28 February …


The year is revolving.  Soon it will be Spring.  Already it is light enough in the morning for the family to leave for work and school without flashlights or porch lights.

Evenings are staying light until almost 1800.

Temperatures, however, are a different story.  It is still staying in the high 20s and very low 30s.  We’ve been having snow showers almost daily … showers until sunday night.  We woke up monday to between four and six inches of new, fluffy snow (Photoshop not working … pictures next week).


Yesterday I had an appointment to have my eye measured for the surgery.  Surgery will be the end of March.


We had a breakdown in the water system one day last week.  Pressure in the tank out in the pump house dropped to zero.  Kamille was trying to do laundry and I had dishes to do.

For a bit, everything was either not working or working incorrectly.  Poor Mark …

Then we began listing … and the list started with “where all does the water go?”  Barn … chicken house … main house.  Ah ha !!!

Turned out one of the pipes at the chicken house had sprung a leak.  Quick fix.  Back in business.

Another crisis solved at Cold Comfort Farm.

But that was followed by the MAJOR crisis of winter 2017-18.

In the past, the New Year’s Crisis has occurred on the first of January (Welcome to the New Year).  The one I remember most vividly is when the well pump went out.  George and I had to haul 120 feet of pipe up out of the well, take off the old pump, put on the new pump, and reset the pipe and get it working … all while it was snowing.  Can’t remember the year, but it was not more than 10 years ago.  We have a replacement available.  I just hope the next time it goes (the old one had been in place about 30 years), it goes in better weather.

But back to this year’s crisis.

Last week we had a situation when the water to the hot water heater (a flash heater) had frozen and then thawed with no problem.  Yesterday was a different situation.  Something in there broke and I got home from the eye doc appointment to about half an inch of water on the floor in the kitchen/clothes washer area.

We got it cleaned up (the ShopVac George had bought cleaned up water … thanks George) and the drip was rerouted out of the house by dinnertime.

Mark and Kamille went to town right away and came home with a new water heater.  It was in place by bedtime.

This morning Mark is on his way to a plumbing supply store in Medford to get the parts he needs to get the house’s hot water supply working.

He will also be getting the parts he needs to repair the tractor with the snow plow so he will be ready to open the drive and the road between our drive and next road down.  We are expecting snow Snow SNOW tonight and for the next three days.

Taking care of Cold Comfort Farm can be a fulltime job in the winter.


While going through another set of shelves in the process of sorting and clearing, I found a book I don’t remember seeing before.  “Labyrinth” by a Brit, published in 2005.

It is a story about an archaeologist and is set in the  current time and at the time of the Crusade against the Cathars.

I’ve been interested in the Languedoc for some time, so I’m enjoying the reading.

About halfway through the book, I discovered underlining (which is something I do in my own books).  Seems I’ve read this book before and it was time for me to reread it for the information/wisdom it contains. 


I am still trying to learn my place in the new “family”.  Nothing is settled. 

Onward …


Finally …

All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

 So … ‘til next week …

21 February …


It’s been a quiet week …

Last wednesday, Paul and I were babysitting each other in the early evening.  It had been a chilly day.  Then, when it was time to go out to close the chicken house, it began to snow … corn snow … the kind that falls in tiny hard drops like beads.


We went out in it to do our chore and both came in with snow in our hair.


Then on sunday we again had snow.

January and February have always been the winteriest of the months here on Cold Comfort.  This February seems to be holding true.  Temperatures have been hovering around freezing.

Monday the well pump failed to work correctly.  Mark thought there might be a problem with a relay, but it turned out to be a bit of ice in the works which melted as the day warmed.  That event resolved easily. There is now a blanket around the pump area.

Tuesday morning there was no water in the hot water lines.  Again, the weather was the problem.  Evidently the water line into the flash heater froze.  It was flowing again by noon.  The entire system will be replumbed this coming summer.


Radio club meeting is this evening.  What to do with or about the summer events will be the big discussion as will the class at the local middle school.  Report to follow.


Also last Wednesday … I received two gifts. 

As I was putting my groceries in the truck, a clerk came out to me and handed me a red rose. She said a man had come up to her and asked her to give it to me because my husband was not with me this Valentine’s Day. She either didn’t know who he was or wouldn’t tell me.

It made me cry.

And when I was having trouble getting the gas cap off so I could fill the tank in the pickup, the man at the next pump came over and opened it for me saying “You just need a little more strength.”

Two gifts …


Some time ago, George and I had taken classes in Tai Chi from a neighbor who has since died.  We kept practicing for a time, but gradually stopped.

Lately I’ve been thinking it might be a good idea to start again.

I found my book on Chi Qong and did my first session thursday morning (it is supposed to be done before you eat).  I was too ambitious.  The directions were to do the knee and shoulder warm-up by doing the rotations thirty times.  I should have stopped between ten and fifteen that first time.  Left knee complained as did the entire body during the standing time.


Today marks three months and here’s a reminder for us all …

Express appreciation, and be frequent in your praise.


So … ‘til next week …

14 February …


This could have been a very bad day had George and I been into mushy holidays.  As is, it is centered on cards for those in Paul’s class and the Fat Tuesday dinner at the church which the family attended.

The dinner was last night and reminded me of the Jewish practice of clearing the house of leavening before a special holiday.  The idea of Fat Tuesday is to make sure none of the forbidden foods are within reach during the Lenten days to come.

Fat Tuesday = fat, sweet pancakes.  It was the first time that church had done a pancake dinner.  Mark took the makings for gluten free cakes and they were the hit of the evening.  Seems a lot of folks knew nothing about gf food.

Mark has ideas about adding to the fun of that meal … zydeco music, colours, etc.  It will be interesting to see what it looks like next year.


The monthly trip to Medford was cancelled.  The scheduled day was yesterday.  I was already booked for pancake dinner at the church and John is doing jury duty.


The weather had been unseasonably warm … in the mid to high 50s.  Then it dropped a few degrees and we had about an inch of snow over the weekend.  Not enough to really count.

Of course, none of that was as severe a seasonal change as they are having further east and to the north.  When the jet stream is to the south of us, something is very different.

On Tuesday, it was noted in the LA Times … “Up in Northern California most of the region has never recorded such a dry winter. The snowpack in the Sierras is anemic. This storm will help a bit. But it’s too little too late, unless there’s a March miracle.”

Here is what we have …~~~

Still working at rearranging the house.  Guess that will never end.  But I have my spinning/knitting corner and that’s comforting.


Days are getting noticeably longer.  In a week or two, it will be light when Paul leaves for school.  He already has over an hour of daylight when he gets home around 4. 

It is still dark before bedtime however.

Only four months until dusk at 2300.


We’ve been watching the Olympics as often as possible.  Mark found a way for us to watch the skating without hearing the commentary (although I do like Johnny Weir).  I enjoy seeing the skaters and hearing the music without the judgments. 

Mark enjoys the cross-country skiing and the speed skating and the sled events.  Kamille is a skating fan.  And Paul can ignore any of it.


Sometimes during this time of forced change, nothing seems right … no matter what …

so …

 If you cannot find a good companion with whom to walk, walk alone.  (That way no one sees your tears or hears your yowls)

 ‘til next week …


7 February …

This morning is clear and crisp.  Temperature is chilly, but not cold, at 42°.


Paul’s birthday dinner didn’t go quite as planned.  We got home early and went about some chores. 

Mark and Kamille watched the slash fire while Paul and I went for a couple of walks to see what was there to be seen and to start collecting lichen for John’s plant pot surfaces.  This is the best time to collect lichen because snow has broken it loose and there are clusters on the ground.  We already have an ice cream bucket full.

In addition, I found a moss covered stone I’d like to move to the courtyard this spring to be part of the waterfall into the pond.  That should keep it moss-covered.


The radio class at Sisson middle school seems to be going well.  Before the class started, Mark was told there would be 13 students so he got 15 textbooks.  He has had to order 4 more books. 

He is hoping to have 4 or 5 new hams out of the effort.  I am hoping for a couple more.


Last Friday was my first foray out shopping by myself.

It was strange (at least it seemed strange to me) that after George’s death I wasn’t sure what I was capable of on my own.  I was fearful over driving.  I was sure I wasn’t able to navigate a store alone (and the experience in the new CostCo didn’t help that).  Most anything outside my safe house and yard was anxiety provoking.  I wasn’t sure I knew who I was so how could I know what I could do?

It seems a bit silly to be proud of doing the household grocery shopping alone, right?  But I was.  The anxiety is improving to the point that I am planning ahead to function on my own again.

Of course it couldn’t go eventless.

As I was putting the groceries in the truck (I was driving the Mitsubishi pickup), I tossed my keys onto the driver’s seat. While loading the grocery bags into the truck cab, I must have hit the door lock with my elbow without noticing, and since locking one door locks them both, as I closed that passenger side door I was locked out of the car.

A young woman stopped and asked what was happening and when I told her she asked if I needed to call someone.  Naturally, the list of phone numbers (family and triple A) were in my purse inside the truck.

But she said “No problem”, crawled up into the bed of the truck, slid the tiny windows in the back of the cab open, crawled nearly completely inside, and lifted the lock.

Now I know not only how to get into the truck if I ever do that again, but that any small to medium sized person can get into the truck even when the doors are locked.

Lesson learned.


In looking at works by Van Gogh this last month, I found a couple of unexpected pieces.  They both caught me by surprise.

When thinking of Van Gogh, a lot of people instantly think of “Starry Night” and the swirling lights.  But there is also a darker side.  I remember the first time I saw “The Potato Eaters”.  It seemed so heavy and grotesque.

The painting that caught my eye now was “A Pair of Shoes” painted in 1887.

It seems sad … as if the person to whom the boots belonged was having a sad, heavy time.  It will take some contemplating.

And as I was contemplating, I ran across another picture of shoes.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Another lesson in the grieving process …

Having the kids move back home to live with your family (which by then is probably just you and your spouse) is a whole lot different from losing your spouse and having the kids back with you, except now it is their family and you are living with them. 

There is a whole different set of dynamics … a set of expectations you hadn’t counted on … trying to settle in your place without causing too much disruption.

Some sections of adjustment are easy and smooth. 

Others can be jarring.  The big hurdle is learning to not take it all personally.

Easy to say …


As a final thought for this week, here’s a prayer for the new month based on a Jewish site I read regularly …


“May it be Your will … to make this new month one for goodness and for blessing. Give us a long life, a peaceful life, a good life, a life of blessing, a life of sustenance, a healthy life, … a life in which there is no embarrassment or humiliation, a life of … honor; … a life in which the requests of our hearts will be fulfilled for the good.”


So … ‘til next week …