The Snows of Yesterweek

Hard to believe, walking and working in close to 70 degree weather today, that just a few days I was walking and working in very different conditions.

Here's a photo taken during my return to the house on Tuesday, almost a week to the hour after the first flakes began to fall.

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The snow was starting to go then, but it had a ways to go before it would be gone.

I was returning from a snowy stroll to the creek, its banks still heavy with snow, though not so heavy as they had been just a day or two before:

Warm Day, Bright Sun, Older Dog

A year and half after I watched our old, good dog Ivy taking her leisure in the sun, she's still at it.


This afternoon, as most clear afternoons, she curled in a spot near the house, which is about as far this once bounding, exploring, irrepressible farm dog goes any more. This year's sleeping spots are closer to the house than were last year's. 

She's earned this sunny rest of hers, and I hope that she has many more sunny afternoons in which to drowse and remember equally sunny though far more active days.

Hawk's Eyes

Robert Heinlein once noted that the high point of any freelance writer's day is checking the mail — "the low point is usually  immediately thereafter.".

True enough, but sometimes the trip home can be the best part, even when the post office box is empty.

Today was one of those days. Nothing in the PO box. But once I left the state-maintained blacktop and turned onto the stretch of private, unpaved road that we share with only four other households, I saw:

  • A neighbor's flock, the spring's lambs now large and  independent.

  • Another neighbor's fine garden, best in the area, now shifting to toward fall production; earlier this summer they had the best stand of sunflowers I've seen in ages.

  • A startled deer moving so fast across the road and into the trees that I was convinced that this one, this time, was going to drive herself headfirst into a tree and knock herself unconscious. Didn't, of course.

  • A brace of decidedly unstartled wild turkeys who actually stopped at the lip of the forest that borders the road, cocked their heads, and stared at me until I was nearly upon them. Even when they did move into the woods they did so nonchalantly, at their own pace. Neither I nor my car was going to ruffle theirfeathers.Not today, anyway.

  • A hawk, a beauty, slicing fast through open air in pursuit of something, and disappearing into the woods.

  • Four pools of standing water on our road. I had noticed them on the drive out, I;m sure, but they hadn't quite registered. It's been so long — two months at least — since we've had enough rain to saturate the ground sufficiently to allow a puddle to stand. Even the heaviest of the very few rains we've had since spring disappeared into the ground as soon as they fell. But the remnants of Isaac, here for the last three or so days, has dropped enough rain slowly enough that we have puddles again. Not so much, thankfully, to was out any of my steep driveway, nor to super-saturate the two boggy spots down here at the farm that are the bane of delivery trucks during rainier seasons.

  • Green — everywhere green: another gift from Isaac.

  • More butterflies of more varieties than I can recall in recent years.

And at the bottom of the drive, the first glimpse of this old barn which is our home — and I saw as well, as always, ten thousand things that need to get done and that I need to get to doing.

Which I believe I will, right now, with the sun out late in the afternoon for the first time since last week.

I love this little farm.

I love living here.

Especially when my eyes are opened.




Dan Smith September 5, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Nice piece, man. I can see it all.

Dan Smith

Fortunate Traveler September 6, 2012 at 8:39 PM

I love your words.

Driven To Walk Through The Woods

A measure of excessive caution borne of being stuck at the bottom of my drive one too many times, a sense of the already slick spots on my drive, and an obligation or two late in the week prompted me to move the car to its snowplace, as I think of it -- a spot beside the road at the top of the hill.

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There, the car may well be stuck if it snows deeply enough (it won't, this time), but whatever weather comes, the car and I won't be fighting gravity as well as slickness. I will have to walk up the hill to be able to drive out it, but I don't mind that.   

Even less do I mind walking back down, either on the drive if carrying groceries and other things, or, as today, unburdened, down through the woods.

The clouds were already thickening — with rain, mostly, I believe — and the shadows in the forest were twilight-thick at three in the afternoon. Fine by me. I was in no hurry, there was enough light for me (if not my aging camera), and the shadows reminded me to take even more time. I lingered and loitered a bit, looking at favorite trees and rocks, smiling at the deerpaths I saw.

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Emerging finally at the edge of the meadow, I stopped for awhile to look at the farm beneath the clouds. They still didn't look like snowclouds, but I still didn't regret moving the car any more than I had ever really regretted moving the now motionless truck, whose rearwheel drive had more trouble with a snowy drive than the frontwheel-driven Geo.

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Neither vehicle, though, is as reliable in winter weather — or the possibility of it — as my feet.

And neither can take me through the woods. 



SteveJanuary 25, 2011 at 7:38 PM

I believe it did snow most of the day here, but it also evaporated during its descent from the sky (more common of an occurrence than one might think). Tomorrow may be a different story. Regardless, Planson and I head to Daytona tomorrow night to reconnect with the 24-hour endurance race after an 8 year hiatus. I'll see if Florida is wireless, connected and operating in the 21st century.

Cold Day, Bright Sun, Old Dog

Ivy dreams of Spring.

Ivy dreams of Spring.

At 13, Ivy, who's never known any home but this farm, likes her naps alfresco, even on cold days (as long as the sun is out). She has always made beds and prepared dozing-spots for herself, generally on the edge of the meadow, though occasionally beneath the bower of a tree.

Throughout her first decade, those resting spots would be just that — places where she would catch her breath, close her eyes, gather her energies. The instant I approached — or some other distraction or entertainment — she would be up, bounding about, tail wagging, eyes bright, ready to move.  

Now she is likelier to remain unmoved by most passersby, human or otherwise. She has earned her rest, and she is applying herself to it with the same purity and, if you will, enthusiasm, that she brought to a far wider range of activity when younger.

She sleeps well and dreams, I hope, only happily of her time here.

Creek Flows Past Creek Floes

 Glade Creek, which flows through our farm,  is a year-round delight, endlessly surprising, constantly teaching me new things, occasionally reinventing itself during heavy rains.

But on those winter mornings when the creek freezes along its banks and against its rocks, and those even colder ones when the ice extends its reach toward and sometimes past midstream, the creek seems to become even richer.

Ice, water, light, and shadow come together, making morning magic.

I could stand and watch their interplay forever, but ice on a flowing creek isn't a forever thing.

What Vanishes From The Meadow Lingers In The Shade

Yesterday's brief, lovely, light snow was, as I wrote, just enough — enough to coat the meadow and the trees, and not much more than that. Gone by midday today in those areas that receive full sun. Only a hint lingers in the shade at the edge of the forest.

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A bit more lingers on my drive, as I expected.

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Even the above-freezing temperatures today weren't enough to clear it. This weekend's warmup wiil take care of things pretty quickly, but until then, I'll be hiking to and from the car.

Which is no rough duty. The pantry is well-stocked, and I have no heavy or bulky goods to carry. The day's mail and newspapers, little more than that. I can take my time and when I pause it will be because I wish to, not to give my arms a rest or, as has happened more than once, rearrange things for easier transport.

 Not much snow remains in the woods, and I doubt if very much actually made it to the ground.

But what little snow lingers there is gorgeous and is itself, worth lingering over as I make my way past.

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Which I did.

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Becky MushkoJanuary 27, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Snowy Driveway AND snow-covered sidewalk here.