Winter Thaws

I had mentioned earlier how it’s been a long hard winter. By hard I mean cold. Then warm. Then colder. We’ve had our normal run of thaws, and maybe an extra one. The December thaw saw a lot of folks around here get finished up picking corn before Christmas. The snow melted off the fields nicely and I’m sure everybody was finished by the new year. The January thaw rid us of snow again and even melted down the blown snow in the road ditches.

Everywhere the soybeans were grown last year had the snow blow off into the surrounding areas. The fact that we lay a cutter bar directly on the ground to harvest the beans means there’s no upright stalks left in those fields to catch the snow like there is in the cornfields. At least the cornfields that weren’t tilled. Those tilled fields and the bean fields where anhydrous ammonia was applied had dirt, not just snow blowing off them. Brown looking snow. Until the sun shines and rapidly melts the snow portion.

The February Thaw (and any thaws snuck in between) meant that a lot of the winter we went snow free. We had cold though. Enough cold to drive the frost really deep. Maybe even deeper than the soil moisture. During one thaw I saw water running down a hill to a cow path, then along the path to a drouth crack in the ground. Then down into the crack it disappeared not to be seen again anywhere. I guess that beats having any water run clean off into a stream bed unused. Waste not , want not they say.

The March thaw is over and we’re back down in the cooler again. That is we are below normal. Which in reality only means we are below what is the average high temperature for the given day of the year. I’m in the middle of chopping wood. Not chopping really since I saw the logs with my Husky chain saw. What I’m in the middle of doing is splitting wood with a set of splitting wedges that are driven into the logs by a sledgehammer to size them down to what fits into the wood stove. I came into the house to cool down and let the sweat dry off. Wood heat, it heats you twice. Not bad exercise either.

This winter for the first time ever we have had a couple Bald Eagles hanging out here on the farm. I think it’s because the streams are all froze up and I have an old dead cow carcase lying on the side-hill I never got buried nor composted before winter set in. Add to that a couple old hags that never made it through winter and we’ve fed the eagles pretty well. Not to mention the ‘yotes, coons, and Red Tail Hawks that have been hovering around all winter. An honest to God old fashioned sky burial. And land burial. Skyland burial. I hope they return the favor if the day ever comes. The food part not the burial part. (Not that it matters all that much at that point) Friends like that could come in handy if they ever feel compelled to even the score.

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