Saturday, January 15, 2011

Our Journey! Bitter Cold! 8

“Oh the long and dreary Winter! 
  Oh the cold, cruel Winter!”

                   Henry W. Longfellow.



  It is –22c here this early Friday morning. I look out my kitchen window everything is frozen. The smoke from the chimney does not rise, it settles on the ground. The stillness of the morning, tells you it was very cold last night. There are no tracks in the snow. The deer were all huddled in a sheltered spot for the night.
 I sit here with many layers on, the electric heaters on (something I usually avoid) and the woodstove roaring. I am still chilled; my bones creak like an old barn door hinge. I shiver and try to take in the warmth of the sun streaming through my kitchen window. My mind starts to drift.
 A place I have tried to forget, but it still remains buried in the deepest crevice of my memory. Times like this bring it to the surface.
  An old farmhouse and one not very efficient woodstove. I have stayed awake most of the night. I try not to drift off. It is very cold outside, I'm afraid if I fall asleep we will freeze in our bed. The wind is blowing; the snow is coming through the cracks. I had put a towel against the bottom of the door, it blows around it.
 My Hero has to work early in the morning so M and him are sleeping. There are lots of blankets on the bed. The weight so heavy I would wake in the morning thinking something had been sitting on me all night, not being able to move or rollover, trapped.
 M sleeps between us, with her hat and mittens on. The warmth of our body, keeping her safe, and warm.
 I get up to put more wood in the stove; I have been doing this every hour. This is our only heat source I have no choice. I fill it and leave the draft open, all the time worrying about it getting to hot and causing a chimney fire.
 I empty the wood box, I slip my boots and coat on, over the two layers I have been sleeping in, I head to the woodshed.
 I go out to grab an armful of wood; the woodshed is 150 feet long and emptying of our wood very fast. I never like to go out here in the dark. I can hear something scurry across the floor. I make it quick, and try to not think of what it was.
 Throw the wood in the box; make myself a cup of tea from the kettle boiling on the stove. I pull a chair close: I am still cold.
  I dream; a warmer place, anywhere but here. It has been two winters with no end in sight.
 I hear M stir, I go check, and she is fine. Snuggled close to her Dad. The bedroom is so cold. It is only a few feet from the living room with the stove roaring. The wind is blowing so hard the heat does not reach it.
 Heavy blankets hang on the windows in the bedroom trying to stop the snow, and keep the wind out. Trying to keep the little bit of heat in.
  I go back to my tea. This is not what I had ever imagined. After the auction I thought we could get things turned around. I thought since we work so hard, things would change.
 It will be morning soon, My Hero will be off to work, and M and I will head out to the warm barn to do the chores. The barn is always warmer than the house. We should be sleeping with the animals. They are warmer than us. Getting to the barn would have its challenges tomorrow through the deep snow. I should get some sleep.
 The windows in the living room glisten. The light from the only light bulb shines on the thick frost, on the inside and outside of the window.
 I dream, a warmer place. It is only February.
 I throw a couple more logs in the stove; I shut down the damper and climb back into bed. I snuggle close to M knowing there is no warmth in our near future. My mind starts to drift.

 Looking out my kitchen window, absorbing the warmth of the sun, happy. I am not really cold. I am so glad I am here.

Later.

14 comments:

  1. I never "knew"...the hardships and struggles; you and your hero had gone through.

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  2. With nothing but wood heat in our little house my wife is sometimes quite cold during the winter months too, but nothing like what you experinced years ago. Hope the sun is shining for you today.:)

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  3. You sound like you've had some real struggles in your life. While our 101 yr old farm house does get cold, even when it's well below zero with a windchill we can still keep it at 60F or above. When this sort of weather comes I just tell myself it's only for a minut period of time and that seems to help me pull through it.

    Where is it that you lived when you were so cold in your home?

    Glad the sun is shining and things are better for you now.Kind of makes you wonder how people survived the long cold winters before electricity and central heat. My Grandma tells stories of her childhood. She and her 4 brothers slept together and when they woke up they'd have ice on top of their quilts. It was always a race down to the ole' wood cook stove to get dressed( they'd lay out their clothes on the backs of the kitchen chairs the night before. She also tells of how they didn't have the coats, gloves and such as we have today. It must have been miserable, no wonder she now winters in AZ( of course she's also 94 yrs old too.)

    Blessings,
    Kelle

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  4. Buttons It is cold here today and snow. I just shoveled the path to the barn for 4pm chores and we have about 25 cm of new stuff since the last fallen Wednesday. But now the wind begins! Our farmhouse build 1881 but is made of brick, so snow doesn't drift in but still the wind packs a powerful punch and one feels it through every window. Forget window fashions! Wool blankets are the only trick, as well as socks in bed and polar fleece outfits. Our cold is damp because we are surrounded by lakes. But your story is well related to. Do you have a rope from the house to the barn? Our barn is a distance from the house. A rope is a must.

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  5. and you can be so proud of keeping yourself and your family alive and working so hard to be the success you are today. I think you appreciate it more when you've been faced with such hard reality about basic survival.

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  6. Hi! In the Kawartha Lake area here.

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  7. Chilled to the bone and beyond. So glad the sun has shone :)
    Love M

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  8. Thank you to all for the wonderful comments. I am in a much nicer house on the same spot as the old one. (OOPs I gave the ending of my story away). Hopefully you will still keep reading it was a long, hard journey. It has taught me much, I truly appreciate things more for having lived it. I would not change a thing. Oh would I?
    I will continue to tell you of the struggles so maybe others who are "in the same boat" will know things will get better.
    Thank you again B

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  9. Except, if they are in the same boat... I bet they don't have a computer to be able to read about it...

    I'm glad you aren't there anymore.... even if it is still damn cold and you do have to go outside... and still have to work hard... at least you get to come home to some warmth at the end of it. Thank goodness... cuz, just like you said... being cold all night is horrible. Been there, done that too... right in the middle of the city, not on a farm... and sometimes out in a derelict car in the back yard....oh, man....I still hate being cold....but, at least now, I have the right clothes for it...and have a lovely warm roof over my head. I feel spoiled by comparison... and it's great....

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  10. BumbleVee. I am so sorry you had to go through that. I know how it stays with you. I am positive it has made you the compassionate caring person you are today for making it through it.
    Life is good but sometimes you must suffer a little to understand that. We are very lucky. Keep warm. Ps. you are right about the computer. But some people are going through their own kind of struggle and pain in a very nice warm house with a computer. A journey is a journey. Thank you I love your comments. B

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  11. "that which does not kill you makes you stronger"

    You lived those words - thank you for sharing your thoughts on your past, they were very descriptive, I felt chilled after reading them!

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  12. Such a tight family unit amidst such hardship, and, yes, you could rightly think that ".... since we work so hard, things would change".

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  13. I saw "Gowestferalwoman" and it sends chills
    she at the moment is living that quote.

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  14. We live on a farm in Kansas and have a wood stove that we burn all winter. In fact this morning I thought about starting a fire since we finally have rain and cooler temperatures. BUT...we also have forced air heat so we are not 'roughing' it by any means. My hubby just got up (works nights) and I had to tell him about your story...he want's to read it for himself :)

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The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

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