Monday, December 28, 2015

sooner or later

When you live in the Upper Midwest, sooner or later you'll get a winter storm. If you're a kid, or a grownup with "winter wonderland" lust, you hope for copious amounts of delicate snow. But of course, the storms that pound through here during winter months have their own ideas.

Today, we were told we'd have a mixture of freezing rain, sleet and snow, with high winds and treacherous  conditions all day and into the wee hours of the night and the forecasters were spot on.

I hurried to let the cheepers out before all this hit us hard, but chickens have an uncanny sense of what's ahead, because neither Butter nor Scotch wanted to go more than a few paces outside the coop. Just enough to fill up on my stale bread pieces.

I returned to the farmhouse, warmed up under the quilt and watched the stuff come down.

We ate breakfast facing the slowly changing landscape outside...

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But it is Monday and if it's Monday, it must be Snowdrop at the farmhouse day.

I can only guess what goes through the head of an almost one year old who has just come off of a weekend with the most extraordinary set of events and with a room full of people watching her every move for three days in a row.

We worried that the sudden return to normal would be tough for her, but the fact is, at the farmette, things don't change much: sometimes she comes here for dinner, sometimes just to hang out and there's almost always an Ed on the couch for at least part of the visit and there are the same old toys -- oh, maybe supplemented by one or two new things, but not much. And all that sameness must be somewhat reassuring because in fact, she is today her usual friendly, calm self.

If I were to guess what she is thinking:

I like my new toy, grandma...

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But oh! Is that penguin?? Let me tell him about my extraordinary weekend!

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Let me show penguin my new toy...

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Oh, and my penguin books! I'm so happy to see them again!

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I do like the new little train, grandma.

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By the way, grandma, did you move the vinyl records I used to climb on? You did? Hmm!

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That's okay. I've got plenty to keep me happy.

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The snow, sleet, winds rage outside. We watch Ed do the short walk from the sheep shed...

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Snowdrop's delighted to see him. It's as if he erases her worry that her world has suddenly shrunk to just one.

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She retains her usual bursts of energy...

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But she needs her more quiet times too. We make sure she gets both.

Late, toward evening, I pack her into the car and we make the suddenly grueling trip to her house. A nine minute ride is nearly three times that. The roads are, as predicted -- awful, but I live in a state where people are used to this stuff and more than once I am so very grateful that the drivers in front and in back have the good instinct to use their snow and ice smarts.

I don't linger at Snowdrop's home. Just enough to watch her delve with the greatest concentration into a new toy...


... and then I am back on the road, this time with a lot less worry, as I haven't that precious child in the back seat, one who still holds on to that total trust in the adults around her.

At the farmhouse, there is no question but that I should make a pot of chili. On a day like this, you just want to eat warm, filling foods and stay so very grateful for the furnace that comes on like clockwork. There's magic for you! Warm air and warm food on a cold, cold day.

I want to end with a P.S.: many of you have written quite special comments, emails, personal messages and wishes during this holiday season. Thank you! It's always tough during busy periods to respond as promptly as I think your words deserve, but don't think for a minute that I haven't loved hearing from you.


  1. How great that your family all got outta town before the winter weather blew in. I love the quiet down-time afterward. Snow would be the icing on the cake. IF I wasn't driving our baby anywhere.

    Questions and observations: Isn't your teaching daughter on winter break? Was it Snowdrop Day just-because it was Monday? and, two: that is the coolest and most beautiful toy that I see at Snowdrop's house. And I thought I knew all about toys. Where is it made?

    I'll send you a Christmas pic of our little grandgirlie. She is a pistol! And I mean that in the most complimentary way. We all are amused.

    1. Ah, good questions!

      First, the toy: when I was in Minneapolis, the young couple and I went to a toy shop and we spotted it there. Actually they spotted it first so they got to buy it and give it to Snowdrop! :) I found it for you here, and it's on sale right now! It really is superb.

      As for teaching daughter -- well, both she and her teaching husband always need to hustle between semesters to move their research and writing forward. So my baby sitting continues, albeit it's not tied to the early morning hours. But Monday is farmhouse day for the simple reason that they have a person help them with house cleaning and it falls on that day, so Snowdrop always needs to be out of there then.

      Lastly, though no one had to travel to get home, my older girl had a quick trip scheduled out of OHare yesterday. She road a tediously long bus ride to Chicago, only to find all flights cancelled. She may or may not get out of there today.

      Looking forward to a photo of your little one! Alone or in combination with others!

  2. I read your blog faithfully and enjoy it much. I owe you thanks for introducing me to the charms of a certain export from Islay. Eleanor from Naperville.


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