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You know in summer when it is really hot and after days of scorching temperatures the heatwave breaks, it’s 10-15 degrees cooler and it feels such a heavenly relief? Well now imagine that except with the cold. After nine days of temperatures dropping below 0F/ -17C, and several of those days not warming up above zero, today, today seems absolutely glorious at 26F/-3C. The next few days are going to be even warmer with a day or two above freezing before we drop back into the deep chill again.

I went out this afternoon to freshen up the Dashwoods’ bedding, and do general caretaking things. I wore my coat but didn’t need a scarf or gloves. My neighbor across the alley was out cutting his Christmas tree into pieces and he was only wearing a sweatshirt and shorts. Yup, that’s how we do things in Minnesota.

Not quite sure what to do

I gave the Dashwoods the option to venture outside the run, something they have not done in a very long time. Between the warmer weather and the fact that they have been stuck inside for so long, they all went out despite the snow on the ground. Then they smashed themselves together on one snowy step up to the garden and decided that was far enough. I let them be while I went about my chores. They were still there when I was done.

I walked up to the house to get them some alfalfa sprouts to lure them back in the run and of course, they decided to follow me. Elinor made it all the way to the deck. Marianne flew halfway across the garden because of the snow. Mrs. Dashwood tried the flight option too and made it half as far as Marianne. Margaret took two steps into the garden and decided that was far enough.

I waved my sprout filled hand as I walked toward the coop, calling Dashwoods! Dashwoods! Elinor followed me all the way to the garden steps. Marianne and Mrs. Dashwood remained where they were, not wanting to walk in the snow and not having the flight navigation ability to take off and make it through the garden gate. Margaret followed me right into the run and got to chow down on the sprouts before anyone else got there. I rescued Marianne, carrying her back to the run. Then I rescued Mrs. Dashwood. Elinor did not need to be rescued but was refusing to go back into the run on the principle of the matter so I had to scoop her up too. Once they were all back in the run they were happy to be there. They were pretty excited by their outing and I had the suspicion as I closed the run door they would all be chattering about it for a little while.

We have a purple cabbage to hang up in their run to give them some entertainment but it has been so cold we couldn’t do it without it freezing. Tomorrow, however, will be perfect. Nothing like food on a swinging string!

All my seeds for spring have arrived and in a little over a month it will be time to begin the whole seed starting operation.

When spring finally does arrive I have an exciting decoration to add to the garden. My neighbor, the one across the alley out in shorts and a sweatshirt today, had put a huge mirror out with his garbage back in November. And when I say huge, I mean huge — a meter high and about a meter and a half wide. The mirror is framed and there is nothing wrong with it at all. I am not one to generally troll people’s garbage, but I could not let someone else come by and get that mirror. It was too good! The thing is super heavy, but I wrestled it over and put it in my shed to keep until spring.

I am not sure if I want to weather proof it as-is and put the entire enormous thing on the chainlink fence where my neighbor’s lilacs grow over into my garden or maybe prop it up by the compost bin to hide the bins and reflect back the herb spiral and rest of the garden. Or, do I want to cut the mirror into smaller pieces and distribute them all around? I suspect I will leave it whole but I like thinking about all the possibilities!

And if you are thinking, oh Stef, be careful with that big mirror because birds and fire hazard. Yup, I know. None of the places I am thinking of putting it are high up where a bird might fly into it and none of the spots are in direct sunlight.

In other news, it’s official, I bought my racing license! My first race will be a criterium in mid to late April. On the license form it asks for an emergency contact. My teammate messaged me the other night when she was getting her license and said that she had to tell her husband she put him down as the one to contact to come and get her dead body. She has never raced either. I suggested we might want to avoid dead body and keep it to dead tired; it’s much easier to recover from the latter. She agreed.

This whole bike racing thing is getting real. I still can’t believe I am doing it!