Whew! Made it through the record snowstorm – 9″ of the white stuff just to make life more interesting and beautiful. I am learning to be prepared, which is a new experience for me. In the city, I didn’t think at all about preparations. When we graduated to the ‘burbs, preparations were not high on the list then either. Even when we lived on the farm, with neighbors very close by, I really didn’t think about preparing for weather or other issues other than bulk food storage. It wasn’t until we moved to the Chapel, and after the 2009 ice storm that I really began to understand that preparation can make a world of difference in these situations. Now I am a weather watcher most days. Not only do I check internet weather, but sometimes television weather as well. And I am trying to watch the skies and see if I can detect any kind of warnings within them; I mean, it is possible that I might be without internet and television during some events, so I shouldn’t just rely on electrically provided information. I have a little dinky weather radio which will do in a pinch, but I have a more robust one on my ‘tax rebate wish list’ for this year.
I managed to make a fire last longer than three hours during the storm, so I am feeling a bit more comfortable with my fire-starting and maintaining skills. This improvement gave me extra sleep time, instead of having to get up and stoke the fire every three hours! I still have a long way to go though. It was an adventure to figure out how to bring more wood in from the barn in nearly knee-high snow. I improvised; moving box, wax paper, and rope leftovers. It worked pretty darn well and kept me from having to carry the wood. I could pull a lot more in the box than I can comfortably carry in my arms so I improved my efficiency tool. I can honestly say I never thought part of my living room decor would be a box of kindling and three days worth of logs…LOL! But there is a lot of satisfaction to seeing the wood there and knowing that even without power I could keep myself warm and dry. Thankfully we had no ice, so the power stayed on the entire time. The low only got to three degrees, so my pipes stayed working too. As far as adventures go, it was beautiful and fun. It was mild, and I am very thankful. Here’s a picture of the last day of snowfall.
Now that I have grown a teeny bit with my prep skills, I am tackling two other arenas – decorating and expanding my friendship horizons. Decorating stumps me. Yes, I am a woman. But for the life of me I could not have told you my personal ‘style’ a month ago if you asked me point blank. Home has always meant where my spouse and children were. Decorating was pretty sparse an activity. Some photos, furniture, candles and plants, but no real furniture style, hardly any type of art – that was it. I did get really adventurous once and paint all of my kids rooms one summer while they were visiting with their dad. Hah! I looked like a madwoman, hauling all of that furniture in and out of rooms, paint droplets in my hair and all over my nails. I was part of big corporate America back then, high heels, business suits and briefcases oh my! Mad house painter didn’t really match my image, ya know? It was fun though, and the best part was painting and furnishing the rooms and then watching the girls faces when they saw their rooms for the first time. It was worth every nail scrub, hair wash and wrenched back ache, let me tell you. I felt emboldened by that success, and went on to decorate my bedroom, and even bought ART for the great room walls. Woohoo!
But this time, it is different. There is no one here but me, and I am trying to figure out what makes me happy and what reflects who I am as a person. This task is much harder than tackling kids rooms, let me tell you. And trying to do this on a budget of next to nothing, it’s a big challenge! I finally have narrowed my design likes to three areas: arts & crafts, cottage and shabby chic – preferably not all in the same room (but you never know…) I find the lines in the arts & crafts furniture very appealing, but not the dark wood. I prefer maple, pine, light oak – woods that make a room light. I love natural light, even if working the night shift I rarely get to see it. Cottage style appeals to me due to the relaxed look and feel, and the consistent use of white contrast to colors. I particularly like beadboard, exposed beams and wooden floors and ceilings. The biggest surprise to me was my constant draw to pink/apple green and frou-frou things. I’m just not much of a girlie-girl anymore these days. I’ve lived with muddy fields, pig yards, horse stalls, cow pastures and barns for close to the last two years. Couple that landscape with two rambunctious Pyr pups with an affinity for pawing at you for attention, and uhhh, the good clothes stay in the closet. Heels have no place in that environment either, as rocky and muddy walking services plus heels adds up to twisted ankles and knees! Jeans or carpenters pants, boots and/or comfortable shoes with grippy soles are the standard m.o. these days. I can move better, I don’t get exasperated when something gets dirty, ripped or pawed and best of all, I can carry lots of stuff in my pockets! And no, not lipstick and a comb, but more like pocket knives, LED flashlights, a leatherman tool, a bowie knife or a small hatchet. It’s possible that some of the drive-by neighbors might not even know I am female; but that’s okay, being out here alone I think I might prefer it that way. Yet when I see the pink cabbage roses and crisp apple green lace, I love it. I am a true Romantic at heart. Kind of a juxtaposition, and I’m not sure what to do about it just yet. I’ve got plenty of time to work out the details of my multi-faceted personality and decorating I suppose 🙂 I am also attracted to really bright colors, particularly for outdoor spaces. Lots to contemplate and dream about!
And the last frontier is meeting new people. Not just my neighbors, but, well, I joined a singles sub-forum for homesteaders. I am not interested in dating, or a relationship of any kind – I don’t know if I ever will be again. I just feel that my interpersonal skills could use a little bit of a workout. I’ve lived in quiet solitude for nearly four years now, with only my husband as my primary social contact. The solitude of two is very different from the solitude of one, and I find myself feeling rusty on some fronts. I have to say, it terrifies me. I am hoping that if I can talk with some of the other women in positions like mine, maybe it will feel a little easier. General banter really isn’t a part of my life, other than what I have from my work contacts. But I work from home, so I never see people face to face. Over half of the people who I work with regularly I have never met at all. I would like to have more male friends, to fill that masculine gap that being a widow leaves so much in your psyche; but the last time that I had a close male friend, he fell in love with me. That was terrible. I never, ever want to see someone hurt like that. True, it was years and years ago and I was much younger and prettier 🙂 But it has scared me, because I just don’t want anyone to have any misconceptions. It seems terribly hard to just be FRIENDS with a man. I have some male co-workers that I feel pretty comfortable talking to, all are married or in relationships. I don’t want their wives/girlfriends to get weirded out either and think I’m anything more than just interested in getting male feedback on projects, wood stoves, tools and the like. My brother is very busy and just doesn’t have time to spare very often. I would love to have a male friend to teach me to hunt and to fish well. They are quiet arts, and men just seem to have a corner on that – must be the strong, silent gene thing going on. Anyway, I am hoping to make some other women friends too, and perhaps a male friend or two that understands what friendship means. Is it too much to hope for? Maybe things will be different since I’m older, I’m not flirtatious at all, and perhaps my male peers will be the same way. I am cautiously optimistic.
Projects and plans – the GARDEN. I am longing for spring, ready to get into the dirt, watch seedlings grow, smell warm sun on new growth, pick flowers to stick behind my ear (so what if I look dorky, no one is here to see me!), eat garlic chives right from the ground, pop a strawberry in my mouth, and DIG. Besides, I have my sassy new garden hat to wear and it is getting dusty hanging on the coat closet door in the living room. I need to find a good hair stylist, that can manage my thick, curly hair and keep it short without making me look all manly – hopefully the earrings will offset any of that! I will miss wearing perfume though, as it just gets the bees and wasps all interested, so when spring comes away goes the smelly-goods. I learned my lesson two springs ago after getting bees in my shirt and getting stung twice – no more lemon-grass oil for me during insect season!!! I also need to fix the shed and barn roof tin – it flops around mightily in the wind and I don’t want to lose any pieces. I want to get back into learning to play the guitar again, although that will be hard since Joseph bought me the guitar for my birthday and I get sad when I take it out. But I have to get over that.
So my gentle readers, what are YOUR plans and dreams for the spring? Feel free to drop a comment and let me know your thoughts. Until next time, keep smiling, it improves your face value!