Archive for January, 2014

The Wild Whims of January 2014

Back in the good ole days January was cold. Cold. COLD. We would ice-skate for weeks on frozen ponds, glide across ice-crusted snow on our toboggans, and endured  bitter, blowing snow that piled drifts over fences, bushes and driveways.  The bad snow storms were called blizzards.

Fast forward to January 2014.  The weather channels hype the storms calling them an Atlas or Arctic Vortex and giving them names.  We never heard of an Atlas Blizzard or Arctic Vortex before this winter. The mid-west and northern states have experienced some cruel weather this year that should be classified in the extreme weather categories.   But Virginia? When we had our first winter blast of arctic cold earlier in the month they said anyone under 40 would not remember this cold of weather!  And it was cold. Zero degrees begs to be taken seriously. It is dangerously cold and the wind chill makes it even colder. People and animals can die if not properly protected.  We must prepare,take cautions and use common sense. It lasted two days.

My parents generation walked to school. One lady told me last week that she walked 3 miles one way to school every day, including winter. Snow days meant you were walking to school in the snow not sitting at home watching TV or sleeping until midmorning.  This week school canceled when the prediction of snow (2-4 inches) was to start at 4 PM and they were only going a half day because of exams. What kind of wimps have we become?  It is called fear. Fear of a lawsuit.

January is suppose to be cold. I remember one winter years ago-maybe in the late 70’s- when we had frigid weather most of the month here in central Virginia. The water pipes froze in the ground and with the dairy farm that was a huge mess and problem. We thought winter would never end. Old timers talk about ice-skating on the James River.  I can’t imagine how cold it would have to be to freeze the mighty James.

This year January has been unique.  In the first 23 days we have had 8 days of rain ( 3.1 “) and 2 snow storms (1″ and 2”). Half of those days were sunny and gorgeous with temperatures soaring to 60 degrees and half were cold, windy and FRIGID!  I wrote on the calendar 18 degrees on the 4th, 42 on the 6th and 0 on the 7th. It was a balmy, warm 55 on the 11th, COLD on the 18th and 60 degrees on the 20th. The last three days were cold, snowy and in the teens.  And I must not fail to mention the fog, mud, stunning sunsets, gorgeous sunrises, and the thunder and lightning storm.

I think January 2014 will properly be remembered for it’s wild whims and we still have 8 days to go!

A few pictures highlighting the month….

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When Hubby Comes Home

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Yep, hubby is home!

Tis’ sweet!

When Hubby is Gone

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I love my hubby and I miss him terribly when he is gone but once in a while it is fun when he packs his bags and leaves!  It is amazing how fast I can fill up my social calendar.  Wednesday night we had church, Thursday night I babysat my grandson and tonight I had “girlfriend night”.   I just don’t do that when he is home.   This evening two of my special friends, Donna and Sheila, and I went to a Mexican restaurant.  We sat and talked and laughed until we felt guilty for taking up table space when there was a line of people waiting to eat.  Tomorrow night these gals are coming over for soup and game night.  I have a new recipe I want to try and then we are going to try to remember how to play “golf”, a card game.  My hubby is not a “game” person and only on rare occasion can I convince him to play with me.  I love to play games.

It is funny how different it feels when hubby is gone. The house is quiet, I don’t cook, and everything stays in its place.  There is a different pace and it almost feels  like a vacation to me-as long as things go well. I have had more than one crisis when he was gone.  But, I also know he is coming back home in a few days. It wouldn’t feel so good if it was permanent; the quiet house would be lonely, it wouldn’t be fun to eat by myself and I probably would cherish the thought of being able to pick up a little annoying clutter.

There is also extra work to do when Gene is gone. In fact, it takes several people to fill his shoes. I have to fill the wood furnaces, do the banking, take care of his dog and manage the business all by myself. I do have good helpers and they chip in like good troopers. Sam has had his plate extra full and has had to pull some extra hours  doing his regular jobs plus feeding the cows hay and whatever else pops up that needs to be done.

When hubby is gone he always calls and it is reminiscent of dating days to curl up on the sofa and chat on the phone, catching up on our day.

When hubby is gone I always anticipate his coming home.  It is good to be together again and  settle back into our normal routine.  It always makes me appreciate what he does, who he is and what he means to me.

Occasionally I like when hubby is gone, but what I really love is when hubby is home.  That my friends, is when life is good.

Mud, Mud and More Mud

I keep thinking I am going to write a post and then come up blank with nothing to write about!!! That is bad news for a writer. Either you have writer’s block, nothing worthwhile left to say or life is humdrum!

Life is not exactly humdrum right now but neither is there anything very exciting happening except for….. rain, rain and more rain.  There is a farmer mathematical formula for this.  Lots of rain+animals=mud.  Mud on the farm is anything but exciting. It is downright discouraging and has a huge tendency to make one grumble and complain!  It sticks to your boots, tractor tires,  and tracks into the laundry room. The cattle sink up to their knees in the  deep, sloppy muddy areas where they gather to eat and drink. The tractor ruts up the access driveways in the fields while feeding hay and the lane is full of mud puddles.

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The other day I was reminded of the song “Count Your Blessings” penned by Johnson Oatman Jr.  and have been humming it all week.

  1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
    When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

    • Refrain:
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      *Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
  2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
    Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
    Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
    And you will keep singing as the days go by.
  3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
    Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
    Count your many blessings—money cannot buy
    Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
  4. So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
    Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
    Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
    Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Don’t you wonder what Johnson was facing when he penned those words in 1897?  I did some looking on the internet but could not find a story, just bits of a biography about Mr. Oatman.  He was born in Medford, New Jersey on April 21, 1856 and grew up singing hymns with his father.  When he was 19, he joined the Methodist church and years later was granted a license to preach in the local Methodist  congregations. By trade he was in the mercantile business and later became administrator for a large insurance company in New Jersey.  Either one of those trades would be enough to make one have to stop and count their blessings. He wrote over 5,000 hymns and “Count Your Many Blessings” is considered to be one of the most beloved and finest of his writings.

So now I need to count my blessings AND name them….

  • It could be snow, snow, snow and that is worse, worse, worse!  (Remember 1 inch of rain is equal to 10 inches of snow).
  • The frigid, cold, zero degree temperatures that we had 2 days last week could have lasted all month.
  • We did not have any pipes to freeze or break.
  • In between the rainy days the sun shines.
  • I have a warm house to live in, food to eat, clothes to wear and electricity.
  • I have a husband who loves me, children and grandchildren.
  • We are healthy.
  • We live in a land that still allows religious freedom.
  • We enjoy life in the country and on the farm.
  • We have friends and a wonderful church family.

…..and my list could go on and on.

Hey, what is a little mud?  It just means that God is putting moisture in the ground, filling up the streams, rivers, and wells.  It means that going into the spring there will be plenty of moisture for the pastures, hay fields and gardens.  Living in an area that can very quickly turn dry, this is vital for a farmer.

I am reminded that February often brings snow but then the drying March winds are just around the corner.  So for now, I will just count my blessings and dream of May flowers. I will skip the April showers…just for now.  It may not be long and who knows, we will be praying for rain again!!!

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