20 Mar A Snow Day on the Farm



A snow day on the farm means I have an excuse to play around — no chores until it’s time to plow the drive. That might not be until tomorrow, the heaviest fall due tonight. Yesterday, I finished splitting heaps of firewood, then moved the circa 1850s wagon from one barn to the other (readying the big barn for repairs). More of that work was waiting for me today. But it can wait longer, I’m happy to say.

During down time like this, Jill and I enjoy cooking: this morning I made a quiche, while she made blueberry muffins. We turned on the kitchen TV for some eye candy: a sumo wrestling tournament, which, surprisingly, caught our interest as the announcer narrated the nuances of how one 450 pound wrestler could maneuver the other outside the sumo ring. That’s all it’s about, one big guy trying to push the other out of a small circle as the ref, decked in the traditional “costume of the ancients,” bobs and weaves around them.



But, for us, a little sumo goes a long way. So we turned to house shows on cable. Then, as we babysat our baked goods, we sat at the kitchen table, each of us with a laptop open: I was surfing through old house real estate sites—analogous to surfing the Sears catalogue toy section when I was a boy, page after page of fabulous goodies. I shared the best ones with Jill, exclaiming, “Look at that!” Not that we’d be in the market for a move; it’s just about dream-catching. Jill, on her side of the table, was cruising eBay, where she’s always looking for historic hardware. And, now, a wood-burning stove.

After an exceptionally cold winter (see “Stalactites of Sewage And Other Winter Travails”), we believe we’ll have to get a wood stove for the dining room to supplement our heating needs. As it is, our old farm house hemorrhages heat. Eventually I’ll get it buttoned up better but it will never be ideal. That’s the good and bad of owning an old house — you can’t have the charm without the other stuff. This weekend we’ll go to an auction to see if we can get an old iron parlor stove cheap.

Good Contrivance Farm wagon, circa 1890

Good Contrivance Farm wagon now

Now we’re watching an old western on Amazon. Gary Cooper, Richard Widmark, Susan Hayward. Totally un-PC, totally breathless with its own drama and importance. Pretty soon the Apaches are going to attack. Should be fun.

rtanner
rtanner@loyola.edu