In a kind of poetic turn, it is snowing here...the first real snow in our home. The furniture that is water logged will arrive to a white cold landscape. The pellet stove does little to warm the living room, and the wood stove is cranking away, but I turned up the heat anyway. It is the first real test of our radiant heating in the kitchen and in my writing "nook".
H and I were at the dinner table last night, catching up on the week and we began to create a new list of things that are part of this new life. Back in January, we had created two lists when we finally reached agreement with the sellers on a price for the house: "things we won't miss" and "things we are looking forward to". The new list is "things we have now done for the first time and won't have to wonder about this time next year." It is a way of remembering the newness of this place, and of not taking for granted all that has come with finding "home". Of course there will be the perennials that will come up in the Spring that will be new. There will be the first green of the leaves that will eventually swallow the horizon line of mountains. People write paeans to the discovery of a clump of snowbells in March, or the smell of the sugaring arch (me among them). But this is a different kind of list....
- There's the valve that turns off the outdoor spigot for the hose. H traced the pipe to the likely valve, but we couldn't turn off the flow. Derrick, the young man who does odd jobs for us, turned the same valve, presumably harder, and the flow stopped. We will know that valve is the right one next year and we will be more assertive.
- There's the storm windows - some are the triple track kind and I got most of them in place, but H worked with our friend Jonno last summer to take the full size ones off the dormer windows upstairs, and Derrick put them back on earlier in the week. It was a task that was familiar to H from his childhood, but he had never done it, and now, he has. It is, after all, part of owning a home.
- We split about 3 cords of wood earlier in the year. Neither of us had ever used a splitter before, but with the help of our friends Emmett (and his splitter), Grazyna and Howard, we split and stacked the wood from two standing dead trees that our friends the Teers brought down in exchange for sugaring our trees.
- There's the lawnmower saga of course...finding where the hills and divits are and how to remove the towing canvas with metal teeth that wrapped itself round the axle.
- And the figuring out of which switch controls which light.
- There's learning not to micro-manage the pellet stove, and learning how to clean it, and learning which pellets we prefer - soft or hardwood or a blend, and the nature of "fines" and ash
- There's the learning of which rooms we use a lot, and which ones rarely, and which chairs feel better here than they did where we lived before.
- There's the attic vent thing....Our friend and contractor Matt, put in two new vents in the barn/ garage / pool room yesterday. He bought two pre-made boxes with louvers, but he described the way he makes a kind of box behind them so that the snow that blows in, doesn't melt into the insulation and stain the ceiling. He removed two of the battens on the outer wall, leaving a whitish area, but he will pre-age the siding so they don't show as much. Next year we won't be thinking about the attic vents at all.
- And Matt showed me how to take down the light fixture in the shower so I could clean it (flies!), and identified the third switch as a night light rather than a defective heater....
But there is some irony in the fact that the furniture from my childhood will be arriving here eventually...the chest of drawers that was in the dining room and held the bed sheets which are already here, the rocker that was my grandmother or great grandmother's. It is easier to transport our memories as they are held in objects, than it is the rituals that make up the embeddedness of home. At the moment, I am carrying both within me and feel a bit "verklempt".