Brr! It’s Cowd.

Plant sprout in snow

[My poor little garlic shoots are snowed under, except for this one hardy fellow.]

Our birds and plants have absolutely no idea what’s going on. In early January, we were bathed in 70 degree temperatures and covered by clear, sunny skies: a warm blanket of Solar Love. Late February has been a whirling dervish of ice, wind, and gray: an iron maiden of Frigid Hate. I’m ready for Spring.

Make Up Your Mind!

Our birds and plants have absolutely no idea what’s going on. In early January, we were bathed in 70 degree temperatures and covered by clear, sunny skies: a warm blanket of Solar Love. Late February has been a whirling dervish of ice, wind, and gray: an iron maiden of Frigid Hate. The back and forth wreaks havoc on joints, water lines, and car batteries. I’m ready for Spring.

There are lots of reasons why I’m itching for the temperatures to warm up and the birdsong to return. Here are a few:

The Garden

I’ve written a bit previously about this year’s garden. Basically, we’re having to keep it small and restricted to planters, courtesy of (very justified) watering restrictions due to drought. We can still garden thanks to our four rain barrels, which collect a few hundred gallons of water per storm, as well as all of the condensate from our air conditioner. In the peak of summer we’ll probably also capture grey water from our washing machine and such to supplement the supply.

Unfortunately, the bipolar weather patterns have our poor plants thoroughly confused. The back and forth has them sprouting and dying back as though they’ve overwintered five times in the last five weeks. Nature’s made plants hardy, so I have no doubt they’ll be fine. Our chives have proven to be immune to drought, heat, overwatering, neglect, dropping, and asshole squirrels; but even they have to be looking around and wondering “WTF, Gaia? Get it together!”

Chives w/ a Snow-Fro
My chives have a snow-fro. :/

Our seeds, started a few weeks ago, are all continuing to grow in their artificially lit closet, but the swings in temperature do affect them and seem to have caused some to die off prematurely. This really isn’t a big deal, since I was going to have to pluck half or more of them anyway; it simply means that the weak have already been culled. I know it’s heartless, but they’re plants, and like the squirrels, I’m an asshole.

Plants growing indoors
Peppers and cilantro, not Marijuana.

Cycling

I haven’t been out cycling in a few months now. Unfortunately, that’s not changing until the weather does.

Bicycle in snow
Walking is one thing. I’m not trying this.

We had a couple of glorious days that would have been perfect, but with winds blowing steadily at 20mph, it’s just too much extra work to ride, especially if you haven’t been riding for a bit and aren’t used to it. It always amazes me how quickly my legs go to pot and how long it takes them to get used to 60 minute rides again. Heather and I have our work cut out for us this year if we’re going to make the 50 mile Dehydrator, which will be a solid 3 hour ride for us at our normal cruising speed. While there is a 25 mile option, I am not letting myself consider that. It’s the 50 miler for us, or we stay home and eat consolation tacos.

I think we’ll be able to do it, assuming we can get riding in March, which will give us 4 ½ months of training time before the big ride. That equates to adding 2 miles a week to our rides, which is a very modest goal. That’s very easy to say before you start riding. Let’s see if I think it’s modest after week 12.

Opening the House

I can’t wait to open the house up. My least favorite things about winter and summer are the fact that we have to keep the house buttoned up to keep the heat in or to keep it out. The first days of spring when you get to throw the doors open and lift all the storm windows, even if it’s only for a day, never ceases to bring a smile to my face. The wind blowing through, the birds singing, and the meth-head neighbors squabbling over their latest score have become inexorably linked to the feelings of new life and growth that spring brings.

It also means we’ll be that much closer to getting our seedlings outside and into real sunlight, and we’ll be that much closer to harvesting those little devils and gorging on peppers and onions.

The Snow

All that said, I still love the snow. There’s nothing quite like the stillness that descends when it’s snowing, even if it is punctuated by the sound of some idiot in a 4×4 taking a header into a ditch. (This is why science education is worthwhile, even to bumpkins: the basic physics that affect a front-heavy vehicle with a lot of torque on ice can be taught in one day). I just consider the cursing and sirens to be free entertainment while I wait for the birds to return.

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