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Thursday, January 18, 2018


The back of my barn & my frozen pond.

I like living in the north with its change of seasons, but there comes a time when it’s enough especially when the temperature drops down into single digits or lower, and I have to make two trips to the barn each day to feed my ponies, barn cats and four hens. After which I walk to my son’s house to feed and water his peacock because he leaves for work while it’s still dark. Most days I have to fill a bucket with water to carry it out because the outside pump is frozen.  If the weather is too cold and bitter, I keep the ponies in their stalls, but on days when it warms up I let them go outside. They need the exercise and with their warm coats now it doesn’t seem to bother them.
Phoebe and Puffy who are sisters.
                                                                                                                                                                                     Years ago when I was younger and still married, I enjoyed riding behind my husband on a snowmobile mostly after dark with the lights on, but sometimes in the daytime, too. We always went with friends and sometimes we went to a cabin  also had snow shoes, but they were too awkward to walk with so
eventually I gave them away.

But most of the time I enjoy being in a warm house looking at snow covered grounds and at times the silvery branches of trees when they are ice covered. Still I do have to go places like the grocery store, church on Sunday, two book clubs, delivering Mobile Meals and other places.

It’s in the winter that I get most of my writing done because I don’t have to weed gardens or mow my yard. I also don’t spend much time walking in the woods, especially with the temperature so low.
My family on Christmas at my house.

Winter brings Christmas, too, one of my favorite holidays with family. Christmas Eve is at my sister Suzanne’s house where my other siblings except for the one in Washington State go along with nieces and nephews to exchange gifts, eat the food everyone brings and admire the beautiful tree she picks out and decorates every year.

My grandson Jacob passing grab bag gifts to his mother.

On Christmas Day is when most of my siblings come, my grown children, (except this year my California daughter couldn’t get off work to come}, and those grandchildren, who aren’t married. Those grandchildren all my son’s children are married and spend Christmas with their spouses’ family because they spent Christmas Eve at my son’s house where I went briefly to exchange gifts before heading to my sister’s house.

The highlight of our Christmas afternoon is when we do the grab bag, a family tradition that goes back to when I was a child, and my father who worked in the office of a big manufacturer and ordered goods from other businesses.  One of those businesses sent a package of little items that weren’t much, but on Christmas Day, my siblings and I got to put our hand in the box and then pass it on around the circle until everything was gone. Today, almost everyone brings wrapped items for our grab bag, two large laundry baskets this year.
One of the funny grab bag gifts.

Nothing is very expensive, and there are always some funny gag gifts like a large nose and big glasses, and one year, my brother got a small pink child’s handbag. One year there was a moose cookie jar wrapped in separate parts. It came back for years until someone decided to keep it. Another year there was a corncob with a plug to plug it in. That circulated for years before my mother-in-law kept it. She probably threw it away. I bought a lot of things for the grab bag this year. 

My sister Suzanne, and my daughter Susan brought a lot, too. After they’re all gone and everyone has opened their gifts, we start with the exchange where everyone holds up something they got and tries to bargain with someone else to exchange.
Well, Christmas is over and I’m just finishing up taking down the decorations, but I saved for last the large pine tree that goes all the way to my ceiling. Before Christmas two of my grandchildren Jacob and Emilie who are in college but still live at home asked if they could help me pick out a Christmas tree. So we went to a local Christmas tree farm, and they picked out a really large and full tree. Jacob put it into the back of his pickup truck, and Emilie and I followed him to my house where Jacob dragged it in and he and Emilie decorated the tree. After it was done, I took them to lunch – Jacob followed in his pickup.

I know I used this in my last blog, but I can't locate my camera for a new picture.

Now as I’m writing this, I can still look at it when I lean away from my computer to see it in my living room still lit up and beautiful. I hate to take it down, but it’s starting to droop just a little. As soon as I take all the decorations and lights off, I’ll drag it out the front door, and when it’s slightly warmer I’ll drag it way back to my frozen pond and drag or push it over the edge where it will be a hiding place in the spring and summer for the tiny minnows of the fish who live there.
Probably one of the best things I like about winter is when it gradually slips away and I see the small flowers in my woods start to come up through last year’s leaves and I know spring has arrived. It’s another joy that could only come if we had survived another winter.

What do you like most about winter?

What do you hate most?


Kait said...

What a lovely family you have and what great traditions!

Living in Florida we don't have much by way of winter - but it is 32 right now and I am writing this wrapped in flannel pjs and a down robe I've hung on to from my days in Maine.

I miss true winter and can't wait to get back to Maine--maybe next year. Hubs hated the plowing, our driveway is a 1/4 mile long. I loved it all, from the frosty mornings to the scent of wood smoke in the house. We snowshoed, cross-country skied, and snowmobiled on our property. And the long nights, perfect for writing.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Your farm is so pretty in winter! Take care of yourself and your critters.

Like you, I get more writing done in winter because I'm not doing yard chores.

Gloria Alden said...

Kait, I've been to Maine on camping trips with my husband and children, and later with my sisters.
but never in the winter. I love Maine and hope to go on more camping trips there. I can understand your husband not liking plowing out such a long driveway. So far this year my son hasn't plowed out my driveway because it's only maybe three or four inches deep. I heard that part of Florida did get a little snow.

Margaret you're not that much further south than I am. If you ever come north, I'd love to have you stop and visit me. I have a spare bedroom, too, and Maggie would love to have you visit.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed sharing the pictures of your property with my co-workers, the ponies, and Brat Cat, and Maggie. When winter begins, I love snow during the holidays... then I'm over it. I like being home and NOT go out early to work, travel on ice, breathe frigid nose-freezing air. The pictures are lovely... but I'm waiting on warmer weather.

E. B. Davis said...

I would have said the mild winters on Hatteras--except we had four inches of snow last night. I'm taking the truck out on the beach to get some pictures. Loved your pictures, Gloria. Glad you like winter. I do, but it's mostly staying inside and drinking cocoa!

Jim Jackson said...

I've always enjoyed being active in the snow: hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and the like. I always hope we get at least one decent bit of snow before we leave our northern home.

What I have always hated is driving in the stuff when there are other drivers on the road.

~ Jim

KM Rockwood said...

I enjoy the winter, but I do have my limits! I hate to drive in really bad weather, and even more, I hate to know that loved ones are out driving in bad weather.

The Norwegians have a saying (actually, I think it started out as an advertising slogan for an outerwear company) "There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing."

I agree to a certain extent.

Shari Randall said...

What a beautiful celebration! Maggie looks so proud with her beautiful bow in front of the tree!
We also do a grab bag. I think we look forward to it as much as we do the real presents, because we spend an hour laughing at all the crazy gifts my mother comes up with. This year I brought home a fortune teller wizard inside a snow globe. When I pass my hand over it and ask a question, it tells me "the signs are unsure"
What do I like? How beautiful everything is in the snow! What don't I like? The cold and flu season.

Gloria Alden said...

Laura, I'm glad you shared the pictures with your co-workers. I don't like driving on snowy roads, either. Fortunately, the salt trucks and snow plows pretty much keep out roads clean. They go past my house all night.

Elaine, I think you got more snow than I have this year, at least from what I've read in the papers. Yes, I like being inside, too. Your mentioning coco makes me want to go and make a cup of it as soon as I go offline.

I never tried cross country skiing although I thought it might be easier than downhill skiing. I also prefer driving on snowy roads without other cars, too. I especially hate it when some large pickup or something tailgates me trying to get me to speed up when the roads are not good.

Kathleen, I don't like to drive in really bad weather, either. My son covers about four counties for his job, and that worries me. I like the saying. My daughter fusses because she thinks it's
not good for me to be out in this weather, but I keep telling her I bundle up really, really warm.

Shari, I'm glad to hear you do grab bag gifts, too. It's so much fun and there is so much laughter. Do you try to barter with others to exchange something you got with what they got?
I love looking outside at the snow covered ground and the trees when they are sparkling with icy branches.