Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's Cold Outside!!!

What do you do when it is -22F outside when you go to bed and wake up in the morning? When the daytime temperatures are still well below zero and the windchill hits 30 -40 below F? Some of us are greatful that we don't live in Minot, ND where it seems to be the norm. And some like our youngest grand daughter, hop on their horse, in her case, Blue Biscuit, with a bowl of Gold Fish crackers and watch Scooby Doo on the television - over and over again.
Then she patiently waits in the car telling me, "Cold Gamama, Cold!"while the heater tries to keep up as I hurry to care for the animals. The ones that refuse to leave their sheds unless there is sufficient grain as a reward. The goats being the biggest whimps. But then who can blame them?

The weather is not fit for man nor beast.
All around us the hoar frost covers the world with a blanket of white. White layers added each night...

... until the trees hang low toward the ground. It looks like a blanket of snow but snow doesn't dare fall with temperatures this cold.
And experience has taught that I don't dare breath through my nostrils. The moisture inside the small space sticks the skin together closing off my air supply.

Beneath my feet the snow crunches as I press the white flakes, the drifts now stiff enough to walk across without sinking down. My boots squeek like tennis shoes on a newly polished wood floor as the light skiff of snow presses against the crusted older snow. As I lift the rubber water troughs and the ice cascades down, it sounds like heavy broken glass crashing to the floor. Sounds seem magnified in the frosty air.

I turn my face away from the slight breeze that feels as if it is slamming against my exposed forehead. My head begins to feel just like the brain freeze you get when you eat ice cream too quickly. Only there's no pleasure before the pain.

The memory of the warm, coal fire I left to tend to the animals, becomes an obsession driving me to move quicker so I can return home once more Yet a bit of guilt lingers as I rush. Guilt that I can't afford a warm barn where all the animals could gather inside sharing body warmth and guilt that I can escape and my animals must endure. The guilt driven more deeply as I watch the goats shiver -miserable- despite their wearing a heavy winter coat.

But soon I'm home as I refuse to doing anything extra that doesn't absolutely need done. Stoking the fire repeatedly for it has an insatiable appetite when it's this cold. I don't bake, for even though the heat would be welcome, the lights keep flickering now and now threatening to turn off completely, something it has already done twice for a few hours. So instead, I block that ascot I knitted a couple weeks ago even though I've never blocked anything in my life. My daughter, who has passed me in knitting knowledge, says I should, so I do it on the ironing board to see if it makes as much difference as she assures me it will. The manual says it evens out your stitches and helps the ascot to lay more evenly but I must be careful with the ribbing or I'll loose my stretch.

And of course I quilt, working on one I started last spring before the kids arrived. There is nothing like frigid cold to make you long for the homey comfort of a quilt and we are in real need of more of them for the beds since we have so many more to cover now with the grand kids living with us. It feels so nice today when I've hit a deep low. I'm suffering from a chemical depression right now, and my legs aren't working making it hard to walk. The new drug the doctor wanted to try for my hypothalmus sent me into a free fall with my thyroid and adrenals. Crashes aren't ever fun, but the quilt across my lap gives me comfort as I hand sew the wide sections together that I machine quilted last weekend when the kids were gone giving me mental and physical comfort.

All while I stare outside at the white world wishing spring would hurry...

... and even chuckle at the pitiful icicles. It takes warmth to build decent ones. But most of all I'm glad that I'm not in the midweast where the wind is 40mph and the snow is falling fast and furious. Oh I know it's coming my way. No, not now, but come late March or April, Old Man Winter will unleash his furry that Spring is begining to take hold, lashing out with a vengence. Those forty mile an hour winds will gust in to the fifties or higher and the flakes of snow won't being coming down but driven horizontaly like a fast and furious snow ball fight, where the winner takes all.

But there is hope as the temperatures are to rise. Snow is in the forecast once more for the weekend. Yup, winter still has a firm grasp and spring seems a long time away.

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