DD was thrilled. I decided to take a break from school and let her play to her heart’s content. She was bundled up from head to toe and went outside. I wasn’t quite so brave. She always wanted me to see what she was doing which is why I was in the greenhouse watching her. Our “yard” was a flat area that extended for maybe 15 feet in front of the house and then sloped gently down for about three feet to the floor of the woods. I guess it was where the hill had been bulldozed. It made a nice slide for DD. She slid down the first time and tried to come back up the same way. Not an option. She’d take a step and slide right back down. Being a resourceful child, she went around to where the slope was even more gradual and came back up. After that, it was slide down, walk around to the end of the slope where she could get on top and then down again. ZOOM! down, struggle back up then ZOOM! again. And every time she’d look to make sure I was watching.
When she tired of sliding, she came in and we got busy getting food for the critters. With a thick layer of ice covering everything, they were hard pressed for food. We put bread crumbs out for the birds and nuts for the squirrels. One of the squirrels was busily digging holes in the sleet and burying the nuts. We sat for hours and watched the antics of the local wildlife.
The soapstone stove did an excellent job of heating the house and I used the top for simmering soups and stews. The time we were iced in was no exception. The aroma of the soup and freshly baked corn bread was wonderful.
For several days, we got up to unrelenting cold and that solid unbudging sleet on the ground. DH was checking in regularly. We were still okay as far as food was concerned. Finally! the day came when the airport was sufficiently cleared so DH could land. He borrowed a pickup truck and phoned home to find out what groceries I wanted. I gave him my list and he went shopping.
When he got home, he had to park at the foot of the hill. There was a sled with a rope in the back of the truck and he used it to bring the bags of food to the house. He was heavy enough he could stomp “steps” as he came up. DD and I used them to go down and “help” him bring in the rest of the stuff. One thing he’d bought that wasn’t on the list was a big pot of caladiums. And people wondered why I loved that man? With all his imperfections, he was thoughtful and always on the lookout for something that would make me happy.
By and by, warmer air came in and thawed the ice. It made a worse mess of the driveway but if we were careful, we could get in and out okay. DH stepped up his efforts to get the other driveway finished and bought a used Jeep so we could go ahead and use what was more or less finished. The latch on the hood was broken and tied down with rope. It wasn’t beautiful but it ran like a top and it negotiated the trail through the woods with ease.
Our first holiday in the house was Thanksgiving and DS1 came down to spend his vacation with us. I’d fixed our traditional meal with all the trimmings—baked macaroni and cheese, FriChik (a soymeat that’s supposed to imitate the real thing), dressing, cooked veggies with various seasonings and sauces, corn from the freezer, a relish tray (nod to raw food), Parker House rolls made by my mother’s recipe, Meier’s Sparkling Catawba, and pumpkin pie with real whipped cream for dessert. None of that fake stuff for us! Oh! and the required cranberry sauce hardly anyone touched that was carefully saved in the fridge and thrown out later after becoming a science project.
It was nice having DS1 at home. The days passed all too quickly and he was on his way back to college. We’d fly up to see him and take him on to see DH’s parents but it wasn’t like having him home for a long stretch.
DD and I resumed the school routine and she was progressing well. All of the papers I’d send in came back with good grades and encouraging notes at the top. She was even mastering math!
I’d been thinking about what I could get DH for Christmas. He was using an old dilapidated chainsaw that would periodically have the chain jump the track. It was dangerous. What to get him was really a no-brainer. He’d been eyeing a Husqvarna. The next time he was away on a trip, it was easy for DD and me to go buy it, bring it home and hide it in the closet. The hard thing was waiting for Christmas.
Christmas holidays came and DS1 was home again. On Christmas morning, I managed to put the saw, unwrapped but with a great big bow, under the tree. DH was thrilled beyond words and I had to talk hard and fast to get the family to the breakfast table before he took it outside to try it. Besides, the other presents had to be opened.
Once the Christmas tradition had been followed (get up, have worship, eat breakfast THEN open presents) DH and DS1 went out to break in the new chainsaw. The Lord in His mercy conceals the future. It was going to be a traumatic holiday.