BRRR — 'tis a cold wind that blows in from my forest.

I am never ready for winter anymore. Could we skip it this one year?

Last winter's ice just about did me in. I’d rather have 6 feet of snow all winter than the constant inch of ice that was my long drive and parking area most of the time last year.

Winters just aren’t as much fun as they were when I was a kid on the farm.

I really, really do not want to contend with another sea of ice this season. Between my kitchen door and the Quonset Hut to get to my car was a 40-foot gauntlet of shimmering treachery. I’d grab a container of Morton’s table salt and sprinkle it ahead of me for traction. It works immediately, crackling the surface like sandpaper. S' long's I crept along cautiously, it kept me upright. (I keep this salt on hand for winters but use natural, unbleached, un-chemicalized Himalayan Pink salt or sea salt for seasoning.)

But then, once I pulled my car out of the hut, I was in the midst of a virtual ice rink area large enough for a hockey game. And it slanted down toward the forest. No way I could "sand" all that — not to mention that if I fell down out there on that, I’d be waiting, and praying, for someone to come visit before spring and get me upright.

I stayed home a lot and sat by the fire, reminiscing about the fun winters up on the farm so many long years ago.

My Grampa and Grammie Tucker, up on Tucker Ridge, raised my brother and me there until I was into the fifth grade. My brother, two years older’n me, helped Grampa Roy with shoveling — and there was plenty of it — while I was young enough to be of more help by staying out of the way.

So I got to run and jump and play in the snow. My brother would join me once his work was done. We’d make snow caves in the banks that the wind piled up in front of the old red wooden snow fences, cut snow blocks for igloos, stomp paths in the fields to play chase with Joe-Dog. I’d make snow horses, much more fun than snowmen. I’d make a little snow Indian to sit on the back of it and then I’d climb on and turn into Red Ryder with Little Beaver on the back.

We kids would take our Flexible Flyers and head up along the Ridge, joined by the Jipson girls at the first farm and the Lyons boys at the next farm down the way, and off to our sliding hill for hours of the best sliding a kid can have.

Those great sleds are far and above better designed than any of the lame things they put out today. The metal runners made for smooth, fast sliding, and the cross handles were attached in such a way as to make the sled easy to steer and control its path. You could sit on it and control with your feet or lie tummy down and steer with your hands.

In addition, you didn’t bruise your tailbone as you sat or lay about 6 inches off the ground. Your body didn’t take the impact of every hard bump or lump on the ground. I still have one of these marvelous old runner sleds. Haven’t used it for years. Might be tempted this year, though.

By now, our little farmhouse would be well banked against the coming cold. I did love going off to the woods with Grampa Roy, come time to gather pine boughs to bring back and put up against the house. Then Grampa would get his banking boards from the workshop and anchor down over the pine boughs. Once the snows started, they would pile up over the banking boards and, along with the boards and branches, the snow cover would trap the air between the branches and the combination made for a quite effective insulation barrier.

Then the old oak-framed storm windows would be put on and, with a woodshed of many cords of split firewood, we’d be buttoned up 'til spring. Well, as "buttoned up" as you could get those uninsulated farmhouses built back then. Ours had been built by my great-grandfather in 1848. Those houses took an average of 24 cord to feed the cook-stove, parlor stove and bedroom stove — and still, Jack Frost would paint the inside of the windows in delicate, lacy patterns that glistened like spun glass in the sun.

Grampa and Grammie would be up by 5 to get the day started. Grammie would get the fires going while Grampa went to the barn to milk our two Jerseys. By the time we could smell the bacon on the old Clarion, we kids would rush from our beds to get into the "sitting room" and behind the parlor stove to warm up our clothes to climb into.

Grampa also make snowshoes — he had a gas-powered lathe in his workshop — and he’d made me a scaled-down pair. He made the Canadian Ojibwa pattern with the red and green tufts of yarn laced on the outside of the frame. A special treat would be, when, come the stalking moon (full moon), he’d take us to hunt for deer tracks. It was a magical world under the stalking moon’s brightness that bounced off the fields of snow, lighting it up, making it almost like day.

We didn’t have video games, computers or cell phones. But we had a whale of a good time. And they made for much better memories.

But I’d like to skip winter this year. Wake me up long about mid-April?

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, a Maine native and a graduate of Belfast schools. She now lives in Morrill.