Posts tagged Winter

Will Winter Never End?

I shouldn’t say that, really. I mean, things ARE finally starting to green up around here. And although the irises won’t bloom for at least another month, they are well worth waiting for.

And the seeds I planted in my vegetable garden (only those that specify planting PRE-last-frost, mind you) are finally poking their little heads up.

But after, oh, maybe only a week of lovely spring-like temperatures during the day, here came another winter blast last evening! April 22nd. Earth Day.

I guess Mother Earth has her own opinions about when to start and end her seasons, huh?

  1. The first 'heads up' from the garden.

    One of last year's irises - they knocked my socks off!!!

My horses and dogs love the cold and the snow. So do I. But I have to admit I’m beginning to wonder when we’ll see the end of it. It didn’t snow here in the desert last night, but it did up on the mountain behind us where my friend Clare lives. She sadly reported this morning that the flowers she  jumped the gun on and planted are probably goners today. And my dear neighbor, Annie down the road, who has lived out here since the mid-’70’s says this is the longest, coldest winter she remembers.

My second winter here. Just my luck.

Oh well. I am not complaining.

Yes, I am longing to get the scrawny little tomato seedlings in the ground that have been struggling along for the last month or so in my dining room window.

Pretty pitiful, huh?

And no, I am trying not to think about the fact that those seedlings would almost be producing tomatoes by now if I were back in Texas.

Because what I love most and remember best is that our hot summer days here in Northern New Mexico blend into fresh, cool nights where I always keep the windows open and need a blanket.

And here I do not need an air conditioner because my adobe mud house stays cool all day long.

I remember that the air here is dry and clear, and the sky a startling blue unlike any other sky anywhere.

I anticipate with great delight the monsoon season which arrives mid-summer bringing afternoon and evening drama and rain that washes the painted desert and mountains vividly clean and clear

I savor the climate and relish all it brings, whether it is an eight-inch snow in mid-April like last year, or a cold blast like last night, and know that this too shall pass soon enough.

I love living here in this land of enchantment. I love my new friends and the local color, and I feel like I’ve belonged here forever.

So as winter blows her last gasp, I sit here with maybe what will be the last fire of the season and give thanks for having found such a blessed spot for myself and my human and animal family.

And to any of my old friends who may be reading this and want to escape the hot, humid mid-summer heat in Texas – – – – do yourself and me a favor and COME ON OUT! We’ll be enjoying cool nights and eating out of our garden allllll    summmmmer    looooong!

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“Cold” Ain’t What It Used To Be

If you look closely, you can see Lopeh's icycle whiskers.

I guess I must be becoming inured to the harsher aspects of my new environment. Is that the right word, “inured?” I just looked it up and I think it fits. It means:

To habituate to something undesirable, especially by prolonged subjection.

I say that because when I walked out back at dawn this morning in just a robe and slippers to open the dogs’ gate, I thought to myself, “Wow, it’s much warmer today than yesterday.” Then I looked at the thermometer: 20 degrees. And that’s against the house, so that would mean about 15 degrees out in the open. Still, it felt “warmish” to me.

Winter in the high desert of Northern New Mexico is a world apart from winter in the Texas Hill Country, from whence I came almost two years ago now. It’s much colder, all the time. And I’ve had snow on the ground in sunless spots since early November. Many nights are in the single digits, and the large discs of ice I dump out of the outdoor chicken water bowl every morning never melt, and I have so many of them now I’m thinking about various driveway border designs I can make with them. (Don’t worry, the chickens have a heated water bowl 24/7, inside their snug, enclosed, HEATED hen house.)

A Chiwee, Dressed for Winter!

My chiwees* have winter wardrobes, which I pop them into as soon as they emerge from under my down comforter every morning, and I crank up the wood-burning stove twice a day — morning and night.

Copper, my old Quarter Horse, wears a blanket to bed each evening, and the mares’ whiskers hang from their snouts like tiny icycles.

Charlie, my big Golden/Chow mix,

Charlie: "THIS is the life!"

and his two large compatriots, run and roll in the snow like they’ve waited all their lives for it (which they have).

And I LOVE IT! I love winter in New Mexico! The sun shines low in the southern sky almost all day every day, and if you have a passive solar, adobe house like mine, it floods the rooms and negates the need for heat during the main part of the day — and helps the house hold heat all night. Humidity is low, low, low, as it is year-round, so 15 degrees here can feel like 35 or 40 degrees in Texas.

Where I lived in Texas the humidity was so high, and the “blue northers” that swept in so ferocious, that 35 degrees there felt like the North Pole. Literally. When folks from New York used to come to my place of business mid-winter during a cold snap, they were always shocked and dismayed to run into weather that was as miserable, if not more so, than what they had just left.

True, it never froze until after Thanksgiving — sometimes well after — and trees and flowers started budding out by late February, and there were always days in the winter that got into the 80’s and sometimes the 90’s, so winter was just a phenomenon that was interspersed among more pleasant conditions. But when it hit, man . . . I’ll take the New Mexico winter any day!!!

So no, I don’t think “inured” would be the right word after all, because I’ve not “habituated to something undesirable by prolonged subjection.” Instead, I have fallen totally in love with the most heavenly climate I could have ever hoped for.

I was “born and bred,” as they say,  in Texas, but in New Mexico I feel like I am home at last. Oh, and I LOVE wearing all the yummy hats, sweaters, fuzzy boots, and mufflers that sat in the closet forlornly neglected back in Texas.

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* A Chiwee is a tiny dog of the Chihuahua or Chiweenie variety. You can read about mine HERE.

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