorrow in the 50’s … I would like some consistency here. I look forward to our brief but mild winters. However, I really look forward to wearing my coats, jackets, and boots. Hoping for at least another month of cold temperatures here in South Carolina. There is plenty of time to be warm this summer… I mean HOT!

  3. I may not always leave a comment but I love to read your blog. Our lives are so very different but I find it refreshing and inspiring. We are the right side of winter now and here the days although still short are noticeably longer than mid-December. Stay warm and safe x

  4. We are noticing the longer days now too. It is such a relief to drive home from skating at 5:30 pm and still have a bit of light. Even though it’s cold it reminds us that spring will come! Beautiful pictures, as always 🙂

  5. If you are halfway through winter, we’re halfway through summer. We’ve had a few days of cooler weather, drizzle and low grey clouds and it’s been a welcome change. I know that our hottest days are ahead though…

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