February 26, 2017
The electricity went out yesterday afternoon. We had a massive thaw, temperatures rose to almost 60° F, then plunged again, with lashing rain and high winds. The power flickered at 3 PM, came back on for a few minutes, and then failed completely. By 5, when I drove down to close up the barn for the night, the rain was turning to wet snow — so thick and heavy that by the time I finished chores my truck wipers could barely move it.
Last night DH took this photo of me in my pajamas reading and making notes at the kitchen table by candlelight.
“What are you reading about?” he inquired. “Smallpox?”
For the past year I’ve been collecting out-of-print books on 18th century subjects — Epidemics in Colonial America, The New York Merchant on the Eve of the Revolution, Guns on the Early Frontiers — for a writing project. While my family has kindly purchased these old books for me for Christmas and birthdays, my reading choices are seen as fairly eccentric.
“Actually, the response to the Stamp Act of 1765 in Manhattan.”
He laughed. “A page-turner, no doubt.”
The power was off for nineteen hours. Our visit to the past had its fun aspects — reading side by side, heaped with blankets and surrounded by dogs, pulling on wool hats and wool socks as the house grew colder — but we were happy to return to the 21st century by lunchtime.
February 25, 2017
DH snapped these photos of me as I was dressing for barn chores this morning before breakfast. It was my usual winter outfit, slightly modified for warmer weather. Layers of ratty t-shirts. A big old sweatshirt pulled from the school lost-and-found at the end of last year. My rotting coveralls, due for the trash at the close of the season. The hay stuck to my wool hat was (for DH) the crowning touch.
“Oh my God, you’re the definition of a hayseed!”
E.B. White said of his beloved wife, Katharine, a passionate gardener who wore tweed suits and Ferragamo pumps to tend her flower borders, “She never dressed down for her gardens.”
DH can say equally truthfully that I never dress up for my barn.
February 16, 2017
The dogs got haircuts yesterday. Here they are on a walk Tuesday.
And here they are yesterday afternoon, after I crept through a snowstorm at 30 mph to bring them home after work.
DH is always distressed at these times. “I don’t really like the pointy look,” he says, wincing. Lucy, however, thinks that when they are shaved down, they look like endurance athletes.
I am purely practical. I am congratulating myself for remembering to pack Toby’s winter coat and Stash’s calf jacket.
* * *
I am enjoying being free of one of the extra jobs I took on this year. So sad: no link to the school server here at the farm! Oh dear, I can’t do the work for six days! Having this extra hour every morning feels almost like vacation. It certainly makes my days less frantic.
February 15, 2017
I think I must be exhausted both physically and emotionally. Otherwise I can hardly explain my reaction to this little video profile made by a film student and fellow skier at Lucy’s college.
I watched it and began to cry. Though I often get teary with pride over our children, this time I could not stop. I pressed my eyes and wept and wept. DH was alarmed. I was standing in the living room and he folded me in a hug, patting my shoulder in bewilderment and concern.
I’m really quite happy! And of course, proud of our girl.