My Favorite Month.

Most people, it seems, sigh a collective groan in February. I get it. I mean, can you think of another month in which an entire country founded on rational thought suspends reality to anthropomorphize a rodent and infer his weather opinion? Yesterday it actually thundersnowed, Punxsutawney Phil. These waves of wintr’y weather the south has been blanketed with (predicted by the Farmer’s Almanac, I might add) makes it seem like it’s a long slog towards spring. Especially when the alarmists say things like “catastrophic” and “crippling” and things turn slushy; I’ve found that people everywhere have a special loathe for slush. To boot, I fear the mid-month love fest of Valentine’s Day can lose its sweet panache in slush, subsumed by Hallmark consumerism. I cringe a little when I see hearts and chocolates pushed just past New Year’s. Having been out (in the real world) infrequently this year though, and having no tv (and, would you believe it, no snow-shovel!), I’ve noticed less of that and am happy to celebrate the heart of it today, of course, for it’s lovely romanticism. I mean this IS True Love and Homegrown, after all! Annnnd, I was born in February, so in actuality I’m in the camp of February not being such a bad month at all. Don’t stop reading.

I am itching for spring, to be sure. And so I’ve searched for February’s signs of stirrings – listening for a green hum beneath all this white sog. For instance, I discovered the other day, a few little rootlets budding from the withered brown loop of hops that I’d hopefully dug up and carried from our old house! W was pleased – now we have to find a place to plant them where they can grow high! Our order of seeds came in from Baker Creek, and we’ve placed an order for several more fruit trees and flowering bushes (lilacs! hydrangeas!). Before this last snow hit, WV and I found strong green shoots (which WV trampled only a little) of either crocuses or daffodils beside the house – which just whets our anticipation of all the blooming and blossoming we will discover this spring at our new house. And, accordingly, we’ve been choosing spring reads…you know, to get the sap flowing.

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wpid-20140211_162924.jpgSo, think of it this way: February (in the Northern Hemisphere) exists to prove you’re strong. You can take it. You have survival in your blood. It’s a time to think and be creative (’cause flying piglets, sometimes you want to stay in to keep your snout from freezing). These cold moments will be interrupted with punches of warmth until all we have is spring coming on strong, with open windows, longer days, and fragrant breezes. Love your person today a little bit extra, or your baby, or yourself, or your four-legged friend, or whomever you think deserves a special reminder. And love ya, February!

This post was added to a collection at The Prairie Homestead’s Monday Homestead Barn Hop. and to Crafty Garden Mama’s linkup, Tuesday Greens.

SNOW!!!!…Or as we call it in Virginia, rain.

Jan 2010 036I have blizzard envy. I’ve lived in Southeastern coastal Virginia for going on 8 years (!) now, and in that time it has snowed – truly snowed – once. Trust me, my best friend and I made snow angels, galumphed about like oversized children and went for dozens of triumphant bags-over-our-socks walks with the dogs, as the world of anything with wheels was paralyzed and receded far, far away. We’ve had “accumulation” a few other times (see pic at right, which cause school cancellations), but you tell me – does this really “count?” Oh, we do get “flurrying” (which always makes me hopeful; if there’s a flurry in the sky, I know about it) and super doppler weathermen, the notoriously bungling VDOT, and pansy school systems certainly have made a lot of hullabaloo over the years…but it’s only snowed ONCE I tell you! I find joy in extreme fantasies of being “snowed in” all winter, have the antifreeze-like veins of a tundra Ukrainian in my blood, was, actually, born in a snowstorm, and am really, really tired of the soggy, moulding mess that VA is half the time.

Last night I thought about all the slightly superstitious things you can do as a kid to conjure up the wondrous white stuff – wear your pajamas backwards, make sure all your homework is really done, pray. It began to rain, but W assured me he may have observed a little “wintry mix” when he took the girls out for their nightly walk. That gave me hope. As Supersnowstorm NEMO began making hyped headlines, threatening (or as I am imagining it, gracing) the northeast with untold lovely drifts (a word that coastal Virginians apply to boats without steerage or anchors), I went to sleep, remembering, remembering….

…blizzards. True, honest, historic blizzards, names ringing in infamy: “Blizzard of ’96.” The stuff of Little House on the Prairie (I thought Laura Ingalls was kick ass when I was a little girl, still do, actually). The kind of snow that is hard to walk in because it’s so high, that necessitates mom making hot cocoa from scratch as more and more falls, hushed, out the window, taking the night from a harsh black to a muted white, the street lamps glowing, encased ….or when you know it’s coming, you can feel it in your 12-year-old bones, a glorious understanding in the pit of your stomach as you and your sister snuggle up under an afghan endlessly tuning the radio, hoping, praying to hear “Pennington-Grimes” announced in the list of schools that have closed. And when it does, you whoop and dance, callooh, callay!!! Its almost as if you’ve willed it to happen!!! You are up earlier than you would have been for school, rushing to pull on extra layers, your moon boots and zip up that snow suit and you ARE OUT IN IT careening and cavorting!!! Off to the backyard to make forts, or to “The Hill” where everyone sleds!!!Xmas and New Year's 2010 132

But alas, the rain and coastal flooding has made our yard into Lake Guinea, caused our toilet to not flush (ooooold plumbing with no appreciable grade to the septic tank), and the dogs smell wet. Yes, you see, this is why I prefer snow. I could take WV out and show him flakes on your nose, flakes on your eye lashes. I could make snowballs and throw them to the girls, who dash madly about trying to crush them, we’d take a walk and it would feel like my own mushaboom – everything blanketed, cocooned in lovely, lovely snow.

Enjoy NEMO, my friends up north! Snuggle with your family, drink cocoa (or wine!) flakes whooshing through the air, to accumulate on every surface, play in it with your kids, with your dogs! Delight in your snow (and keep safe, of course)!!!