The best part of winter, and especially late winter, in my estimation, is the quiet, is the sense of settledness, the easing of activity into a comfortable stasis. The world itself becomes comfortable—the stone walls are buried, as are the remnant lengths of barbed wire grown into the bark of the trees, and the ditches collect enough snow to hide the pitfalls.

If that's not metaphor enough to love winter, I don't know what is. Damn the pitfalls, damn the ditches, bury the tangled barbs.

Of course, winter is not a season of stasis, at least not in absolute terms. The tracks in the fields make evident the activity. Last week I stopped the truck to let a bunch of turkeys cross the road. The week before that, we slowed down for a bunch of deer to cross and leap, seemingly effortlessly, through the knee deep snow. And there is the incessant chittering and clicking of the red squirrels digging through the compost.

The squirrels are working hard, and they are not without threat of their own. For several hours this week a barred owl perched high in the maples overlooking the yurt—overlooking, more relevantly, the compost, the squirrel feeder.

All to say that winter is of course very active, and we feel lucky to be so close to the activity as we feed the fire and split some errant too-big logs and listen to the windstorms threatening the trees' integrity and cough and sneeze on those occasional zero degree days when the air is so taut that it plucks in our noses like a guitar string.

So what do we do to pass the time, other than watching owls and squirrels and following weird little tracks of tailed animals? I can only speak for myself. I have started making weird little yurt dispatches if you want to follow us on YouTube. Yes, I'm getting a little bored. Don't judge.

And I listen to podcasts. An excellent new episode from NHPR's "Outside/In" looks at the winter activity beneath frozen lakes and ponds.

And finally, we await the running sap. 'Tis the season, so here, to share again, is the setup we use to boil our sap into maple syrup.

Until next time, when hopefully we are making syrup,
Kevin + Annie + Henry + Holly
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