There was a moment last week, brief as it was, that we almost felt Spring around the corner. We were convinced enough of its impending arrival that we tapped some of the maple trees in the yard of the farm we are house and pet sitting at until the end of the month. This is our first experience with tapping trees and we were very eager! We think we may have managed to get about ½ a cup of sap before winter pounded back upon us. Sadly, the amount we garnered would likely boil down to create enough maple syrup to cover the head of a pin :). Yet it was enough to feed our excitement – and we each drank an initiatory drop.
When winter showed its face again, it was serious. Two days ago we got 20-25 cm (8-10 inches) of snow. And this morning we awoke to about another 40 cm (15 inches) of fresh, light, blowing crystals. The plow came last night to prep our driveway for today’s load and he said he really wasn’t sure where all that was predicted was going to go. Thankfully, we love winter (as much as we enjoy each season for what it has to offer) and, though the dogs weren’t too thrilled at the snow drifts they had to get through on the front deck this morning, we have had fun being outside and making trails for them to walk on.
The return of winter has meant we have been snowed in – with no going anywhere – not even for our usual long walks. Even with the snowshoes and a well trodden path the walking has been curtailed for both humans and dogs. So, we’ve often settled ourselves in for comfy cozy time with tea in hand and lots of good conversation. Recently, as we’ve been gazing through the window to see the resplendent pheasants and brilliant snow buntings landing on the frozen whiteness around the bird feeders, we’ve been trying to imagine what our first winter in Tiny will be like. We are guessing we’ll be plenty warm in such a small space with our beautiful propane stove. This winter is a good reminder to make sure we have extra fuel on hand when big storms are predicted, as we may not be able to get out the driveway for days in a row! We’ve sat here reviewing and reconsidering our choice to go with propane heat (with electric back up) instead of wood. We love wood heat. There’s nothing quite like it. And propane is a non renewable resource. We know. We debated back and forth for months about this one and in the end, propane won out for our small space and questions about the potential of overheating, the need to always be present to feed a woodstove, and it’s potential messiness in a small space. As we’ve watched the snow drifts create themselves amidst our recent storms, blocking both doors and windows, we’ve also discussed the importance of having at least one window in Tiny that we can exit through. Our front door will open outward and if the snow drifts are too high it’s possible we may not be able to open it!
It’s so easy to doubt ourselves. We know that we’ve thought about Tiny for almost 2 years before taking the leap to have her built and that we made the best decisions we could considering all the circumstances: financial, accessibility of building materials and other components, roadworthiness, health considerations, etc. Similarly, we continue to explore options for where to land with Tiny and how to manifest paid work that really fits into our re-visioned lifestyle. We are clear about our priorities and about wanting our relationships and spirit at the center of our lives. We also know that the path we are wandering cannot be well defined ahead of time as it is unique to who we are and one we are creating ourselves as we slowly move forward. As we do so, we are experiencing how easy it is to fall off track; to get pulled into a cultural way of being that really isn’t what we want to choose for ourselves. But the pull is soooo powerful – somewhat like a vortex. We find ourselves having to stop often and refocus and recall our deepest motivations and beliefs about who we are, how we we want to be, and what we want to offer to the world. We can wander into places of fear and doubt, and we need to remember to challenge active pressures around money. We know we want to live with fewer financial demands, but we still carry the standards of choices one should make on our shoulders, and from time to time they can make us pretty anxious. Then we remember to return to the here and now, and realize how delighted we are by the gifts of our lives.
And so, we return to dreaming about our first winter in Tiny. We aren’t quite there yet, though you can see from these photos (thanks Ashley & Matt), much progress is being made! As we sit with the snow seemingly climbing up the farmhouse windows we can still see out them and light still makes its way in, shining light on our questions. We’ve got light! And Tiny has windows!!