Ordinary Days

I worked for hours last week on a post for “scribblings”. Writing thoughts and feelings about the new year in reflection to last year. All old hat, all that has been said and done. More chaff. Who cares? So that piece is not going to get any more of my time and attention for now.

However, it is time to post on Scribblings. Blogging has been flagging miserably for a long time. It wouldn’t matter a hoot, as far as the blog itself is concerned, because I don’t have anybody depending on it for anything important. That I know of. That I can tell. It does matter to me since this poor performance is indicative of the state of my writing. My journal is fat and full, but that doesn’t require any work or discipline to happen. It’s just my jumble of ideas and events and quiet time notes. It’s slob mode for me. Any writing for public is too hard, thus I grow lazier and lazier about it. Who wants to hear my jazz, anyway!

Today, I shall write. I have a new computer with a fabulous, clean, perfectly clicking keyboard that makes me happy. It is much like a fresh, clean piece of notepaper or a new journal begging to be written in, every line to fill with life and ideas and opinions, and in the end, after a few weeks or months, the whole thing thickly wrinkled somehow, full with ink and paperclips and notes and things. This new computer has all those lovely vibes for me. I have decided then that I’m going to just write my own slobb-y way about the little things in our ordinary lives here at home. At least it will be real and hopefully, innocuous.

We have had sunny days here in Minnesota while our people in Wisconsin have been complaining about fog and grey days. The afternoon sunshine slants golden between long blue shadows on the snow outside my alcove windows. It does get dark so early, but when the suns shines brightly all day, I almost feel like the early darkness is okay.

Green birch seems to be the firewood of choice in these parts. Though the dry, peel-y bark leaps into flame quite easily, it is also easily the dirtiest, blackest smoke, ever. The patina collecting on the stray cobwebs and on our furniture and curtains surfaces, is grungy. Then, once the bark is burned off, the rest has to be coaxed and coddled with the stove door cracked and all the drafts open, so that a person has to stand by to close the door and arrange the drafts so that the now precious warmth doesn’t all go straight up the chimney and out to heat up the north shore forests instead of my own little cabin spaces. When it’s time to bank the fire for the night, all the hopeful, promising coals in the world will not start the new tight stack of wood you’ve put in the stove when the drafts are closed down for the slow burn for the night. You will surely get cold in your bed while the stove load smokes itself almost to death. But, when you open the drafts and crack the door in the morning, the whole thing will definitely leap to life with a roar and you can boil your tea kettle in a trice. There’s nothing like hot coffee by the fire while daylight slowly appears. In January, the morning light takes its time creeping in while the cold recedes. Bring your shawl and slippers.

We are burning green spruce and dry popple this winter, too. Elv wants to be burning seasoned oak and elm, who doesn’t, but that’s not what’s readily available, of course. My theory is that most anything will burn and keep us warm if cut and split into a nice stove-wood size pieces. Better yet, split small, any kind of wood will make my cherished cookstove bake and cook whatever we want. The key to a warm house and a living fire is vigilance. Like any other valuable fire, the one in our hearts as well as on our hearth, what is required for deep beds of coals, warm fires, and something to bank successfully for a few hours at night or being away, is wood and tending. It’s a vigil, not rocket science.

Something not so ordinary that I’m delighted about is that Miss Kuppet has come to live at our house. FedEx brought her to us two days before expected. We were surprised that they knew where to find us, since they’ve been advised to use the covered trailer at the end of Joshua Rd for a drop-off. But we are more than happy to add Miss Kuppet, a mini washing machine, to our household conveniences. She arrived, in a box, with directions and a warranty, ready to work for us. She’s beautiful and compact. For once, a servant, who doesn’t mind our dirty laundry. May the Lord bless us with her many years of service.

I’ve been noticing the one-legged chickadee is practicing how to grab seed from the feeder without really landing. It’s a fluttery act, but he’s adjusting to life with one leg. Maybe he’s figuring a no-land feeding could be handy sometime. He’s been getting good at landing sideways on a stem with one foot to grasp.

A shrike came looking in my alcove window today. It landed on the shepherd’s hook and eyed me and the oranges on the ground below for long moments while I admired it’s plumage and size. I hope he’s going to catch the shrews. The chickadees that are ever busy, kept a respectful distance, the while. These birds moments are another of the little things in life that do not feel insignificant. They are wonderful gifts for worship in the ordinary.

2 thoughts on “Ordinary Days”

  1. Thanks for writing! I, for one, would be very sad if you stopped blogging. Brings back all sorts of memories of heating a house with a wood furnace… We did that for years. Now we have switched to propane. There is nothing quite like a crackling fire and a good book and a comfy chair to make a cozy day!


  2. Hey Arla, Its always interesting to read your blogs. I enjoy reading them n seeing how you make your home look so homey.


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