Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Before the Snow Flies

The yard, first week of November 2013
Garden, first week of November 2013
"Snow" Fort
It's early November and we're battening down the hatches and all that for the long winter ahead. In Minnesota, winter truly is a state of mind; you can either complain about the flakes of snow once they start coming down, and feel grumbly all winter long, or you can embrace it. Last winter we had snow on the ground for over 6 months, so it is in my humble opinion that you had better embrace it.

So on this fifth day of November with the first Winter Storm Watch in effect (2-4 inches of snow in tonight's forecast) we are ready to go. Well, almost.

The yard got its last mow of the year on Sunday, and the kids' forts got mostly taken down. As you can see we are leaving one up for a winter snow fort experiment. It is always hard to get the kids outside in the winter, we are hoping that training them in the fine art of snow forts will make them more enthusiastic. We'll see how it goes.

The garden is ready, too, minus the usual layer of manure. We went with straight compost this year. The 5+ months of snow will reduce those leaves and things to a nice welcome soil for the plants come spring. Dear husband has nestled a couple of seedling apple trees that he proudly grew from seeds and has tended carefully for a couple years now. He decided they needed to spend the winter outside, now that they're "big" trees. Albeit with a nice warm pile of hay to keep them protected.

I'm already thinking spring, and picked up more bulbs for our tulip garden in the front yard, which always gets a lot of sun and grows beautifully. Last year we had a gorgeous lupine plant, too, which was quite a surprise since they are so picky about growing. The long, cold spring must have been what it needed. I added a few hydrangea and crocus to the mix for the spring. There is something so hopeful about planting bulbs, knowing you won't see them bloom until the very end of the winter. Knowing that the sight of them poking up through the snow will be such a beautiful sight, with snow still lingering elsewhere in the yard.

I think that's why I like winter so much. The changing of the seasons is so hopeful; November's anticipation of snow is like a long-day's anticipation of sleep. And while I know that March's snow (okay, April's snow. . . possibly May) will bring a bit of eye-rolling, knowing that it is all about to end and those tulips will start popping out is something that is thought of even in November. The cycle is inspiring. Spring always comes. Even in November.

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