Friday, November 14, 2008


Woke up early this morning. Earrrrly. Like 5:30. A.M. I was having a strange dream about sneaking around in the woods chasing kidnappers and, I remember, even as I slept, hiding behind a tree, and thinking to myself, "Why am I here? I don't need to be here. I think I'll wake up." And so I did. Which is why I was up at 5:30... But, I digress.

As I started to say, I woke up very early, and came out to the computer to check my mail. (What else would one do at 5:30 in the morning, I ask you?) And, as I sat in front of the comfort of the glowing screen, I was roused from my trancelike state by the howling of the wind outside the window next to me.

So, I looked out.

And, behold, from out of the darkness, a blanket of snow whirled and whipped in the wind, blowing out of the big cedar tree in the yard, which was weighted down by a blanket of new snow.

I heard some clacking and clicking and bumping out on the patio. It was our yellow lab, Bella, playing with a frisbee out in the snow. She's crazy. She loves the stuff. She wouldn't come in out of the weather even if we wanted her to. Then, after a bit, my husband came whistling out of the bedroom, wearing a cozy brown sweater and dipped out some of the hot chocolate I'd started on the stove. A little while and the kids wandered down, one by one. Gabe first, then William. Then Theresa and Cathy, together, stumbled down, rubbing their eyes, and snuggled up on the couch. (Still haven't seen my sleepyheads, Michelle and Anna...) What a pleasant, wintery morning, I thought.
And then it hit me. It's not cold. I hadn't even known it was snowing until I heard it outside the window. The children are wandering around barefoot. Nobody is hunkered under blankets. My husband didn't start the day by building a fire in the wood stove. It's actually warm in our house.

For the ten plus years we've lived in this old farmhouse, we've weathered the winters almost like the pioneers. Since we had no central heat, we could really, truly associate with Laura and Mary Ingalls jumping out of the warm covers and hurrying as fast as possible to get dressed in the cold. We wouldn't think of walking around barefoot in the winter. On a morning like this one, everyone would have come down in heavy sweaters and socks and slippers, and then hunkered down with blankets waiting for the wood stove to warm things up.

But not this winter.
Ah, the beauty of central heat. I'm happy to report our new radiant heat system is working well.

Even as I sit here typing, happily toasty and comfortable, I wonder if our little ones will be deprived of not having experienced life before-the-radiators. In the spirit of "all-things-being-relative," I'm sure they won't appreciate this winter warmth like the rest of us will. And, generally speaking, I can't help but wonder if we'll all be the less for not living the seasons, literally, as our ancestors did. For us here at the old homestead, summer and winter, especially, were always very distinct, marked by special rituals of survival that have been lost to Western Civilization. We worked to stay warm, and suffered in the heat. We stocked and cut cords of firewood for winter and slept by the opened screened windows, talking late into the summer night because it was too hot to sleep. There's a certain nostalgic beauty to it all, and I do believe there is a certain character and comaraderie built this way that has no substitute in the modern world. I hate to admit it, and I won't say it too loud or my husband will roll his eyes, but, I will miss the old days.

(Though I repeat, in thanksgiving and some disbelief still ~ that I am so glad to be warm this morning. It's hard to type with frozen fingers.)

For some snowy day indoor fun, whether or not it's snowing where you are, you might consider:

This site where you can build a virtual snowman,

This way cool scientific snowman site that links to the weather in your city,

This great 3-D snowflake tutorial,


Memarie Lane said...

max wants to build an igloo. guess i'll have to get the kids some good mittens before it snows!

WhyMrs.K said...

We don't have snow yet but I know what you mean about living as our ancestors did. This house has central heat, of a sort. We have a big fat wood furnace in the basement, and a wood stove in the dining room. We light the wood stove and use that exclusively until there is real danger of the pipes freezing without the furnace then we use that too. But even with the too together, the house is not warm and cozy as people romantically imagine when you tell them that you heat with wood. Cutting, splitting, and stacking wood is a year round project that brings us all together but is one that we all enjoy. Even now my sons talk about cutting wood when they come home on leave. My second son is coming home in Dec. and has asked his brothers "to save some for me to split" The summer times don't get as warm here as I imagine that they do out there but with a house like ours with not a true second story it can get roasting hot up there in the evening. We spend many and many a night sleeping out in tents together to escape the heat of the indoors. The other struggles of growing and preserving our own food is also part of the old ways that this family enjoys. I could go on and on but I feel the same connections that you talk about and I feel a certain pity for those that don't share this same thread with history and ancestory. The continuity is very important. God bless you and your lovely family.

Laura said...

Did someone say snow?
I'm sure it's beautiful, especially blanketing all of your acreage.
Does a homeschool mom ever give the kids "snow days" just for fun?

Bia said...

I just had my four-year-old come build a virtual snowman...what fun! We'll check out your other sites later today.

No snow here...but it has been rainy.

I know a little about the heat thing. When we were little we would visit our grandparents' farm in heat. We'd wake up, crawl out from under ten quilts and make a frantic dash to the fireplace in the living room. Brrr it was cold. But for some reason, I remember sleeping so well in the cold under those quilts.

But, I am a winter wimp...give me central heating.

Stay warm today!

SuzyQ said...

I had to smile about your dog playing in the snow. Our dog "sunny" who sadly not with us anymore used to literally tiptoe through the snow because she didn't like her paws getting cold ~ she was such a wimp lol. She didn't like puddles either, or mud! She was a big boxer dog with a loud bark but such a sweetheart.
Oh and I always get the hot chocolate out on cold days. Well I don't need any excuse really ;0).
Enjoy the snow!