february, the shortest month, is the longest of all months in the northern calendar. day after bone-achingly cold day, grinding you down, making you question the existence of anything good besides sleep, february is kind of the worst.

this year, february was… not cold. it was not 28 subzero days, each one a million years long. it was short and mild and generally not horrible.

which means that this has been a very confusing winter season. we had the longest fall i’ve ever known. in november i was just getting around to things in the garden and the barn that i normally need to have done in september. i was waiting for the frost to beat back my little mini dahlia so i could pull the tuber, but it took so long to get here that i had forgotten about the dahlia by the time it hit. i only remembered in february that i forgot to lift the dahlia tuber. oops.

then we had a viciously cold december and early january with subzero days and nights, clear, bright skies, and a thin, sharp wind from the north every moment. and then… early spring?

we’re having another foray into winter this week, just in time for the equinox, to keep our irony levels high. ten day forecasts are indicating we’ll be headed back up above freezing after the middle of the week, which is fine by me. i noticed that the goats’ water bucket was low tonight, fetched a five gallon bucket, and trudged through the drifted snow up over my boots to the outdoor faucet. which was frozen. so, hell, yes. bring on spring. and if it’s as long a spring as we had fall, i will earnestly hope that the mud abates quickly, the bulbs and ephemerals and fruit tree blossoms last forever, and the blackflies hatch late.

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