December 3, Saturday. I’m in my office grading papers today. I can’t even post a photograph because I have neglected my camera as well as my garden. The garden has been on its own since classes started in late August. It looks scrappy and snaggle-toothed. The only bright spots right now are the red red berries of the winterberry bushes, and a few stubborn dark purple johnny-jump-ups. Otherwise the lovely mutes colors of late fall predominate: dark green of pine trees and spruce, grey of tree branches, deep brown of exposed garden soil and wet fallen leaves. It’s been raining and only a few patches of snow remain in the woods. But things are not all quiet: red squirrels leap around the tree branches, chase each other on the ground, and shrill at us or the cats if we get too close. Daring blue jays steal from the catfood dishes on the front porch and raid the compost pile, chickadees hang upside-down from sunflower heads, piliated woodpeckers swoop through the air and laugh wildly as they go. The calves born last March and April are being taken to a different farm for another year of grazing and growing, so the air is full of the calls of lowing mama cows missing their young ones. After the grades are done I will post again about the garden and winter woods walks I plan to take!