Friday, January 3, 2014
Though we now had the propane heater, we were still using the electric space heaters in the bedroom at night. The night before, I had to put on more layers for the first time since we got the propane heater.
When I woke up, I checked the thermometer and it was 10 degrees outside. I wish I had noted the temperature every day in my journal. It’s something I’m going to try to remember to do next time we go up there. Odd as it sounds, remembering what the temperature was like triggers all sorts of other memories.
Outside, it was another frosty wonderland.
The pond across the road even had a thin sheen of ice on it.
We needed to go to Jasper one last time to finish up some work we were doing. As we were leaving, P and A (the Sellers) came driving down the hill and pulled in our drive. They were on their way out to run an errand, and stopped to tell us goodbye.
We chit chatted for a while. In the course of the conversations, P mentioned that maybe in the summer when were there for good, she and I could go visit her brother to see his hen house. This idea excited me to no end. I recounted earlier how I had met him once. He keeps bees, and P had given me some of his honey, so I knew who he was. Then, I finally got to meet him one day when I had gone up the hill to visit P. He is one serious Ozark Mountain Man. He commands respect just by the look in his eye, and I have no doubt he is one serious chicken keeper. I can’t wait to see his hen house!
The seller’s wife also gave me some of her brother’s honey. He has his own bees. I was actually able to meet him the other day and thank him for it. He didn’t have much to say, but he did say that if we didn’t have more rain, there wouldn’t be any more honey. The weather is everything here. I was inclined to believe him about anything he had to say about these parts. He also pointed to the mountain in the distance and said, “I live right over there.”
Before we left, P handed me a gift…a Devotional book called, “Moving Mountains.” The cover is made of leather, with a couple of mountain tops pressed into the cover. It brought tears to my eyes when she gave it to me. It’s beautiful! I love the title of it, seeing how our place is in the Ozark Mountains. One thing I really like about it is that the devotionals are not dated, so if you miss a day or two, you don’t have to feel obligated to ‘catch up’.
We said our goodbyes, and we headed down the gravel road to Jasper. The drive is so beautiful, and crosses National Forest land about three times. I hope and pray that I never get so use to it, that it’s beauty ceases to take my breath away.
The Hardware store in Jasper had a little bit of everything. It was the most unique store I’ve ever been into as far as the variety of things they offered. There were refrigerators and microwaves, electrical cord you cut off the spool, kitchen gadgets, dishes, rockers, furniture, wood stoves…plus all of the normal hardware things you would find in a regular hardware store.
I ducked into the grocery store next door…tiny, by my current standards. Where are the plantains, man? …and what about the all natural peanut butter? Pbbbbttt! Thankfully, I only need a few things, which included a head of lettuce for the chickens to eat on the way home.
We stopped by the Feed Store on the way out of Jasper. It was a ramshackled building…one of those that has several doors, of which none look like the entry door. We chose the right door, and made it inside. As we walked in, I thought I had stepped on holy ground. This was no ordinary ‘city-slicker’ Feed Store. This was the ‘real deal’. There were several overall-ed, boot-clad men hanging out at the counter. These were guys who farmed and cattled for a living. They were just there shooting the breeze, and I got the idea that it was akin to policemen who hang out at the Donut Shop. I instinctively knew that THIS was where the REAL news could be found.
They all knew each other by first name and were ribbing each other with comments. I felt sort of out of place, but I was thinkin’ that next time I went there, I might want to put on my overalls and snake boots and shoot the breeze with those old-timers. If I get really brave, I might ask to sit in the old wooden rocking chair beside the counter while I do it.
The lady at the counter was nice enough. I needed pine wood shavings to replenish what the chickens had scratched out of their cages on the way up, and also for the hen house floor. I felt like my backyard chicken status was oozing from pores. They tried not to stare. I’m sure they could tell I was a city-slicker, but their faces, nor their attitudes belied it. They were all very nice. A man carried the wood shavings out to our car. We thanked him and left.
When we got back home, I burned trash and Bud continued working on the bathroom. I also started packing and fixed some grilled chicken strips in tortillas for lunch.
Our plan was to leave in the wee hours of Saturday Morning. After dark, Bud approached me and said that though it sounded crazy, he had a feeling that we needed to leave that night (without sleep). There was a cold front approaching that was supposed to be really bad with ice, and he wanted to beat it.
We each took a bath and we finished packing. I loaded up the chickens. Bud turned off the water to the house, and took care of things that needed to be taken care of for an extended leave. It was bitterly cold. We ended up leaving around 10:00 p.m.
When we turned off all of the lights inside and out and stepped out on the porch to lock the door, we couldn’t see! It was absolutely pitch black. I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. That was a scary feeling. Bud went back inside and got a flashlight. We made it to the car and took off.
The drive home was brutal! It was so hard to keep my eyes open at times. We stopped a lot for coffee and sugar, and we also stopped for bathroom breaks A LOT! We also had to stop a lot so Bud could adjust things in the trailer, and retie the tarp.The tarp covering the trailer was ripped to shreds by the time we got home. We also lost our chicken waterer and chicken feeder, and didn’t even know when it happened.
We got home around 8:30 a.m. Surprisingly, we got our second wind the minute we pulled into the driveway. Funny, how all you can think about for 11 hours is crawling straight into bed when you get home, and when you get there, you start unpacking and washing and other things.
We ordered pizza for supper, and were in bed by 6:00 p.m. We slept solidly for 12 hours.