Friday, February 8, 2008

The Beauty That Is Winter

It has been bitterly cold this past week in the mornings and gloriously sunny throughout the days. Daylight has returned to the late afternoons after an absence of a few weeks. It is possible to see Spring time on the horizon.

I have come to revel in the beauty that is Winter. The bleakness of the landscape, the chill in the air and the stillness that I never feel in the summer months; it is all so alluring. When I walk through the upper pasture in the early morning to fetch the cows, I watch the sun come up through the trees and I feel as though I was the last man on the planet. I can hear nothing except the cows hoofs, crunching through the ice and breaking twigs as the cows come towards me.

But then it again it is just damn cold out.

The other thing that I have been thinking about it is the precariousness of growing food. Weather is obviously a big part of the growth of vegetables. I was out Friday afternoon checking on the vegetable garden and came across the fava beans. Generally I like to plant fava beans in the fall in order to get a head start on the Spring. They had germinated and grown nicely over the past four months; 4 inches high. When I went to them today, however, they had frozen to the ground, doubled over and wilted. I will plant another batch in another couple of months when I can work the soil and get them to germinate, but we will have fava beans to eat a few weeks later than if they had made it through this week's harsh weather.

It is hard to imagine growing food for survival in times past before the luxury of knowing that the Thriftway Store is just blocks away stocked with produce year around.

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