Yikes! I can’t believe that I haven’t written since January 29th! I have a lot of catching up to do.
Mostly I didn’t write because I was very tired. I don’t think that I’ve had a good night’s sleep for more than a year. Shortly after we moved, our bed became more and more uncomfortable. We weren’t sure what, exactly, was the problem, so we spent the year “tweaking”–buying a foam mattress topper, getting new box springs, building a platform, buying a new mattress. I thought the new mattress would finally solve the problem, but I still haven’t been sleeping. I’ve just had a series of naps, sleeping part of the night in the bed, and then part of the night in EJ’s lazy-boy chair, and then napping on the bed in the morning after EJ left for work…and waking up each time with an aching back. This last weekend we made another minor tweak, and the bed felt more comfortable so maybe we have finally fixed all the uncomfortable elements–although EJ said it will probably take a bit of time for my back to heal.
Since we have moved north, we have made much progress in recovering from PTSD and anxiety. However, we have taken a few steps backwards into anxiety because of the possibility that JJ’s cancer might have returned. JJ’s next oncology appointment is at the end of July and it feels like a sword hanging over our heads. We are praying all the time that his cancer numbers decrease.
It snowed a lot at the beginning of winter with 6-12 inches at a time. I had to snowblow every day or two just to keep up. Once we entered 2017, however, the pace slowed. It snow just about every day, but only a few inches at a time. It wasn’t really worth bothering with, which was good because the belt on the snowblower broke in early February–or was it late January? The previous owners had put the wrong type of belt on the snowblower, so it took EJ a few tries to find the correct belt and then he had to learn how to put it on the snowblower. We’ve never lived where we needed a snowblower, so we aren’t experienced with them. However, thanks to You Tube videos and a co-worker who has a side business of repairing machines, EJ was able to get the snowblower up and running.
We’ve actually had quite a few warm days mixed in with the colder days. It made outside chores more tolerable but the warm days presented their own challenges because during the day some of the snow melted and then froze at night when the temperatures dropped, making our property very icy and slippery. One evening when Danny needed to go outside, the porch step was so slippery that he fell and couldn’t get the necessary traction to get back on his feet. I had to hold his collar and drag him across the icy porch. Once I got him back inside, I salted the step to get rid of the ice. I’ve kept Danny on a leash to keep him away from deep snow or treacherous ice so his leg can heal.
Of course, the ice made our driveway very treacherous. It was difficult to decide whether it was better to snowblow the driveway or to let the snow cover the ice in hopes that it would provide traction. The decision was taken out of our hands: With the snowblower out of commission for a few weeks, the snow in the driveway got a bit deep, then the warm days melted the snow into slush, which then froze into nubbly icy waves. It was impossible to snowblow such an uneven surface. Fun. But although traversing the driveway was dicey at times, neither EJ nor JJ got stuck.
This week the temps have risen into the high 40s and more of the snow is melting. We have spreading patches of bare ground appearing.
With the warmer weather, the chickens and ducks have been spending more time outside and have they have begun laying eggs again. It’s nice to look out of our bedroom window and seeing them enjoying the weather. Every morning when I went out to the coop, I found Sassy Rooster and 1-3 hens in the duck side. It was a chore to get them back into their side of the coop/pen. I considered just letting them all mingle together but when I tried, it, Sassy began picking on Esther, our lame duck, so I quickly separated them again. Yesterday EJ fastened more wiring above the dividing fence in the pen so the chickens can’t cross over. They liked perching on the top of the dividing fence so he put a long railing in their coop for them to perch on instead.
We’ve heard from several different people downstate that the sandhill cranes are migrating south so maybe we will have an early Spring. Of course, it is only February, which means it’s unrealistic to think we won’t get more winter weather. In fact, I read this morning that a strong storm system bringing wintry weather is heading our way for the weekend. But at the least the warm weather will melt more of the ice in the driveway to make it easier to snowblow.
Despite the challenges, I actually really love winter. I can’t decide whether autumn or winter is my favorite season, but definitely I prefer colder weather. I love wearing sweatshirts and jeans. There’s nothing like the “warm fuzzy” feeling of cuddling up in a blanket with a cat on my lap and a dog at my feet sipping hot coffee while the snow falls outside. I love the breathtaking beauty of a snow-covered landscape. I love the way the wind makes the snow swirl into snow-nadoes. When the trees are bare of leaves in the winter, I can see more of the horizon, which means that I can enjoy the beautiful sunrises and sunsets that are hidden by summer’s foliage. And although I think that snowblowing is more difficult than mowing the lawn, I prefer snowblowing. In the summer, I quickly become overheated when mowing the lawn; EJ says that my face gets both very red and very white at the same time. I think it’s easier to stay warm in the winter than to get cool in the summer.
Most of all, I love watching and photographing the wildlife in the winter. During the summer we don’t see much wildlife because the birds, turkeys, and deer stay hidden in the forest. During the winter months, however, they are drawn out of the forest to the bird feeders near the house. It is so delightful to sit on my couch and take photos of them.
I think winter is absolutely magical. But Spring is exciting too and I’ve begun dreaming of being able to put away the coats and boots, and opening windows, and drying laundry on the clothesline, and having campfires…