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On A Cold Morning

It was -27* this morning. Elv had both stoves stoked and pumping heat by tending them often during the night. He slept in his recliner while I stayed snuggled deep under a thick layer of blankets in bed. The temperature started dropping yesterday afternoon as we were getting home from a funeral. There was a fire in the stove already, thanks to our good neighbor Gideon, but the house was not warm, really. By this evening, the corners will be warm. The temperature will rise all day and we’ll have snow falling again.

I’m learning how to layer my clothing so that I can still move freely to unpack and fix supper. Layers involving wool socks, sweaters, a heavy denim skirt, then a wool shawl tied in front. Speaking of socks. I have been wearing wool socks for a year except on the hottest days of summer. I had two pairs. (Pair or pairs? What do you say?) Two pairs, that suddenly, when I needed them for real, began to have traitorous holes in the soles of them. I complained loudly enough that Elv, Amy, and Brad, all three, went out and bought heavy wool or cotton socks for me. I am truly grateful. Now I have warm socks in pretty, snowflakes prints and nubby woolens in dependable thicknesses. On a morning like this one, opening my drawer to choose my socks gives me joy.

We did a laundering in town last Saturday, then gave up on drying it all there, because that is quite expensive. We hung most of it on the drying rack and on hangers. The rest I hung outside on the clotheslines: a few towels and two tablecloths. When I brought them in this morning the towels were board-like frozen. They were drier actually, than I first thought, and when they thawed, turned out to be soft and fluffy. Elv says we’re going to have a portable mini-washer now. The amount we spent washing there, times four, will buy a washer that we can use with our off grid system. At once a week washings, we’ll have it paid for in a month. There’s some cabin-living math for you.

And one more winter morning observation. The chickadee that had such a party last week, flitting back and forth between feeder and pine trees in that howling wind is not flitting anywhere this morning. The wind had ruffed his feathers on his back so awry that he couldn’t do a proper fluffing as required to stay warm on a still sub-zero morning. He came before light … before any respectable chickadee leaves his roost, to huddle near the warm sunflower seed I had put out. Dejected and moving slowly. I waited with him on my side the window. Eventually, the other chickadees began to chirp and show up at the feeders, fluffy and bouncy. The pathetic, rumpled one took heart and began to feed and fly again, back and forth, but with far less bounce than at other times. I expect in a little while I’ll not be able to tell him from the rest. I suppose there’s a lesson in this right? You figure it out if you like to do that. I’m just watching birds. It is a wonderful diversion.

So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:31

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