After weeks of gray days, a hint of sun drew me out of the house so I could clean off a rack of solar panels. Our main bank of panels reside on a tracker that rotates as it follows the sun, and also tilts the panels for maximum efficiency. This also means that snow slides off their surface. But this small rack sits on a trailer so John can haul a source of electricity to one of our pumps to refills a pond used for irrigation. Instead of a gas generator pumping water, the sun quietly assumes the task. For the winter, John brings the trailer back home so these panels can spin more electricity for our house.

I had to split the layer of ice coating the snow and then scrape the clumps down the panels. Nearby a cardinal sang his mating call, and was answered by a Tufted Titmouse who also requested a mate. Did these fellows know that it was Valentine’s Day? Wings fluttered over me as a nuthatch zoomed from one sassafras tree to another. Tracks in the snow told that a rabbit had taken shelter under the trailer, perhaps hiding from the coyotes that roam the farm.

The sunlight filtered through the thin high clouds. So I shoveled by the garden gate and expected the humps of Red Russian kale (one of my favorite varieties) that was protected by a frost cloth. The opaque material reminds me of the interfacing used to stiffen collars. The icy snow had frozen the cloth to the ground, denying me access to that row of kale. A layer of snow sat on the windows of my cold frames, hiding winter lettuces from me. So I shoveled by a different patch of kale, freeing the crinkly green leaves, picking enough for supper.

Rain and more snow is predicted for the next week, but for one afternoon, the slant of the sun hinted at spring.

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