These Times



LAKE MACBRIDE— Newspaper writing and club demonstrations have taken a toll on everything else as I developed a process to incorporate new work and income into this life. Winter is a good time for it.

Seven adult deer were browsing in our yard. With a full girth, they appeared healthy, but were seeking food where there was none. One rose on its rear legs to nibble a pine tree. Others browsed the stubble that is the winter garden. One was favoring its right rear leg, limping along. A herd of scavengers.

The refrigerator light came on as I opened the door. It illuminated heads of cabbage, a drawer full of root vegetables, organic carrots and celery from California, and leftover soup and apple cider. The end of fresh food is near.

There are pickles. Beets, cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, chard stems, sauerkraut… the makings of zakuski. All one needs is a bottle of vodka and friends stopping over. The former is more available than the latter, as in 21st century Iowa, unexpected guests are mostly youths seeking empty cans and bottles for their deposits, and strangers who want something. Such guests are seldom invited inside. Vodka acquired decades ago evaporates in unopened bottles.

It’s my weekend, with no paid work until Wednesday. It’s time to finish up winter work— taxes, garden planning, vehicle maintenance, house cleaning— and get ready for spring.

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