Snow. And Gratitude.

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It started snowing last Friday around dusk and snowed all night and into the next day. By the time it was over we had about 8 inches on the ground.

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He has a warm dry stall. But he prefers to stand in the snow until there are icicles hanging off him. Horses are from Mongolia.

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Kids staying warm and dry in the shed

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I worried about the hoop house collapsing from the snow. But as you can see, that wasn’t an issue. The snow slid right off the roof. The problem was that it piledΒ along the side. I spent much of the day shoveling all that snow away.

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It was pretty while it lasted.

Monday morning we woke up to -2 degrees, a record low. A couple of days later it was nearly 70. Winter in Virginia.

Saturday, the day after the snow, was the last day of deer season. But the heavy snow, and the fact that it was still coming down, meant that it effectively ended on Friday.

I put three in the freezer this year, and I’m grateful for that. It’s now been over ten years since I quit eating meat that didn’t come off this farm. For over a decade, venison has been the only red meat I’ve eaten.

The sun was setting Friday evening when I took the last deer of the season, a large buck. The snow was falling hard and beginning to accumulate as I was field-dressing him in the edge of the woods. Nature becomes eerily quiet during snowfall. It’s hard to describe how beautiful it was. I gave thanks to Nature. I apologized to the deer, and thanked him for the sacrifice. I felt deeply humbled by it all. And deeply grateful for the opportunity to live this life.

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40 comments on “Snow. And Gratitude.

  1. barnraised says:

    So beautiful. Both the pictures and your words. Nice post to read and slow down with on a hectic Monday morning! Your winters sound as crazy as ours 😏

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      It was one of the prettiest snows I’ve ever seen here. But it didn’t hang around long. It’s felt like spring ever since. But I’m sure Old Man Winter isn’t done with us yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. avwalters says:

    Here, hunters are disappointed if there isn’t snow (and a good bit of it) in season. I guess they are lazy trackers. You’re almost up to our normal. Why are you shoveling the sides of the hoop house? (Looks like extra insulation to me. We call it banking.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melonie K. says:

      I was wondering the same thing – but perhaps the weight could push in the sides of the hoop house? Or to prevent it flooding the space when it melts later? I’d like to know why you shoveled it back also. I’d have left it thinking it would insulate also. I still have so much to learn.

      Like

      • Bill says:

        See my response to AV. This is our first winter with the hoop house and I was following the advice of folks on a small farm forum where I asked about it. They said not to worry about the roof but to keep the sides clear. I assumed there was a danger that the snow would damage or collapse the sidewalls. I’m learning too! We did have a problem with all the snow melting and seeping under the house. I dug a trench which helped but I wish I’d been more careful to level the ground before building the house.

        Like

    • Bill says:

      Hmm…now you have me wondering if all that shoveling was necessary.

      I did it because the internet told me to. On the night of the snow I was worrying about how to keep the snow from collapsing the roof, so I went to a small farm forum and asked about it. I got multiple responses saying not to worry about the roof but to be sure to keep the snow from piling up on the sides. I assumed they meant there was a risk the snow would cave in the side or damage the plastic. But maybe they just meant to keep in shoveled down so the snow coming off the roof would have some place to go.

      Like

      • avwalters says:

        If you find out, you’ll let us know, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Melonie K. says:

        Thank you for the replies – this all makes so much sense. It wouldn’t be worth it to find out the hard way that if you don’t shovel, it will do damage!
        Also, good catch on my book list – thank you! I replied there at length, but I know you’re busy, so here’s the short answer, with the *correct* name of the title you asked about. Apparently I wrote it down wrong after reading it, due to the entry prior to that one. πŸ™‚

        The ACTUAL entry should have read Growing Tomorrow; the full title is Growing Tomorrow: A Farm-to-Table Journey in Photos and Recipes: Behind the Scenes with 18 Extraordinary Sustainable Farmers Who Are Changing the Way We Eat.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. BeeHappee says:

    ❀ So nice. We only had 2 snowfalls so far this winter (which here in AZ do not last either). Expecting another one later this week, children are ecstatic, and I am praying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      This one was the only one we’ve had this year. I have to confess that I didn’t know it snowed in Arizona! I’ve been enjoying your pictures. What a beautiful place.

      Liked by 1 person

      • BeeHappee says:

        Ha, in Flagstaff Arizona it snows by far more than it snows in Chicago. πŸ™‚ It is all about elevation in Arizona. San Francisco peaks in Flagstaff are at 11,000 to 12,300 feet! Where we are at is about 5,000 to 6,000 feet and it does snow. You can drive 30 minutes to a valley and it will be 15 degrees warmer, and people grow lemon and orange trees. πŸ™‚ They say in Arizona you can drive from Mexico to Canada in just 60 minutes!! That is, it covers all different climate zones (except for tropical) It is quite wild. I just learned today that 94 percent of farms and ranches here are family owned, and that Arizona is second largest producer of citrus, and now it is starting to get into vineyards.

        Liked by 3 people

    • shoreacres says:

      Where are you posting your photos? I so miss your blog. If you’re on Facebook, which I suspect, I’ll just have to keep missing you. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • BeeHappee says:

        Oh, Linda. ❀ Yes, Facebook. I rarely use the decent camera, and just snap photos with the cellphone and drop them on Facebook mainly for my family who follow… I felt like the photo quality was not good enough for Word Press. πŸ™‚ But anyway, I had been writing something up, just have to get it out there soon for you to read. By the way, I was reading a compilation of poems and art from Texas, compiled by Naomi Shibab Nye, and was thinking about you and all things Texas. I can relate to it so much better now from my angle in Arizona. πŸ™‚

        Like

  4. Ed says:

    I don’t eat much red meat either other than deer that comes off my parent’s farm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      I know people who say they don’t like venison, but I think it’s delicious. I don’t have any reason to eat beef any more. And deer is the ultimate in free-range naturally-raised meat.

      Like

  5. I just love the snow…….perhaps because we can stay home and enjoy it .
    I’m sure all that shoveling wasn’t fun, but it sure is pretty………..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Marla Rose says:

    Beautiful photos. Love those adorable kids!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A big taste of winter I see. No snow for us, but a lot of ice today. Eeek. Should melt tomorrow, but to get through another night with heavy trees and power lines. The kids are sooooooo cute!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      We never lost power and the snow was gone in a few days, so we got the benefit of the prettiness without having too many headaches. It did cause us to go through a LOT of hay.

      I’m sorry the picture of the kids came out blurry. It’s hard to get all 5 of them in a picture like that. πŸ™‚

      Like

  8. Deeply humble. No better place to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Joanna says:

    I wrote a poem on the silence after the snow

    Silence!
    The snow lay thick on the ground
    and a grey blanket spread out
    covering the sky
    “Shuuush!” He said
    “Why?” asked the little one
    “Listen!”
    “But I can’t hear anything.”
    “I know!….
    It’s beautiful!”
    he said in awed tones,
    and the silence hung in the air
    like the ice from the trees
    easily shattered.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bill says:

      Very nice. πŸ™‚
      In the summer when we take our post-supper walks, sometimes nature is so loud we have to raise our voices to be heard over the crickets and frogs. But in the winter it’s silent, especially when snow muffles the sound. Usually the only sound is the crunching beneath our boots.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. kerrdelune says:

    Love this place and so happy to find you!

    Like

  11. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, yes, it’s eerie when snow is falling. The land looks so bright and pure after a newly fallen snow. We here in Nebraska are on the tail end of ice storm Jupiter. Yesterday, I didn’t venture out of the house. Every one on my street stayed home from work and inside. Standing up was a real issue as I spread ice melt on my driveway. School was cancelled today. Warmer days are coming with temperatures in the 40s.

    It’s time really start thinking about setting up the seed starting station and getting the plants started for Spring planting. I like to go out to Terra Nova Gardens after a new snow just to see what kind of tracks are around the fences and see what gets inside the fences. We haven’t had enough snow to do that this year. The six foot wooden fence has indeed kept the deer out of the garden. I saw last year where they were trying to squeeze through the top of the four foot chicken wire fence and the top board two feet above the fence but they didn’t make it. I think once they discover they can’t get inside, they kind of quit trying.

    I am hopeful that some day soon you will be able to show us what’s going on inside your hoop house.

    Have a great pre Spring day on White Flint Farm.

    Nebraska Dave
    Urban Farmer
    dbentz24@gmail.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      I need to do a post with pictures from inside it. Right now we have radishes, Asian greens, turnips, spinach and lettuce growing in there and doing fine. So far, I’m impressed!

      Like

  12. smfarm says:

    Snow is so beautiful and I love the deep silence all around too. My horses and sheep don’t mind being out in it, but the goats–no way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Same here. The goats won’t come out of the barn. They don’t like getting rained on either. But the horse just stands out in it as if nothing is happening.

      Like

  13. Zambian Lady says:

    Really nice photos of the snow. I love how clean snow looks when it has just come down – my introduction to snow were piles of ‘dirt’ I saw when landing at Dulles. Imagine my shock when I was told that that was snow after I asked someone why there would be mounds of dirt at the airport.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. shoreacres says:

    Gorgeous photos — and you’re right about how quiet a good snow is. It smells good, too. It does snow from time to time down here on the Gulf Coast (think once every three years or so) but when it does, you can smell it coming. The kids are darling, and the horse? Well, it’s still hard for me to realize that many creatures are perfectly happy in the cold and the snow.

    I’m still thinking about your previous post. It’s so meaty that I need a little time to respond, but I do have a couple of links for you and a few thoughts.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      The horse is happy to stand outside while it’s sleeting or snowing. In fact, he clearly prefers to stand in it. But in the summer, when the weather is what I regard as beautiful, he stays in his stall unless he’s eating. I’m guessing that’s because horses are originally from cold climates. But maybe it’s just because he’s a weird horse.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Absolutely lovely post. Thank you for sharing your experiences and perspectives. We really are so very blessed, aren’t we?

    Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

    Like

  16. Avery says:

    Just beautiful! Our family too eats mostly our own harvested venison and raised beef at home. When I get the chance to go hunting, I do the same thing of giving thanks for the sacrifice, the experience, and tradition our father taught us, like my grandfather taught him.

    Like

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