while it lasted…

I’m not going to talk about the state of our road right now. Nor the yard. I’m not going to dwell on the oozing slush and the mud and the need for extreme caution with every single step. I’m also not going to discuss the state of our firewood pile. I’m just not going there.

Instead, I’m going to talk a little bit about this… IMGP2949 Wintertime in the mid-south is a roller coaster ride. There is really no consistent theme other than we will surely have a couple of really cold spells and maybe a few snows somewhere between November and April. The snowfall may not amount to much more than a dusting, but enough to turn these Kentucky hills sort of white. When we have a single snow event that accumulates to nearly a foot of the stuff, well, it is kind of a big deal.IMGP3021

I think I used to enjoy the winter months more than I do now. As I have grown older and my level of responsibility is so much more, the winter months can truly be a pain in the ass. With a house full of kiddos and a farm full of critters, there are many more mouths to feed and water now than there were when Eric and I were just getting started. I am grateful for all of those hungry mouths, don’t get me wrong, as it is proof of an abundant farm… but I have yet to find the “pause” button for all of those mouths when the weather takes a turn and the road is impassable and the water system freezes.  If you know what I mean.IMGP2941I know at some point or other all of us farmwives have mentioned that fact that our farms are not really set up for ease in dealing with extreme winter weather. We just don’t have enough of it to justify the effort in “winter-proofing” all of our farm systems. We have our ways of making things work just fine, but not without some effort. Seems we all have been caught with our pants down at some point, and curse ourselves for some stupid slip-up in preparedness. Or lack thereof.IMGP3010Typically, though, our winter weather leaves as quickly as it came, and we sigh and say “wasn’t that pretty?” and then grunt “now what a damn mess!” In the throes of the winter storm, when I could feel the beginnings of myself going buggy and my kids challenging my and each other’s patience, I decided to read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “The Long Winter” aloud to the family… just as a reminder of how easy we’ve got it. And a gigantic reminder of why I don’t live in North Dakota. 

My dear husband’s solution to the cabin fever problem was to hitch the kayaks up to the tractor and take the kids for a redneck-style-white-water-rafting-tour-de-farm sled ride. They had a blast. (And Elowyn and I got the house to ourselves for a bit.) The morning the temperatures were going to rise enough to begin the thawing of all that snow, Eric swept into the house from doing his chores and demanded that I get my coat on. The big kids watched the baby and I got my own Bugtussle style sleigh ride…IMGP3029I will say the snow was fun while it lasted! Now I suppose I’m ready for spring!

11 3/4 inches: a family photo project

snowed in. nature’s power and beauty all around us. we spent the days cooking, baking, playing and trying, each of us, to capture some of the majesty.

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it’s been cold and cozy and it’s not over yet. photo credits to mrb and svb, they have the eye. a couple of these are mine too. why not guess who took which photos?

 

wired… or mired?

IMGP0573We have a lovely white blanket of snow on the ground now. It has even lasted for more than a few hours! For many moons, we have not had a snowstorm like what we experienced a few days ago. I mean, it was no blizzard. Not even close. But it snowed pretty much all day long. My heart sank for awhile when, late in the morning, the snow turned over to freezing rain. I thought to myself…well, here we go again. Another classic southern Kentucky snowstorm. Blah. But, to my great relief, the snow started falling again. So white. So pure and fresh. So quiet. I think the quiet is what I love the most.IMGP0577

So. Our internet connection has been sketchy for the last couple of months. We didn’t have any service during the snowstorm, which was no big surprise, but we’ve been having issues for a lot longer than the duration of the storm. Given where I live, and given the distance the internet line has to travel to reach my house, and given the terrain over which said line must travel, I find it pretty miraculous that we can ever even get online. But we can. And we do. And I think kind of like a lot of other folks that I know (and don’t know), an internet connection has become a component of day to day life that might, just might, be a tad taken for granted.IMGP0581

Except when it just won’t work. Then the frustration sets in. For me, the frustration isn’t so much not being able to get on the internet. The frustration comes when I realize my own increasing dependence on the computer/internet that I have come to possess. Even me, in my remote cabin in the woods. I guess I don’t really like feeling a dependence on something so obscure and intangible. Something that doesn’t put supper on the table. Something that doesn’t have a smell or a taste. Something that doesn’t add another log to the woodstove when necessary. But, darn, if it isn’t an incredibly valuable tool when used as such. And I think here lies the conundrum  lots of us face as we try to navigate our daily dosage of the world wide web.IMGP0582

For a couple of months, we have endured being booted offline at random and disregarding whatever important task was at hand. Just suddenly, bye bye. Our process of regaining our connection developed into a strange series of steps, kind of like an awkward and uncomfortable dance between strangers. Reboot the modem. Restart the computer. Put the computer to sleep at just the precise moment. Etc. Etc. What worked one day may or may not work the next. Finally, it was agreed, we would call the phone company. We were paying for the service after all. Within the hour of placing our call for help, some real nice fellas from the phone company arrived on the scene. They didn’t even squirm when I showed them the steps up to the loft of our cabin. The steps that they would have to climb in order to reach our computer. (If you’ve not been here for a visit, our “steps” consist of wooden pegs sticking out of a spiraling tree trunk. Maybe slightly intimidating for the uninitiated.) Anyhow, the real nice fellas found that, indeed, the line from our outdoor kitchen to our house had a fault somewhere along the way, and needed replacing. A few days later, the real nice fellas came back on the scene with a trencher and new cable and in short order, we were back in business. At least the internet line was back in business. Our computer, on the other hand, was feeling fatigued from it’s tumultuous relationship with the internet and is currently on (hopefully) temporary hiatus until it recovers (aka Eric’s brother fixes it for us). In the meantime, good friends came to the rescue and loaned us their laptop.

So, we are back online now. At least most of the time. Catching up on some important and other not-so-important matters. I think for me, these past few months have been a wonderful exercise in recognizing a few things about myself and my computer usage: Am I tethered? Am I capable of shutting the damn thing off? Am I wired for a cause? Or am I just mired by excess? It’s all good stuff to consider, I suppose. But I do think it would behoove us all to unplug every once in awhile. Just for fun…