I woke Saturday morning in the predawn, warm beneath two quilts and a pile of furry felines.
I lay there contemplating the day ahead until I heard the furnace kick on.
I had loaded wood into the fireplace stove before 10 the previous evening--an early bedtime for me.
Mindful of the electric meter, I pushed aside quilts and cats, hurried into a motley assortment of warm clothes and padded into the living room to switch off the furnace and deal with the wood stove--before doling out breakfast to the cats.
The three young boy cats are served in the carport as they tend to gobble.
Out there I could see my breath in white wisps. Beyond the carport and the pool of light from the automatic yard lamp, darkness still hung, dank and chill.
I didn't need daylight to know that there had been a heavy frost.
An hour later, when the sun had climbed far enough to shine over the field, each blade of grass, each stem and twig, blazed with a crystal shimmer.
With the fire pushing warmth into the living room, the house cats tidying their whiskers after their fishy breakfast, it was time to pull on boots and a down vest before venturing to feed the barn cats and
Pebbles the Horse.
Pebbles snorted and tossed her head, her breath wreathing around her face. My boots left slick trails through the silvered grass.
My 'chores' done, I went back inside for my camera.
Half open blooms on the coral pink rose [the one whose name tag is forever lost] drooped, heavy with cold.
Beside the coral charmer, Roseraie de l'Hay wore a frosting of diamonds.
Below the roses the cabbages had caught the frost in every bump and wrinkle of their huge outer leaves.
The low slanting sun crept across the pasture, turned ice on the clothes pins to suspended droplets.
In the shade of trees and buildings, the ground was still white.
The flower strips, wind tumbled, frost bitten.
The maple and the sweet gum tree in the side yard still cling to some of their leaves, but leaves from the box elder and the silver maple have been blown along the drive.
As usually happens once the killing frost has put paid to the gardens, the weather has turned again.
Sunday was a warmish but moody day weather-wise.
M. and G., had planned a neighborhood gathering, a sort of potluck meal to be held in their dooryard.
They were anxiously watching the sky.
Most guests arrived wearing a sweater or light jacket, with back-up wraps in their vehicles.
Those of us who stayed through the afternoon were glad to draw chairs close to the fire pit where M. had an intricately stacked fire of slab wood from the Amish mill.
I could hear a soft shush of rain when I woke before 6 this morning.
The cats [for once!] weren't clamoring for early breakfast, so we lay, warm and drowsily content.
There was no sign of the sun when I opened the curtains a half hour later.
No wind stirred the trees; the air was still, heavy with mist--a 'soft' day.
Morning chores were no burden although the grass was wet and moisture plopped from the trees onto my shoulders, sometimes spattering the lens of my spectacles.
This lovely head of achillea caught my attention in the sodden perennial strip.
The daisy flowers of the feverfew shriveled in the frost but the leaves are still a brilliant swath of color.
Bobby McGee, undaunted by damp, paced up and down the drive.
His brother Nellie crouched by the big rock where the ruined signet marigolds still spill their
distinctive citrus-y perfume.
A 'nose-to nose' confrontation--I could see that imminent in the owlish gleam of Nellie's eyes!
I ran out of excuses to stay outside.
The misty drizzle had seeped into clothes and hair.
A hot shower and dry garments was welcomed, and soon after I had a kettle of macaroni soup bubbling on the stove.
My Mother made this soup often during cold weather: ground beef sauteed with chopped onion; diced celery and carrot added with a quart of canned tomatoes and another qt of hot water. I add sea salt, freshly ground peppercorns [a medley of pink, green and white] garlic in some form, thyme and bay leaf.
When all has had a good simmer and the veg are tender, turn up the heat to a boil and toss in a handful or two of small pasta.
I enjoyed a bowlful with a corn muffin left from yesterday's feast.
As I finished, J. phoned to say he would be home sometime tomorrow.
I don't think he has minded that the handyman jobs for our niece have taken a day or two longer than anticipated. These small refurbishments have likely been a relief after nearly three weeks of labor to replace the leaking roof on his sister and BIL's rambling house.
This photo, taken Friday afternoon, is typical for chilly weather.
Eggnog is at the back of the pile with Chester and Mima--the dim-witted offspring of Charlie and the late Maisie. At the moment Fat Edward is sprawled alongside this heap of 'regulars' on the sofa and Teasel is draped across the back.
Charlie took advantage of my lap as I typed, his damp pale fur harboring the clingy seeds we call
I worked the small wedge-shaped burrs out of his long hair and he has gone to nap in the laundry basket.
A glance out the back door places Bobby patiently sitting in the rank grass that fills a slight ditch below the gardens--ever watchful for a meadow mouse. Nellie has just returned from padding along the mowed path that leads to the cat litter dump at the back boundary.
Willis has abandoned his post as overseer of the dooryard to curl up in a tweedy ball on the old quilt folded over the daybed in my sewing room.
With all this comfortable somnolence around me I think I'd best head for my sewing room and a project before I'm tempted to drowse away the afternoon.