Sunday, December 6, 2015


I think that was a Little Feat song. I just pulled it from somewhere in the back of my mind. It just seems appropriate. Yes, it is here. Bleak dreary horizons and naked skeleton trees; the shades of gray have taken over. Some lucky inhabitants get to hibernate. The fortunate ones migrate. The rest just exist.
I had seen and endured all of the snow I ever needed to see by the time the seventies were over. I have to admit that when I lived in places where it didn’t snow; it was pretty nice to get a little shot of snow and cold, on rare occasions. I like wintertime beaches when nobody else is there. I guess that as we age our tolerance for inconveniences diminish. Winter and the dead of summer are to two most unwelcome things in my life. I get no pleasure from either.
The December day I dread most is that day when I harvest the last deer I need for the freezer. That is the day I know it is over. Nothing to do until it is time to dig some ramps. I don’t tend to run on the same calendar as most of you do. I know that winter doesn’t officially begin until almost Christmas. Thanksgiving week is the start of winter to me. The last days of harvest time are closing in. It seems to me that the only things we do around here are get ready for winter and endure winter. Blah.
We tend to hear a lot from the outdoor type experts about layering for the cold temperatures. I have heat in the house and heat in my vehicle. I have wool behind the seat of my truck. I can run the snow blower with my ventilators and wool socks just fine. I can make a couple of mad dashes to fill up the birdfeeders. I love wool and have all that I need, but I’m not planning on staying out in that mess any longer than I have to. The only layers I need are layers in the freezer; they start with ramps and asparagus and end with venison. There are lots of fillers in between. Those are the only layers I worry about.
I guess the only thing I like about winter is when the Great Lakes freeze over and we get an interesting push of waterfowl into our area. I always look forward to the opportunity to see some rarities. The anticipation of the unexpected is the one thing that keeps me out there in the frigid months; searching for spots of open water. Several years ago I found a spot where I could watch a flock of wild turkeys ice skate across the river to a stand of oak trees. They made the trek nearly every day. That was my favorite sight to see during the winter and I never told anyone about it until just now. The oaks were cut down this spring. Just another memory, now.

I’m not a total scrooge and I hope that everyone wanting a white Christmas gets their wish. You can even have it right into the New Year; but that should be enough. So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year if I don’t win the Powerball; I’ll still be here.

This is my article for the December 2015 issue of Two-Lane Livin
(c)2015 High Virginia Outdoors Photo (c) High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved

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