February

Picture 534A Note From Mr. Fernwood….
It has been colder the last couple of days, colder than we have been used to this winter. We are told it won’t last too long, even though the lower temps may be a shock to some. This time of year we usually get a pretty cold period, even in a normal winter. But as one that usually works outside everyday year round, one thing that really makes a big difference to me is the increase in the length of the daylight hours and especially the strength of the sun. Even on the coldest days if I have the sun on me I can work in comfort all day long. Of course I also have the benefit of several woolen garments that Denise and her sheep have provided for me. The renewed energy of the sun not only allows for more choices as to outdoor activities, but also brings to mind all that will change, and in some cases rapidly, as the sun and longer days overcome the cold and shorter days. Soon our tasks will no longer be in tune with keeping warm and what we can accomplish while doing so, but tending to new growth in our gardens and the additions to the livestock. The ‘to do’ list tends to take on its own life and gains momentum with every new day. Longer daylight hours translate into longer work days. We enjoy and look forward to them, but by the end of the season we will look back more fondly of these colder but shorter days that allow us a little more choice in what we may or may not want to do that day.
And to add to this lovely post from Rick….a poem by Kate Barnes ( the First Maine poet laureate and a true favorite of ours)

BEAR TREES
In February
all of a sudden there’s a lot more light,
and it’s a warm light.
Snow melts off the roof,
the hens start laying, the mare comes into season.
The earliest lambs are born in the barn cellar
where they bleat to their mothers in the half darkness
like bulbs that stir in the darkness underground.
On the southern windowsill, the old geraniums
push up new stalks and hang them with brick-pink blossoms
and every day I find I wake up earlier,
my bones cracking as I sit up to stretch.
The sap has begun running
and this morning, when I drove the pung up to the woodlot,
I saw three young maple trees
deeply scored with new bear scratches.

Oh warm light,
couldn’t you have waited a little longer?
How safe we were in the dead of winter!
How gently we dreamed!
How beautiful it was to sleep under the snow!

By Kate Barnes

14 comments on “February

    • Hi ya Judy, love Kate Barnes…a great poet and the daughter of Henry Beston and Elizabeth Coatsworth. She lived not far from here at one time, over on Appleton Ridge.
      Heading to Ireland the end of this week…I’ll share photos so you’re good and ready for when you and Dennis take off! Happy day to you!

  1. I hope the sun begins to shine here soon. Neither the wind nor cold do I mind so much as the lack of sunlight and, as Rick said so well, it’s increasing strength. How have those early plants handled the cold weather? Hope all is well.

  2. Such interesting, and contrasting, perspectives from Rick and Kate Barnes. I am with Rick–I look forward to the sun and the warmth and the light! Barnes’s words are certainly evocative and really capture this time of year. Have a wonderful trip!

    • Rick will remain home keeping the fires lit and the animals fed ( dogs pampered). I travel with a dear friend who owns a home in Ireland and I do some work with her there. I’ll be writing a few posts from Ireland, for sure. Happy mid winter to you!

        • So glad you are enjoying Kate Barnes….she has quite the literary heritage. her poems I’ve loved for many years, also she was quite the horse lover back in the day. two poems I especially love two of her poems published in ‘Where The Deer Were’. One titled ‘ The Brown Sweater’ and the other ‘Children’. I’ll most definitely be keeping in touch through the blog, writing and offering up pictures while in Ireland. I know there will be some foraging on the agenda, and also hopefully some wool dyeing with lichens! I’ll miss the dogs…and oh, yeah…I’ll miss Rick too!

    • Kate Barnes was a well known and well read poet here in Maine. I’m sorry to say that I think I’m a bit slow to emerge from my winter slumber….the brilliant sun and the seed packets that are arriving are both helping though!

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