A harbinger

It was a weird day, today was.

It started just after midnight, when Kevin and I were woken up by the sound of something either falling on or falling off our house.

The latter, it turned out to be. The wind, which hadn’t been more than breezy when we went to bed, had started to blow alarmingly hard. The trees were swaying and creaking, and anything that could flap, whip, or bend was doing just that. The clunk-clunk-clunk we’d heard on the roof turned out to be the varmint-guard on the chimney of our oil burner, which had been blown loose.

We put it in the basement for safe keeping and went back to bed, but it was windy enough that we couldn’t help thinking about just how many trees were in striking distance of the house.

It was a restless night, but there was no further mishap. Even so, we didn’t sleep all that much, and were up at 6:30, checking the tip-ups. We had three flags up, but it was wind, and not trout, that did it.

And then a funny thing happened. The temperature started to go up. I can’t say it actually got warm. We only made it to the low forties, but the sun was out, the ice was melting, and it was the first day in a long time I could imagine warmth in my near future.

We let the chickens out, and they pecked at what little greenery they could find poking through the drooping piles of snow. The bees were flying, and we opened the hives and gave them fondant to help them through the rest of the winter. We walked the property to check for damage from the windstorm.

It felt better than forty-three degrees had any right to feel. I was outside with Kevin, watching the chickens stretch their wings and the bees take their cleansing flights. We watered the plants in the hoophouse, and sat down by the water for a while even though we weren’t really expecting a trout. Kevin fixed the chimney. I chipped some of the melting ice off the driveway. Even the cat ventured out.

I know it’s only the beginning of February, and we’ve got a long way to go before spring, but today was the first indication that there would, some day, be a spring. We were outside voluntarily, feeling the sun penetrate through winter layers, watching the ground come up through the ice.

It was a good day, today was.

6 people are having a conversation about “A harbinger

  1. I’ve been away from Massachusetts for almost 8 years, and so my viscera should have forgotten, by now, what 40º in the middle of winter feels like. You’d figure. But this afternoon, I checked in on the happenings at HenCam.com, noticed that it was 42º outside in Terry’s chicken run and, I swear, I thought, “Holy cow, it got warm.”

    I was sitting outside, at the time, and it was about 88º on my patio (I’m sorry)…memory is a very powerful thing. Spring is coming, I promise. Hang in there!

    I have been wondering about the bees, and I’m so glad you mentioned that they were out and about. I keep reading that they stay clustered until ambient temps reach 50º. What a horribly long time not to be able to “cleanse”.

    Congrats on your hive making it through their first winter!

    Still sending warm thoughts.

    Yvette (in Miami)

  2. Yes! Definitely a harbinger of good things on the way. Will you and Kevin join me in chanting,”Spring is coming. Spring is coming…”? The more, the merrier. Today was really nice here (in the low 50s!), and my bees were not only cleansing, they were foraging a bit. I doubt they found anything but barn cats and the neighbors hound, but it was nice to hear them flying around.

  3. I love those days! The temperature is relative, but there’s that first day in the New Year when you think that maybe it isn’t going to be winter for ever.
    Here in rural Oxfordshire, UK, the chickweed and cleavers are just beginning to come through; snowdrops are blooming and daffodil leaves are showing through the leaf litter. I’ve seen a couple of bees and the days are ever so slightly longer. I have no idea whether the plantlife translates to the US, but you get the drift…

    I’m not thinking about the fact that for the last 3 years we’ve had our coldest weather and heavy (for us!) snow in February. Nope. Spring is definitely on it’s way!

  4. I love your blog, life, writing. So interesting. We are living but a shadow of your life but you make me believe we might do more. Thanks.

    Really tempted by the turkeys.

  5. We haven’t got varmints that want to live in our chimneys here. I suppose that’s a bonus.

    I’m glad you and your menagerie had some good weather. We could use some of that sun over here. I think we must be getting a few more minutes of daylight, as the chickens are starting to lay again.

  6. Those are some of my favorite days.

    So fondant? And the bees just work away at it? That caught my eye, I’d like to know more. By the way, nice pic of the browns in the makeshift tank. That was a brilliant idea. It made me want to get up to the Sierras! And what a nice man to hand the fat one away!

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