Sunday, February 24, 2008

Round Oak Heater

The old stove wasn't much to look at. Black with a silver belt around its middle. Cast iron. The words, "Round Oak" prominently displayed near its top. It stood on the floor near the south wall of the dining room in our old farm house. Along with the cook stove in the kitchen, it tried to heat the drafty place.

Starting in late October, with the help of a couple husky neighbors, we hauled the stove into the dining room from the woodshed where it had spent the warm months. With considerable, "a little this way, no a little that way," and some words not printable, we finally lined up the stove with the stove pipe hole in the floor above it.

Pa closed off the rest of the house, meaning we lived in the kitchen and dining room until the following March. We spent a lot of time huddled by that old heater, especially on below zero mornings. (Our upstairs bedroom was not heated. It depended on the the trickle of heat from the stove pipe that thrust through the room and into the chimney.)

One of the chores for my brothers and me was to keep a pile of chunk wood handy to shove into that hungry old monster. This meant lugging wood into the house from the woodpile out back.

We learned some never forgotten lessons, the most important being patience and right next to it faith. Patience that winter takes awhile, and faith that spring will once more return.

The Old Timer says: "Listen to the quiet on a night when the temperature hovers around zero, a cold moon hangs low on the horizon and not a creature is stirring."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Snow and More Snow

The snow keeps piling up. A new storm every three days it seems. And none of these wimpy "dustings." Three inches, four inches, ten inches, a foot. Serious snow.

When I was a kid on the farm, such fun we had during the snowy days of winter--skiing, sleding. And the not so fun part. Shoveling paths to the pump house, to the chicken house, to the granary, to the barn, to the straw stack, and how could I forget, to the outhouse that on these winter days was as cold as an ice house.

The Old Timer Says: "These snowy days are great days for reading a book."