Sunday, February 7, 2016

Its All About The Weather

Life has more than usual these past two weeks been dominated by capricious weather.
The last days of January saw the melting of the deep snow--at first slowly, a softening and settling of drifts and plowed back heaps; then as the temperature climbed, mud appeared, the grassy verges of the  lane went squelchy.
I wore my boots to trek to the mailbox or on errands to the lower house.
Willis toiled behind me, avoiding the mud with distaste.

Remaining swaths of snow became dingy, grainy.
I picked my way along the garden strips where I planted out foxglove and clary as well as nursery grown plugs of phlox and achillea late in the season.
A few of the plants are visible though frost-seared while others seem to have vanished.
Beneath a tangle of dead brown stems both lemon balm and catnip present a tight mound of ground-hugging fresh growth.

A day of brilliant sunshine and azure skies gave way to high winds.

Rain came on, pounding heavy rain, melting the last remnants of snow, filling the small gullies, spilling over into walkways,.

The brook that edges the lane often dries to a mere trickle.
During the past week it has swelled to a noisy rush of water.

A few yards beyond our mailbox the gravely verge of the roadside wears a pattern like the scales of an enormous fish or some prehistoric reptile.

A neighbor's geese trundle up the road, gabbling noisily.

Rain and wind subsided and cold crept in, bringing frosty mornings.

Rising sun strikes gold fire against the wooded slope.

Near the mailbox, wild daffodils, so recently buried beneath 16 inches of snow, have poked up 
brave heads.

Contrails criss-cross the morning sky.

Nellie dashes out into the crisp morning, then finds a sunny spot on the steep slope behind the retaining wall.

Jim badly strained his back on Monday, moving and stacking the heavy green oak planks he brought down from the Amish sawmill.
He has spent several days huddled wretchedly in a corner of the leather sofa, TV remote in hand, enduring pain and [of course] refusing to see a doctor.
His injury leaves me as the chief [and only] fire tender.
We burn mostly 'slab wood' during the day.
I pile that in the sturdy 4-wheeled cart and haul it from the barn into the wash room which adjoins the kitchen. The big 'chunks' which sustain the fire at night are stacked on the front porch.
I can carry only one at a time to keep in readiness beside the stove.
Edward sometimes develops an interest in a particular piece of wood and claims it as his own.

The hearthrug is likewise beloved of the cats.

The days have segued one into another, snow-cold, uneasily warm 'weather-breeders,' sunshine, wind, rain, clouds.  
Meals must be prepared, laundry done, the cats fed, their litter boxes changed.
I tend fires, work on a quilt, sit down to read or write and find my mind has gone fuzzy.
I fetch and carry for my ailing husband, impatient with his stubborn insistence that his injuries will heal without medical intervention.
I cherish unexpected joys: this morning I was allowed to hold a very new baby goat who nuzzled and snuggled while I admired up close her soft drooping ears and tiny hooves.

This afternoon a shiny late-model pickup drew alongside the front porch; the youngest son of the former owners of our farm had come to call with his wife and two little daughters.
[They are no longer following the Amish way of life.]
They were interested to see the changes we have made to the house; we felt honored that they included us in the round of visits to their old neighborhood.
A bit later our friends from up the road appeared bringing a whole meal--lasagna hot from the oven, a salad, dessert.  

[After a  break from my composition.]

I was 'allowed' to administer massage therapy to the ailing one's shoulder.
 I have applied heat packs, handed out two naproxin tablets and a large glass of water.
I have made stern noises about the mule-headedness of those who are too 'macho' to see a physician.
We shall see where this leads!

I have loaded the stove with several hefty logs and in a few minutes will close the drafts so that the fire will keep overnight.


  1. Curl up on a hearthrug or find a sunny slope, leave others to stack planks and tend the fire. Your cats have something worked out.

    1. John; Cats have always seemed to me to be connoisseurs of comfort--they find the best place to be in any weather. And, if a human will provide a warm lap on a chilly day that is high on the list.

  2. Is it not strange how men are scared of the doctor, hope Jim gets better soon. Your weather is a bit like ours, rain, wind, cold but no snow here. The flowers are also too early, especially the daffodils, lets hope if fruit trees start blossoming there will not be a frost to destroy the blossom.

    1. Thelma; Men are often not REASONABLE!
      Our weather continues very unsettled. I fret over the daffodils--some years they poke their heads up too soon and the buds are blighted.

  3. I am so sorry for Jim and pray he will heal soon. Healing does take time. You are giving him TLC and that is a very important ingredient in the healing process. I pray that you will be given the strength, peace and even joy for living that you need at this time.

    Love, hugs and prayers for you, Jim and all of your critters.


    1. Rainey; Your prayers are very welcomed! I think Jim is getting weary of sitting on the sofa waiting for his shoulder to improve, but he is not ready to consider that he might need treatment.
      Meantime, the cats and I stay busy!

  4. Men, honestly, trying to slow them down is next to impossible and when they overdo it you have to forcibly drag them off to the doctor.

    1. Janet; You've got it! Men seem to believe that they will never age beyond their 'prime'--maybe about 35?

  5. Hope your husband is better soon. Men never learn their limitations. Nature seems to think spring is on it's way with all those things starting to emerge. It won't be long now!

    1. Jane; I do think women are more apt to consider that, yes--that task caused me some pain when I tackled it previously--what should I learn from that!
      Our daffodils are snow-covered again!

  6. How frustrating for you! Would Jim consider help from a chiropractor instead of a doctor? Back pain is horrible and does take time, but help in the right places could speed things along.

    Lovely to see you cats enjoying lefe outside, even in soggy February weather.

    1. DW; I am late in catching up with comment replies--yes, Jim finally saw the chiropractor and was amazed that almost immediately his pain lessened.

  7. Such a lovely descriptive narrative of your late winter day. Squelchy is the perfect word! I'm sorry that your husband has hurt himself. It's hard on you, too. We heat with wood and it's not easy taking on that chore, I know. So nice of your friends to stop by with a meal. Lovely photos....the cats are sweet and I love the geese on the lane. I hope you get a good break in the weather and that the Mr. recovers quickly.

    1. Karen; As you likely know, wood heat is very comforting, but also requires constant clean up.
      I think of winter in your part of the country as nearly constant chilly fog. The better to cherish the wood fire.

  8. I hope that Jim will consider seeking treatment soon - as DW said, a Chiropractor is hands-on and will truly help.

    You have my sympathies over the log-hauling - that is Keith's job in our house too and not one I should choose to take on willingly.

    Now there is blackthorn blossom out (and hawthorn leaves were spotted on my journey up to Yorkshire recently) and lots of daffodils, NOW we get the cold weather to come and knock it all back.

    Loved the cat-coloured mat with perfectly-matched pussum on it!

    1. Jennie; Isn't it astonishing that cats seem to have an affinity for surfaces that will display them to good advantage?
      I could use the encouragement of blossoms about now--my second batch of paperwhites is not cooperating.

  9. Thank you for a peek into your days, - I do hope the reluctant one is soon feeling better. TLC is fine, but sometimes the medic is required....

    1. Hildred; I hope this wasn't too gloomy a 'peek' at our days--no pretty scenery during a run of nasty weather.
      The reluctant one has become a convert to chiropractic medicine--I think.