Reflecting on how I dress when I go outside, I am amazed to find any naked animals alive at all. The rats make quick work of digging themselves through the snow. They take advantage of a drift and have a partial tunnel between the feed room and a storeroom. They are safe and more snug than ever.I am now near the bottom of my first kindling pile. When I take a piece of woodm I am likely to upset a chamber of sleeping pill bugs. Some roll and pile like silverfish between other sticks; hundred on tiny legs pedal the unfamiliar air. I shake off as many as I can but soon discover the snow fleas are just as numerous. How much I blithely destroy, I have no idea, and yet I do attempt to calculate.
Every night in the hoop house, everything freezes solid, but in the day, the greens thaw again and are exceptionally delicious. Even the arugula tolerates the abuse. I should not be surprised that the aphids have extended their season too. I find some families stowed in the tips of the kale. They are tight, barely-moving clusters of dusty nymphs. What I find, I pinch off and toss out the door, into the 14-degree afternoon. But I note that the sparrows make their way in here, and perhaps they too extend their summertime bug diet and eat what is here as a welcome advantage.
A slim letter hangs on the door of the post office, and if you miss it, it is posted again at the counter: The hours of our post office are shrinking. The day will run a solid 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and I forgot to note how Saturday would be impacted. (Saturdays will be 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. instead of 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.; the new times go into effect on February 5—Ed.)
I like the post office, because I like letters; I’m lucky to have a box at a rural P.O. with a tangible history. Going there is fun. I asked Rae if the change had anything to do with the eventual demise of the Postal Service. Standing there, with a huge bundle of mail in her arm, she was non-committal: “Technically, I am supposed to direct all inquiries to my Higher-Ups.” I began to explain that I just wanted her opinion, as our postmaster of 10-plus years, when a co-worker popped out from around the corner. His arms were also full of mail. But he wore two badges, so I asked if he was that Higher-Up. He said no, he was just filling in—and we all laughed, relieved that there were no Higher-Ups around.