Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weather Journal Reprise, Normal Weather Resumes

Teasel in the cat yard on Friday, enjoying the warmer weather.

Friday would have passed muster as a 'normal' day of January weather.
The dooryard was squelchy, the lane to the barn muddy.
Pebbles greeted me with the exuberance of a much younger horse, kicking up her heels, plunging along the fence, tail lifted, head up.  She slid into the lean-to, blowing, farting, stomping her front feet.
I spread her hay, dished out kibble to the barn cats.
I allowed the fireplace stove to go out late on Thursday, and set the furnace thermostat to a conservative 68 degrees. I needed a break from carrying in wood.
This would be my last full day on my own.
I considered the things I had hoped to accomplish during a week when I didn't need to keep a schedule of meals or adjust my bedtime to J.'s
I meant to write several long letters. I hoped to create at least a rough draft of a neighborhood history project for which I began the research nearly two years ago. 
[The above sounds very self-important--its merely something which struck my fancy.]
I thought I would sew--and I did finish about 2 dozen small and simple patchwork blocks, working at my sewing machine while I kept the downstairs wood stove churning out heat.
My hand applique project languished in it's box by my rocking chair.
I read only in short sleepy intervals when I sat near the fire to be warmed.

With the best part of a day 'free' I found I was too unsettled and unfocused [possibly too tired?] to attempt any of the above.
I drove to the charity shop and had a desultory poke around. Two other shoppers were accompanied by toddlers who kept up a dismal wailing and roaring.
I left after a good rummage with two pair of dress slacks and a long flannel nightshirt.
I stopped at the Wal Mart next door thinking I would buy avocados and such for the salad I had craved.
In the middle of the produce section a vendor was loudly demonstrating some wondrous gadget and I had to detour around the throng of enthralled on-lookers.

The entire bin of avocados when reached were hard and green.
Instead of salad, I came home with a pair of wooly tights!
The afternoon whiled away in thickening grey clouds.
My son phoned earlier than usual.
After talking with him I managed to write one letter!
Deciding that a relatively early bedtime was in order I turned out the lights at eleven.

Within moments shafts of lightning flashed through the bedroom shutters; thunder banged and rattled, rain pelted the roof in torrents.
I remembered that Charlie-cat had demanded 'out' earlier in the evening.
When I opened the door into the carport he rushed in, mildly wet, complaining.
Standing at the sliding doors looking out at the lashing branches, watching the shimmer of lightning on rapidly forming puddles, I suddenly saw a slim tiger cat hurrying along between the nearest maple tree and the 
cat yard fence.
With a jolt I turned to verify that our two 'tigers', Willow and Willis, were inside.
Yet another stray feral cat looking for shelter and a bite to eat?
Could it [impossibly] be Wilbur, the surly boy who refused to use the litter box? I turfed him out over a year earlier intending to feed him in the barn. We never saw him again.

I returned to bed, tried to settle.
The thunderstorm ebbed into the distance, then returned to bang and rumble.
This cycle repeated in varying force until nearly 4 A.M.
The ringing of the phone a few hours later woke me; J. with our daughter and son-in-law, expected to be off the cruise ship shortly and headed to the airport. 
'Do you have a cold?' inquired J. 'You sound stuffy.'
'I don't have a cold,' I replied, knowing that I sounded sleepy, stuffy and rather stupid.
[I refused to admit that the phone call had caught me still in bed at nearly 8 o'clock!]

The day was mostly cloudy, a chilly wind whipping about, a watery sunset.
I found that I missed the fire.  The furnace was keeping the house at the modest level of heat I had chosen, but without the friendly presence of the living room fire a familiar comfort was lacking.
I crumpled newspaper, laid in twigs, carefully arranged slender bits of kindling and set a match to it.
As the flames caught and grew I added first small 'limb wood', then settled a seasoned  chunk of oak in place.  As the heat crept into the room, the cats assembled on the hearth rug and I settled happily into my rocking chair.

D. appeared, speculating on how soon his parents would arrive home--not wanting at 19 to admit that he had missed them.
He rummaged in the fridge, taking out the remains of shepherd's pie, cutting slices from a loaf of bread.
The boy cats gathered round, wanting him to entertain them.
Fueled by an inhalation of catnip, they leaped and twirled trying to snatch the cloth mouse 
dangled from a string.
Moments after D. left  J. was suddenly here, startling me.

He relayed the highlights of the family trip, flicked through the photos on his camera, ate a sandwich.
He listened to my tales of record cold weather from the vantage point of one who spent those days in the tropics.  He loaded wood into the fire, bumbled along to the bedroom.
When I went in a scant 10 minutes later he was asleep, the light still on.

Sunday morning: frost sparkle, sunshine, mist rising from Big Creek.

 A mellow day, crisp and clear.
M. and G. walked in as we finished a hearty mid-morning breakfast, come to collect their vehicle.
G. has not regained her land legs after the pitching motion of the ship.
M. and J. didn't suffer that lack of balance.
J.'s laundry done, clean shirts and trousers returned to the closet.
I've sorted his photos onto my PC, then transferred them to his laptop, shared them on Face Book in the family album.
J. tinkered about outside for a bit, then came in, thumped into his recliner.
He has been watching Netflix--with his eyes closed.
We are neither of us seething with ambition!
For me, the week past seems a blur--long hours devoted to keeping the house warm, the horse watered, few hours of sleep.
I've been tediously journaling these days and nights--not in the sense of providing a fascinating report, but in the hope that looking back, re-reading, the week will belatedly sort itself into a more coherent memory.

[I went back and replied to the comments on the previous post--sorry for the delay. Comments are always a pleasure.]


  1. Hey MM,
    Still reading though I normally don't have time to comment on much these days. Some nice photos as usual. The cats look in fine fettle. The photo 2nd from bottom of your post is a fine one - a nice framing and, on my laptop , some lovely colours in sky, bush and side of house.
    Hope you and yours are keeping well.

    Be back soon,

    1. Al; I often find time to read someone's post when I am too witless to comment--I suspect we all do it.
      The photo you like is looking south from the front porch up the Big Creek Valley. Its a view I often record as I can do so without getting my feet wet or cold.

  2. Glad to hear that everyone is back home safely and you'll have some help around the yard and the with the animals.

    1. Lillian; I'm glad to have the family safely returned and I'm anticipating a far less strenuous week, whatever the weather!

  3. Good to hear that your weather has settled again. In the intense cold there seems to be time for little more than feeding animals and keeping warm and safe. You will be glad to have J home.

    1. Ann; Those of us who choose to live in the country know we have to deal with the weather, and sometimes it does take all the energy we have.
      So grateful for the snug small house and that the animals outside are hale and well, although it took some effort.

  4. That's a relief to know everyone is home and you are relieved of some of your duties. We have Danny's netflix subscription until 24th January, so may put it to good use as long as we have properly written down the "how to" of the Blueray instructions properly . . .

    WHAT a relief it is to be back in touch with my dearest friends again. I wonder if the cat was your Wilbur, passing through. Our Christmas Day cat has turned out to be a descendent of the dark grey tom we fed here for a year or so, and so closely related to our boys. He is dark grey with a white bib, toes and a snip on his nose - and he has discovered about cat flaps!

    1. Jennie; I'm relieved for you that your internet/phone outage seems to be cured more quickly than in the past.
      I suspect many of the neighborhood stray cats share a common bloodline. I felt concern for those poor creatures who scavenge for their meager meals; I put a bit extra in the barn cats' dishes thinking they might have hungry visitors.
      I expect I don't have to tell you of the problems with stray cats--I hope yours doesn't come through the cat flap and decide he needs to mark his territory!