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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jan 22, 2010

Whoever came up with the phrase “blanket of snow” could not have been more descriptive. Looking across the countryside, we are covered with snow and the word blanket, which is normally a noun, becomes a verb and we are blanketed.

I would go so far as to say we are very blanketed. Generally, I get much comfort from my blankets, whether as covers on the bed or on a cold night in front of the television. When it gets extra cold, we look for the ultimate blanket, a quilt.

I have not heard that we have a quilt of snow yet and I do not know if we will. That phrase does not seem to work. Quilts are warm by nature and snow is not. However, maybe a blanket of snow is not as cold as it seems. How can I say that?

My lilac bushes are now in their second winter here. Last winter they had a slight covering of snow and were exposed to the cold and even worse, rabbits.

I never saw the rabbits do it, but there was no mistaking they had nibbled on the exposed branches. For a while, I thought they had killed a few lilac bushes, but the lilacs grew back. It was slow going but they grew their leaves, just not as many.

This winter is different. They have a blanket of snow. Between the blizzards and snow blower clearing the snow away from the shop, all 16 bushes are almost entirely buried.

If I were a lilac bush, being blanketed in snow would probably be a good way to spend the winter. I would be protected from the elements and especially those wascally wabbits.

I imagine, as far as the lilacs are concerned, they are saying, “See you next spring when the days are longer, the temperatures are warmer, and we can turn these buds into leaves.” Maybe a blanket of snow is not all bad.

No one who has corn standing in the field yet would be as cheerful about a blanket of snow. Before they can finish, the snow will need to melt, the mud to dry, and then the fields can be harvested so they can be planted.

They will have saved some drying cost and maybe can haul it directly from the field to a delivery point where it has been sold, hopefully at an advantageous price, but even that savings will not pay for all the other setbacks.

I do not mind the blanket of snow across my fields that are waiting for spring. I have not seen the accumulated dirt in ditches from wind erosion because the ground froze ahead of the snow. Blankets do not have to be a warm covering, but certainly seem to be a protective one, whether inside or out, no matter if you have legs or roots.

It has been a winter of blankets, both inside and out. We living beings seem to make good use of them. Then in the spring, the best part comes when at last we can shed them.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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