Thursday, December 29, 2022

December 28, 2022

 I have to admit, I spend far too much time on the social media sites lately, but the one thing I read truly made me laugh out loud today was this:

"Look at this weather being all Springy and cute like it didn't just try to kill us last week."

I couldn't have said it better myself.  What a change from single digit temperatures with -35F below 40 mph windchills to a balmy near 40 degrees tonight.  

 I write my posts upstairs in the newly remodeled part of the house, right under the steeply slanted roof.  The weather must be warming up quite a bit as I was startled by the noise of the snow sliding down the steel roof overhead.  It is the strangest racket, and does raise my pulse quite a bit until I remember it's not Santa's sleigh and eight tiny reindeer prancing around up there.

The geraniums occupy the southern windows, basking in whatever sun they can during the dark days of winter.  I occupy the north side of the upstairs.
There's the back of my chair (in case you're interested) in the upper right-hand corner.

Carl sometimes joins me upstairs at night, but he prefers to watch Youtube videos downstairs on machining, welding, and to be perfectly honest, stuff I haven't got a great deal of interest in.  I think he gets a bit bored at times, too, because he drops the TV remote at regular intervals when he dozes off.  It looks downright painful to come downstairs and see him sleeping with his head dropped forward down to his chest, but luckily for him, he doesn't suffer any detrimental effects.

 I went out skiing on Monday night at sunset.  The wind had died down and it was around 2 degrees, though it felt much warmer without the incessant 'breeze'.  Years ago I invested in some rechargeable hand warmers that I can slip into my mittens.  They work very well, but don't last more than an hour in extremely cold temperatures.  I have one for each hand and a third goes into my pocket to keep my cellphone warm enough to work in case I need to call home.   Even new technology dislikes getting cold.

As I was out in the field taking pictures of the sunset, my dear high school friend, Dorothy, called me from Florida.  We were just recently reunited through a social media site, so good things do come from the internet at times.  Dorothy said Florida was facing record low temperatures, too.  We had a nice chat while I slowly skied around the farm.  I had to quit and come in when my feet started to ache, I don't have any foot warmers for them.  After being cooped up in the house for almost five days, I inhaled the pure, cold air like a parched man thirsts for water.  There is nothing like the silence of the snowy fields and the scent of the pine trees to make me feel alive again.

The snow is so hard in places, the deer can walk on top of the drifts, leaving their hoof prints in perfect condition.

We left tonight to pick up a prescription for me at the pharmacy in town, but the lights were out when we got there, so we decided to go for a little jaunt and see Christmas lights instead.  I guess we should have gone last week, because there were a lot of trees out in the snowbanks already, but we did find a neighborhood of very aristocratic homes that were still lit up in their Christmas finery. 

I'm always awed by how many extension cords the terrifically elaborate displays must entail.  Even for what we have set up on our humble home, the rat's nest of cords is almost overwhelming.  One home had dozens of their tall trees wrapped in lights all throughout their woods, so beautiful.  

I'm glad there are a few people like me who leave Christmas linger awhile.  It seems we're all in such a rush to start Christmas right after Halloween and then on the 26th, out it all goes.  I really don't get in the spirit of the holiday until a week or two afterward. 

When I was a little girl, my mother would wait until I went to bed to haul in a live Christmas tree and decorate it.  This, after she had been up since 5AM herself to milk cows in the morning and had worked all day long baking when she wasn't in the barn.  And knowing full well she'd have to go back to the barn at 5AM the next morning, too. Poor Mom, her Christmas Eve night was very short.   

When I woke up in the morning and crawled out of my warm bed onto the ice cold floor and made my way down the second story stairs to the heated first floor, the first sight I saw upon opening the door was a glistening Christmas tree with all the presents wrapped and waiting for me.  Mom and Dad would still be in the barn, but I would sit in awe and just stare at the beautiful spruce with each carefully draped tinsel strand shimmering.  I had to plug the tree in, of course, because they wouldn't have left a lit tree unattended while they were doing chores, but the joy of seeing those big light bulbs spring to life and be reflected in all the glass balls was magical.  This must be where I developed the love of flowers in bud and not in full bloom, for the promise of the beautiful presents and wondering what they all contained was enough for me.

I had to wait to open presents until my parents came in for breakfast after milking.  I didn't mind the wait, it gave me more time to soak in the beauty of the tree and the mystery of wonderful old Santa who made all this magic happen.  

It took me a few more years to realize the mysterious magic was due to a mother who loved me enough to make my very early Christmases a memory I will always cherish.  Mom had lost her own mother at age forty-one to tuberculosis when she was eight years old, and often told me she knew nothing about parenting, since her mother had been too sick to care for her as a child.  

Oh, Mom, there was never a time I didn't feel loved.  You were the Magic of my Christmas.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Frosty Christmas Eve

 Merry Christmas 2022!    We're in the midst of the first winter blizzard of the year and though I'm usually patient with whatever Mother Nature dishes out, the last three days have been long.  The official snow total was around 7" for our area, but the wind is the big problem, along with the bitterly cold temperatures.  So far, we've been lucky and the power has stayed on.  After the past summer's tornado, power outages have been very common, six so far since June.

Lucky for me, I decorated the house and yard right after Thanksgiving, before we had any snow.  As of now the horse decorations are half buried and the banks are right up on the porch. 


 What a change from June, but that's why there's never a dull moment living in Wisconsin.  If you don't like the weather, stick around, it will change.

Backing up a month, we had a beautiful November.  My sunset walks were always sure to please with mild temperatures.  I always get stir-crazy during the gun deer season as I have to stay in the house for the most part.  I do wear blaze orange when I'm out in the garden, but it's no guarantee I won't end up having a few holes in me in case of overzealous hunters in the woods surrounding us.

I imagine most people would be bored walking the same mile of road for sixty-four years, but I never tire of the views.  My family has lived on this farm since the late 1890's and the road itself hasn't changed much over a hundred years.  If my grandparents were to see the farm  and surrounding area again, at least in this mile of ours, they would probably notice very little had changed.

Standing in the shadow of the old Aermotor windmill.
How green was my valley?  Back in early November, it was emerald green and lush.  Now it is snow-covered in drifts that resemble waves on the ocean. I cherish those last days of fall when most of the outdoor work is done and I have the freedom to wander around the land on foot.  Of course, I do the same in the winter on skis, but fall is the best of all.


The bright, blue skies of late October.

Our Audrey is six now, and growing up so fast.  She is such a delight to us.

Carrots are her favorite vegetable, and she planted the seeds and tended them right up to harvest.

 If it weren't for Audrey, my Christmas preparations would be far behind.  She decorated the two little trees we have and encouraged me to get going on the holiday baking.  She can roll out dough like a professional already and in a few short hours, we had Christmas cookies.  Grandpa got in on the action, too.

 I wish I had gotten going on my shopping earlier than I did; sadly, the orders weren't delivered today, though if the delivery person would have let me know they were coming, I could have gotten dressed and slogged through the snow to get to the road.  I guess we'll have to wait until we all get plowed out.

The last time we did any snow removal was Thursday, but with the nonstop wind, there's no point in getting a tractor out in subzero temperatures when the drifts will be right back with the 40 mph winds and -30 degree windchills.

Friday afternoon, the bird feeders were a little higher off the ground.
Also Friday night, the deer in the backyard were starting to disappear.
Christmas Eve, and the wild birds have a slippery slide to ride while they are eating.  Carl's been keeping the feeders full and they seem to appreciate it.

I can see why the delivery person decided to take a pass on trying to get into our yard.  We've had whiteout conditions at times today; actually the conditions were much worse today than when the storm began on Thursday.  The forecast is for the winds to die down a little by morning, but the temperature will only be around 9 degrees.  If the winds drop from the 35-50 mph back down to 15 mph, it would help.

I have peanut butter ball dough chilling on the front porch, so I guess I'd better bring it in before it's a frozen wad. 

The slippery slide is getting taller.

Wishful, wistful thinking, looking out the window today at sunset, and longing to go for my evening walk, but it will have to wait for a warmer day.   Funny, it doesn't look like -35 below windchill.  

Reflections of the railing rondels in the last of the sunset.

Joel let me know that little Audrey has a fever of 103.6.  We hope she feels better by morning, there's never a good time to be sick, but especially not on Christmas.  There's been so much illness lately. 

We ended Christmas Eve by making a batch of chocolate covered peanut butter balls.  No, we don't need the calories, but it's a tradition.  It's nearly 1AM now, and the wind doesn't seem to be shaking the house as much as it was earlier.  Maybe tomorrow we can dig ourselves out of the driveway. 

 Merry Christmas from our house to yours.