Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In The Bleak Midwinter

The above title is blatantly stolen from a book by one of my favorite authors, Julia Spencer-Fleming. Or I could have titled this post, "What's Wrong with This Picture?"

This is a shot of my raised garden beds taken a few minutes ago. January 10th . . . we should have two feet of snow covering the ground at this time of year.

Then here's my pumpkin patch. The left end of it is standing water and mud.

Poor field garden! Lying there close to bare nekkid in the elements. Good thing I covered my strawberry patch within the field garden to protect the plants from the freezing and thawing this winter.

Our temperature is 37.5 degrees now at nearly 3 p.m. Lots of melting and drip, drip, dripping going on out there today. We had sunshine most of the day yesterday which made for even more melting but also lent a feeling of spring to the air.

Today? Well, with winter activities such as ski and dog sled races, ice sculpturing, snowmobiling, outdoor hockey games and snowshoeing being cancelled left and right, it feels much as if we are in the bleak midwinter of drab landscape and dampness. On the other hand, there would be absolutely nothing wrong with these pictures if it were late March or April in the north woods . . . instead of January.

But whoa there, Nellie! It doesn't have to be snow-covered or sunny to be a good day! The paved roads are clear and safe for driving, there's no snow removal to tend to today and I can certainly find P-L-E-N-T-Y to occupy my time indoors with a small fire crackling in the wood stove. I could even go into my quilt studio for a couple of hours before dinner.

Hunh. Maybe this bleak midwinter isn't such a bad time after all.

26 comments:

Sue said...

I was out in my garden today too. What a coincidence. We are now down over 5 ft in snow so far this year. If we normally start out the growing season under severe drought conditions after getting 175 inches of snow, what do you think it will be this spring with only FOUR inches of snow so far???
On a good note, though--it's 41 degrees and I started winter-sowing some stuff. Hooray!

Jenyfer Matthews said...

No snow to speak of in central MI since November! It's 45F here today and supposed to be up near 50F tomorrow. I am pretty sure that I saw some bulbs coming up in the back yard - do they know something that we don't??

Susan said...

Same here. There are tiny scrims of snow here and there - but mostly it's mild. They are actually forecasting RAIN for Thursday. I mean, not to complain, but we've had enough rain. I blame it all on my Snow Wolf. I've scared winter off.

judy said...

ARE THERE A LOT OF NAKKID PICTURES IN JULIA'S BOOK.? ARE THERE ANY WORDS IN THIS BOOK? WHERE CAN I BUY SUCH A BOOK? SOUNDS LIKE A MURDER MYSTERY,IS IT? DID YOU EVER HEAR THE JOKE ABOUT VICE PRESIDENT AGNEW. HE REPORTEDLY HAD A FIRE IN HIS LIBRARY IN HIS HOME.ALL HIS BOOKS BURNED [ BOTH ],ONE ONCE HIS FAVORITE COLORING BOOK. I GUESS PEOPLE THOUGHT THIS GUY WAS NOT THE BRIGHTEST BULB BUT NEITHER AM I ,SO DON'T GET OFFENDED PEOPLE ,I DON'T MAKE A HABIT OF MAKING FUN OF OUR PAST HISTORICAL POPULATION. THE FIRST PART OF MY COMMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN READ WITH THE VOICE OF ETHYL MERMAN

Sparkless said...

Yes, it's sunny and beautiful here today but I can't help but be worried about what it's going to be like in the summer. Without all that snowpack in the the mountains we could be in for a very dry hot summer.

Stephanie said...

I am currently getting 6+ inches right now and not happy at all :/ I would gladly send it back your way if I could :)

Karen L. said...

Oh my, what sad looking beds!!! They will definitely look so much better in the summer ..... unless you end up with two feet of snow in July! Hey, it's crazy everywhere right now so maybe that could happen???

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Sure wish I knew more about this winter-sowing stuff. I wonder if our climate (well, usually!) is just too harsh for it?

Jen - I'm betting your kids would have liked to have had a winter chock full of snow for their first one in the States. Hope those bulbs sending up green shoots don't get frost damaged.

Susan - Your Snow Wolf was what was in my mind when I started reading your comment. How different for you than last winter!

judy - You have such a strong sense of humor I'm betting you're a lot of fun to be around!

Sparkless - Yes, I think many parts of the country are wondering if the spring will be too dry . . . and then summer if spring rains don't come. Arrrrgh.

Stephanie - OMG, 6" and still coming down? If you don't need it, you should send it to some of us that do!! Bet it's pretty. Picture, please?

Karen L. - Winter without snow up here is not pretty. Just so you know, we have had snowflakes in every single month of the year up here! Crazy, huh?

Chai Chai said...

I'm doing the same kind of post tomorrow, where is the snow? I sure hope there is no drought this Spring.

The real cold is going to hit this week (as you know), sure hope the septic tanks and pipes don't burst.

fullfreezer said...

We hit 50 here today. For the second week in a row! We have yet to see any real, measurable snow. We actually haven't had much precipitation of any sort which worries me a bit since we had such a dry end of the summer last year. Weirdness all around! This makes me really worry about what next spring and summer will do.
Judy

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

Same thing here but warmer. I was just thinking today that it is just another month until it is time to tap the maple trees, but we never had winter yet! I wonder if that will effect it? And will it be snowing and subzero come April since we are in arrears? BIG difference from last year!

dr momi said...

We're suppose to get 5 inches on Thur. We'll see... I like that your ducks found your water and mud patch....I think those are duck tracks :-)

Erin said...

Insane! I'm really starting to worry about the effects we all are going to feel from this. You will no doubt have a high risk of forest fires this year and your garden needs the snow and melt! We don't normally get snow but I'm absolutely terrified of the high population of insects we will no doubt have, I'm thinking 3 generations of squash bugs here and the thought is making me ill!

2 Tramps said...

No snow here either. It was 57 degrees yesterday but will be dropping to 12 degrees tonight. Like Sue, I was out in my garden today - I was watering. It has been way too dry here and when it drops down as cold as it is going to be tonight, if your plants don't have some good moisture they will just about freeze dry. A real pain to be dragging a hose around in January! Like you, I have lit a nice fire in the wood cookstove and am planning to relax a bit. Tramp 1 is headed over to the shop to putter after dinner. I started the pellet stove a couple of hours ago over there so it will be nice and toasty. He and the dog can have some quality time together tonight - I took the day shift...

Leigh said...

I have to say that after the last two winters, I'm not minding it being so cold! Of course, that probably means we'll have worse insect problems next summer, sigh. Can't win either way.

Akannie said...

It's been ridiculously warm down here by St Louis....55-75 and sunny and crazy. Supposed to be some snow moving in on Wed night/Thurs morning though. I'll believe it when I see it...

My trees are budding and we have lots of green showing where it shouldn't be. It's confusing....

Julie said...

Here in Minneapolis we got to 54 degrees yesterday! My garden looks about the same as yours. This has been a crazy winter, but I'm not complaining. I love it. I figure mother nature owes as after last year (we got several feet of snow in Nov and it didn't melt 'til May! Good year to dig up your lawn and create a garden huh?) I am concerned that it will affect our sap production. Last year was our first year that we made our own and I am excited for maple syruping season to start. I wonder how long this weather will continue?

Country Life said...

I am in Missouri and the little cover of snow we got a few weeks ago was nothing, it was gone in like 3 hours. Forcasting today rain (in January)? and a few days ago it got back up to 60!
Kim

Mama Pea said...

Chai Chai - Yep, bare ground in winter in the northern states is never good because the frost goes so deep. Let's hope it either stays warm . . . or we get enough snow!

Judy - I think we're all already starting to think of what spring will be like if we don't get the snow we need.

Jane - We don't tap the maples up here until March . . . and usually have to trudge through much snow to do it!

dr momi - No, no duck foot prints! Just our granddogs trying to get their paws as muddy as they possibly can!

Erin - The thought about garden pests being more prolific this year is a real one. Oh, arrrgh! None of us need that after last year.

2 Tramps - Watering the garden in January. Even with our lack of moisture/snow, that's something I can't imagine here in NE Minnesota!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Ticks have been moving into our area (where they never were before) because of warmer weather. We definitely NEED a frigid winter to knock them back a bit!

Akannie - The forecasters seem to be teasing a large part of the country with the possibility of snow tonight/tomorrow morning. Let's hope!

Julie - I wonder how much the maple sap will be affected? It stands to reason the trees need moisture to make sap, but how deep down do the roots of the trees go?

Kim - Warmer weather does seem to be nation wide, doesn't it? The old-timers around here say it used to be much hotter in the summer . . . BUT also colder in the winter. It sure isn't colder this winter . . . so far.

Chai Chai said...

Mama Pea - Guinea hens will make quick work of those ticks, they do a great job here. Of course one has to learn to put up with the noise.....

Jody said...

It's very warm here too -raining outside and 41 at night. It sounds like you had a very peaceful day. Many more too you!

Mama Pea said...

Chai Chai - I had read that about guinea fowl. Our daughter raised some a few years ago and as they became adults, the noise almost drove her crazy! The lesser of two evils??

Jody - Thanks, Jody! Hope you're having a good winter!

Claire said...

Catching up on reading and glad you are now getting some snow (see next post!). I knew I heard music when I read your blog title, and here is why...an interesting little tidbit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Bleak_Midwinter

Mama Pea said...

Claire - OMG, Claire, that is beautiful! I'm betting the author, Julia Spencer-Fleming, took her book title from that carol! Now you've got me curious because I know I've heard the tune before, too. We've got some Christmas CDs with instrumental old carols on them and I'll bet it's on one of them. How did you know it was the title of an old carol?

Claire said...

I think I knew it was from an old carol because I must have sung that one before in one of the choirs I've sung with. I agree, it is a really beautiful one!