You would think that several inches of good snow would cause me to pause and reflect a little bit.
Particularly after the year we’ve had.
We are all getting used to a world without Mouse but it hasn’t been easy.
If there is a light out of the dark, however, it is that his barn-mates, Jockey and Georgia have begun to have an actual relationship.
Where she head-butts him (with her head tilt… another story for some other time…) and he leans in and licks her forehead while they both purr.
This is unprecedented behavior between enormous, part-Siamese Jockey and petite, squeaky-sounding Georgia. They each loved Mouse beyond belief and I’m pretty sure they were jealous of each other. Like a room-mate or bestie of some poor, unsuspecting guy whose girlfriend moves in.
But now all they have is each other.
And they have their Mummy, of course! And Daddy part-time, too.
The day the snow came down I was busy.
Splitting and stacking wood is just part of life in western Montana unless you don’t use wood to heat your home.
Before you start picturing all 5’3″ of me heaving an axe behind my head like Paul Bunyun its not that bad. Alistair bought me an electric woodsplitter our first Christmas here.
I always have a good, long laugh at myself when I remember a big load of wood that arrived when Alistair was in Bismarck a few years ago.
I was working full time but I had to stack it all that weekend because another load would be coming.
It was a hot weekend, too. I remember the dogs laying in the grass watching me move each piece. One by one. From the pile to the side of the house and back to the pile.
The logs weren’t stacking as easily as I would have liked, with some of them rolling around but with a touch of OCD and a need for an aesthetically pleasing wood pile I got most of the job done.
And I posted pictures on Facebook.
And I felt pretty pleased with myself.
Until Alistair saw the picture the next morning and called me from work. There was something in his voice. Trepidation, perhaps?
“Hon…. you’ve got the wood facing the wrong way.”
I looked out the kitchen window. He was right.
My day of finishing off the rest of the stacking turned into unstacking and then re-stacking and the dogs just laid there on the even hotter day watching me take improperly-stacked wood off the pile over to the pile on the driveway just to take it all back and stack it properly.
My knuckles were dragging on the ground and my pride was bruised but it wasn’t the first time and it surely wasn’t the last time I had to eat some humble pie.
It wasn’t funny coming home to this the next night, though.
You know what? It actually was pretty funny and I’m chuckling right now remembering all of that.
That’s just how life is on a farm at the end of a long road in the middle of nowhere.
You have to keep up on things when winter hits because there are so many other things you have to do.
Like shovel walk- and piddle-paths for our 14-pound grand-dog, Loki, who is not a fan of winter.
I watched her almost high-center herself as she squatted which led to some giggling on my part but she didn’t hear me.
We’re pretty sure Loki and Cleo are both going deaf.
Granted, Cleo has always had selective Springer Spaniel hearing but its definitely worse this year.
On top of shoveling there is also plowing to be done. It takes two hours to do the two driveways. I like keeping both of them open in case wind blows snow across the one up to the mailboxes.
We’re the last house on the road so if I want a road out its up to me when Alistair isn’t here.
We like it nice and wide so its 3 runs up and 3 runs down in Big Red.
Big Red is a 1996 model and he has fired up for me every single year. He’s probably one of the most significant relationships I have had in my life. I love that truck!
On top of moving snow from here to there I am also trying to promote my 2nd book, The Dragons of Missing Lake. I have had 2 book events that have gone very well and I’ve got one up in Condon tomorrow!
People are enjoying getting back in touch with my characters and seeing what Luke is getting into. I miss my characters and can’t wait to start the next book but I really need to promote right now.
And I’m still slinging bling because I’m just not busy enough.
Men… did you know that 30% of women practice saying, “Thank-you” in a mirror so that if they open a gift they don’t really like they will still look convincing?
Reason enough right there to head over to http://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/tanyafyfe
So the snow falls and I’m a happy little wood-splitting, snow-plowing, shovel-wielding, Mouse-missing, book promoting, Boom-grooming, gift-wrapping bling-slinger.
It keeps me busy.
It keeps me from thinking about things.
Like how this is the first part of the first winter without 5 dogs and Jockey and Georgia are starting to bond but neither of them sleeps in their beds together and Loki’s eye looks gross and I really want her to enjoy another springtime and Calypso lost a bit of weight thanks to dietary indiscretion but he’s still having a ball and I can always do more Boomer-grooming and, Jeez, she’s 20 years old which makes me miss Oscar this time of year, camped out by the woodstove and there’s no deer legs to complain about because there is no Casey.
I guess I did make the time to sit down and reflect, didn’t I?