Ice on the Window

Sunday, February fifteenth

The light outside was blue today, and it was only a few degrees above freezing. I’ve realized that there is not a great difference between the inside and outside temperatures. It felt absolutely balmy when I stepped out. The only true source of heat is the wood stove, and we congregate around it whenever we can. I’ve decided that a cozy farmhouse is indispensable, especially since farm people are outside all the time. One must get warm at some point.

I’m trying to work out the benefits of being a vegetarian, and finding very little. It makes life needlessly complicated and mealtimes not half as interesting.

They keep two cats here – one small with short, black-and-white fur, ridiculously fat and self-important. The other is several tints of grey, with wild, rakish fur and yellow eyes. We blink at each other suspiciously. Cats are delightful creatures. That might have been an Emily quote.

I have a box of chocolates hidden in my room that I might break into later.

Monday, February sixteenth

The sun came out today. It wasn’t supposed to. The weathermen are always wrong, so I told Joanie.

The floor upstairs creaks especially in one place where it slopes down and then up, a small valley. The shelves that line the east wall are bent under the weight of many books, and the floor is bent with the weight of many full shelves. I suppose I could draw an analogy to life with that picture, but I won’t.

We climbed up to the hay loft and threw bales of hay down the ladder for the sheep. The cold morning light came in through the chinks in the walls and the open, square windows, glinting gold on the bales of hay. Joanie says it reminds her of a cathedral, and I agree. The aura is one of almost holiness. A body could pray there.

We had mutton for supper with squash and three bean salad.

I hope that the lambs come soon.

Tuesday, February seventeenth

There was a lamb in the barn today.

The air is bitterly cold. I have put my moccasins by the stove to warm. I’m afraid it won’t do much good.

Dave and I fiddled tonight. I think that you can tell a lot about people’s souls from the music they make.

I climbed into the grain bins and shoveled corn for a bit. The hems of my coveralls and fingers of my glove are full of it, and it shakes out when I walk.

I wonder what my soul would look like if I could see it.

Wednesday, February eighteenth

It is so very bitter cold. There was ice on the window this morning. I keep piling on more and more layers. Every trip to the barn is simply survival. The sheep are huddling together inside. There has been a hay bale in the chute for the last twenty-four hours.

We stay indoors and dye yarn and congregate around the stove.


Thursday, February nineteenth

The temperature is nearly ten above, and I left off my scarf when we went walking today. We let the lamb and his mother out of their pen today, but it is occupied again, for a new lamb was born today! His legs are absurdly long and he seems to have trouble getting up, poor thing. He was really incredibly wet and dirty – we went through three towels rubbing him down.

I took the long route around the oat field today and saw deer prints – and perhaps coyote? I’m as hungry as a bear. I really would eat anything.

Friday, February twentieth

We went to the woollen mill today. The sky was grey. The hilly ground gradually smoothed itself as we drove farther west. There were fields of stubble covered with snow far into the distance. It was very “o beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain.” The woollen mill was small; the machinery is in one long, white room. I don’t suppose I could work there. There aren’t enough windows. I think that windows are the eyes of the soul.

I made a cheesecake this evening, slightly breaking the routine.

Saturday, February twenty-first

There were five lambs born last night, all at once. We stayed in the barn until half past midnight, drying them and struggling to get them to nurse. There are triplets and twins, all white except for one. There were twins again early this morning.

Two women came to dye wool after lunch, and brought their men with them. It was very busy in the kitchen. I resent it somehow. I have grown to love this silence. Also, if people smile, they ought to really smile, not flash their teeth and remark how much fun they’re having, Baroness Schraeder-like. I look down the lane, once more. Oh, I suppose I’m crying!

IMG_7214I spent a week at a sheep farm several weeks ago. The entries above compose my journal during that time. My thoughts were disconnected, and assembled quickly at the end of the day.


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