Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snow Days

Eli led the way to the sleds, which surprised me as I'd forgotten all about them, and then I only had to give Henry a nudge out the door and the promise of homemade cocoa later on. Once outside they had an absolute blast. Who knows, I might even join them tomorrow!? [But I don't have a Carhartt® jumpsuit!]

Assembled winter decor on our mantel. The little log cabin came with balsam incense years ago. Our son Eli made the popsicle stick snowman in school this December and the painted outhouse was made by local artist and historic Penn's Store owner, Jeanne Penn Lane, over in Casey County, near the Forkland community and Gravel Switch. [I've blogged about Penn's Store several times in the past few years.]

I didn't realize how much I actually missed having snow around in winter until our two "snow events" in the past month. The first storm was a sloppy slushy snow which barely lasted a day but gave us about 4 inches for a brief time. The snow didn't pack on the roads and melted quickly–those kinds of storms can produce ice or a treacherous "icy mix," however. It happened a week before Christmas and just got us all into the spirit of things, especially while I was getting packages shipped off via the U.S. Postal Service's "if it ships–it fits" campaign (not only that, the packages got everywhere they were supposed to by Christmas Eve: for one price, flat rate and mailed within a week before Christmas Eve–I'm sold on that concept or maybe it was the luck and good spirit from a festive snow storm).

I bought that lit cabin a few years before we moved here–little did I know that it is a reminder of a Kentucky-style home place. The "Frosty" hat was bought at a nearby local craft store in Liberty, Kentucky. I like to pick up handcrafts whenever possible, especially for the holidays.

The past few days we've had flurries and periods of snowfall. We've also had sustained cold which guarantees that the snow will stick around a bit. While it's just barely a few inches, at least on our ridge, I now understand why they cancel school so readily down here: our ridge road is 8 miles long and it hasn't been plowed, or at least sanded or salted. Meanwhile, the state highways and parkway are supposedly fine. However, our road, more like a long driveway/lane that connects between two points of our ridge road (which makes it lovely and private), is quite hilly and treacherous right now because it has nothing on it to treat it. Our wimpy Toyota 2-wheel drive remains at the bottom of the driveway. Even our 4-wheel drive Honda Pilot is not too happy about climbing our hills with these road conditions.

Dashing past the chicken house...

The other factor about roads here is that they are usually narrow with few, if any, guard rails, let alone any shoulders for emergency breakdowns. I'm not complaining except to say that people drive way too fast in general and it's always the other guy I worry about. [Or maybe it's just advancing old age and I'm becoming more cautious.] Our neighbors and friends tell of us of heavier winters, back in their childhoods within the past fifty years, of such heavy snow fall that school would be canceled not just for a few days or a week, but often a few months. Talk about cabin fever! An ice storm hit our ridge several years ago, before we moved here, and people were without power for several weeks–the same thing happened just a bit north of us last January. It's good "in these parts" to have a full pantry and root cellar, a reliable spring, a wood stove and perhaps even a generator. [Just remember if you have a tomten or two around your farmyard to leave him some food and warm hay to keep on his good side.]

The red tin match holder was an eBay purchase a few years ago–part of the estate of a Kentucky farm and only a few dollars.

Another eBay "find" and a gift to my husband a few years ago was this Warfield cardinal, a rare catch on eBay and I was astonished at the bargain. Robert and Virginia Warfield used to carve and paint birds (he carved and she painted) in my hometown of Jaffrey, New Hampshire and became quite renowned for them. Their cardinal graces our mantel year round and I was reminded today–with a flurry of birds raiding the dog food on the back porch–that I need to get a good feeder and seed this week.

With the sustained cold for a few more days we're guaranteed that the snow will stick around a bit longer. We're making the most of our possibly brief glimpse of winter weather–a window on the old-fashioned kind of winters we used to know that aren't mixed with sleet or just damp rain for four months. It's still a great pleasure to know there are four seasons in Kentucky–but with a shorter, generally milder, winter. [But hey, remember all of those squirrels running around all fall for nuts and how cold October was here? If you believe the old-timers and folklore, which I generally do, signs were pointing to a colder, snowier winter.] PHOTO–What, you don't have a bobble-headed gnome in your home? A gift from my friend Linda a few years ago with a "Snow" ornament sent from my dear sister-in-law (the gnome is out all year).

Aunt Cynthia amidst the post-Christmas decoration pick-up. We both like to make "meany faces" at each other. Sometimes it is a guaranteed cure-all for cabin fever! [And she loves the Christmas sweater we gave her a few years ago.]

This weekend I've been (slowly) putting away our Christmas decorations. It's not that I want them lingering around but that I actually hate to pick them back up again and put them away–but once I do, it feels like a new year and a clean slate again. So, because I also enjoy some holiday decor throughout the seasons, and we are down to one mantelpiece, I decided to do an homage to winter for another month or so–OK, until the end of February. PHOTO–My sister-in-law gave me this primitive-style snowman just this Christmas (with a Cracker Barrel® gift certificate–yee ha! We all enjoyed that last weekend already) and I love it.

I have a growing collection of snow men–some vintage, some made by our children, some made locally, and some made in Occupied Japan or more recently, China. [Sometimes I wonder what I don't collect...] It was fun to redo the mantel with some lingering Christmas decorations, that didn't exactly say "Christmas" (alright, yes, two of the snow people are holding a "Noël" sign)–and that could segue well into "winter decorations." And, to be honest with you, right now it is the most orderly part of the house–so I look at that mantel and its tranquil snow scene and I think, yes, it is possible to organize things and have them in some kind of harmony around here. PHOTO–The salt & pepper snow people were $1 finds at Dollar General last Christmas. And yes, I'm not above buying cheap "junk" from China on occasion, especially if it's well made. And besides, the kids love them.

We're hunkering in for the rest of the weekend and dealing with some frozen pipes at Ida's house across the street. I'm doing a lot of cooking (I'll post some recipes tomorrow) and relaxing. I was supposed to have friends for lunch on Monday but with the freeze lasting through then, pipe stress, and the state of our driveway and lane, I decided to enact our "snow date" instead. By Martin Luther King Monday, who knows? It will likely be back in the 50s again, our winter magic put away for another time.
Some winter scenes from a vintage c. 1950s linen Christmas apron in my collection–the recent snow makes it feel like Christmas all over again.

Snow or no snow, may your days be merry and bright all the year!


DellaRae said...

Your snowmen are delightful. My grandchildren who live in Liberty were sledding today also. I love the picture of your children on the sleds.

Catherine said...

Thanks Della,

I'm glad that your grandchildren are having fun out there, too. I'm guessing that Casey County schools will probably close again tomorrow as I understand that they had more snow over that way than we did just over the line here in Pulaski. Green River Knob is often the dividing line for severe weather, too.

Our boys are back at it again today and I'm keeping the dryer busy with all of their snow clothes!



Tipper said...

Still cold and snowy here too-the girls' school has been closed since last thursday. Lots of sledding too.