For the past three weeks, if it hasn't been in the single digits it has been in the negative doubles. The thermometer read -30 this morning, but it is about 8 degrees off so it was in the -20s instead. (wow.) It has been a crazy, crazy winter.
Last year it would require a tractor bucket load of wood a week to burn in the woodstove...this winter it has taken TWO buckets a week. And the house is still cold. Needless to say, our hefty wood supply piled up this fall was not 'more than plenty' as we had anticipated...we have about two more weeks of wood left and then we are going to have to get creative for the entire month of March and beginning of April.
Logs are piled up, waiting along the edge of the woods- thick with snow and ice but the snow is so deep it is almost impossible to reach it. We'll figure something out...necessity is the mother of invention, after all. But it has become very clear to us that something needs to change- a more efficient wood stove, for one. And more wood needs to be split in the warm months too. I'd like to have two years of wood, split and stacked so that there will always be an overflow available should extra wood be needed. Yes, changes must be made before we go through another winter like this one on this hill. But for now, the only thing we can do is survive this one.
I could worry about where March's heat is going to come from. But today I am choosing to dream about sitting on a porch swing on a spacious, wide wrap around porch with a book and a nice tall glass of peppermint iced tea. The kids will be playing in the flower circle or running around the yard and I'll lift my head every so often to feel the heat soak my face. I will dream about eating dinner together among candles in canning jars hanging from wire above, just a few steps from the kitchen door after a summer storm when the sky is orangey pink and the grass is soaked but we are warm and dry and filled. I dream about these children and their Mama stretching legs and spreading themselves out after a long winter of being boxed in by four walls and then gathering together on the warm wood to paint pictures of birds and barns.
They won't be dreams for long.
When we first moved into this house on a hill, I remember telling Matt that this house just begged for a wrap-around porch. I was one of those lucky girls who grew up writing letters on a wrap-around porch during the rain and eating meals out there every dinnertime. I grew up knowing the pleasures that porches can bring and this house, with the wide open spaces and views from all sides just begged for someone to perch themselves upon a porch and soak it all in. The clouds. The stars. The wind. The fields. Too beautiful not to beckon, to beautiful not to live in.
|The very first hole dug resulted in an enormous stone. Not an encouraging start.|
I never actually expected a porch, mind you. I only knew that a porch would be magnificent. Money. Time. Priorities. A porch, if it were ever to come at all, would surely come in 15 or 20 years when all those precious resources were not stretched so thin and spread out in so many different ways.
When the pipeline went through our property, uprooting hundreds of trees and stacking them in nice neat piles, Matt paid his brother to saw some of them into boards and beams. I didn't know what they were to be used for until they were already stacked and waiting as Matt announced they were for a porch.
I couldn't believe it. An amazing, overwhelming, inconceivable gift of love. Matt had listened to that dream and made it a reality even when I never, ever imagined it would ever become anything more than a dream.
As overjoyed as I was at the prospect of a wonderful porch, I have to admit I baulked a bit. A million different things calling for Matt's time and attention. But most of all, there is always more pressing needs begging for any extra money we could scratch out. A more reliable vehicle. Better windows. A more efficient woodstove. A cheese press. A sawmill. Bills. Savings. Pragmatic. Unfanstastic. Reasonable. Boring.
This will ALWAYS be the case, though, won't it?
I am glad for a husband who knows when to be prudent and when to lavish. A husband who will invest time and money into something that our family can enjoy for the remainder of our years here instead of burning it up with expensive vacations or large, greedy purchases. A husband whose hands and heart produce beautiful things. A husband who takes the barely uttered dreams of his wife and makes them reality- for no other reason than to please her.
This porch is more than a 12 foot wide piece of three-season paradise. It is more than a gathering place, a feasting place, a resting place, a place to admire and enjoy the goodness of the earth and the glory of God. To me, more than anything else, it will always be a love note from my Mister.
He began the work last fall and finished the decking just as winter came to stay. A neighbor came to dig holes. A brother came for a day. A father helped through it all. The last few days of work required many hot coffee breaks and steamy soup bowls at lunch to warm up bones before finishing up for the day. When (if?) the weather finally breaks, work will begin again on the roofing and railings. Lots more to do. Plenty more money to scrounge. But this is a dream IN PROGRESS.
Through these cold winter days, I find myself daydreaming about that porch and being outside with barefeet and sleeveless shirts. Feeling warm sunshine on my skin and listening to birdsong and the jingle of the cow bells in the field beyond. Swinging away on a porch made of love.