The coldest part of winter has arrived. It’s been in the teens during the day and 0°F or below at night. I fill two one-gallon jugs with hot water, warm up any spoiled milk there might be in the fridge, and grab a container for corn before heading to the hen house. I keep a bottle hot to help the birds’ water stay open longer. Unless the wind is blowing hard I open the bird door to give the birds the option of going out. Snow squeaks under my Bogs as I walk to the hen house, the food plot for a look around, the pond to gather birch bark, and back to the house. It is snow-squeaking cold in the morning.

winter, snow, barred rock, khaki campbell

By late morning or noon the snow starts to melt on the roof. Chickadees drink from drops at the tips of icicles. Early in the afternoon something, the ermine or a hawk or maybe one of the feral cats, sends the birds at the feeders into a frenzy. They bang into the house and off the truck. Except for one. There’s little evidence of what happened to one mourning dove. There aren’t a lot of feathers and there isn’t any blood on the snow.

Mourning dove feathers on snow

Garden Planning

Garden planning changes this year. I’ll be growing for Tressa & Trudy as well as to put up our yearly supply of vegetables, herbs and fruits. I’ll be talking more about T&T later on. Are you interested in lists of what I’ll grow?

We have 45 yards of bark mulch to spread on the gardens, amend soil in the high tunnel, and fill in some spots in the food plot. I’m eager to get to work with it. Having this mulch will slowly feed the soil’s micro herd while it blocks and slows weeds. It’s going to take months for the piles to thaw so we’ll bring it over (it’s in the driveway to the wood yard) by the tractor bucket load as we need it. I’m saving cardboard to put down on the soil and under the mulch.

Garden planning also involves the new perennial garden. I’m in way over my head with this one but I’m looking forward to the planning, work and results. It will take a few years to bring it all together. If plants don’t work in one spot I’ll dig them up and find a new home for them. It’ll be fine. The stack of perennial gardening magazines has reappeared beside my chair to fuel my big dreams of a gorgeous garden.

Writing

My winter plans involve a lot of writing. I have a memoir I’m rewriting, a monthly column called Focus On Wildlife, the blog, and a new project. There’s a cookbook in the works with Gundy, my co-host in On The Fire. My journal is sitting here on the desk. I always have good intentions…

Outdoors

We need a bit more snow before the snowshoes have to come out. For now I’m enjoying easy walks in the woods to gather bark, lichens, cones and chaga. My walks will be short this week. Ava went through a long seizure cycle last week. She’s unsteady and still a little dazed. This was a rough one. We take her for short walks where Steve has plowed so that she gets some exercise. Sometimes we just sit. My snow pants and her heavy winter coat keep us warm. She sits beside me while Zoey runs. I hope she’ll be running again soon.

Reading

As always, this winter I’ll re-read We Took To The Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich. It won’t matter how many times I’ve read the story, I will always want to read it again. I met a lovely woman on the bus from Boston to Bangor a couple of years ago. I was reading a paperback copy. She spotted the book and asked to sit beside me. She told me about her first edition copy and offered to gift it to me if I didn’t mind sharing my address. I kept her address. When my book is finished I will mail it to her. It’s one of my few prized possessions. Things don’t mean much to me but that book, it’s special.

What are you reading? I don’t have a tall stack for this winter. I’d love some recommendations.