From Pipi’s Pasture: Winter is here
At this writing, it is the second day of 2019, a bitterly cold day. Thank goodness there is plenty of sunshine and no wind. The crab apple tree outside the dining room window doesn’t have any bird visitors this morning, probably because there are very few dried (and now frozen) crab apples left on the branches. The birds have moved on to the cat food they have just discovered on the front porch.
All around the crab apple tree are places where the deer have dug around in the snow, perhaps making beds for the night. The snow is scattered with dried, fallen leaves that the deer uncovered. Farther out, in Pipi’s Pasture, the cows are finishing their breakfast and enjoying the sun.
It’s winter for sure, and that means …
- trudging through drifted snow.
- lots of shoveling and sweeping.
- abandoning the once well-traveled path from the corner gate near the house to the corral.
- fighting ice on the unheated water tanks at the far end of the corral.
- a long, cold wait while the stock tanks fill with water.
- bringing hoses to the shop so they can warm up overnight.
- enjoying the sounds of neighborhood dads, grandpas, kids, and dogs as they enjoy playing outdoors on snowmobiles and sleds.
- bundling up in several layers of sweaters, coats, socks, pants, and gloves to do chores, requiring 20 minutes to get dressed.
- a nice warm-up in the house after time spent outside.
- slow- going on highways.
- below-zero days and nights, followed (eventually) by warmer days and lots of sunshine.
- piles of snow along county roads and driveways that are getting higher and higher.
- finding alternative ways to feed cows when the tractor won’t start during below zero weather.
- hoping the handle on the water faucet doesn’t freeze down.
- spending more time doing chores than usual.
- bringing the cats’ water pans into the house at night so they won’t be filled with ice in the morning.
- paying close attention to weather forecasts.
- the chance to use my new winter windshield cover, a gift from granddaughter Megan, on my car.
- sweeping off the porch several times during the day.
- slick places where water drips when it’s sunny, like off the shop roof, and then freezes over.
- trying to walk in tracks left in the snow by the tractor tires.
- leaving fuzzy, colored fibers on door knobs, metal fences, and water faucets when wearing wet gloves.
- keeping an eye on the highway forecasts when planning to travel, especially in the mountains.
It’s winter, and the weather can be challenging, but we’re grateful for the moisture. Happy 2019!
This week’s picture book for children was written and illustrated by David Litchfield who lives in the United Kingdom. “The Bear, the Piano, the Dog, and the Fiddle” is a sequel to “The Bear and the Piano,” a best-selling picture book.