We are slowly emerging from snow and a deep freeze: today is dreary slush with the constant dripping sound, from every leaf, gutter, and fence.
Our bedroom birdfeeder has become the focus of a cadre of fluffed-up starlings, cardinals, doves, and sparrows, who all sit motionless in the birch tree, staring at us through the window. The starlings--not my favorite birds, foreign bullies that they are--are particularly ominous, tiny thugs hunched in their black overcoats, metallic green glinting off their necks, those little yellow eyes focused unblinkingly, demanding only the best black oil sunflower seed. The cardinals, on the other hand, are positively ornamental, thoughtlessly cheerful, crests tilting back and forth curiously.
The ghost-cat--known only from unconfirmed sightings of a pale shadow slipping behind the old smokehouse--has actually been seen huddled under the vent on the back steps, but raced off as soon as the door cracked open. During the snowstorm I also caught a glimpse, white on white, a soft ribbon of life trotting across the disappearing grass.
Our old Kubota and Tom have been hauling round bales of hay to the feeder in the back pasture.
Inside, around the kitchen table, the endless discussions continue: which varieties, seed orders, hoop house or no hoop house, and if so how big, budgets, manure spreaders or no manure spreaders. Etc. Etc. These conversations, at least, are brightly perennial, even in a frozen February.