Sunday, December 6, 2009

For the love of winter

It's after 23:00 on a school night and here I am feeling the need to write. The days aren't long enough and I'm betting that life is going to be too short too. Some crisp tortilla chips and some of the hot sauce I canned this fall and I should have a good sweat on shortly. That should seem me through. At Ted's prompting I have taken to eating the hot sauce as salsa. I won't lie, it's dang tasty if you like the flavour of peppers and don't mind a bit heat. Yummers.

It's winter again finally. People around me complain, but I'm not feeling the winter hate this year at all. Autumn was so very graceful and the transition to winter was so very civil. There were no big ugly winds that brought dangerous ice storms. There was no early dumping of too much snow. It's just been brilliant.

It's been a long time since I felt welcoming toward the winter months. The winters of 1995/96 and 1996/97 really took all the fun out of it for me. Heading into the winter of 95/96 our ground was frozen solid on October 15. We saw temperatures as low as -50C that year. I was tending to a herd of goats in the barn back then and had a lot of outdoor work to do for them. That was the year I got a big fur hat. Spring was slow to come and it was just plain tough to get along.

My hat is something like this. The sides and back come down for better coverage if need be.

Our resident master trapper and all round country gentleman, Joe got hides for everyone of us, knowing we needed real warmth to cope. The kids got racoon skin hats and PU got an amazing beaver. I got a coyote and if it's not -50C I can't wear the darn thing or I'll cook, it's so warm.

The winter of 96/97 produced a big spring flood in the Red River basin. We had snow drifts behind the barn that winter that were as high as 4.5 meters. On one week shortly before the holidays, I over extended myself and ended up getting a really bad flu. I arose from the flu ordeal with a back injury. It took me ten weeks to get back to work. I was one very cantankerous guy for most of that time. That was, until I realized that I might have to live the rest of my life like that. Once that was understood, I lightened up considerably and set to work learning some silly John Prine tunes. It wasn't long after, that things began to look up.

A chiropractor saved me from myself and surgeons steel. I was referred to the chiropractor by a well respected surgeon, which I thought was outrageous. I'm not a believer, but I was compliant, earlier rather than later, ate shovels filled with crow after he saved my bacon and now I submit my respect. I still don't believe, but I've got a big stripe of oppositional behavior between me and most things.

Thirteen years it's been since winter looked to me like a good idea. I still don't have a snow blower that's working to it's potential and still I don't feel any anxiety with the forecast looking like we're headed for some quite seasonably cold weather. I love it. I love the smell!

There was a day last week where the humidity was snowing out of the clear blue sky. The wood will be tinder dry in no time at this rate. My thumbs are already developing fissures, but I really don't mind. I have my home made magic fixxy cream to glue those back together anyway. I just can't seem to shake the feeling that it's going to be a wonderful winter. Crazy right? I think I've finally lost my grip on the rudder. It feels fantastic though so don't pee in my oatmeal if you happen to dread the season of the dark. I'll be outside finding something to do there.

That sauce isn't going to last worth a darn.

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