So we're awaiting the first big storm of winter. A flurry of preparation--homemade minestrone from our own organic heirloom tomatoes, some sourdough olive bread, and perhaps some peanut butter cookies, all done under the ostensible theory (reasonable) that the power might go out and we'll need something to eat.
I love winter, the harshness of it, the bitter cold, it makes you feel alive. I used to take my Thoroughbred Indy out into the snow when I was a child, riding so much that I truly feared frostbite on my return. I'd remove my boots, soak in a warm bath, and wonder how I could spring the news on my parents that my feet may be irretrievably lost to jack frost.
And yet my family was a family of warm fires and fireplaces, so we were thoroughly insulated from the bitterness of it all.
I still have all my toes.
Any way you look at it, winter on the farm is far from the winter wonderland one experiences in the city. We make sure that all the animals get extra treats. We grapple with water trough heaters and scraping driveways and so on. Our holiday style leans toward thermal underwear. It's hardly chic.
We sometimes get out and play. All of the animals are enthusiastic--they love the cold. Here's a photo of Mahmood exploring the approach to Hans's hill at Stargrove with the legendary, much-loved, much-missed Mister T, one of our Boykin spaniels who truly was a national legend (I wrote a chapter about Mister for Mike Creel's excellent book about the Boykin spaniel, published by the University of South Carolina Press). Our friend Hans once gifted us with many of the dahlia and lily bulbs that form the garden at the top of this hill, hence the name. The red tailed hawks also live nearby and monitor our adventures carefully.
I don't think Mister saw any quail that day but, if he had, he surely would have let us know.