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  • Last modified 13 days ago (Feb. 18, 2021)

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Another Day in the Country

During the deep freeze

© Another Day in the Country

I woke up dreaming of flowers, walking through my lovely garden, admiring the blooms. A friend and I were chatting about a miniature pear tree that she’d planted in a pot. She was going on about the lovely fruit it was going to produce and I was saying to myself, “it’s never going to amount to anything,” as I smiled and nodded pleasantly without saying a word out loud.

It was the cat that brought me to consciousness. She’d landed on the bed, one leap from floor to mattress. Impressive, but annoying.

It’s too early. I’m not ready to face the day. I’d rather be strolling through a garden in dreamland with my horticulturally-deluded friend.

The duvet is bunched up around my shoulders, high enough that I don’t think the cat can see my face. I think I’m hiding. From her. But, then I don’t know that for sure because I haven’t opened my eyes.

It’s way too early. The sun has barely risen over the frozen tundra of Kansas, outdoors. It is literally, FREEZING COLD, out there! Who needs to be up? Not me!

This is quite a patch of weather we’ve been having. This “farmer-at-heart” is struggling to keep her chickens in liquid water. In spite of the heat lamp, it insists on freezing and twice a day in the Big House. I exchange blocks of ice with lukewarm liquid refreshment. The hens are grateful.

In the small coop behind my house, the remnants of the Royal family have a heated watering bowl, which is working fine. (I should have bought a second one when I was stocking up on chicken food the other day; but I didn’t. I was hedging my bets because those things are expensive and I’ve gotten by quite nicely for the past few years —our cold snaps were just that, SNAP and gone. But this year, it’s lingering.)

All this, I’m thinking from the comfort of my bed, where the air around me is a balmy 65 degrees and the cat hasn’t figured out that my mind is actually active. She’s still contentedly purring at the foot of the bed.

“It’s still too soon to start the day,” I tell myself and burrow deeper.

These are longer days than usual, it seems to me.

“It isn’t really smart,” I tell myself, “to be driving to Abilene on these snow packed roads to exercise.”

Really? Perhaps it’s fine. But then again, could I be “pushing it” as my sister often reminds me, is my tendency?

It has been testing my creativity the last week or two.

“What are you going to do today?” I ask myself — although not out loud. (I did read in the news, however, that supposedly people are talking to themselves, out loud, more these days —because of the COVID-19 isolation. Everything seems to get blamed on COVID.)

I sometimes talk out loud to the cat but our conversations are quite limited. She says, “Open the door,” and I say “OK,” or I say, “Get down from there,” and she says, “Make me!”

The chickens, now they are much more talkative. When I carefully trudge through the snow to their door with fresh water they are so tickled to see me, although it isn’t the water so much that they are after, it’s treats from the barrel of food that holds scratch grain and oatmeal.

They love oatmeal, have ever since they were chicks. If it’s not forthcoming, they stand around the barrel looking up expectantly, with eye contact and meaningful nods toward the lid, chattering, “Hurry up! What are you waiting for? Come, on now, old girl, give us the goodies.” I laugh at them and toss some oatmeal around equally, so everybody gets some. They are grateful.

Chickens being grateful pretty much makes up my socializing during this winter — until my sister comes home from work, ready for supper. We joke and say, “I’m the wife, putting a meal on the table, after a long day.”

I’m grateful for the company. She’s grateful for the food. So it works.

To while away the hours of winter, I’ve already confessed to making hot pads. The hot pad project was fun. I even had to buy more fabric to add a little contrast. My mother was on my mind the whole time I’ve been sewing because I was, for the first time in ages using what Mom used to call the “zig-zagger.”

I remember the day Mom tried out her new Pfaff sewing machine for the first time. It had a variety of decorative stitches and could appliqué with this close-knit satin stitch. Mom was ecstatic. She wasn’t a quilter —too impatient by nature — but now she could add fabric decoration to dishtowels and curtains “easy-peasy!” And everything was submitted to that colorful V-stitch. Hems were no longer unobtrusive, they were “zigzagged” in contrasting thread, much to Mom’s delight. I, on the other hand, thought it looked tacky.

My little portable sewing machine, dragged out seldom, is not fancy. It’s an old $75 Kenmore, seldom used. However, this winter, during the doldrums, it’s been my life saver. I’ve become quite the wizard of appliqué, doing the satin stitch around heart shapes, improving the quality of another day in the country.

Last modified Feb. 18, 2021

 

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