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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Feb 3, 2017

I like to celebrate the passing of a mile post in our long trudge through winter. That mile post is the flipping of the calendar from January to February. It means the long, dark, cold month of January has ended.

I am no fan of January. It is a month to be endured.

I had thought the month of January was named after the Roman god of beginnings, Janus, who had two faces, one face to the past and the other towards the future. But Wikipedia said it was named after ianua, the Roman word for door.

The god Janus is a god of beginnings and passages. I like to think that with two faces, he is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, able to show a sunny wintry day and then hours later, a full-fledged blizzard that sends everyone running for cover.

In my estimation, he is the original bi-polar and there is a pun in there somewhere.

The following month of February has in its favor that it is shorter by three days and has longer days of sunlight with each passing day.

The flipping of the calendar from January to February marks the approximate halfway point from the beginning of winter to its end.

How much daylight have we gained from the shortest day of year that was the first day of winter?

According to data from the Naval Observatory, we had 8 hours and 58 minutes of daylight locally on Dec. 21, 2016.

On Feb. 1, we had 9 hours and 57 minutes of daylight locally. We gained almost an hour.

That’s not too bad for six weeks and six weeks from now when we observe the first day of spring on March 21, there will be 12 hours and 3 minutes of daylight locally.

Three hours and 15 minutes of additional daylight over winter’s run. Then on to summer with even longer days until June 21 when there is 15 hours and 24 minutes of daylight locally.

Uh-oh, then days start getting shorter. No.

You would think a person who has gone through 69 winters would take this in stride. But I don’t.

I have gotten older and the winters have gotten colder which might be due to my aging circulatory system. Whatever the reason, I enjoy wearing a long-sleeved shirt over my regular long-sleeved shirt every day.

My wife even knitted me a pair of fingerless gloves for keeping my hands warm when I am in my appropriately named Lazy Boy chair. Yes, I wear these when inside.

Going south for the winter could be a solution, but I want to take all of my stuff along and I have a lot of stuff.

So, it is easier for me to stay here with all my things, family, and friends and just complain.

For me, a sign of spring will be when I hang up my second long-sleeved shirt and go down to wearing only one.

Is there something good about winter?

Well, it’s been three months since I had to mow the lawn and about two or three months until I have to mow it again.

And if there is something else, I can’t think of it.

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

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