The house creaked and groaned, keeping the pups in a constant state of concern. Their little heads lifting with every percussion. Honey has never liked the wind. As a tiny pup she was on the back deck heading to the door after a pee when a gust picked her up and blew her into the walkway. She’s been nervous of its roar ever since. Like elephants they have great memories so a howling wind is always a beast ready to pounce.
There wasn’t as much snow as predicted which I am thankful for but what came down was heavy and frozen in place by the plunging temperatures. Last evening before the storm hit I brought in extra firewood and lined the living room floor with an extra two to three day supply. The wind had already started; ripping at my jacket and stole the hat from my head several times. The snow was still too deep from the last storm so I couldn’t use the wheelbarrow so I carried armloads back and forth, beating a path with my boots until it got dark and my heart pounded out of my chest from the exertion. At my age, I always worry I might have a heart attack out there in the cold, I’d lay there for days before they’d find the human Popsicle I’d become.
More snow is coming Monday. It seems winter has finally arrived with its bag of tricks. Most temperatures have been above 0 so I haven’t been complaining but now they are dipping as if punishment for not heading to Florida. My winter life is all about keeping the house warm or I have to resort to turning on the baseboard heaters and that’s just huge chunks out of the bank account. We’ve already purchased the firewood so it’s like paying twice for heat if I don’t use it.
I look out the living room window and I shudder at the icy grey harbour and more blowing snow. I can feel the cold on the other side of the glass, feel it leaking through the cracks and crannies of an old house, through the insulation and vapour barrier, like icy talons of the walking dead. I am so happy to be inside with a blazing fire in the stove and a fresh brewed coffee to warm my insides. Winters can be tough in Canada, but in Mahone Bay we are lucky that the power doesn’t go out for prolonged periods. I hear horror stories on the radio of people without power in small communities for days, even weeks. If we have an outage it’s serviced quickly because we are independent of Nova Scotia Power. I’m lucky that I have a wood stove that heats the entire house and has a cook top for heating food. Light a few candles and we’re good to go. I also have one of those headlamps so I can hook or read in the darkness. Best purchase ever! I also use it to go to the woodpile in the dark, blazing a trail of light so I don’t trip over my own feet or run into a bear. I live next to the woods, so you never know when that could happen......
It’s brutally bitter today and getting worse this evening. The pups don’t want to play in the snow and within minutes the little guy, Jake, sits and lifts one paw, and gives me the most pitiful look of "save me mom!" I have to run out and rescue him. They have a higher body temperature but their coat is only hair. Imagine when we go out without a hat and how our heads take the full brunt of the temperatures. My guys have coats but their heads, legs and feet are exposed. They feel the bite, do their business quickly and rush to the door. Henri, although bigger and with more natural insulation, drops to his side and lays there for me to rescue him. My babies wouldn’t last long in these conditions. I think of all the little creatures in the forest, it’s amazing they don’t perish, but then again they haven’t been spoiled by lying on warm beds in front of a fire.
I haven’t been to work in days but tomorrow will be the end of Honey’s little recovery at home. After three days of medication, hydration and rest, she is breathing much deeper so I’ll take her to work with me tomorrow. She likes going to work and waits for me at the door now. She takes her job seriously, greeting the customers and friends that come into the shop. Sometimes she barks but it is excitement and she runs up to people with her tail wagging so furiously that her back end sashays to the point of falling over. She loves people, especially men and has never met a dog that she didn’t get along with, no matter how mean they might be. She has skills that girl.