I woke this morning to the sound of the furnace and mild expletives. I knew there was no chance to indulge one more dream cycle, so I dragged myself out from under the warmth and pulled on my layers of sweats, flannels and socks.
“Don’t look over here unless you want to be ill.” DW was on her knees cleaning the floor of a gray-brown liquification. “The dog threw up, and over there, too.” No wonder the thing resisted her meds last evening. I cursed her as she spit them back out. I had to clean almond butter off of the linoleum. “There are bits of undigested chicken strips.” She declined assistance.
And the furnace? It seems that I did not bank the woodstove as well as I should have last night. And while its fan had since kicked on, DW awoke to a colder than usual house.
We’ve been doing okay with the 61°F indoor temps this week. It must have been a good deal cooler this morning. Even though the outside temps have risen a couple degrees, it is still below freezing. Oh, I know, we shouldn’t complain — and I don’t think I was — knowing that we have not experienced the bitter cold elsewhere, nor the snow dump that choked air traffic last week. Yet, old farm houses can be a tad drafty.
And the wood supply was low, so I put on another layer for the trip to the barn. Hoar frost covered the lock on the door and I had to twist the key just a bit harder to break the ice.
Here you go, from the Online Etymology Dictionary: hoar O.E. har "gray, venerable, old," the connecting notion being gray hair, from P.Gmc. *khairaz, from PIE *koi- "to shine." German retains the word as a title of respect, in Herr. Of frost, it is recorded in O.E. (hoar-frost is late 13c.), expressing the resemblance of the white feathers of frost to an old man's beard. Used as an attribute of boundary stones in O.E. (probably in ref. to being gray with lichens), hence common in place names.
DW assures me that my own patch of facial hair is not yet in such a state. There are a few hold-outs, not unlike that above, both on the crown and from my ears. “Men age much more gracefully than women.”
We have a ritual: I take the two large rubber baskets out to the barn in a wagon. Filled, I bring each to the back door and DW takes them from there over next to the stove. These cold days we are going through about fifteen logs, and they are not light when loaded and carried. I cannot remember a time she has met me at the door without a smile. And though she had reason not to, this morning was no different.