12 February

Storm Notes: Radio Show Tomorrow, Reflections On Winter

by Jon Katz

A big and beautiful storm like this one is a mixed bag, for sure, a bittersweet thing.

First, an announcement. My radio show, Talking to Animals, will be on the air at the usual time tomorrow, Wednesday, one to three p.m. If I can get to Bennington, I’ll be in the studio, otherwise I’ll be on the phone from home. Either way, you can e-mail me questions at jon@bedlamfarm.com or call the station 866 406 9286 or call the station at 802 442 1010.

You can live stream the show on the WBTMAM site or download a free app like Simple Radio and hear it loud and clear wherever there is WI-FI. I’ll post a reminder in the morning.

P.S. Maria will be a guest Wednesday morning on the station’s arts show, she’ll be interviewed by a fellow creative Thomas Toscano, my co-host,  from 11:05  a.m. to noon.  She’ll be talking about how she built her art practice and is mastering the Internet as a sales outlet. It all started with the humble potholder. Check it out.

Winter thoughts: I just went out to check on the farm. About five inches of snow, and the ice rain just started, leaving a frozen slick on everything from snow to car windshields to the roads. Not a night to drive.

There are things about the deep winter, I do not like much: falling, ice, bitter cold, skidding cars, feeling housebound, storms that rage for days, short days, the absence of color and light.

And there are things I very much love about winter.

The mystical coziness that comes from sitting by a wood stove, reading a book, talking to someone you love, listening to music, making dinner. There is a sublime sense of accomplishment that comes from handling a big storm, from keeping up with the snow, getting hay to the animals, who really need it, putting the wipers up so they don’t get stuck to the windshield in the ice rain, raking the snow off the roof so the water doesn’t dam up when it melts and leak into the house, keeping the wood stoves going, getting bird seed to the song birds, keeping the animals water warm, putting animal friendly ice melt on the back steps, shoveling out the frozen manure in the barn, digging out the mailbox.

I rarely feel so useful and content as when we beat another storm and outthink it. I also love to take storm photos and make storm pizzas.

I feel alive and necessary in the winter.

Winter gives shape and form to everything else, winter is the dominant season the one you have to prepare for, mentally and physically. The others are nicer, often beautiful, but they don’t define strength and character the way winter does.

Winter is the season I have to think about, starting in May. By August I have to be ready for it. There is no other season that demands that of me.

I’d love to jet off to New Mexico for a few days, but I would miss our winters terribly if I lived there.

Tonight, I went out to check on things one last time. Said good night to the Tin Man.

The pasture gate is frozen, so are the car doors. I have a good de-icer spray that will open things up in the morning. Storm’s move, Queen to Pawn 3.

There is a coat of ice on anything, bad news for power lines. High winds expected tomorrow, but I have a sense the worst is over. Whenever I write about my struggles with storms and winter, people sympathize, they say they are sorry and wish warmer and betters days on me.

I thank them and appreciate the concern – I really do. But I don’t want to kid anybody. I love it up here, every day, every season even (almost all) of every storm.  This is where I chose to live, this is where I want to be, this is where I have found happiness and meaning.

I wouldn’t any warm and sunny day on the earth for what I have, although I do curse it from time to time. I sometimes think the purpose of winter here is to make us appreciate Spring, the season of life, the return of color and light. Up here, we never take color and light for granted.

Oh yes, and call or e-mail me on the radio. WBTN is a community radio station, it’s your show as much as mine. Please contributing by calling or writing. You can also help this station by checking out the options on the WBTNAmazon Wish List.

Community radio matters. Without it, there would be nothing but corporate radio. We know what that is like.


  1. Hmmmm. . . . Someone has never spent a winter in New Mexico! It is the 5th largest State geographically, only behind Alaska, Texas, California and Montana (New York is #27), but the 6th least densely populated (there are counties the size of Connecticut with fewer than 3,000 people). Northern New Mexico (think Taos, Angel Fire) has an alpine climate with tons of snow. You do not want to try to drive the Raton Pass from New Mexico to Colorado (elevation 7800 feet) in a snow storm.

  2. Grew up up here, fourth generation North Country. I also love storms. Mother Nature levels the playing field, which I like. Some people pay people to snowblow, to plow, I shovel. I do a little at a time, and when it’s all done, I feel satisfied. This am there was over 2’ of fresh powder. My favorite time to watch snow come in is at night before I go to bed, and early in the darkness of morning, when the town is asleep. Batten down the hatches, fire up the hatch…is the phrase that comes to mind. I am not young, but I am youthful and strong and healthy. I go out with the shovel and I labor. Winter. I love all the seasons, even with climate change, I am a weatherhead.

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