Jessie: In the bitter cold of a New Hampshire valley.

I’m not sure about where you all are at but where I am, it has been cold. Maddeningly cold. The kind of cold that gleefully wiggles its way into even the tightest new houses with the best sorts of insulation and newfangled windows. My house was built in 1875. From the feel of things around here this week the insulation is original and whatever cold the newfangled windows are keeping out, the walls have been letting in. I hear myself grumbling and muttering about kids that can’t be bothered to close the doors. Then I realize the draft isn’t from any open door. It’s simply pulsing through the walls.

The wind races down the hills and into the valley village in which I live and throws its best efforts behind peeling off our roof. As hard as our new furnace is trying, it can’t get the house warmer than 61.5 degrees, even with a pellet stove going in the kitchen. I’ve taken to wearing my bathrobe all day, over long johns, a sweat suit, an Icelandic sweater and a mohair shawl. Lately, in our house, a nightcap is not a pleasant evening cocktail but an essential piece of survival gear knitted of bulky weight wool.

So why do we live here? Why stay in a place where you wonder about the logistics of showering with your clothes on because the idea of taking off even a single layer makes a slushy tear slide down your cheek?photo 3

Turkeys, that’s why.IMG_1664 When I look out my kitchen window, as I slowly rotate myself in front of the pellet stove, I get to see a flock of turkeys perched on the treehouse in the back yard. They arrived with the bitter cold and helped themselves to the crabapples I never got around to turning into jelly last fall.  I love to see them waddling around on large, careful feet, trudging the path my husband carved to access the compost bin.

It really is the little things that make life such a pleasure. Even in the depths of winter.

Which little things make your life a pleasure?

14 Thoughts

  1. We had a family of turkeys in our backyard this Summer/Fall. Seven little ones – until they weren’t! Now they are grown and we see just three at a time making their way across. We also have a Momma deer and her two children that watchfully cross. New England may be cold, but it has a lot to recommend it – just don’t say it too loudly or we may not have backyards where the wildlife can roam and the birds can perch. 🙂

    1. Gram, Hanscom Air Force Base is near Bedford, MA. Usually no one wants to be stationed there and then no one wants to leave. They call it the best kept secret in the Air Force. We had the pleasure of living on base for three years and another two in Bedford. I know what you mean about not saying it too loudly!

    2. I’ll be sure not to sing too many more New England praises. At least not until I’ve balanced it out with a few comments about power outages and black flies!

  2. Turkeys make me smile, too. Also: Sunlight glistening off every tiny crystal in fresh snow. The cleanness of winter air on a clear day even when it takes your breath away. Not having to worry much about the layer of extra padding across my midsection because of all the bulky winter clothes. Watching fresh snow fall. And then, this California girl’s favorite, cross country skiing on that fresh snow on a quiet sunny day. That’s why I’m a New Englander now.

  3. My first encounter with a Massachusetts turkey was on a busy road near Concord. The idiot bird sauntered out from a driveway, stopped in the middle of the road and looked at all the traffic (which had stopped in both directions), then wandered back the way he came. They are stupid birds, aren’t they?

    I love Victorian houses, but while you’re looking at the high ceilings, and the large single-pane windows framing the snow-covered landscape, you have to figure the inhabitants thought they had endless supplies of heating fuel (not to mention a couple of servants to cut the wood and stoke the furnace). Or like you they wore multiple layers of clothes (they certainly weren’t hanging them in the skimpy closets provided!).

    I enjoy watching the cardinal family at my birdfeeder–they all look out for each other, and the red feathers are so lovely against the snow.

  4. The bitter cold small town also often comes with a friendly neighbor who stops by with a bucket of sand and who takes the time to spread it because they were worried you and your children might slip and fall. I may grumble and complain as I sit curled under a blanket but I wouldn’t trade my small town in northern New England for anywhere in the world. Added bonus of course is that my home is only 5.3 miles from my favorite best selling author!

  5. My house is a tad warmer but air handlers aren’t designed to work in this kind of cold! I like winter from a distance, through a window when I don’t have to go out!

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