But for me, it was perfect. So perfect it just reinforces my belief that everything happens for a purpose. This old house, complete with its fake floors and tiny area of plumbing is perfect for a homesteader heating with firewood. And you know what else is perfect? Linoleum floors. Because last night we got hit with a foot of snow and this girl spend the entire morning in a full set of coveralls and heavy boots raking roofs, feeding, watering, and seeing to critters and came inside an hour later dripping and shaking snow in every direction on the floor. I had to clean the ash out of the wood stove and I had a metal pail and garden spade and I stood there, dripping hay and water, ash and mud, as I shoveled out 5 loads of coals and ash out of the Bun Baker and into a watered-down bucket to set outside. It looked like one of those old-timey movies of people shoveling coals into steam engines. And when I was done there there were pools of muck at my feet, globs of wet ash and coal, mud, hay, and other detritus at my feet. It took one broom, dustpan, and a mop to make it look like new in about two minutes. Bless Linoleum.
So right now the house is clean and the fire is lit. The animals outside are fed and in good spirits. Everyone has water, food, shelter and all the comforts I can offer. As a farmer, especially a farmer on her own in the North Country, I feel like a lottery winner!
My preparations yesterday really paid off. I moved the electric line a foot higher in the pig pen so it wasn't buried in the onslaught. This means the pigs are still confined and the two bales of hay I gave them were turned into a little fort under their little shed. Last night after the first of two roof raking trips - I went outside with a lantern to make sure they were okay and was warmed at the sight of a pile of four 200-pound animals slowly breathing under a dry pile of hay while the wind blew.
It took a few years of winters but I am getting it. There wasn't any panic this morning or last night. Even when the pipes started to stop flowing I knew what to do and moved heaters around, got things dripping, and actually pulled some ice out of the toilet's drainage with some serious plungering… I repaired the roof rake that needed new screws and tightening and I can proudly say my barn, kitchen, and the mews are all still standing and cleared of snow. I brought inside plenty of firewood. I set out several bales of hay under tarps by both the sheep and horse paddocks to save on trips to and from the barn. I made sure I had coffee and hot cocoa stocked along with creamer and marshmallows. I cleared my schedule for the day and the house is warm. I may watch a movie here with the dogs, head over to Livingston Brook Farm for a sleigh ride with Steele and Patty, or just enjoy a clean warm house, a mystery novel, a walk with my hawk, and a crockpot of chicken stew. Not a bad storm day compared to previous years of bursting pipes, broken-down cars, or $350 a month oil heating bills. Today should be turned into a personal holiday, for Brigit's sake. Let us all remember December, in the year 2013, when Jenna finally got her shit together. And it was good.
Guys, it's all good! I have the same food, shelter, and comfort as the animals outside do. I'm rested and ready as a just-mended roof rake. I'm an expert in nesting, like those pigs outside in a perfect ball of hay. I feel good this morning. Really good. And now I'm off to enjoy this snow day.