“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’ And when they wake up in the summer, Kitty, they dress themselves all in green, and dance about–whenever the wind blows.” Lewis Carol, “Through the Looking Glass”
My plan when I jumped into pre-retirement three years ago to become a workamper and traveler was to never ever spend another winter in Vermont. So much for plans. Last winter, I needed to stay within the state for cataract surgery. This winter, several unexpected occurrences collided and we made the decision to park the Airstream for yet another winter. My first week back in Vermont this winter (after a couple of extended stays in PA) I sulked. To be honest, I did not want to be here – especially given the record snowfalls and cold temperatures that characterize the 2019 Vermont winter. It took me several days to pull myself together and accept my fate. An afternoon in the woods with good company – both human and animal – can make all the difference!
Spending time at home this winter and dreaming of my future summer workamping position, I could take pleasure in finding things to occupy my time. It’s all about attitude. It did not take me long to mount a significant rally from my self-imposed doldrums (with special thanks to Huck and Hazel!) and devise a “to-do” list of chores. The tasks I conjured up run the gamut between practical undertakings and entertaining crafts. If you read my last post, I hinted at some of this winter’s past times. I’ll expand on several of the most rewarding to date.
Whenever I’m home for an extended period (whether by choice or necessity), I take the time to do some deep cleaning. I travel from room to room assessing what needs attention and prioritize what I will tackle first. In the kitchen, my most recent project was presented to me by necessity. The igniter in our gas oven has been acting up for quite some time. When starting the oven, the electronic ignition was taking upwards of 15 -20 minutes to actually ignite and start the incremental climb to the desired temperature. It was only a matter of time before it would not light at all. I knew the problem was relatively easy to solve – order a new igniter and install it. My son had replaced it once before about 8 years ago. I had been putting it off for over a year and now was the time to address the problem. My husband removed the old igniter so I could compare it to what I was ordering online. Since we had to wait several days for delivery, I decided to deep clean the entire range while it was apart for repair. I even completely disassembled the oven door and cleaned both inside and outside glass panels. Amazing! I can now check the status of items cooking in the oven without opening the door and when I select an oven temperature and press Bake – it actually lights immediately! Simple pleasures…
With that chore complete, I moved on to activities that I consider to be a tad more fun. Last summer, while I was away working in Acadia, our town art cooperative organized a community “barn quilt” project. Check out the website for a peek at the “barn quilting” craze. If I had been in town over the summer, I would have participated in this community enterprise with my fellow local creative folks. Better late than never! I decided to paint a barn quilt independently this winter and register it online with the local barn quilt trail. It’s been fun to choose a pattern, gather the materials and paint the panel. I’m now in the painting stage – check my next post for the completed panel.
In keeping with the quilt theme, I learned just recently that my South Carolina niece and her husband are expecting their first child. I had a partially completed baby quilt top that I had started assembling several years ago for a soon-to-be-born nephew. I abandoned the project when it was apparent the child would be in elementary school before the quilt was complete! Since I have been trying to sort through and finish all my in-progress craft projects while stationary here at home, this was perfect timing! I love the pinwheel pattern and train engine theme I chose for this quilt, not to mention the brightly-colored, batik fabrics. The quilt top was finished last week and dropped off in Barre just a couple of days ago to be machine quilted.
What else am I up to? I was desperately in need of an Airstream fix. So, we traveled to my son’s house in NH for a visit and a mid-winter check of my beloved Airstream. As a result of that visit, I now have a substantial list of items to order for the trailer and re-modeling ideas to plan. Nothing major – just fun interior decorating upgrades.
I continue to organize house projects including de-cluttering. Translation: I come up with things that need fixed or re-modeled and “persuade” my husband to prioritize these jobs and complete them. Depending on the project, I am either an active participant or a scrutinizing supervisor! 😉 Happily, we are still on speaking terms so I deduce from this that there’s been a healthy balance between doer and overseer! The winter’s productivity report includes: the installation of a new stainless-steel chimney liner, beefed up insulation in the attic and around all exterior doors and some re-modeling in the bathroom.
I have a confession to make as well. We finally decided to part with the meager monthly fee necessary to join Netflix – expanding our horizon beyond the free Amazon Prime movie choices. Like I said earlier, it’s been a long winter! We’ve enjoyed the movies ‘The Guernsey and Potato Peel Pie Society’ and ‘The Pianist’ so far, as well as starting on the series ‘Rebellion.’ Recommendations for further viewing pleasure are welcome.
Hanging out in the frigid tundra of Vermont this winter has been a challenge. But, I’ve persevered and have been defiantly marching out into the deep freeze for my daily walk. I must admit Vermont winters possess a beauty all their own and I need to savor the experience while I’m here! I found a quote by William Arthur Ward that sums up my conversion this winter from cantankerous bore to cheerful sage:
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”