I wrote the following yesterday, Christmas Eve, and got it uploaded, then lost the internet altogether. But I thought you might still enjoy the photos.
Here we are, on the cusp of Christmas, and perhaps you’re feeling harried. Or perhaps you’ve settled back into the peace and satisfaction of having done all you meant to do and are anticipating with joy the sharing of all you’ve done with those who mean most to you. Me, I’m all over the map.
For the most part, my prep has gone well. I’ve been working on Christmas since September because I wanted to make many of this year’s gifts: being able to do this was one of the things I was most looking forward to after retirement. And, borrowing a great idea from Steph the Yarn Harlot , I made myself a Christmas spreadsheet on my computer. What a boon! No more confusion about what I was planning to give to whom and where I was in the process. And what a feeling of accomplishment I had in revisiting it every now and again and recording updates. A a couple of days ago, I was nearly done.
As for travel to be with my nearest and dearest, plans were made, but I remembered to factor in a great deal of flexibility, telling all involved that I’d have to play it by ear where I’d be when. What I hadn’t factored in was that the fates might be a bit tone deaf and that therefore my flexibility wouldn't stretch quite as far as it needed to.
What happened was weather. We had a hefty snowfall earlier in the week, and according to our local CBC regional folks, our little corner of the Boundary, namely Rock Creek to Grand Forks, got the worst of it. The temperatures were mild, just below zero, and the snow was like Vancouver snow, the wet kind that transforms instantly to ice when compressed by car tires. Highway 3 has been treacherously icy ever since, as have side streets in Grand Forks, according to friends who’ve made the trek there from Greenwood. As I heard of more and more vehicle incidents, I became increasingly jittery about my own travel plans. I decided to defer my trip from the 23rd till today. Then the other weather shoe dropped. Overnight the temperature plummeted fifteen degrees. When I got up yesterday, it was -26.2 degrees Celsius. This morning, -27.3 degrees.
When one heats only with wood, these are significant numbers.
Not only is it critical to keep the house warm enough to avoid frozen pipes, but to me it’s unthinkable to leave the cats and dogs to their beds in my studio and their doghouses, respectively, when it’s this cold. So instead of travelling to be with my family, I’ve stayed home to tend the woodstove in the house and keep the horses’ water troughs from freezing completely solid. My carefully-packed boxes of lovingly-made and -wrapped presents and my contribution of shortbread (a lot of it) to my sister’s festive board are still sitting on the living room floor. I could be feeling sorry for myself, and iI don’t mind admitting that I’m disappointed that things haven’t worked out as planned. But I have much to be grateful for, and I’m glad to be aware of that fact.
- my dear husband will be here in a few hours
- I got out yesterday for a most glorious first cross-country ski of the season across the field
- I’m healthy, and so are all the dogs and cats and horses (though it feels a bit like tempting fate to say so)
- my dh’s son has been taking great care of me in dh’s absence; moving another big bale of hay from the barn to where I’m feeding Tuffy (I tend to overfeed the horses; it’s a nurturing thing, I think, and that’s why I began to run low on hay), plowing out the driveway with his log skidder (he’s been logging for us here on the home place), buying me a space heater, and calling to check that I’m okay and have everything I need
- and I do have everything I need and many other things besides that are just nice to have: enough food, lots of firewood, a stack of books and DVDs for diversion, lots of knitting underway and tons of yarn if I want to start something new, my studio with its abundant fabric and projects in hand, CBC and cats and dogs for company, a working internet connection (as long as we don’t get more snow on the satellite dish) (obviously that particular boon was temporary), and a working phone (now that I’ve remembered to put the handset back on the cradle to recharge)
- even if I lose power, I’ll be dandy: our water is gravity-fed; I have a land-line phone as backup; the heat is wood, as I’ve said; I have a propane barbecue on the porch and a camp stove for tea and even LED lanterns for light
- yesterday we received an invitation to Christmas dinner from wonderful friends, the same people who have made it possible for us to be away at this time of year by coming to feed and water our animals, as soon as I called to say I didn’t need help at the moment (thank you, Rachel)
- and then there’s what it looks like outside
The photos in this post are a bit misleading, in that I took them after the first snowstorm this month, not the one last week. But you get the idea. Imagine the same glorious blue sky, the deep contrast of sun and shade on the snow, the invigorating crisp frostiness, but another foot or so of snow on top of what you see here, and you’ll have a pretty accurate notion of things right now.
From all of us, human and non-human alike, here at the stump ranch on Boundary Creek to all of you, whether you’re friends or family or someone I’ve never met or heard of, Merry Christmas to you and yours and all best wishes for a peaceful and joyous new year.