This was my view this morning as I sat on the couch and wrote. Do you see my poor little dog stuck outside? Why won't I open the door? Because I'm taking a picture, silly.
(Edit: I write a lot about my dog in this post. I think it a reaction to Jody's post about her dear departed Jessie, an ode that had me in tears this morning.)
It's Tuesday. The children are back in school, suffering. Jack is already asking how many days of school are left this year. I don't think they mind school so much; what they mind is having to get out of bed. Me, too.
My alarm went off at 6:55 a.m. The barest hint of light outside, not enough to make you feel like it was time to be up and at 'em. I have to tell you, the thing that undoes my farm dreams is the idea of having to get up early to take care of animals. I would love to have animals, but I want the nocturnal kind. Owls, maybe. Cows with a yin for late night TV.
Travis, badly in need of a trip to the groomers, is my sole companion during most of the day. After I drop off the boys at school and have breakfast, he and I trot around the neighborhood. We're usually out for about forty-five minutes. When it comes to mid-winter walks in the early morning, I have no pride. I look ridiculous, wrapped up in my many scarves and seventeen layers. But I'm warm, and that's all I care about.
When we get back, I make a cup of tea and sit on the couch to commence writing. I have a study upstairs to work in, but Travis isn't allowed upstairs, so I work downstairs. After Travis gets a bite to eat and a sip of water, he sits next to me on the couch and snoozes for the rest of the morning. He is either full speed ahead or napping. This dog has no in-betweens.
The porch is always a little sad in the winter, though I swept it the other day, so it looks more presentable than it has been lately. Sometimes, when it's warmer, I write at this table, Travis asleep at my feet.
I think the word for our yard right now is barren. See the big empty space in the middle? In a couple of months we'll be plowing it up. Mr. Eddie next door is lending us his tiller. We're going to do a big garden this year. I'm about to put in my order to Johnny's Seeds for potatoes and garlic and Bok Choi and all sorts of good stuff. Peas. Maters*. All of it. Winter is a fine time to think about spring gardens. You forget about mosquitoes and weeds and your own sheer laziness. It's all gravy when you're dreaming about your garden in winter.
(*Maters=tomatoes, in case you're unfamiliar with this pronunciation)
The winter garden, as such, has suffered some with our recent snow and the cold snap before it. The collards have risen to the occasion, but the lettuce pooped out, and the carrots didn't stand a chance. I'm going to try planting some more carrots in pots in late February. I really love the idea of growing carrots in pots. We have heavy clay soil around here, and carrots grown in a regular bed come out stunted.
I wrote for two and a half hours this morning, and I'll sit down for an hour this afternoon after I pick up the boys from school to pave the way for tomorrow's work. I'm revising, and so I'm taking out big chunks and putting new stuff in. I have to be careful. If I take out too many chunks too soon, the whole thing collapses and I'm not sure how to rebuild. But a little bit at a time is manageable.
In a few minutes I leave for my fiddle lesson with my new fiddle in hand. I love my teacher, but I sort of dread my lessons, because it's a very nervous-making thing to play for someone else who's actually paying attention. But usually once I get to my lesson, I have a good time. My days are often pretty devoid of people, so it's nice to have company. And to play music with someone.
Winter days scare me a little. There are long stretches of time where I'm not tethered to much but my own imagination. This can make a girl squirrelly. I do a lot better now that I have Travis. Who is, I believe, outside trying to eat my compost pile as I write this.
An experiment: a music video from YouTube--Mr. Guy Clarke singing "Homegrown Tomatoes," to get us through this winter's day. The sound's not great (I think this footage was taken in the '70s), but the song is a personal favorite:
I'm a writer and a stay-at-home mom who keeps meaning to mop the floors because I think it would make me happy if I did. I love books and music and writing, spend entirely too much time in the dentist's chair (I bet I have more crowns than you do), and used to think I was sort of bohemian, but now I wonder. No tattoos. Minivan. That story.