Cabin Fever

As we burned brush under bright sun on Groundhog Day, we joked about the six more weeks of winter that the apocryphal varmint was presumably foretelling.  It doesn’t seem nearly so funny now, with low temps around 0 F, heaps of snow along the sides of the house threatening to merge with icicles from the eaves, and spring still a month away.  I’ve striven to keep the driveway shoveled all winter, but the piles are now taller than the mailbox, and an inch of sleet followed by a saturating rain, and 6 inches of snow finally defeated me.  Every scoop was like lead, and it stuck to the shovel and had to be whacked against something hard to release its slushy load.  Of course, the only thing hard that’s available is the piece of ground you just cleared…

I finally gave up and waited for a hard freeze, then scooped the snow off the surface easily enough, leaving about an inch of nasty gray ice that will remain till the first real thaw.  I do like seasons, but in honesty I must admit that I’ve had about enough of this one.  Fortunately, we have evolved our compensations.  Seed catalogs arrive and provide a nearly pornographic escape from the raw gray nast outside –  the way time flies, it will be pea planting season before we know it.  There’s still three carboys of cider left to bottle from fall, and the big news is that I ordered some more trees!  The newcomers will be:

  • Ashmead’s Kernel – all around heirloom rockstar for cider, eating, etc
  • Newtown Pippin – the closest I’ve found to our beloved old wild green apple tree in the back yard, recently died
  • Roxbury Russet – the only tree I’ve ordered a second of; great for eating or cider with high sugar
  • Wickson Apple – tiny, tart, sweet, beautiful – somewhere between a cherry and a plum in size.  I held off buying one since they are likely to be such a pain to pick, but it finally won me over
  • Medaille d’Or – French bittersweet, to round out the cider apple collection
  • Reliance (Peach) – the classic north country peach, tried to get one last year but Fedco was out

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