Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 65

SINGING IN THE GARDEN

Ironically, snow in our industrial age is a better fertilizer than what fell centuries ago. Turns out the nitrogen
released by factories and cars is also picked up by precipitation and deposited into the ground. Although that's
not a good enough reason to keep spewing things into
the atmosphere, it's comforting to know that something
good comes of it.
Snow is more than a source of plant food. A continuous cycle of freezing and thawing in a mercurial winter
can wreak havoc on things that are only a few inches below ground. When snow covers my garden, it's like the
difference between the freezer above my refrigerator and
the chest freezer on my mud porch. Things above the
fridge freeze and thaw as the freezer defrosts. I don't keep
anything in there for more than a few weeks, because that
freeze-thaw cycle damages it-making for freezer-burned
meat and crystallized ice cream. Imagine your plant roots
or beetle larvae experiencing the same conditions. But
plants and critters under a layer of snow, like the foods in
my chest freezer, are protected from such drastic changes.
Snow keeps them at a more constant temperature, sparing them the "agony of de-freeze."
Snow also keeps my soil from freezing too deeply. Bare
soil doesn't have that advantage, which can leave deep

roots and rhizomes damaged
or dead after an especially cold winter. So,
snow provides more than food. It
also provides protection.
Although I don't like shoveling, I do like making snow
cream, sled riding, and following animal tracks across the
ridges. I love the luminous light, the soft silhouettes, and
the serene silence of a good snow. But, because I am a
farmer, I am especially grateful for the unexpected gift of
life that snow carries with it. Like many inconveniences,
sometimes if you dig a little deeper, you can uncover a
blessing. Or, in the case of snow, quit digging. My back is
in total agreement with that.

EEO/AA Employer

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

65


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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020

Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 8
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 18
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 21
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 31
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 34
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 36
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 58
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover4
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