Cold Front

See that line of wispy clouds? That's winter on its way.

See that line of wispy clouds? That’s winter on its way.

A line of dark, wispy clouds appeared above the treeline just prior to sunset tonight blown here by a vicious wind foretelling winter.


Here in our weather station on Windy Ridge our east-west-facing house allows us to see what’s coming our way. At least weather wise. So far it has not allowed us to predict the future with all of the accompanying pros and cons of that superpower.


Today it’s this cold front with its dark-cloud leading edge, playing the scary don’t-go-in-the-basement music. The windchill stands at 21 degrees and dropping. Tomorrow is forecast for 6 degrees with the windchill. I’m glad I refilled the birdfeeder. I’m glad I have lots of wool sweaters.


But we can’t get out of winter’s way and so we batten down the hatches against the wind. It’s picking up and by tomorrow it will be howling. Battening down involves closing the curtains to hold in the heat of our woodstove, warming us for the third time (splitting, stacking, and now burning). The dog splays himself full length on the kitchen floor to soak up the warmth.


We are warming ourselves with food too. We have beans with ham bubbling on the stove, a cooling pot of applesauce, and an apple galette in the oven because I had one crust’s worth of leftover pie dough. I’m not sure if we’ve made a dent in the apple supply. Bountiful doesn’t begin to cover it. The beans are from a winter farm-share I had last year. Big and tender, they obligingly soaked up the flavors I added: ham, fresh thyme, onion, chicken stock.


One thing I have discovered, even as bountiful as our garden was this year: we’d have to grow A Lot more food if we were actually to try to feed ourselves. A 25 x 50 foot garden, plus a 20 by 10 foot garden plus raspberries and apples is not enough to feed a family of four. We have burned through a lot of what we put up, though not all of it. (Some of the apples and squash will rot before we get through them and we have beets, parsnips, frozen beans and frozen tomatoes on standby.) We didn’t raise any of our own meat, though we buy much of it from our neighbor. How much more land could I cultivate while working full-time (albeit with summers off)? I wonder and wait for the seed catalogs to arrive.


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