Thursday, November 30, 2017

Paradise Set on Low

The sun went down and I headed off my mountain perch and back towards the little white farmhouse. It does look small from the farthest edge of my property. Six acres isn't a vast expanse but with elevation and tall trees it's enough to turn a house into a diorama in dimming light. I watched the smoke coming from both chimneys. The mud room stove had been lit to help dry laundry on a line. I am so glad to announce that for the first time in years I have a working washing machine again! My friend Patty helped me install a used one we found online. Eventually I'll get the dryer but the washer is the real treat. I didn't have a deer but I did have just-washed sheets drying and working hot water - two things I have gone without for long stretches in this home. Some days you just gotta let yourself feel rich.

Merlin and Mabel walked out to feet me as I made my way towards the house. Mabel runs this pasture now, as she should. The half Belgian is the largest animal I have ever owned, standing 16.5 hands tall with a neck thick as a maple's truck. I haven't ridden her or Merlin since hunting season began before Thanksgiving. They don't seem to mind. Mabel walked up with her ears watching as much as her eyes. I set the (unloaded) gun against a fence and gave her a scratch behind the ears (which I can only do when she bends her trunk neck to me). This horse would have terrified the girl who learned to ride Merlin five years ago. Together we race through the mountain and she is a dream. I think of the luck that brought her to this farm, and the owner who wasn't right for her. Horses are like dating - timing is everything.

I walked inside to a home lit only by some lamps and firelight from the stove. The dogs were happy to see me and still work-proud from their adventure bringing back lost sheep from down the road. I lifted the lid off the crock pot and the chicken stew inside was ready for some egg noodles to be added. Before I did I plopped a big ladle full over the roommate's kibble. The house went from smelling like stove and damp dog and exploded into savory herbs and broth. It didn't take long to empty my large mug of stew after a hot shower. Paradise is a low setting on a slow cooker and good soak.

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