This is the time of year when the term “hunkering down” comes to mind. Before I tell you how I try to look at winter and waiting for warmer weather, I should recall for you the tale about the fellow who really liked to fish. He was always optimistic about what he might catch and he enjoyed fishing so much that sometimes he neglected his chores, his family and his wife, all for a chance to try his luck at the nearby stream.
We are told that one particular afternoon he slipped off early. His chores were left undone and when he didn’t come back for supper, his wife went looking for him. She found him sitting quietly at his favorite spot on the creek, holding the line between his thumb and forefinger as though he might be getting a bite. She was not amused.
“Aren’t you coming to the house for supper,” she asked? “You’ve been gone all afternoon. How many fish have you caught, anyway?”
He turned to his wife and put his finger to his lips. “Be quiet,” he said. “If I catch this one that’s fixin’ to bite and one more, I’ll have two.”
What does that have to do with getting through the winter? Just this: It is already the middle of January, and if we can get through this month, and one more, it will be March and time to start seriously thinking about putting our gardens in.
There for awhile in December it didn’t look like winter was going to make an appearance this year. But things have changed, and the cold has set in. I am hoping it kills some stink bugs, but I am beginning to see why a lot of retirees move to sunnier climes.
The good news is the squirrels are back. I don’t know where they were last year, but I have had a little success and have already enjoyed my dinner of fried squirrel and brown broth gravy and cornbread. I didn’t get one squirrel last year, they were so scarce. Now, if the Board of Supervisors doesn’t impose a requirement that says we can only shoot female squirrels, we may be able to enjoy a few more years of good hunting and good eating.
Have you received your new seed catalogues yet? I haven’t, but I have been watching the mail anxiously every day. They should be here soon, and then we can start planning for our garden this year. We have enjoyed back to back seasons that were very good for the garden, with enough rain to keep things from drying out too much. I hope we can make it three in a row.
Now, if we can just stay hunkered down for another six to eight weeks, we might again enjoy working the soil and planting and harvesting and enjoying all those good things that come with living in the country. Try to stay warm, and keep thinking how nice it is going to be when spring weather returns to Rappahannock.
On a sad note, our little corner of the county recently lost two of our senior citizens, Ardis East and Arthur Smoot. Ardis and her late husband, Homer, were members of the Methodist church here and sang in our choir. And, it seems, for as long as I can remember, Mr. Smoot lived in the house just past the Jordan River, north of Flint Hill. I am glad that church members were able to visit with each of them when we went caroling the week before Christmas. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are extended to their families and loved ones.