Friday, January 18, 2019


I'm writing you from a very comfortable living room. It's 68° in here and I have just wrapped up the day's work. There's a bunch of just-poured orange honey bars of soap in dragon molds and it has filled this comfy homestead with the most scandalous scent being deep winter right before a snow storm slams us here in the Northeast. I don't know what the future holds but right now, right here, things are heavenly.

This storm that is on the way will be rough; at least 20" of snow and nights around -10° and as bad as that is, it's the days after I am most worried about. There will be a real deep chill after the snow hits. The kind of cold that is dangerous for the house's pipes, my dwindling wood supply, and my nerves. So I am writing you with a bit of fear as I type. Maybe I shouldn't have looked into the extended forecast at the end of such a long day?

I've been preparing for it. I've been chopping and carrying in firewood, running errands, and making sure the animals are comfortable as I will be. There is a pile of tarped hay outside my front door, the pigs can practically swim in their deep bedding, the hawk will be fat and out of the wind, and the dogs will be curled up with me in a backpacking sleeping bag on the daybed by the woodstove. I mean that. Friday literally climbs inside the bag with me and together we are a furnace regardless of how much ice may end up in the toilet bowl.

And you know what. I'm okay with all of this. I'm okay with the fear. I'm okay with the uncertainty of how the hell I'll mail this mortgage check sitting by the family altar in my front room. I'm okay with the sore muscles. I'm okay with checking on the hawk at midnight and 4AM. I'm okay with sleeping in a bag instead of my bed. I'm okay with all of it.

Here's why:

Earlier today I had an adventure. It was around 1PM on a weekday and I was walking up a snow-swept mountain with a hawk on my glove and a heavy ash staff in my right hand. In a little over an hour he flew above me and dived after rabbits and grouse while I jogged my Hobbit body behind him. I bushwhacked and crawled under thorns and ran out of breath moving uphill in a few inches of snow and when it really started to squall and the wind picked up on my mountain I pulled out my rabbit fur lure and called his name and he came back to me from 70 yards away. I fed him and lashed his jesses to my glove. I slipped on his hood and sweaty and tired we walked home together.

That is worth being afraid. In fact it's the fear of losing it all that I am still here.

This storm is going to be hell for me. There's a roof above the kitchen that needs regular raking because it needs to be replaced and that isn't happening anytime soon. The barn roof needs to be raked, too. I know this Sunday I will be outside several times in the night to remove snow from this farm's tired roofs. It means feeding both wood stoves like hungry dragons and keeping pipes running at a drop all day. Basically - it means total exhaustion. Still, worth it.

Being here alone means every path shoveled, every animal safe, every water bucket and bale carried in thigh-deep snow. It will be just me without trips into town and that used to embolden me and the only thing keeping me here is the stubbornness that fuels this dream.

By Wednesday the storm will pass. There will be rain it will be so warm. But between now and then feels like a thousand miles. I am afraid but I am ready. I would rather be here trying than more comfortable somewhere I no longer have to.