Thursday, January 14, 2016

It's a way of life

During a recent conversation, I had to excuse myself so I could head home. I had been away for nearly six hours, and I needed to get home to tend to the fire.

"You sound like you live like a settler," replied my friend sarcastically.

I guess to some, we do. My house is heated solely from firewood.

Early in the morning before dawn, I emerge from the warmth of my flannel sheets into the cold house and head downstairs to stoke the wood stove. I have no propane, so I can't just turn a dial and wait for my house to get warm. I have to work for it. No matter what the weather, or my mood or health, certain things have to be done. Animals need cared for. Eggs need gathered. Fires need stoked, and firewood brought inside and stacked. I like to think it builds character as well as muscle. 

There is no television as in "cable T.V." We entertain ourselves with books, animals, coloring, games and obviously, the Internet.

The Ranch has become a sort of sanctuary. Without the clamor of television, it's so quiet and the sounds of nature fill the air.  In the evening, we burn candles after dinner, and the dogs fill our seven acres with song; sometimes coyote join in. A neighbor two doors down reported a black bear on his back deck last fall. One evening, across the road in the farmer's field, my daughter and I counted 16 deer. In the evening, we sometimes see half dozen rabbits hopping along in the grass. Foxes bark in the woods around our home. Bald Eagles and Red Tailed Hawks are frequent fliers;  bats swoop in the air at dusk in summer. Field mice scurry across the country road.

We move with the seasons and we never, ever stop.

Somehow living in solitude and in sync with nature grounds me, and I think it grounds my family. Some may see this way of life as difficult; others, desolate. We see it as beautiful.

There is not a day that I miss city life. We have lived at the Ranch almost six years, and I can't imagine ever going back to the suburbs, the luxury of turning a dial for heat or the sounds of traffic filling my ears.