Just bad clothes. There’s truth to that, but finding the right clothes for winter can be a bit of a challenge. When I first left Arizona and moved to Massachusetts I strained the muscles between my ribs because I shook so hard when winter arrived. I’d look out the window and it would be sunny and I’d think, oh great, it’s not that cold. I’d leave with a little jacket and walk about a mile with our St. Bernard. (Named Cosby. Sigh.) I was so cold when I returned to the apartment that I couldn’t stop shivering and literally strained my intercostal muscles.
Finally I learned that sun does not equal warm, and bought a “real” winter coat, which didn’t begin to keep me warm. It looked warm to someone from Arizona, but it wasn’t up to the weather in winter in MA. It’s been a bit of a learning curve, but I have finally learned my lesson. I would count the number of coats and jackets I have, but if I told you the final number I’d have to smother you all in goose down.
I thought about all this while at a sheepdog trial a few weeks ago, where the wind was blowing at 25+ mph, and the temp was in the low 20’s. Sheepdog trials are not events where you walk from the car to the store, or your driveway to your house. You are out there for hours at a time, and if you’re not going to suffer, you’d better be prepared. For reasons I can’t explain I thought it would be amusing to take a photo of all the clothes that I wore that day. Looking at this pile of clothing explains why it isn’t the cold weather that bothers me in winter, nor the dark, which I am beginning to like in my dotage. It’s the *&%^ amount of clothing you have to put on and take off multiple times throughout the day. I weighed what’s in the photo and it weighed 12.5 pounds.
For the record, left to right, up to down: Pink winter underwear top, white turtleneck, crazy warm wool sweater I bought in Scotland that I can’t wear inside without sweating, gloves (not my usual outdoor gloves, can’t find them, argh), hand warmers, silk leggings, jeans, snow pants, Sorel boots (the best, so warm!), wool socks, toe warmers, orange parka, silk neck and chin cover, wool and dog hair hat, made from my first Gr Pyr, Bo Peep. (None of us notice how dirty the parka is, right? Of course we don’t. Okay, it’s on my To Do list, but that’s been subsumed by the “life happens when you are busy making other plans” type of event.)
And yes, I was pretty darn warm. Or at least, warm enough. (And thanks to J for lending me her snow pants on Saturday, I bought the same brand that night.) Trickier was keeping the dogs warm, but between blankets, heating up the car on occasion, parking in the sun and lots of exercise, Maggie did just fine.
MEANWHILE, back on the farm. Can’t write much, Jim’s 93 yr old mom fell, broke her hip and had surgery. We are her caretakers, so it’s been quite a ride. Moving her today to a nursing home for rehab. Also doing lots of volunteer work, more on that at the beginning of the year. Not much time to rest and relax I’m afraid.
I did manage to do some baking and clean out two drawers. The fact that I took a photo of one of them is a testament to how rare what you’re seeing actually is. Jim and I are making bets about how long their organization will last. Don’t hold your breath. Here’s the drawer with cooking utensils.
Next Monday is Christmas, so I’ll be silent that week, but I wish you all the best of all possible holidays. Please give my love to all your creatures, big and small, and thank them for all they do for us.