"It's snowing!" November 12, 2012, and it's snowing in Daleville Indiana. Now, to most, this would be viewed as just another wet, and dismal Monday. But, not to me. I know. I'm wired a little differently than most folks.
When I was a kid, I fell in love with the seasons. My parents and grandparents, were all farmers. Stewards of the land. They all had a deep rooted love for the land, which they passed along to my sister and I. In the spring we spent time in the woods, mushroom hunting and watching mother nature spring fourth with new life. We planted crops in the fields, planted our gardens, and ooohed and awwed at new life as it was being born on our farm. There is just something heart warming about a new born Hereford calf, or 12 new born piglets, all pink and warm.
In the summer we switched gears. There was work to be done. Weeds to pull, rows to hoe, and 4-H projects to complete. Our family is still big on 4-H to this day. My sister and I took no less than 28 projects to the fair each year. My children followed, taking 54 projects to the fair between the three of them. We had things like taking care of our livestock, cooking, gardening, and many other poster projects to keep us busy. I continue the tradition by being a 4-H leader. It's in my blood. My parents were both leaders and judges, and I am doing this same.
Fall brought harvest. It's a busy time of year. Harvesting corn, soybeans, and putting up the last of the hay, are time consuming jobs, but well worth the effort. The field isn't the only place for harvesting. The garden produce that we worked so hard to grow in the summer, was now ready to be canned. We were lucky. Both sets of our grandparents lived close. One set on the other side of the road, and one set on the other side of the driveway. We had an orchard full of apple, peach and plum trees. Grapevines, gooseberry, raspberry and strawberry patches in the side yard, and a five acre truck patch garden next to the barn. We would spend weeks with our mom and grandma's canning jelly, tomatoe juice, ketchup, greenbeans, speghetti sauce, potatoes, and carrots. We would freeze hundreds of bags of sweet corn, and make our own grape, and apple juice. We made our own cider, applesauce and pie apples. We put up gallons of raspberries, gooseberries and strawberries. We butchered our own chickens, pork and beef. We were teenagers before we realized other people went to the grocery store weekly. Our family only went a few times a year for the things we couldn't grow or make outselves. Dish soap, tolet paper, shampoo, flour, sugar and other staples were all we ever got in town. Only on a few occasions, our mom would go to town for "party food" when card club was meeting out house. This meant we would soda pop, with potaotes chips, dip, olives and sweat pickles. It's funny, but we thought this was a treat. However, I still love being able to look at my pantry, and seeing that all my hard work through the summer has paid off, and knowing that my family will be well fed during the winter.
At last, winter would arrive. There was still plenty of work to be done. We raised pigs, so we farrowed (had baby pigs born) year around. I'm not sure why, but winter is my favorite time of year. Most people, including my own family, frawn when winter comes around. They gripe and grumble when the snow starts falling. But, not me. I love the snow. Maybe I should say " I LOVE THE SNOW!" There is just something renewing about cold, crisp air, and clean white snow. It awakens my spirit. As the earth sleeps, and renews it's self, I come alive. I'm not one for hot, hummid, sticky day's. I like the cool, new birth of spring, and I like fall and the cool relief, and color that it brings. But, give me a cold, snow coverd day in the winter, and I'm one happy farm girl.
My favorite time in the winter is when the snow has covered the ground. Cold, overnight temperatures in the mid twenties, and crisp snow. The kind that crunches under your boots. That's happy snow to me. I love getting up early, when it's still and dark, walking to the barn in quiet calm. My breath rising up as I breath, and the thick frost standing up from the branches. When I walk into the barn, I see the sheep laying quiet, chewing their cud. Steam rises up through their wool. A bed of yellow wheat straw, makes a slight crunching sound as the sheep get up to greet me when I walk into the barn. The lambs stand and stretch, and begin to nurse from the ewes. This is the prettiest picture that I've ever seen.
I love the snow when the sun hits it, and the yard looks like a field of diamonds. Each flake with it's own shape and story. I often wonder how long ago each flake was formed, or where the water droplet that became the snowflake, may have come from. All this, reminds me of that all things can be cleaned and renewed, though God. I like to think that God made the snow just for me. I know this isn't true, but I like to think he had me in mind each time it snows.
My sister once asked me why I like winter and the snow more than I do the summer. I couldn't give her any other answer, other than, "I just feel better when it snows". Yes, it snowed for the first time on November 12, 2012. The first snow of the year, it didn't stick, but it still gave me hope. Made me feel like I was being renewed. It's just the start to the winter season, but I look forward to every snow flake that will fall this winter.