The First Freeze
October 31, 2011, 11:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Last night was the first night my daughter and I spent in Black Cat Cabin where the temperature dropped to or very close to freezing.  According to my iPhone it is 33 degrees in Charlottesville so it must be a bit cooler out here.  At any rate, we had been gone all weekend and left the heat completely off so it was quite chilly upon our return last evening and it the house never quite warmed up to the point of real comfort before bedtime.

In light of  the lack of a wood stove tutoring session from B, I used only the electric baseboard heat to warm the place up.  But I am so paranoid about the cost of such heating, that I turned the heat way down in most of the rooms including my bedroom.  It was cold enough in my room to keep me relatively awake for a good part of the night despite the snuggly warmth of my flannel pajamas under my down comforter and velvet duvet.

I awoke around 4am and turned up the baseboard in my room but it is still quite chilly.  I dread going down to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for fear of the cold.

A chat with B about the wood stove and firewood for the fireplaces is in order today.

Thankfully the  daily high temperature should reach 60.



Autumn Colors
October 28, 2011, 10:18 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Autumn colors are vibrant here on the farm.  Spanky, the beautiful white gelding and Poppy, a dark mare have been turned out to the back field.  They make lovely additions to the green.  Spanky was so happy to be let loose in the big field yesterday that he galloped around with joy when B finally opened the gate to his freedom.  It is such a pleasure to see such a beautiful horse run, his movements flowing like water in a stream.

The trees that line the field to the east, a little forest actually, are wearing their brightest colors of the season as though they are having one final dress up event before retiring to sleep for the winter.  They are quite flashy in their reds, oranges, yellows, and burgundies offset by the dark evergreens it is quite spectacular.

I long to ride the horses- any horses.  It seems so stupid to be in one of the most horse populated parts of the country and fail to have a way to ride.  I must work on that.  Riding is an activity that makes my heart sing and in the face of all this fear and doubt and work of trying to make a career, be a conscious person and a good parent I need some bliss for balance.

B had the tin parts of the roof painted last week and it looks stunning.  Sprooses the place up.  Perhaps Black Cat Cabin is a metaphor for me.  Getting better and better every day in every way.

Other Bugs
October 26, 2011, 10:14 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yesterday Stink Bugs ruled my thoughts.  Today, the Lady Bug is on my mind.

I like Lady Bugs.  They are cool looking with that half-oval sphere design and itty bitty black stockinged legs.  Like a tiny, highly polished Volkswagon Beetle with a teeny black head, their black spots adding character to their paint job.  I love to watch them move, somehow quite smoothly on whatever surface they are traversing. They, like their armor coated cousins, the Stink Bug crawl in through the cracks of Black Cat Cabin but they are much more polite, quiet like little librarians dotting my lampshade or walls.

I find them engaging and amusing.  I am happy with streams of them flowing in from the cracks in the window pane like a polka-dotted parade announcing late autumn.

It must be fairly cold outside this morning because there is a lack of bug activity in my room.  I left the heat on at about 60 in the pass through room which is directly below my bedroom to keep my room at a reasonably comfortable temperature – chilly but better than really cold. The heat rises through the floor keeping both areas warmish which is an advantage in the morning. Until the wood stove in the great room is fired up or there is wood for the fireplaces in our bedrooms (B has some idea that wood or heat is not needed until the first of November but the good news is that he provides it) the electric base board heat will have to be on in some rooms at night.

Stink Bugs
October 25, 2011, 10:37 am
Filed under: Fun, Stink Bugs

A description of life in Black Cat Cabin would be incomplete without further examining the Stink Bug.

Apparently, Stink Bugs, as they are commonly known in this part of the world, came from Asia and are a pest.  While they are relatively harmless indoors they are reasonably unattractive and make an annoying buzzing sound when they fly.  They enter homes through cracks (as previously mentioned there are many in the cabin) and are attracted to light so they tend to congregate in the sunroom and my bedroom which has a 2 ft square window in the upper ceiling that faces west.

I have become accustomed to their buzzing about the sunroom when I am working but their noise disturbs me at night while I am reading in bed.  Generally, they stop flying around as soon as I turn the lights out but I still find the noise bothersome.

They are called “stink bugs” because if you squish one they emit a mildly unpleasant odor.

The one joy I find in these little brownish-grey housemates is flicking them.  They are rather docile and slow so, unlike a fly which avoids human touch rather expertly, you can approach a Stink Bug.  They just sit there while you arrange your thumb and finger in the traditional flicking position right next to their body and ping, they hurdle through the air making a wonderful small, solid noise when they hit whatever piece of furniture or wall inhibits their involuntary flight.

Please know that I refrain from actively pursuing the sport of flicking Stink Bugs. I do NOT go around my house in search of the shield shaped buggers to flick them about. I only flick the ones that are in my way for whatever reason (on my computer keys, climbing up the lamp stem on my desk or lounging on the book I plan to read for example) but it is the sort of simple FUN one relishes in the country.

These little buggers live with us in Back Cat Cabin

A Pink Mist
October 23, 2011, 11:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Dawn is coming later now.  At 6:48am when I first peeked out my bedroom window it was still dark outside. A trip to the sunroom revealed a sliver of orange light outlining black treetops that divide the near east field and the pond.  Now, nearly a half hour later, a rosy pink mist is rolling over the trees, spilling into the all the fields.  It is quite feminine in color and soft glow.  It reminds me of the effect of a pink scarf  that Blanche DuBois tossed over the lampshade to bring a more flattering hugh to aging face.

This is a high mist hovering in the treetops leaving the ground bright green.  It is very different from the ground mist that sometimes sneaks over the land, slithering in silently like a snake and covering the grass in thick grey.

The pink fades to white as the sun rises a bit higher in the sky. The bright colors of autumn leaves are softened as the mist mingles with them.

Mornings are the most magical time of the day.

October 21, 2011, 10:54 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I am away from Black Cat Cabin this morning.  Staying in a familiar house in Olde Towne, Alexandria, the cabin seems far away and rather surreal.  This city house is familiar to me.  A big part of my past.  Once I considered it old and a bit scary but now it is renovated, perfectly modernized and tightened up.  Once it had mice and a raccoon scurrying through the walls.  Now it is tight as a drum and free of all living things except the dog and people who are supposed to inhabit it.  This house feels a little dead to me, a bit sterile, after spending two months in the cabin which shelters many sorts of animals.

Being in the city is wonderful.  It is so full of a buzzing sort of energy.  But in contrast, it makes me appreciate the serenity of the the cabin and the open fields surrounding it.  The energy at the cabin is still and grounding.  My energy can truly settle.  There are few distractions and most of them are natural like the sound of the wind slipping through the cracks in the windows yesterday, a dog barking, a goose honking from its foraging foray in the back field, the pounding of a horses galloping hoof-steps or catching a glimpse of a deer effortlessly leaping over a fence.


The Wind
October 20, 2011, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Right now the wind is blowing through Black Cat Cabin. The sunroom where my office is, is relatively warm because it sits off the back side of the house (the south side) and has windows on three sides (east, south and west) so that it is exposed to the sun all day long.  Even though  I can feel the wind blowing through the ill fitted, un-protected window panes, the sun beaming in from the south set of windows is keeping the room at a tolerable temperature.  Having the glass french doors that separate the sunroom from  the great room closed helps too.

Right now I am grateful for the brick floor in this room that sucks up sun heat like a pizza oven and aids in warming up the room as I type away listening to the wind whip under the room, between the beams that hold it up from the back of the house.

Right now I am chewing a pinch of homemade trail mix and silently scolding myself for failing to keep a continuing stream of typing going in an attempt to teach myself better writing skills by “getting it all down before editing”.  I taste the salty cashews mixed with chocolate chips and dried cranberries, a texture and flavor carnival in my mouth, knowing that the chocolate will make me feel sick later and probably cause me to be a bit hyper which is never good.

Right now I think that it is too difficult to be disciplined all the time – particularly when stressed and worried about the wind combined with colder days ahead.