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  • Writer's pictureTina

A Brief Winter's Reprieve

Welcome to Wednesday, dear reader. I hope everyone is safe and warm after yesterday's tumultuous weather. Here in Southwestern Pennsylvania, we were battered by high winds, sleet, freezing rain, snow, and finally, just rain. The Bean had her first snow day of the season. She and I took down our Christmas decorations and packed up the holidays for yet another year. As we wrapped our Christmas treasures in bubble wrap and placed them in storage totes, I took the time to tell her the stories attached to each of our Christmas decorations. It's important to me that she knows why I treasure each and every one of the items I have collected in the last fifty years. Many of my decorations are now considered antiques or at least vintage.


One goal I have this year is to write down all my recipes by hand in a recipe book for her. I wish I had copies of my favorite recipes in my grandmother's handwriting. I also want to write down the significance of each of our Christmas ornaments so she can pass on the stories to her children when I am gone. These memories will one day be lost. Without the stories behind the ornaments, they may one day be considered old junk. The monetary value of the object is not as important as the sentimental value of the object. The story and memory are what make them priceless.


Once the festive Christmas décor was down, the house took on the dull, dreary vibe that only a naked house stripped of its festive baubles can take on. It was a bit depressing between the lack of décor and the weather. We lost our power in the late afternoon. The silence that ensues when one loses power is unsettling at first. We take for granted the electrical hum that our homes create, and in their absence, we are given the opportunity to relish the silence. Without the distraction of the television, music, and other electronics, we could focus on quiet activities that we often neglect.


The Bibbed Wonder wandered down to the house from the studio, a bit perplexed without the distraction of work. We all settled in and took a brief nap. Both fireplaces were lit to keep the house cozy. I settled into the sunroom to read by the natural light of the wall of windows and, eventually, by candlelight and firelight. I have secretly desired to read quietly in the sunroom by the fireplace since winter began. With the lack of electricity, I had an excuse to do just that. Eventually, The Bean wandered in with her book, and we sat in amicable silence, lost in our books.


A few hours later, the power was restored, the noisy hum was back, and The Bibbed Wonder was rustling around in the kitchen like a bear newly awakened from hibernation. I had cooked a rather larger-than-normal lunch since we were all home together. So, we all settled on a simple meal of cheese, crackers, fruit, and meat. It was simple, filling, and a nice alternative to cooking a labor-intensive meal. If I am being transparent, it was refreshing to have the winter storm as an excuse to take it easy, slow down, and settle in.


When the power is out, I can't help but think about the lives of those who have come before us. This farm was established in the 1800s, long before electricity was commonplace. The lack of an electrical hum was the norm. Sitting by the fireplace to stay warm and working by candlelight was a daily event. The reality was the lack of running water, central heat, and convenient appliances that simplify life. There is a certain nostalgia for days filled without electricity. Without the distraction of devices and streaming services, we read more, work together to figure out a jigsaw puzzle, enjoy conversations, play games, or work on quiet projects.


Sometimes, I think I could live off-grid and enjoy it. However, I remember how much I appreciate modern life's conveniences. It's nice to turn a dial and set the temperature in the house to seventy degrees. It's lovely to hit a switch and have boiling water at the ready in under three minutes. I like a hot shower, a washer and dryer, and an oven that doesn't require building a fire. A few hours without power are charming, but several hours or days is inconvenient and frustrating. I enjoyed my quiet time yesterday and having an excuse to sit and read. However, today, I am back to regular work.


The Bibbed Wonder and I are working like fools to replenish diminished inventory, prep for fundraisers, and pack orders. None of this would be possible without modern conveniences. Instead, I will view yesterday's storm as a delightful little reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the modern world and secretly look forward to another day when the wind blows, the snow flies, the ice forms, and we have an excuse to sit quietly by the fireplace and imagine life before electricity.


On this blustery January day, stay safe, be smart, enjoy the quiet times, and keep washing your hands.  

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