Whining

I’ve been sick. Sicker than I’ve been in quite some time thanks to a visit to pick my grandson up from daycare.  I forgot what a hotbed of germs those places can be and the fact that once your own children fly the coop your immunity goes with it.

I had a good nights sleep last night, felt rested and was thankful because I knew there was snow waiting to be cleared.  The driveway was cleared at 4:45 this morning and I have appointments and work tonight.

Peggy called me this morning to tell me some loom tales and offer her sympathy.  Taking care of it all by myself couldn’t be good, I assured her I was fine.

I grabbed my keys on the way out to feed the goats and chickens.  There was a crust of ice on top of the 6 inches of snow/sleet that had fallen overnight.  Heavy shoveling.  I opened the car door, inserted and turned the key – nothing – deader than dead.  I have a little jump box so figured I’d jump it so the car could thaw out.  Had to clean the car off first, my battery is in the trunk.  Put the cables on, go turn the key, nothing.  I called Bill and he told me I should charge the battery with the charger for a couple of hours.

Ugh . . . . . . .

I shoveled through the bank in front of the garage to get the charger out.  Shoveled to the car to get the charger close enough.  Dragged the charger to the car and searched for an extension cord.

At this point I’m thinking to myself – assisted living has never looked so good.

I fed the goats, then cleared a narrow path to the barn.  The boys were causing enough of a ruckus just knowing I was outside.  The shoveling was slow, I was out of breath and thinking maybe I’ll just lie in this snow bank for a few minutes til I feel better.

Again – assisted living never looked so good.

As I was finishing up shoveling out the chicken coop I could hear the thunk, thunking of a pileated woodpecker in the trees next to the driveway, then heard it call from across the road.  I looked around at how beautiful it was with the ice on the trees and noted that the temperature was milder than usual and there was no wind.  Chickadees were in the trees waiting for the seeds I toss out on my way to the coop and I reached in to get the warm egg laid by the only hen that seems to be laying at the moment.  Those eggs are precious little gifts right now.

Okay, assisted living wouldn’t be that good.

My sister and I often talk about how long we will be able to stay in our old, drafty, cold houses by ourselves.  I’m fortunate to have help on the weekends but the weekdays can sometimes be a reality check.  Honestly I didn’t mind the physical aspect of the work this morning it was the mental exercises that had to take place in order to do what needed to be done.  These were things outside of my usual daily routine and my brain just was not in problem solving mode.  Let’s hope the car starts and the day improves from here.

 

 

An Eye on the Weather

This morning’s sunrise was fleeting, maybe 10 minutes, but always worth it  You know what they say about red skies at dawn.

The past 5 days have been the kind of weather I could do without.  This is the time of year when we watch the forecast obsessively yet try not to be taken in by the hype.  Those dire warnings that pop up every couple of hours – winter weather warnings, high wind advisories, wind chill frostbite warnings send people out in droves to fill their tanks with gas and get that bread and milk.

This past weekend we saw about a foot of snow and sleet but the real news was the frigid temps that followed that precipitation.  Minus 8 degrees with 20 to 30 mph hour wind gusts made for an extraordinarily uncomfortable couple of days.  We have the wood stove but the idea that we have to bring wood in, after breaking the frozen chunks apart on the pile never really occurs to us until it happens. (Yes, the wood is inside the shed that is attached to the house and the pile remains frozen together).

There is always the worry that the pipes will freeze.  We were blessed with the wind and snow drifted up against the house banking it and allowing the ell to stay warmer.  The old timers used to bank their houses with leaves or hay in the fall for just that reason.  The stone foundations are pretty drafty.

Then there are the animals – and the worry about their well-being.  The goats have very heavy coats this year, their space is fairly tight and their water is heated.  They seem unaffected (that doesn’t take into account how affected we are in taking care of them).  On the coldest, windiest morning the hens didn’t get off of their roost or make a sound when they were fed.  They were just hunkered down keeping their feet and each other warm.

Yesterday felt like a heat wave at 13 degrees with no wind.

January is the longest month of the year for me.  It’s dark, cold and very often windy.  The days may be getting longer but it won’t be noticeable until mid February, although I must confess to taking notice of the time the sunsets to convince myself that the days are indeed getting longer.

We have people who take care of us.   Our town is small enough so I know every member of the road crew personally.  Almost every morning this time of year I wake up to the sound of the plow going by the house.  It is always comforting to know that their job is to keep everyone as safe as possible in awful conditions.  There is also the guy who plows my driveway and back yard – he’s a kid really.  I grew up with his grandfather plowing the same yard (he still does on occasion).  They are always a phone call away from getting me out of my yard.  If I have to be somewhere at a particular hour I let them know ahead of time and I will be at a different spot in the queue of driveways to be plowed.  If I cannot walk to the barn because of ice they are here to sand.  There’s a lot to be said for dependability.  Of course they are also neighbors and have always felt like family.

So a flash flood warning just came up on my phone and the town payloader just dug out drainage spots in the banks.  The forecast says highs in the 40s – until Friday when it all freezes again. The signs are all there that I will be hunkered down in the house for a few days weaving.  Winter weather does have its advantages.