Friday, January 22, 2016

skeletons in the icy snow

I have noticed lately how much I do borrow worry.  I think of my grandmother; this is what my mother said of her mother-in-law.  There is some point to some of it: I don't want to be coming up to a blizzard weekend and be needing to get hay in.  Although, frankly, honestly, if that were to happen, I have a backup for it in those square bales squirreled away.  Not that I haven't carried a square bale at a time up a snowy road before.  Ten steps, rest, ten steps, rest.  That is powering through.

But what I was paying attention to today is that how sometimes the very thing that you dread the most about winter is also the thing that is the most fun about it.

We weren't prepared for a stretch of bad weather.  Yeah yeah we'd heard of it, but it has been such a mild winter.  And we had other things planned, other commitments, some work related, some time sensitive.  Then there were the unexpected things that came up.  HeckO, we did not even hook up the "big" wood stove until, well, just a couple weeks ago.  We got a different one this year, newer, more modern, which probably makes it not quite ideal but the old one was getting thin, with holes.  And this one came to us.  We pay attention to those gifts of the Universe.

We've also had it easy this year.  We've had wood easy, not had to grub for it.  Wood other people didn't want, mostly.  Some fun wood with the horse.  But we haven't had to grub for it, and we haven't had to use a lot of it, and we haven't been keeping the ricks full.  One of them, I don't think, had even had any wood in it this winter.

We got a pass.  The ice was supposed to start last night and it didn't.  Not much anyway.  Made the snow crunchy.  Don't know what it did to the roads -- none of us had to go anywhere.  It wasn't very cold, just around freezing.  Howling wind was at least sporadic.  So I started grubbing wood out of the snow, spitting some pieces we had, gathering, sorting, bringing in to dry.  Laundry got started, because we were going to be short on socks and really, you don't want to be short on socks.  Cleaning out the new stove and readjusting some stuff about it got done.  Normal chores.  Dishes.  Breakfast (and a big good breakfast because you cannot work if you do not eat).  Christmas tree even finally came down.  The goats will appreciate that one.

There is now a relatively clean house, some clean socks and other stuff (some waiting to be hung behind the stoves), two full to overflowing ricks of wood inside the house, more piled on the porch relatively protected, supper, two big loaves of bread soaking, all normal chores, and so far two baths taken with at least one more on the agenda.

We also played with the dog, failed at making snow angels (thus snow skeletons), laughed, fussed, appreciated each others' strengths and hard work, and tested the strength of our bodies and minds, connections and trust.

I might dread the cold snaps of winter, I might worry, but I do love the way they require the whole family's intense cooperation.  The whole of family life really is like that but sometimes you might not notice as much.

November chicks

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