Sunday, December 11:

   Finally the temperature has dropped below freezing and the mud which people have been bringing in on their boots is turned to iron in the barnyard.  We dropped an aquarium thermometer into the spring tank to see how close it was to freezing too.  Someone had left the cover off the tank, and still the temperature of the spring water was forty-three degrees; we put the cover back on and will check it again tomorrow.  Our goal is frost-free water in the coldest weather; we’ll settle for half that in cash.  

   The steer we split and hung last week is half-cured.  The cold weather removes any worry about aging it, and it is to be cut and wrapped on Saturday.  This is a long and weary job, made less so by camraderie and cinnamon rolls and coffee, and will probably take all afternoon.  The morning is reserved for deer hunting, and goodness knows why, with four hundred pounds of beef already on gambrel hooks in Barry’s barn.

   We have been enjoying our winter carrots; the lettuce in the low tunnel is good, but there are a lot of waste leaves, probably because of all the rain we have had.  Perhaps too the low tunnels don’t provide enough barrier to the cold, since the pocket of air between the plastic cover and the spun-bonded fabric is so much smaller.  In the high tunnel the lettuce and spinach seem to be doing well, so we will hold off harvesting them until we have used up the produce in the low tunnel.

   At five in the morning the full moon makes diamonds on the frosted grass.