A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

All is calm, all is bright

I woke up at 4:00 am Monday. It is always quiet out here but after the snowfall we had Sunday the quiet and stillness seemed more so. Looking out the front window the ice crystals on the ground sparkled in the reflection of the yard light. There was a little doe eating the birdseed on the ground under the front feeder. She heard me raise the shade and turned to look at me. It was a beautiful scene and I wished my life could always be this peaceful. 

The sleet started Sunday morning shortly after Rickie left to head back to work. It soon turned to snow. Big fat beautiful flakes. Birds seemed to appear from everywhere. A flock of juncos that has been here a couple of weeks. House finches. A couple of squirrels. All eating the seed I put on the ground under the back sunflower seed feeder, by the water tank in the yard, and under the finch feeder in the side yard. They chattered away as they fueled up to better endure the cold temperature.

I put my winter gear on and went out to take some photos. Usually this will send the birds and squirrels all scattering but they mostly ignored me. When my hands started to freeze, I returned to the cabin and added another log to the fire. A little house finch came and sat on the windowsill, all fluffed up and trying to get out of the snow. I had scared him off earlier when I opened the front door. He had been perched above it on the door frame. 

Later as the snow increased, I bundled up again and took more photos. I fed the longhorns, giving them extra feed and hay. They don’t have a barn to go into so they need to get that furnace going in their body and the feed and hay fuels that. I debated whether to put some old hay we have out on an area they sometimes sleep in but decided there were warmer places deeper in the woods and they know where they are. 

I also put out more birdseed at all the feeding spots and threw some corn out for the deer and some milo out for the doves and the turkeys I am hoping will return. I busted up the ice on the water tanks so the longhorns could drink. I refilled the wood box on the back porch and pulled it closer to the door. It is a short but cold trip out on the porch when the fire needs more wood! I thought I would shorten it.

Coming inside, I built up the fire and settled down with my book, thinking I was in for the night. Then I remembered the water lines to the longhorns’ water tanks. They froze last year when we were not here, even though we had the water off and had drained the cabin. Rickie had added some ball valves where we can drain these lines and there is a cutoff to the lines that leaves the water to the cabin on.

So once more I bundled up and went out to turn that water off and drain the lines in the ground and those going up the side of the tanks. I was relieved that the water drained and had not frozen yet! Whew! We had 5 breaks last year in these lines. My dad who was a plumber, and my husband who thinks I am a capable person, would both figure I could fix a break if no one else was around but it wasn’t something I wanted to do. Especially since I should have thought of it earlier!

The snow had stopped and it was sleeting a little again. I returned to the fireside and my book. The world outside my windows was covered in white. The only sounds were the fire crackling and the birds chattering. We only get snow a couple of times a year and I wished it had come a day earlier so Rickie could have seen it. He will have to settle for the videos and photos I took. 

Snow is also a fleeting thing out here. The next day we were back in the 60s and the snow melted away by noon. The magic was gone along with the illusion that the world is a peaceful place where people leave the comfort of their easy chair and the warm fire to make sure the beings they share the earth with are fed and safe. We lost something of ourselves when we left this kind of life behind and I’ve often thought since I came here to stay that if people would live a life closer to the earth, things would be different with them. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be here. And for these silent nights, holy nights I share with a little doe while the snow and ice sparkles around us.


  1. Nice post. I think the sparse snows we get here in Texas are what I like most about winter here. We get just enough to satisfy the need for winter and then we're finished. We had just a tiny bit of snow Sunday night/Monday morning, I had about a 1/2 cup on my windshield wipers. It was back in the 70's this afternoon. I know someone who lives in Iceland and I just don't know how she stands it. That's too much for too long.

  2. Yes, I would not do well in too much cold and snow either! I'm already wanting sunshine and warm weather although I will be sorry in a few months. Check out Our Place on the Mesa Facebook page. She has to use a snowblower to make a trail to the chickens!