Thursday, October 22, 2009

hunkering down

Pretty much every animal I saw at Rhinebeck was bedded down in straw, huddled up with a friend or just chewing his cud. This llama was definitely cuddled up, too. That's because the weather was cold, damp and raw.

I know how they feel.

Our wonderful old house has offered us a lot of surprises since we've moved in. The newest quirk is that the pump on our hot water heat has broken. At least, that's what we think has happened. The professor called repair folks last Thursday. This is the "shoulder" season, in which having heat would be nice but it's not a necessity. The temperatures are between about 0C and 8C or somewhere between 32F and 46F, which means our pipes aren't freezing if the heat isn't on. Therefore, it's not an emergency and we can theoretically wait patiently until our repair appointment...which is tomorrow.

We have a couple of space heaters, and if we keep the door to our bedroom closed, and the heater is on, it can warm up nicely. Otherwise, well, leaving this room can be nippy, since the house is only a few degrees warmer than the outside temperatures. Eating? cold. Going to the bathroom? Like going to an outhouse. Downright chilly. I'm wearing my woolies. Today? A camisole, cashmere turtleneck and a wool shetland sweater. Jeans (not warm enough!), a pair of wool socks and my shearling slippers. I am wearing a hat at all times, too.

It's amazing how small my world has gotten in the last few days. I begin to see things that need to be done in the rest of the house, and I say--that can wait until the heat is on. I cook warming things but don't want to linger in the cold kitchen. I'm slow moving. Yesterday, I had a teaching commitment and the 2 hours I spent there were like having a small heat wave. Remember? I said to myself--this is what heat felt like.... (cause I think I've forgotten already!)

This has helped me connect to my ancestors in a few ways:
1) I never want to take off my clothes
2) I never want to bathe
3) I rush over to the warmth...and think about more ways to be warm
4) I do vigorous get warm
5) I move slowly
6) I enjoy huddling for warmth with dogs and the professor
7) I am already thinking about heat and spring.
(note: I do #1 and 2 even though I don't enjoy it!)

So, I will be back in touch with you in a while. In the meantime, please think warm thoughts in my direction! (That's in Winnipeg, north of North Dakota, West of Ontario, plumb in the middle of North America....)


Blogger Alison said...

Brrrr... I couldn't sleep last night for feeling chilly, and I'm in California with no excuse!

--AlisonH at

October 22, 2009 at 2:43 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

I certainly hope that the repairman can actually permanently fix your furnace tomorrow. It won't be long until temps will drop for the season and basically stay there.

October 22, 2009 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger Geek Knitter said...

Do you have any corduroy trousers? Warmer than denim by an order of magnitude!

Tea... lots and lots of hot tea. And some whiskey in it wouldn't go amiss!

October 22, 2009 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger Willow said...

Like Alison, I'm in California, but I remember, yes, I remember Oregon's dampness and cold. So I am sending you warmth and virtual afghans.

October 22, 2009 at 6:37 PM  
Blogger Gramma Phyllis said...

The cold is one reason my gran in South Dakota always had the stove (wood burning) going and the teakettle on the back burner. When the cold really got to you, you could have a nice warm cuppa tea or cocoa. Now living on the shore of Lake Ontario in NY at times I feel the need to revive the tradition. Wish I had the old feather beds. They were the warmest things going, especially when they were shared. I'll be thinking warm thoughts for both of us. And hoping your furnace mechanic can breath life into everything.

October 22, 2009 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

Ahhhh Winnipeg.....wait till winter actually hits! Then you will really luv it :)
Too bad you weren't menopausal....the hot flashes would keep you warm (they are only useful in the winter)!!

October 23, 2009 at 8:48 AM  

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