Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Caught in a nap.
When the weather is bad and snow and ice are all around, seems like all you want to do is lay down with a good book, a good movie, a good blanket and nap. Our early winter storm brought out that quality in me last week. Today however was different. With temps hovering around the 30 degree mark I took the day to play outside.

I warmed up first by baking a pecan pie (Uncle Jim's favorite) for supper and at least moving my body along to Richard Simmons Sweatin' to the Oldies (I'm not coordinated enough to call it dancing) and then dressed up warm and went out to play.

I spent most of the day outside and had a great time. I took all the Halloween decorations off the shed and replaced them with sleds, evergreens, and I even put up the lights. Water was dripping down my arm and back as the snow on the roof melted but it was clean fresh water and I didn't mind. As the sun began to get very low in the sky, I decided to go out back and make sure the grill would light. We're having some BIG pork ribs Unca Jim brought with him from Wisconsin and although I started them in the oven we want to finish them off on the grill. You have to take advantage of every day like this you get in ND - don't ya know!

As I stood by the grill to make sure it was going to stay lit, I noticed one particular little downy woodpecker who seemed quite disturbed. I knew it wasn't because he was hungry as I had filled the bird feeders with suet just two days previous. I didn't pay too much attention to him until I looked over towards the suet tree (that tree that Barry pruned to within an inch of its life so we could move the house in and now all the stump branches work well as suet hangars) and there she was.

At first I thought she was hurt or ill as she certainly was breathing but she wasn't moving. I even said 'hello' to see if she would fly away. Her friend was flitting around chirping quite excitedly and I didn't want to get too near her but I was really curious at this point. After snapping these few shots of her I cautiously reached out and tapped the tree beside her. She pulled her head from under her wing, opened her eyes, which were kind of foggy at first but soon cleared to ebony balls, and ruffled her feathers to put the down all back into its neat smooth lines. She hopped around the tree a little then up to a crevice for a bit of snow for a drink.

Wow, I thought, another lesson from the gardens. Winter and cold brings on a natural desire to sleep your life away. Even as friends call and invite you to "Come out and Play" we sometimes drift into a deep slumber. As my gardens sleep through the winter, I too want to hibernate away until spring brings us all alive again. But just as the little Downy Woodpecker concluded her drink - she heard the calls of her friend and flew away for a little play before the sun set. I need to remember to do that too. Getting out in the winter might be tough, but its worth the effort when you have someone who cares about you, wants to spend time with you and will help you to fly away to great places. Hope everyone remembers to take joy in the winter- it's the seasons that we live that help to make us seasoned.

On another note - my cold frames with fresh lettuce, onions, mustard and leeks have made it through the first batch of cold and snow just fine. The Flashy Trout lettuce didn't take the cold as well as the Freckles but it still looks promising for a December harvest. Today, with a balmy 30 degrees outside, the inside of the cold frames was 55 degrees. It was overcast and not particularly sunny or I'm sure it would have been much more.

The day I brushed the snow off of them the outside of the boxes was actually sweating - at 18 degrees outside it was 35 inside. I can tell the buttercrunch lettuce has taken a freeze but there is also mache in there and that will freeze, thaw, and be able to be eaten so I'm not too worried.
Hope everyone has friends to call them when they need to go play, a warm place to stay inside when the weather gets bad, and a garden to plan for spring!