I slept through the actual moment of Winter Solstice, when because of the Earth’s tilt, the Northern Hemisphere leans farther away from the sun than at any other time during the year. It happened just after midnight here in the central U.S., and thus began the first day of winter.

To celebrate, Mother Nature brought us rain, to be followed by the dreaded ‘wintery mix’ with an overnight low of 19 degrees F. That’s a bit nippy for the salad greens, even in the greenhouse. So we harvested a big bowlful for the weekend’s meals, then pulled the floating row covers back over the beds — effectively tucking them in with a light blanket to ward against the worst of the cold’s damage.

Lottie, the older cow, has two sore, chapped teats and won’t let her calf nurse unless we intervene. The sheep wouldn’t come into the barn because the cow was there and in a cranky mood. The chickens skipped their usual scratching through the underbrush and perched in whatever dry spots they found. And the ducks . . . couldn’t be happier. Really, it’s their kind of day.