November is often when we get the first snow of the season. It arrives in different ways, sometimes as a simple flurry other times as an unanticipated storm that halts fall clean ups for the rest of the year. Today’s first snow was between these extremes as it was an unexpected fall with a few inches of heavy, fluffy snow that will disappear in a day or two. Yesterday had been an “Indian Summer” day with temperatures in the 60s forcing me choose between taking a perhaps last bicycle ride of the season or spending the day cleaning the yard as much colder weather had been predicted. I spent the day cutting back some brush from the back, doing a final rake of the property and rebuilding a dry river stone bed in a far corner. I had hoped after my chores were finished I would bike, but the dry river bed stole time and energy from me so that hope was unfulfilled. It mattered little as it was pleasant to work my yard for a last time getting it ready for the winter months ahead. There were still signs of life as I cut through old vegetation: fall crocus bulbs of saffron are just about to flower following the lead of the large witch hazel with its yellow blossoms next to the shed. Fall greens of kale and arugula are almost ready for harvest while the radishes and leeks are sitting in place ready to be pulled as is the sorrel.
But now everything is covered in snow delaying such harvests for a day or two. The birds attack the feeders with a frenzy of activity now that any other potential food sources are covered. Yesterday’s bare tree branches are re-clothed in white after shedding their former accessories of brown, red and yellow. The oaks, in particular, dropped more of their leaves this morning being coaxed by the weight of snow. Now they sit on top of last night’s fall soon to be part of another seasonal removal.