Thursday, January 26:
The thermometer on the front porch reads forty-one degrees. The snow banks are sagging under a chilly rain which scours them into pits like those made in a white salt block by a cow’s slow tongue. Someone with a cement hoe scraped a drainage ditch from the yard gate to the edge of the driveway, redirecting a stream of water brown with silt, shed by the long slope of drive up to the road. Even at the exit of the culvert over Jeddo’s run, where in shade the icicles usually grow unchecked until April, a bucket to water the young steers can be filled without entanglement. Is this really winter?
Pulled from the low tunnel twenty-five carrots weigh six pounds, bright orange, crisp, sweet, and juicy. The green tops and small roots are fed to the cows, who have seen us in the garden and are waiting at the bridge for the expected treat.
A carefully knitted ball of grass is retrieved from the low tunnel along with the carrots, and since it seems to be uninhabited we bring it up on the porch and unravel it.
We can find no clue about the identity of the little homemaker, but someone has been keeping warm inside this nest, probably the same creature which has been tunneling from root to root eating carrots from the bottom up. We hope without his nest he will find the carrot tunnel too chilly to linger in.