October 31, 2011
We had our first snow this weekend. Not just a few fluffy, downy flakes; six inches of wet, miserable, Chekhov snow. Mike and I (oh, Mike -- formerly Radar) spent yesterday morning lopping saplings that had bowed completely over and across the driveway. It was utterly impassable. The job would have taken me all day without his help. The growth has been encroaching year by year; I took it as an opportunity to clear a bit of brush that needed clearing anyway, and was grateful. We shoveled and moved some stuff outside, applied shrink plastic to several windows, moved my little farmhouse table and computer and lamp up to the upper landing and made a beautiful little "room" with a shoji screen at the top of the stairs. I have two glorious windows for a view, privacy, a newly cleaned tablecloth and a philodendron cascading off a little cabinet by one window.
Where this setup used to be, downstairs, we set up a computer table for him. Right now it consists of an oblong card table with one of my Indian bedspreads on it, but it looks nice and he likes it. The house morphs, it moves; spaces get redefined and reassigned. He's good at helping me organize. He has the stamina to finish a job when I don't. He's good company. He loves the house as I do and has the same desire to bring it to life, to complete its beauty and usefulness. I am one lucky girl.
And speaking of lucky, the storm knocked out electricity in vast areas of the state, but happily we were only affected for about an hour. The town of my workplace has no power, so Karl and I are not going in today. Mike also has the day off. We can putter here and bring in wood and keep the place toasty. It was about 20 degrees when I got up this morning. Inside, since starting up the wood stove, we are in awe of our comfort. The new stainless chimney liner is in, so I feel 100% safer than I was last year (I can't believe what we had for a pipe -- but I didn't know any better and Karl sorted it out, in that save-money-do-the-least-necessary-even-if-it's-against-code way that he has). I spontaneously got in a cord of wood on Friday knowing we didn't have a lot put by yet. It was just in time for the storm, so once again fortune favored me.
Saturday was the first time Smidge had seen snow, up close and personal. Last winter she was too small to go out. She absolutely, patently REFUSED to step out the door. One look at all that white, the clumps falling off the trees, and her eyes got big and she meowed in that little, high, almost supersonic voice she has, and dashed back to the warm safety of the parlor. This morning, with the porch at least melted and the darkness still on everything, she finally ventured outside to do a little business. Suddenly I regretted it; I lost her in the dark, it was 22 degrees, and I thought, am I crazy? Why didn't I at least wait until dawn? But she was fine, and in twenty minutes or so I heard the cat flap and she was in, licking paws and ready for a skritch.
There is just a hint of light outside now, the very first traces of day. I'll turn my lamp off for a moment and let my eyes adjust.
I see my tracks from yesterday across the front yard, and am reminded that I haven't taken out the remains of the raised bed yet. I love silhouetted trees against an early sky. The new (antique, refurbished) tractor is under tarp, the wood is covered. Everything is snug. This will melt in the coming week and we will be mindful of what else has to be done before it snows again. Everyone complained about the storm and I called it "Indian Winter." Just a reminder, a wake-up call. The rim of the sky turns just a little more orange as I write.
Rose and Karl came over for dinner last night. She'd been at a medical conference all weekend and it seemed a shame for them to have to cook. We stayed up late, checking the electric company's outage website to see if anyone had to work today. No one does. We'll take care of some errands, continue working on the house, watch a movie. All's well.
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