a path dug out to the street between two big piles of snow
Chipped out a path to the street

Even with Monday off for the New Year holiday, it’s been an exhausting week. This is mainly because over the course of two days we got 15 inches/38 cm of wet, heavy snow. So much shoveling! And even when it stops snowing there is still shoveling because the street plow comes by and, ope, where’d the sidewalk go? 

Yesterday I pulled snow off the chicken coop roof and dug out the trash, recycling, and organics bins. Today James and I are working on getting some of the snow off of the roof of our house. Roof rakes are a special kind of torture—heavy “blade” on the end of a really long, wobbly pole. And then when you pull all that snow off the roof there is usually more shoveling to get it off the porch, walkway, and deck. My nextdoor neighbor hardly has any snow on their roof. They did not rake it off. Near as I can figure, they must have their thermostat set to 80F or something. I can’t imagine what their heating bill must be.

I love my work colleagues so much. Many messaged me or came by the library to find out if I biked to work during the storm. They were worried! I took the bus Tuesday and Wednesday. I told them that while I frequently make questionable cycling choices, even I was smart enough to know when to take the bus! 

The roads are all cleared now, and with cars parking on both sides of the street there is barely room on a two-way road for one-way traffic. It’s ridiculous. So biking right now is a special kind of fun. I am biking almost down the middle of the road in some places. I have become a mobile traffic calming device, making drivers slow down to safer speeds. Some don’t mind, others are real jerks and slam down the gas to pass as soon as they can and fishtail on the ice. Part of me prays they don’t spin into me. Part of me prays they end up stuck in a snowbank. And part of me scolds the part wishing for them to get stuck.

Don’t think the garden loses ecstasy in winter.
It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.

bird bath piled up with snow on top and all around it
There’s a bird bath there somewhere

As I mentioned in my evolutions post last week, one thing I am focusing on this year is slowing down in all areas of my life. I had gotten myself worked up about planting trees in the garden and whether I should get a peach tree. I was doing all sorts of research. I posted to a local garden forum—will squirrels eat all my peaches? Answer: yes but if you are lucky they will leave you a couple. There were also suggestions about netting and other deterrents. 

Finally, I realized I had lost all connection to my actual garden. What does the garden want? So one evening on my way out to put the chickens to bed, I stopped and stood quietly and asked, Garden, do you want a peach tree? No answer was immediately forthcoming, but I didn’t expect one. Gardens work on garden time. 

Thursday night after putting the chickens to bed, Garden told me they didn’t want a peach tree because peaches are not well-suited to the garden climate. Yes, Garden was right, I wanted to force a tree into a place they didn’t belong. Thank you Garden! Garden wasn’t done though. They suggested the serviceberry in the chicken garden that is constantly fighting for space with the monster elderberry would really like to move into the main garden. That will require some careful transplanting and digging, but it is a very good idea.

I asked Garden if they wanted a cherry tree or another kind of tree. I am waiting on that answer, but I’m sensing it might be wait, not right now. 

So the peach tree dilemma has concluded.

The seeds I ordered from Seed Saver’s Exchange have arrived already. I have not placed my Fedco order yet because three of the seeds I want are new and not yet available. So I wait. Can’t plant them now anyway!

four by four inch pin loom with half a woven square in dark blue yarn
it has the idea of a square at least

Some non-gardening slow things I’ve been doing is knitting and weaving.

Knitting a mitten I started last year with some wool from a local shepherd that was also milled locally. Really enjoying the round and round of it. No picture yet, soon though.

And weaving. Over my winter holidays I made a 4×4 pin loom. I am using cotton yarn and will be making a bunch of squares to sew together into a kitchen towel. I have always had great tensioning when it comes to knitting, but weaving? As you can see, I pulled the left side way too tight. Now I’m doing it looser, so my square isn’t so very square. This kitchen towel is going to have some character, that’s for sure! The weaving is fun and meditative, I am very much enjoying it.

  • Still reading The Gift by Lewis Hyde and Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. Both are marvelous. But also now reading…
  • Book: Tom Jones by Henry Fielding. Kate Briggs has a novel coming out later this year called The Long Form that riffs on Tom Jones and sounds really good. So, I am preparing. I love it when books make me read other books!
  • Movie: White Noise. I have not read Don DeLillo’s book so I don’t know how the movie compares, but both James and I really liked it. It is wonderful, satirical, absurd, and surreal. And now I want to read the book!

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25 thoughts on “Oh Snow!

  1. I must admit I tried to read White Noise a couple of times and found it hard to really get into. Eventually I did finish it by listening to the audiobook (which wasn’t a pleasant exp. either as the narrator’s voice is … uh, uninviting. So, I have no desire to watch the movie. Anyway, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it. BTW Stefanie, are you also the web admin of So Many Books? As your comment on my Ripple post leads me to that website.

    1. Interesting about your experience with White Noise the book Arti. Yes, I am also web admin for So Many Books. Sometimes wordpress uses that instead of my current site and I don’t realize it until after I post a comment 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness all that snow! Hopefully no more snow so you can safely ride to work but that was so sweet of your coworkers to think about you! We hit 82 degrees this past week! I feel like it’s spring time. Anyway, can’t wait to see what bounty your garden has in store for you this year.

  3. Good to know that I’m not the only person who talks to The Garden. Though I think you’re part of that organism also and deserve to have some of your desires met… Maybe not a peach tree if there is something better, but then… maybe so. It’s not like The Garden minds if the squirrels eat all your fruit.

    I’ve not had a problem with squirrels and peaches, but my main orcharding experience was in the boonies with coyotes and owls and bobcats. So until now, it was more deer than squirrel. We’ll see how I feel about that equation in a decade or so when this peach tree I planted by the house really starts fruiting.

    And on that… when it comes to trees… you’re not gardening for yourself, nor even for The Garden right now. You’re planting the future. It’s good to keep that voice in mind also.

    Love the weaving! And that not-so-square is what I love about it!


    1. Thanks for your lovely thoughts Elizabeth! And you are right, trees are for the future, thank you for that reminder! As much as I would love peaches, they are still marginal in my zone, the risk of frost killing all the spring blossoms is high. And peaches don’t care much for humidity and it seems that as the climate changes and late frosts become less likely, even more humid summers will be more likely. It’s a challenge to plant for the future when the climate is changing.

      Glad you like the weaving! It has character 🙂

  4. Wow, I have never experienced that much snow, please take care! I like your weaving experiment, I really think it will even out in the end when you’ll remove it from the frame. Please do continue to send pictures (of the mittens too!)

    1. Thanks smithereens! We’ve almost reached out annual snowfall average and there is still plenty of winter left to come! I think my square will even out a little when I take it off the loom but it still look very beginner most likely, and that’s ok! I will take a photo of mittens in progress soon!

  5. Hey Stefanie, Happy New Year! Your thoughts on slowing down were just what I needed to read right now – it’s been a busy few months, and although we haven’t had any snow here in the Middle East where I’m travelling, I feel as if I’ve been digging myself out just as hard as you have, although with less effect. So thanks for the inspiration! I’ll try to slow down and listen a little more.

    1. Happy New Year Andrew! You’re in the Middle East now? You don’t stay still for long! All the best to you in slowing down. I imagine there are lots of slow opportunities where you are 🙂

  6. I like your image of asking Garden what Garden wants. We have to get the big stump of our birch removed and I have been wondering what to put there. I will ask! I am also wondering whether to take out a bunch of not-very-beautiful grasses/weeds/flowering-mysteries and turn that portion of the bed into shared vegetable/herb space (the catnip goes there, as well as several dahlias and other bulbs and perernnials). I think Garden might like that — the mysterious plants tend to choke everything else out. We have a cherry tree (small pie cherries — delicious!) and every year it is a race to see if I can get enough for a pie or two before the birds do. The tree is HUGE — there will be no covering or netting of this tree. Oh well, our yard has many treats for everyone who visits.

    1. Thanks Daphne! I hope you and Garden agree what to replace the birch tree with! I think it’s ok to evict mysterious not very pretty garden residents. A vegetable/herb space sounds lovely. At least your cherry tree is huge so you get a chance for some of the cherries before the birds get them all. Before the cherry tree in the chicken garden died, the chickens, especially Marianne, used to eat the cherries from the lower branches and they’d crowd around my feet while I was picking, hoping I might drop some 🙂

  7. I hear you about the snow being so heavy. I’ve never seen anything like it before, though only a few short days after we got the heavy, wet snow here, it was 55 degrees and gone.

    My heart was so warm and lovely when I read “ope.” This means we are related, at least in our hearts!

    One of the reasons I love reading your blog is for your diction, subtle word choices that most wouldn’t make, such as how you put the chickens “to bed” rather than closed up the coop, or something like that. Naturally, I picture an old timey orphanage with rows of beds and all the chickens tucked in tightly, hoping tomorrow will be glorious.

    1. Heh Melanie, “ope” is such a midwestern thing. I never said it until I moved here and it snuck into my vocabulary 🙂 And thank you! The chickens don’t have beds they get tucked into, but when I go out to put them to bed and they aren’t ready, they behave like toddlers–I’m thirsty, I’m hungry, there’s something over here I really need to find–oh how they drag their feet. It’s hilarious 😀

  8. I don’t know why, but WordPress is being weird about your blog comments! I hope you are able to be safe on the road with this snow. It’s really great that your colleagues were concerned about you.

    I love you consulting Garden about the tree!

    I just finished Hersey’s book Rest is Resistance. I’m glad i read it! It’s such a needed perspective. I’m trying to deprogram from the dominant productivity culture.

    1. WordPress has been weird with comments not just for my blog but blogs I visit too. I think it has something to do with browser caching.

      Oh, I’m glad to hear Rest is Resistance is good. Now, that I think about it, I seem to recall you mentioned it on your blog at some point. I look forward to reading it!

  9. Whew, I’m sorry y’all are buried under so much snow! I’ll keep a good thought for you (and all the drivers on the road) to stay safe. At least you’ve got the fun of picking out plants, and I hope it keeps you in a springtime mindset as you get through the rest of winter.

  10. We had a week of rain here. Sorry you got all that snow! I’m sure our turn is coming.
    My husband usually rigs up netting over our peach tree, but this year he tried a different way, and it didn’t work. The squirrels got into it and got all the peaches. It wasn’t a good year for peaches, apparently, or they had eaten some unripe ones before the netting went up, because there weren’t that many on the tree this year. But I was disappointed!

    1. Sorry the squirrels got your peaches Laurie! When I think about netting a tree to keep squirrels out, I imagine one getting inside the netting and then not being able to get back out. Also, I’m pretty sure they would eat through the netting since squirrels ate through the plastic of a “squirrel proof” bird feeder once, and at some point this last year, a squirrel has eaten a hole in the lid of my city recycling bin.

  11. Argh! The worst kind of snow – forget a bike, I’d be on that bus reading, sketching or listening to podcasts. What a job to get it off the roof. Be careful out there.

    Well, if squirrels won’t be quite as destructive towards serviceberry and elderberry, it does make sense to focus on them, though a cherry tree would be terribly tempting.

    1. Thanks Julé! Nope, squirrels don’t care so much about berries, at least not so far. Birds like them though, so that’s something else to figure out 🙂

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