Weathering Winter



    Weather is one of the few things we still don’t claim to control…….and who would trust it to us when we have so many difficulties managing our own “smaller” affairs?  It’s likely this winter of 2014, across much of our nation, has brought bigger and less welcomed challenges of endurance and revenue loss for many. Electric bills, if you’ve been fortunate enough not to have major disruptions in your service, have more than doubled, making an honestly earned pay check go even more quickly.  If you’re fortunate enough to have a wood stove back-up, you are doubly blessed if your supplier of firewood delivered it already split and seasoned, without a hint of “piss oak” in the pile. (Not the case in our neck of the woods, because I trusted the supplier instead of stating ahead of time my expectations in exchange for pay.)  For those of you who aren’t familiar with different kinds of wood, “piss oak” is indeed from the oak family, but it smells like its name when burned.  Thus, a few more dollars went to buying scented candles this year that will burn like an Olympic torch for the duration of the season.

     Speaking of the Olympics, watching the Snow-boarding and Ice Dancing competitions late into the night on television, was some consolation in the battle against winter doldrums that hold me hostage sometimes.  Waking to dogs licking my hands and face, as if to say:  “Time to take a break from indulging in sleep to let us out and go feed the horse!” , didn’t hurt either.  Left to myself, I’d surely still be snuggled under warm blankets, holding out for spring.

     Pushing the curtain of the back window aside, as I do every morning, Lady Latte,my beloved mare, was not in her usual stance of looking towards the unveiling of life stirring within the house, Running up and down the fence-line, she reminded me it was a Sunday, as Amish buggies paraded by on their way to Home-church gatherings. All I could think about was getting bundled up to go out and make sure she wasn’t sweating under the blanket she’d worn to the “Single digits Ball”, whose celebratory mood had overstayed its welcome. Bolting out ahead of me, The Black Wave, consisting of our four dogs with Willey at the helm sporting a flash of white around the collar, began their routine of rollick and roll in the snow. Lady nickered, seeing me approach with her bucket of warm water in one hand and a dry towel in the other.  An hour later, the stall was clean, the hay bin was full, a damp blanket was on its way in to dry near the wood stove, and her brushed and wiped down coat allayed my concerns. The dogs had played long enough with a neighborhood friend, and the sound of of biscuits shaken in a container had lured them back inside. The prospect of breakfast now soothed my “what next” anxiety over a whole day to do something…..or nothing.

     By now you’re probably wondering what the picture has to do with all this ruminating. In the midst of doldrums, when nothing seems to be happening and the impetus to start or finish anything seems to have dissipated into cold, thin air,  there was a sudden realization that a true Breakfast of Champions lurked in my cupboards and on my kitchen counter-top: Almond butter on wheat toast topped with the home-made Apricot Ginger Jam I’d been saving, a carton of  Chobin pineapple Greek yogurt (with the Olympic team sponsorship logo I’d only noticed after seeing a commercial the night before), and the promise of Starbucks coffee to my heart’s content, not to mention the miraculously clear reception of a radio station playing Celtic harp and folk music over the internet.  How does it get any better?

     The only thing missing: Family and friends with whom to share the moment.  

     Winter, you will only be here a few more weeks, and when you go, please take the groundhog and his shadow with you back to the Arctic from whence you came.  We have our simple ways of dealing with your paralyzing chill, the inconveniences and burdens you shovel on us, and your attempts to rob us of hope that we’ll ever see the sun and heat of day again.  Some who ski and snowboard may seek you out, but if it were up to me, you’d be long gone without an invitation to return. You’ve over-stayed your welcome, but for now, I will try and focus on the small things that help me make it through to favored seasons, who, by the way, are superior competitors.  If you’re offended, no apologies will be forthcoming from this keyboard tapper.   

      May those who read and those who agree, find ways to weather Winter and so shame him from a repeat performance in the presence of a smaller audience.


Karen Weber

White Oak Farm

February 9, 2014










2 thoughts on “Weathering Winter

  1. kyhorse

    What a great peek into your life in the midst of the great chill! Sometimes when I want to write about what my life here, it sounds so boring, but I have to remind myself that every life is different, and enough different that sharing it through a blog is a great way to “fellowship” with your friends who are also dealing with their own winter blue and discovery of “salvation through a special breakfast and engaging music.” May the peace be with you.


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