Tuesday, May 3, 2016
I Think It's Over
I think winter is over. There are leaves on the trees. There are flowers on the trees. Dandelions and violets are blooming.
We had a windy winter. There were several big snowstorms. But overall it was not too cold. It was certainly not a mild winter but it was not a bad winter either.
I think back to winters past. Some were rough.
Often we had to walk to school in snow up to our knees. There was one time that there was deep deep snow overnight. School was not called off so we decided to trudge all that way.
Our school was on the opposite corner of town from our house. Mom gave us the option of staying home but school was much more fun. Against her better judgement she allowed the youngest of us to go too.
My brother was in kindergarten and barely 5 years old.We dressed as warmly as we could and set off for school. My aunt and uncles joined us when we passed their house. The snow was as high as the middle of my thighs.
By the time we were a few blocks from school my youngest brother was in tears. He was being snowed under. My uncle picked him up and carried him the rest of the way. Naturally by the time we got to school we were all soaked and cold.
As we were warming ourselves the teachers and administrators looked around and there were very few students who came to school that day. They decided it was not worth it to keep the school open so they closed school for the rest of the day. At least someone came to pick us up from school so we did not have to slog through the snow to get home (where we promptly went out to play in the snow).
One house we lived in did not have a basement; only a crawl space. One really cold winter our pipes kept freezing. Daddy would have to bundle up and crawl under the house in that freeing cold. He took a blow torch to thaw the water so it would run again.
Because I did not have to crawl under the house it was not so bad. But I was glad that we did not have to go out to pump water and carry it in.
During the winter cold the pump would often freeze. We had to make sure there was hot water to take with us to prime the pump. The hot water melted the ice in the works and allowed the well water to pump up like it should.
Even if the pump was not frozen it was a cold job. Filling a 5 gallon bucket took a few minutes and they were cold long minutes. And if we had to have enough water for baths... well refills were the order of the day. Then it was really a cold job.
Some memories are warm. There was probably nothing warmer than spending the night at my grandparents' farm. Grandma had soft feather beds and heavy homemade quilts on every bed. Squiggling down into bed (especially if we had warmed it with warm rocks first) was heavenly.
Most of our houses had a heating stove in the living room. We would wake up in the morning to icy windows in our rooms. We would grab our clothes for the day and rush down the stairs to stand next to the heating stove to dress. There was little need for modesty. We were all trying not to freeze to death as we quickly changed clothes.
We almost always had animals to care for. Whether the weather was cold or hot made no difference. They needed to be fed and watered.
Sometimes in the winter the ice that formed in watering dishes needed to be removed so they had fresh water to drink. Food had to be in a place where it would not be covered by snow.
One house we lived in was on the edge of town. Actually most houses when we lived in town were on the edge of town. Anyway we had several outbuildings (including the dreaded outhouse). The chicken coop was in sad shape.
The wooden floor was set up from the ground. There were wide cracks between the floor boards. We had not lived there long enough to make the necessary repairs.
It was a cold cold winter that year. The chickens would get so cold they would purposely put their legs down between the cracks of the floor trying to keep their legs warm. It not only did not work it caused even greater problems.
Rats saw fresh chicken meat hanging down. They would run up and chew the chickens legs off. The chickens did not raise an alarm because their legs were frozen and they could not feel what was happening. We had a bunch of legless or one-legged chickens in that coop. Not many of them died.
So winter is over. The temperatures are up and down here but I can live with that. I have indoor plumbing. That means NO OUTHOUSE and running water inside. The furnace heats the whole house so my bedroom is comfortable. I actually put the air conditioner in the window last week. I do not need it most days but I am glad to have when I do.