The ground is frozen. The air is sharp and biting cold. Between them, the hard-packed snow sleeps where it drifted under a crust hard enough for a man to walk on. Christmas is two months gone but the trees still look like decorations, evergreen yet mostly white. Everything about the farm becomes more picturesque in the winter time. The hardest and harshest part of the year is the time that fits most neatly on a postcard.
No smoke rises from the farmhouse chimney. The frozen tide of snow has piled up against its windward side, almost completely obscuring the windows on that side. The snow has made inroads onto the other sides, creeping up to cover much of the bottom panel of the front door. There is no path cleared between the house and the barn, or anywhere else.
Not far from the farmhouse, a wolf paws at a snowy burrow, scenting its slumberous occupant. Soon it will catch another scent, and it and its fellows will make their way towards the farm.
Spring always comes, but not always in time.