We got two more inches of snow on Tuesday, which doesn’t sound like much but we hadn’t completely recovered out here from the foot of snow the week before Christmas. I wasn’t very excited about going out, but I had a couple of things to do so I crept down my driveway in four wheel drive Tuesday afternoon. By the time I came back, it was dark and icy. Our dirt/rock road never sees a snow plow or a salt truck. It was completely covered in snow. There is one particularly bad spot on the hill and if anything stops us from getting out in winter other than high water, it’s that stretch of road. If you slide one way, you’ll end up stuck in a ditch up against the hill. If you slide the other way, you better have your will updated because you’ll go over a sheer drop and we are too macho (or something) to have guard rails out here.
I spent about twenty minutes going down about 100 feet on that hill. One inch at a time. There’s a hairpin turn at the bottom so if you go out of control there, you’ll slam into a hill rising up straight ahead at the bottom. Okay, have you got this now? If you start sliding….. Straight ahead–slam into a hill. To the left–drop off the side of the hill. To the right–stuck in the ditch. If you just decide to STOP and get out to walk, you get to walk through three icy creeks before you get home. You can’t go back–that way, it’s two miles to anyone. And really, you can’t stop because the road is so narrow, you’d block anyone else who might want to travel the road. (Which isn’t much of anyone, but they’d sure be annoyed with you.)
But! I made it down the hill to the bottomland where the rest of the road is (somewhat) flat and you just have to drive through the creeks. (Hey, driving through the creeks is THE EASY PART.)
There are always days–sometimes weeks–in the winter when I have to give up driving up and down the driveway and just park at the bottom for the duration. This is why ALL THE STOCKING UP. When you’re parking at the bottom, getting supplies up the hill to our house means carrying groceries up the steep, icy driveway in your hands. Feeling almost cocky about my success thus far, and not having yet had to park at the bottom of the driveway, I went for it on Tuesday night. I’m not ready for bottom parking yet.
Halfway up, I slid back down, in the dark, backwards, out of control, careening toward either a smashing stop into the gate or hey, maybe just over the side of the hill. I think that was the longest five seconds of my life. I almost couldn’t believe it when I came to a stop. I had actually managed to steer, in the dark, backwards, on ice, to where I had stayed on the driveway. I decided that was quite victorious enough and I left my Explorer right there.
For whatever reason (hmmm), yesterday I decided not to go anywhere. I think I was suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome from sliding down the driveway in the dark. I stayed home, and kept house. I like to keep house. I’m often so busy, I just rush through necessary daily chores without getting that real, slow, deliberate sense of housekeeping that comes from tending to small things. Keeping house makes me feel like a cat. Content. I made more homemade baking mix. I refilled my flour, sugar, and brown sugar canisters as well as all the salt shakers.
I organized and put away some of the Christmas things (not the tree just yet). I made bread. I simmered a pot of beans. I changed out the potpourri dish on the coffee table. (I just used dried orange slices and twig stars for now.)
Outside, I did all my usual farm chores, only I didn’t hurry. I refilled the chickens’ feeder and broke up their water. I hunted eggs and I coaxed most of the chickens out of the house.
I fed hay to the goats and Poky, and broke up their water, too.
Lugging fresh water and breaking up frozen water is a daily (sometimes multiple times daily) winter task.
I made more homemade fire starters and I kept the fire going. I carried six armfuls of wood plus another load of kindling up to the house. I fed cats and dogs, and chased Mr. Hyde off the porch.
On Monday, I had been to the big city where Morgan and I spent some Christmas money. (She bought books. She loves to read!) I felt so suburban. I mean, I actually SPENT MONEY. I was in a big crafts store, standing there in the aisle with the knitting needles–scary stuff like those circular needles and DOUBLE POINTED NEEDLES. I mean, what is that about? I can barely manage one point. Why is knitting so mean? And there they sat, so innocently, like shining angels, the crochet hooks. Not that I need to buy any crochet hooks because I have crochet hooks. I told myself I would not pick up a crochet hook until I could knit something successfully.
I haven’t knitted anything successfully. I started a hat project that was a gift–it’s really adorable and the yarn is gorgeous and soft and I WANT THAT HAT SO BAD. But the circular needles flipped me out so much, I ran away from it and didn’t knit for months. During the power outage, I picked up the regular knitting needles again and started knitting a dishcloth. I was really excited that I still remembered how to knit AND purl. But I am the slowest, most awkward knitter you’ve ever seen. Someone suggested I bring knitting to basketball games to keep from boredom, but I would never knit in front of a gym full of people! I look like a monkey trying to knit. In fact, I bet there are monkeys who can knit faster than me.
And so as I stood there in front of all those scary knitting needles, I thought if I didn’t crochet something, I might die. But, I bought a little book on knitted dishcloths. Each dishcloth is made in a different knit pattern so that you can get some satisfaction by completing a quick project and each project teaches you something new. I’m gonna try that….
Then I went home and, in a rebellious moment, dug out a crochet hook and opened up my book on how to crochet. After all, I haven’t crocheted in at least ten years. Surely I need my book. Two seconds later, I was throwing the crochet book over my shoulder and whipping out stitch after stitch as if crocheting was the same as breathing. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was a kid and I used to crochet all the time. I’m not sure why I stopped–I think I just got too busy with little kids and writing. After all this slow and awkward knitting, crocheting at the speed of light was an incredible relief. PEOPLE KNIT, WHY?
In my excitement, I started two projects at once–a pot holder and a little handbag. I should finish them today. Because I can crochet SO FAST. I think, tomorrow, I shall crochet a hat for the house! Okay, maybe tomorrow I will knit again….. I will not be defeated by knitting, I will not! I’m sure I will be a fabulous knitter by the time I’m 85. Which is how long it’s going to take me to knit ONE dishcloth.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to polish the silver and crochet little jackets for each piece. I’m keeping house, you know. It’s winter!