It seems amazingly warm for the last day of January. A steady wind has been blowing up the creek valley, washing the low, grey cloud cover somewhere to the north. The wind generator on top of the tower has been humming almost constantly, odd for our creek valley. The wind usually passes over the top of the hills, on either side of the creek, but not today. Today the wind has been blowing right up the center of the valley.
As I write, I feel a slight cooling to the back of my beck. I have left the top half of the cabin’s front door open. We have let the fire inside the wood stove die down, and as I write, I can hear the whoosh of the wind turbine blades, and the steady tap of the buckeye clapper inside the first recycled wine bottle wind chimes I ever made.
The wind picks up and I am startled by loud thumping of the front porch as it swings wildly against the porch posts, and when I turn my head to look out the window, it appears to be about ready to jump off of it chains.
The dogs lie at the foot of the cabin steps, stretched out in the grass, noses pointed into the wind. They are soaking up this odd winter warmth, and have positioned themselves so the wind will not cause their ears to flap annoyingly. Smart creatures, our dogs.
I watch as the chickens peck their way slowly across the yard. They too are facing into the wind. When one turns, so her tail faces upwind, her feathers billow out around her, and she quickly makes an about face, and her feathers lie down once again, flat against her body. I wonder what the flock will do when they reach the rock wall at the upwind edge of the field. Perhaps they will be able to seek shelter behind the trees and make their way back down wind in the relative protection of the woods. But I have noticed that even last fall’s leaves are tumbling along the forest floor and piling up against the bases of the trees that line the edge of the woods.
The pigeons are wise and have been sitting still on their roosts. A few ventured out first thing this morning, but their fight was erratic as they were be buffeted by the wind. They quickly returned to their coop, and none have ventured out since.
The rabbits, however, seem completely unaffected by the wind. They sit fat in their cages, looking out through the front mesh as they always do. I wonder what they think.
And the goats also seem to be quite oblivious to all this wind. They stand quietly up on their hill, ambling over here or over there, nibbling on this or that, and letting their beards blow beneath their chins.
But then it occurs to me. The weather is so warm that my bees will want to break their winter cluster, and will decide to leave their hives. I am worried that they will expend their precious energy flying out across the creek valley looking for pollen and nectar to bring back to their colonies, but there will be no pollen or nectar to gather.
So I decide to go out past the goat yard and check on the hives. The wind blows my hair into my eyes. I approach the first hive from the side and look cautiously at the entrance. I can see a line of bees just inside. As I watch, one ventures out onto the landing deck. She takes flight, but is knocked about by the wind, and is almost blown into my hair. I stay still.
The little bee somehow manages to get control of her flight, and she quickly circles around and returns to the front of hive. As she enters, several of her sister guard bees approach and touch her. She passes inside and the guards return to their watch.
I stay a while longer. The wind turbine blades still whoosh on top of the tower. The buckeye still chimes inside its wine bottle, but no more bees venture out.
As I walk back across the yard to the cabin, I am hopeful that the wind will stay blowing all through this warm winter day. It will keep my bees from flying. It will keep them inside their hives and prevent them from wasting their energy in search of food that really is not there. It will fan the turbine blades, pumping energy into our batteries. It will blow the buckeye into the wine bottle’s glass walls, and it will lull me into warm winter laziness. But spring is in the air, and so many things need doing … perhaps … tomorrow …