Friday, December 4, 2009


It was 25 degrees when we arrived here at the farm yesterday morning at 11:00. The high for the day was only 31. We ran the propane wall furnace in the dining room for an hour and Mike got the fire going in the fireplace. It takes about a day to warm the place when it's cold.

We had only been here half an hour when our neighbor Pete drove up in his shiny new-to-him 2001 Dodge Ram. He'd seen three wolves from his house earlier in the morning and wanted us to be aware. Apparently wolves will make quick work of a dog. As we stood in the kitchen we talked of how it used to be in Grandma Ina's day. He calls her "Aunt Ina," a title of respect rather than relationship that children once were taught to use. In his boyhood he brought Ina eggs and cream for his mother – by that time Ina was no longer keeping chickens and cows – and she would insist he have cookies and milk before going back home. He spoke of how nice she was.

It remained very cold upstairs yesterday, and when we went to bed I hoped I would not have to get up in the night. At least I remembered to give thanks that I wouldn't have to go outside, though I'm not sure there was really much difference in temperature between our bedroom and outside. We couldn't find Mike's flannel pajamas – they must be in town – and he wished for a cap to cover his bald pate. I donned the shoulder-ette I made for myself last year to keep my back and neck warm. And I put on a pair of soft, thick socks, remembering what mothers have known forever – if your feet are warm, you'll feel warm. We warmed the bed with the electric blanket, but it was too cold to sit up and read, so we listened to an old radio podcast – a Phillip Marlowe mystery. But I can't tell you how it came out. I fell asleep somewhere this side of the middle.

Today dawned clear and bright – 17.6 felt like 12.2 at 7:30 a.m., but by noon it was overcast and dark. I found an old pair of silk long johns that once belonged to my mother and found them "just the thing" for under my jeans. Both Mike and I are wearing an extra layer of clothing. I ran the dishwasher and the washing machine, purposely waiting until today just in case one of them should leak and emergency action be necessary. Mike and Nellie went hunting but didn't get anything – not even the pheasant I saw in the yard yesterday. And we did not see the wolves. We made a trip to the attic after Christmas decorations and a trip to the barn for the tree. After I set it up, Nellie insisted on our afternoon walk. "If we don't go now," she said, "we'll miss our chance because it will be dark."

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