Archive for December, 2011

The latest cold front pushed through a couple of days ago, sweeping the skies clear of clouds, making way for sun and wind to give earth some balance with all this standing water and mud. This morning the clouds returned, soft stratus from horizon to horizon. We’ve had hard freezes the last two mornings, and now those stratus clouds sink into drifts of fog, making the drying out slow going. It’s still far too wet for bean picking.

Brad trudged out to feed and check cows early this morning; no babies yet. I’m eager for them to start; I think Brad is too, only for him I suspect it’s tempered with a bit of dread, the kind that makes you set your jaw and heave a sigh as you head out to do a necessary but unpleasant task.

Already we have gained daylight, perhaps as much as an hour in a week’s time. The sleepy short days and ever longer nights crept toward the solstice, inching into that one longest night; it seems the growing sun now leaps into the lengthening of days, as if shaking off the residual drowsiness of an afternoon nap. The gap between sunrise and sunset widens, the arc heads northward again. We wait, for fields to dry out, for calving to begin, for winter to progress and eventually give way to spring…

The clouds now have folded themselves upward into puffs of cumulus, sunlight pushes its way through, and thousands of starlings just outside the house elicit an argument between the nine- and the four-year-old over the right way to frighten them into flight. No amount of explaining will soothe the wronged child. Brad’s return from milling signals the start of dinner preparation, and we wind down this day and head for the next.


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Outside Today

I’ve heard it said since childhood that if you don’t like the weather in Georgia, wait a minute. Forty-five degrees outside just after lunch feels colder coming off of the balmy temperatures we had just a few days back. The cows didn’t take a holiday from eating, and calving will be starting any day now so we really have to keep a close watch.
It’s still too wet to move the combines and finish getting the beans out along the river, so after feeding this morning Brad is finishing a bookshelf for the living room. I grabbed a few photos after my trip to the mailbox.

pasture by the hay shed

field road east

front pasture gate


hay shed

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Solstice Tidings

First day of winter, although it hardly feels like it– 60 degrees this morning, humid, cloudy, muddy. Still, it’s winter enough that the cows have to be fed. Every morning it’s the first thing on the two-year-old’s mind (after nursies and diapers and discussions of rocket pajamas): “Tak-toh? Hay-bell? Feed Tows?” He goes with Daddy in the white tractor, spearing bales and delivering them to mamas and “babies” (the smallest of the babies is now around 400 pounds). Back and forth, one-two-three, and then after the last bale drops, “See Mama?” At first Brad thought Finn said that because he was wanting to be brought back in to me, but then realized he only says it when they are finished. “He’s learning to count by hauling hay bales,” Brad said.

Winter rain impresses me with its dreariness. A spring rain refreshes, makes colors brighter, makes the world feel clean, even as it makes just as much mud. Somehow the winter rain just feels dank and tired. We still have more soybeans to get out, but they’ll have to wait until we dry out again, probably after Christmas. Getting this late in finishing the picking, we start to worry about losing whatever’s left, either to a hard freeze exploding the pods or to rot. Always something that can be worried about.

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