The bedroom was dark at 6 o'clock this Sunday morning, murky grey, shapes blurred, no hint of color. The only spill of light was the glow of the nightlight in the hall which outlined the half-open door. I was comfortable, the cats were not yet stirring, so I lay quietly, watchful--expecting the quilt on the rack to warm into familiar muted shades of red, gold, brown and russet, pictures on the wall to assume their familiar identity.
Five minutes, fifteen minutes; 6:20 and the room still a cavern of mid-winter gloom.
I levered myself upright, dislodging a cat or two, felt for my slippers, plodded downstairs.
The boy cats clamored, wanting out, still they hesitated warily when I trudged through the garage and opened the side door.
The 'barn cats' milled about as I tipped kibble into their bowls on the front porch.
Sally-cat, having put the boys in their place, escorted me to the side porch steps.
A plume of smoke was ascending straight up from our renter's chimney, a reminder that I needed to deal with my own fire.
I raked glowing coals into a heap, fed in slivers of scrap wood from the bin near the black range.
There is a sense of ritual to rekindling the fire each morning: slender lengths of kindling stand ready in a bucket, the rack behind the stove is stocked with large chunks on the top shelf for easy handling; the bottom tier holds 'limb wood' and finer split pieces.
Satisfied that the fire is burning brightly I pull on an assortment of warm clothes [not exactly 'dressed for the day!']
I take down Jim's stainless steel percolator, measure water and coffee, give Teasel-cat her pinch of dried catnip, turn on my PC.
When Jim comes downstairs [he is dressed for his day!] he will immediately check the fire--poke at the burning wood, add a big chunk, fiddle with the way I have set the drafts.
This morning he reminded me that by another weekend we will have reached the turning point, the solstice, and can watch as, nearly imperceptibly at first, the days lengthen.
Cold mornings call for hearty comfort food; Jim likes French toast with maple syrup. During the week we've enjoyed oatmeal porridge, scrambled eggs, grapefruit.
Do you see a cat on the table?
I do not encourage cats on the table!
Bobby Mac decided to become Jim's special friend, ingratiating himself, offering his companionship after the death of elderly Siamese Raisin in September, 2015.
Unlike Raisin, Bobby Mac is soft-spoken, but his body language is eloquent.
Bobby doesn't 'steal' food, but he does accept tidbits if something is to his liking.
For the squeamish, I offer the assurance that the table is wiped down before and after each meal!
This morning's breakfast was blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, turkey sausage patties, fruit.
While I tidied the kitchen, Jim pulled up the doplar weather map and announced that our day was not likely to become any brighter.
I reminded him that I have been waiting [not really patiently] for his assistance with my wood-working projects, some intended as Christmas gifts.
The 'big blue cupboard' with a base coat of "Canonball Black."
As of this evening it now sports a second paint coat--"Aged Bordeaux."
We have, together, achieved a gratifying amount of production in the workshop today!
I didn't take my camera with me to the shop, so documentation must wait for tomorrow.
I carried out the latest batch of painted 'racks' that were awaiting the installation of hooks.
I requested a hanging rack with shelf, which Jim constructed from oak, selecting a board from his stash to plane and trim to length.
He reminded me that the oak had been harvested during our first winter here. That day came vividly to my memory--a bit of snow on the ground, sunshine, the whine of Jim's chainsaw, the scent of the forest clinging to each length of firewood that I tossed into the bed of the truck.
The heavy tree trunk was dragged up the road to our Amish neighbor's mill and the resulting
rough-sawn boards have cured in neat stacks on the workshop porch.
While I hand sanded the newly crafted shelf, Jim brought in another board to run through the planer.
The wood is beautifully streaked with shades of green and purple/brown.
I pounced on it, my imagination fired by the thought of a hanging shelf/rack for displaying a quilt.
We haggled over the design. [I have ideas, but lack the practical skills to build them!]
As the pieces for the rack were cut, I hovered, sure that it was going together the wrong way. I can't visualize the end product correctly when the components are turned over to be nailed or fastened from a different angle.
When I sensed that Jim was becoming a bit aggravated by my lack of comprehension, it seemed prudent to let him continue construction while I served the cats their 'afternoon tea' and put sweet potatoes in the oven to bake.
We went back into the shop after supper.
Jim tided up his tools while I applied a coat of paint to my big cupboard.
When he went to the house [mere steps from the workshop] there was only the gentle crackle of the ebbing fire for company as I brushed clear satin poly onto the two new shelves.
A decorative cutting board repurposed to keep potholders near the cooktop.
I've sat this evening making lists, prioritizing the things I must do to be ready for the weekend: menu for a birthday supper; plan the 'do-ahead' food, shop for the few food items not already in pantry or fridge; schedule time [when in my right mind] to prepare for my participation in the church Christmas program; finish the projects in the workshop; hoover up cat hair [repeat as needed.]
Remember to sit in my rocking chair at intervals--with tea, with Teasel-cat.