Tag Archives: Weather

Sunflower Snow

January 23, 2012
JustLiving Farm

I walk by them every day.  Each spring we plant more sunflowers than we will ever harvest.  This isn’t so hard, a sunflower or two will produce all the seeds we’re going to eat for a year.  We plant the rest for birds to partake during late spring and early winter.  By now, they have figured out how to get the last seed out of the flower head.  So, I walk by those stems and flower heads that were so green and yellow last summer, each day, without thinking much about them.  Then the sun came out.  With sunlight touching the snow buildup on each head the sunflowers presented a beauty that comes after life has slipped away.

© David B. Bell 2012

Fog Listening

December 13, 2011
JustLiving Farm

One good thing about frozen fog mornings in December is the sound.  The sound of quite frozen fog mornings is unlike anything else.  Unlike mornings of snow-covered landscape that encases movement and sound, frozen air allows the wheatgrass to move with the slightest of breeze.  The grasses dampened rustle plays with the conversation of two chirping birds which mingles with crunching frozen grass below each boot step.  Frozen fog, a natural symphony of sorts.

© David B. Bell 2011

Chile Relleno Mornings

April 29, 2011

Early spring tastes like a mild Chile Relleno with a dollop on vanilla ice cream on top.  The day is sure to be sunny, warm, and mild.  Before warmth, though, you have to wade through the cold.  Spring mornings give wonderful flavor; you feel the sharpness of the last vestiges of winter in a heavy jacket, raising memories of icicle days.  As morning moves to spring afternoon, hawks fly warm updrafts, the jacket is shed, and mild warmth engages the senses pulling up seasonal memories of squash and tomatoes that are sure to come again.  Sometimes, there is little difference between dessert and meal.

© David B. Bell 2011

Why Not Invite Everyone to The Meal?

January 29, 2011

There are mornings when the cold fog settles in so tight you can almost feel ice floating in the air.  Walking to the barn on mornings like this you wonder why the animals, why the daily feeding?  More times than not the answer is simple and perhaps a little selfish, you feed because it lifts the spirit.  Sometimes feedings raises the spirit of five thousand.  Other times spirit slips through the arena of open table grace.  Once in a while though, spirit flings open arms and cries from top of the fence post to relax, eat, and be well as one created family.  Such mornings are like having a birthday.  Everyone—preparers, servers, eaters—are welcomed to share the meal.

Mornings silence speaks Blessing

December 18, 2010

Quite nestles in during early morning hours before landscape awakens.  The cold air and falling snow softens sound.  This morning is one of those mornings when you feel alone and special walking to the barn in crisp hushed light.  Even the sound of boots moving through snow is swallowed by the morning air.  The animals have little notion of doing much with snow just outside the barn, so entering the barn is silent.  In silence, snow blesses landscape.

© David B. Bell 2010

Wearing a Hood on a Cold Morning

December 3, 2010

A slight change in weather brought fog to the farm and surrounding landscape.  Little change in temperature though.  Introducing fog to freezing air changes the face of the landscape.  Not so much a new face, but more like your grandfather going a few days without shaving.  Vegetation is as it was a few days ago but now ice particle upon ice particle have highlighted contours bringing out character unnoticed before.  An ever so slight breeze keeps the windward face open while ice encases the remainder like a hood with strings tightened around the face.  Ice accumulates and flows to the leeward, giving the one rooted in place the appearance of movement.  Frigid, closed in, fog filled mornings brings about a certain gracefulness.
© David B. Bell 2010


Snow Enhances Creations Wonder

November 24, 2010

First snow is on the ground here in the Yakama’s valley.  Based on the reports we’re getting, snow is throughout most of the state of Washington this morning.  First snow makes one wonder.  I imagine because there is a certain amount of wonder in the snow.  It is magical and mysterious all at the same time.  When writing to her congregation, Laurie Rudel, a friend of ours, recognized that we all begin as children and the first snowfall brings something of that child out in all of us.  This child doesn’t mean we necessarily like living in the snow, but rather, if we take a moment we all can experience our first wonderment of our first snow.

Wonderment of first snow doesn’t look the same for all of creation.  Two spring kittens jump out the back door like they have done every morning since birth.  Being teenage kittens, they didn’t look before they bolted out the door.  After the first few bounds, they stopped and found their eye level below snow level.  Not only did they not know what to do with snow—is it wet or is it dry?, for a moment they were lost.

When it came to roosting in the evening, the spring chickens who had come to the chicken coop every evening since birth, couldn’t quite find their way to the coop last evening.  Now, they have to journey twenty feet from the northwest corner of the barn to the coop door on a windy-snowy evening, so their not making it to the coop might have as much to do with the wind as it does with the snow.  In any case, there are fewer eggs in the laying boxes this morning.

There are not any spring goats this year.  Everyone has a winter or two or three behind them, so snow and cold isn’t something new.  However, if there is an animal that does not like the snow, it is the goat.  Sure, mountain goats may like snow good enough, but it is a stretch to think of these we raise have much lineage with those longhaired animals.  Instead, these shorthaired goats have almost no fat, which makes for great meat, but doesn’t do a thing for warmth.  No snow and no rain suit them just fine.

Wonderment might come a little differently for the two-legged rational folk.  This morning’s visit to the chicken coop garnered a few eggs.  After gathering them from the laying box, I placed them off to the side while I checked water and feed.  Three or four minutes later I came back to them and they had all frozen and broke their shells—that’s what a negative eight degrees will get you.  Now, I imagine one could say that a rational person would have had the good sense to know you can’t leave eggs out in negative eight-degree weather and not expect them to freeze solid…or…it might be said…snow brings about an amazing transformation of rationalization to childlike wonderment that enjoys the acquirement of wisdom through hands-on learning.  Yeah, let’s go with that, childlike wonderment, sounds like a good argument as I serve cereal rather than the promised eggs for Thanksgiving breakfast.

© David B. Bell 2010

Warm Tomorrows by Way of Today’s Freezing

October 15, 2010

A light frost welcomed most of this week’s mornings.  Then with this morning came word we could expect a hard freeze the next two mornings.  Such word has a tendency to change the day; this one certainly changed the afternoon.  We got an early morning start on a grant due today and a workshop for presentation next Saturday.  The grant made it to the mailbox before today’s delivery, and an art-based workshop on community and hospitality was in place by noon.  We then got to the important stuff.

We picked the remaining tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapeño peppers.  Next, we grabbed onions and garlic out of the cupboard, and lifted a few spices from the rack.  Then we got to chopping, grinding, shaking and mixing.  Once everything was in the pot and stirred up, off to the stove to heat to a boil, bottled, and hot water bath.

It might have been a push, but the rest of the day was perfect for canning.  Sun and clear sky, and temperatures such that you could spend the afternoon in the sun and never break sweat standing next to the stove.  The next couple of hours were spent filling jars, fixing lids, and dunking them into the bath.  While waiting for the fifteen-minute bath to finish, we got in a little reading, a little talking, and a little landscape.

Fall may be cooling down, and winter might be coming, but salsa…along with a little goose down…will make those cold days ahead a little warmer!

© David B. Bell 2010

Whose Story should We Listen To?

September 24, 2010

This morning the full moon reflects white from the sun while at the same moment the mountain’s snow reflects peach colors from the rising sun.  Two massive forms of creation speak two stories of the same light rolling over the eastern horizon.  I find it curious and good how the created birds, mountains, wind, and deer can experience the same sun yet have much different experiences.

Hay holds many experiences these days.  With rain on and off over the last three weeks everyone is trying to find the right time to cut, dry, bale, and load hay out of the fields.  To get hay off a field without any rain has been near impossible.  This holds true for us.  We did not cut all the fields at once, but left a gap hoping some would be harvested without rain.  Didn’t happen.  Instead we found ourselves picking up the early cutting hay yesterday, which had caught rain last week, as the sky over the southern ridge spoke of rain.  As we loaded one bale after the next onto the flatbed trailer, the clouds deepened and soon there was little doubt we would hear rain soon.

As we backed a full trailer into the barn, rain began to fall.  Our hope was a light sprinkle that could easily dry the next day.  There rain said a little more than we cared for.  This morning, though, I wonder who listened to the same rain and heard a song of joy, or wonderment, or laughter?  I imagine grass roots and rain danced yesterday.  Perhaps the local mallards in the creek sang along.  I wonder if this morning’s relationship between the mountain, moon, and sun call for another hearing of rain.  Might be, it is best to put my own story off to the side for a moment and take the time to hear or at least imagine other stories creation might tell of yesterday’s rain.

© David B. Bell 2010