Contemplating January

We had a string of cold wet days so I’m beginning to prepare for winter. Most of the preparation is of the mental kind. A lot of self talk: “You can do this. This is winter number 28 and so far you haven’t expired from the cold and no one has killed you because of your relentless weather whining.”


Labor day weekend I was at Dr. Doctor’s house in the middle of the middle of nowhere. It was chilly in the mornings when I went outside to say good morning to Beatrice. The slight chill most September mornings hold is the early warning system of cold, dry windy days ahead. We have trees turning along the roadsides. People are remarking this is a sign of a hard winter. But those people forget that every year there is a hint of gold and a hint of chill  in early September.


I’ve been in the Yellow House during winter. February was one of the coldest on records. But the house was made warm with two dogs plus two funny and dear housemates. Brother will be leaving the yellow house this winter. And oh how his leveling spirit and sudden bursts of merry erudite humor will be missed. Plus—truth told—he is the better cook. Mr. C is hoping to return to this side of the country in November. I’m hopeful this comes true because his big jovial spirit warms up a room the second he enters. Plus, I won’t have to light the kerosene heaters and can leave it for him. Last winter, I had an excuse: “I can’t bend over like that.” This winter? No excuses and frankly I’ll not break my back again just avoid setting a match to an invisible gas source.


Part of my preparations are overkill. I’m cooking and freezing just in case I can’t leave the driveway. I’ll have something for dinner beyond ancient canned goods in the very real event Mr. C can’t return until late winter and I will be without suitable snow day transportation. Unless I can find a beater SUV to use on snow days. Fingers crossed on this one.


I’m shopping heating fuel as carefully as I did my new winter boots. Our house is heated by an oil burner but heating oil is unheard of in this part of the country so Mr. C uses diesel. I never dreamed I would be calling companies to ask about bulk fuel purchases. When I was discussing the cost with Mr. C I know he heard my mental gasp. But once he broke it down I realized it was the same amount of money I usually spend on heating a house. I’m determined to get the best deal. Isn’t it a shame I can’t buy hundreds of gallons of diesel via Amazon prime or Ebay?


Winter usually evolves into a state of mind for me more than a state of the weather. But I live in a house that affords lots of light and has stout storm windows. Now it’s just a matter of adopting a summer attitude even in January.  I’ve got 108 days to prepare.

About Laura

When my nest emptied I moved from the big city to a little big town to tend to a ramshackle yellow house on the edge of town. These are my Yellow House Days.
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7 Responses to Contemplating January

  1. efloraross says:

    I so do not miss winter! Moved to Florida 12 years ago to get away from it. I do miss fall, but that was the tradeoff. Hope this winter is mild, and spring comes early for you! 🙂


  2. Michelle says:

    Oh man…I don’t want to think about January yet…


  3. This is the first thing I’ve read that has the winter feel to it. We haven’t had rain in N. Calif. in so long that I looked at your sentence about yours with longing. I can picture you there in winter and know there will be some good posts. I’m amazed at how well you have made the big change to rural life.


    • Laura says:

      Fortunately, the house has a lot of windows and we sit on an open field with foothills on the horizon. Unfortunately, I’ll be beat to death by the wind. I was ready to trade a large city, Denver for a smaller city/big town (Loveland) which makes all the difference. I know the drought is terrible in California. We would send you rain if we could.


  4. TJ says:

    Reading this made me remember thirty years of the weather in Ohio. I, too, live in Florida now and don’t miss A DANG THING. I always had a huge yard with lots of trees in Ohio, so I’ve raked my share of leaves in the Fall. Over and over again. Then one more time. I can visit the leaves if I get desperate enough to see some Fall foliage. Spring lasts about 10 minutes in Ohio, so don’t even remember that. Oh, yeah, except for the memory of always having to wear a heavy winter coat over my lovely, spring Easter dresses.

    I admire you for toughing it out- especially with your back injury!


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