Overwintering

overwintering-red-poinsettia
"Fresh food seems just as scarce as it is this morning."

This late into the season, its damage has already been done. Those plants unable to adapt to living inside have already died. We've either given up on the stragglers or simply let them go, setting them out into the snow figuring that the cold would at least rid their carcasses of the dreaded white flies which seem to thrive inside in spite of the gooey traps we set. A skeletal poinsettia or two, leftover from Christmas before last, still hang onto existence in the shadowy, cool daylight basement, sucking in the meager northern light that suffocated the nasty little lime tree we nurtured from the brink last summer. It's a genuine gonner now, just waiting for us to snip off the carcass and recycle the soil.

The humidifier is such a complicated machine, hanging onto the side of the forced air gas furnace, that I cannot determine whether it's working or not.
It features hoses and odd clips to ensure that any attempt to troubleshoot it leaves me half-soaked, holding parts I'm never certain how to put back together again. Much of winter works like that, hanging in tenuous balance, threatening to utterly fall apart again. I no longer fear finding myself snowed in. The larder's already deep enough to sustain us beyond May Day. I genuinely fear finding myself stuck out in it, uphill both ways home, prey to people still stumped by the concept of driving on slick roads. I can hunker with the best of them now.

I dreaded the beginning of this season, as I always do, stumped at the prospect of separating myself from the soil. The garage seems over-filled with last season's remnants. Pots neatly stacked next to late removals still needing thorough scrubbing, the almost finished siding project stacked annoyingly along side. Huge grains of sidewalk salt hardly worth sweeping up surround the filthy cardboard left down to catch the gritty slush sticking to the underside of the car. The screen, delivered too late in the Fall to install on the freshly installed front window, glowers before me every time I park the car. The electric garage door turned cranky a few weeks ago, sometimes closing all the way and sometimes simply deciding not to this time. I stand there trying to catch the invisible sweet spot when it decides to turn back up rather than acquiescing as it would in the spring or summer.

I had not seen the yard over the last few weeks, but a few days with temperatures into the fifties started clearing its icy covering. I try to maintain two pillars of snow, one on either side of the driveway. I perch luminaria atop them through these long dark nights, welcoming light welcoming nobody signifying that somebody's home, if hibernating now. More snow's slated for tonight and over the upcoming weekend to refresh the monotony barely threatening to leave this morning. The Elk returned, scouring off the few remaining grasses. I sat in the driveway watching three small finches grazing through what's left of the wildflower garden. They were finding food I could not see, poppy, I suspect, and Mexican Hat seed, with the odd Shasta Daisy, no doubt, though I could not visually verify anything on their plate. I appreciated their splashes of red color returning to their breasts. I left a chicken carcass out on the deck for the magpies to peck to pieces and cart back to their bone-heavy nests. They were following the elk around like proper panhandlers, finding the occasional opportunity to hop aboard to graze on ticks. Fresh nourishment seems just as scarce as it is this morning.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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