Well, after a very tedious journey, Miss Lily and I made it on Friday night, Dec. 5th, right after sunset. We were both pretty traumatized by the trip; she had the luxury of being able to run and hide. The Strattons were still moving out, taking things not removed by the moving men. Indeed, ten days later, there are still Stratton possessions herein. They took me to dinner at the local Mexican restaurante, where we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table - I didn't think I could remain vertical that long...
Neither Lily nor I slept well that night. A bed might have helped me and a big dose of catnip might have helped her...
Saturday the 6th was a morning of cleaning. I have a new title: King of the 409 (cleaner). The house was left pretty 'unkept' and all of the kitchen cabinets needed to be vacuumed and 409ed before priming and painting the interiors. A local landscaper had offered to lend me three of his men (all from South of the Border) to help me unload at noon. Well, they got lost and I had to go find them. Nonetheless, they were highly efficient and very careful- the entire truck was empty in less than 90 minutes (oh, had the loaders in Santa Fe been half as good...). I now had a mostly dirty house filled with boxes on the ground floor and in the basement.
It was too discouraging to face so I took an hour off and went to WINTERFEST at the Jacksonville Art Center. There two different people offered to give me a ride back from Blacksburg on Monday when I needed to return the rental truck. All engendered good cheer and I returned to the farm, reinvigorated. It was quite cold - I think the high was 26F, a little colder than we had imagines Virginia... checked the propane tank when I got home and HORRORS! The needle on the gauge was flat on ZERO. No propane, no heat, on a night forecast to be 16F. Oh my.
It was time to find and read the manual for the fireplace/furnace. The Strattons had left me with plenty of high BTU oak firewood so I knew at least part of the house would be warm! I read and re-read the manual, loaded the wood and built a fire as it instructed, letting it burn to coal and then loading the firebox with unsplit logs, cutting off the air supply and nearly closing the damper. I was more than a little apprehensive... but it worked as promised and poured out heat until after 6:00 a.m. Saturday night Lily and I both got to sleep on a mattress and did so with gusto, me under a pile of blankets and her on top.
Sunday morning the temperature had fallen only to 20F and the furnace had kept the house at a tolerable temperature; certainly no risk of frozen pipes. It was gusty with a sharp wind from dead north (which has arisen in the wee hours of the morn). The propane truck from Stuart arrived not long after sunrise and son there was enough gas pressure to use the stove to heat water for tea and take a hot shower! Oh, thankful for small favors. I spent most of the day unpacking, vacuuming and 409ing until 2:30 p.m. when it was time to head into town for the holiday parade.
It was hard to guess what sort of parade a village of 450 could muster; one would not be expecting fez-topped Shriners in their funny little cars... As with nearly everything else, Floyd rose to the occasion: the parade lasted slightly longer than 45 minutes (whilst I froze in a chill factor of 18F). The sheriff had both the east-west and north-south state highways closed the entire time. There were homemade floats by civic and church groups, floats sponsored by local enterprises, the antique car club was out in all of its glory (Flora, our Morris Minor convertible will be there next year!), the antique farm tractor club (ooooh, can I puleeeeaaase have one, April, purty please?), the local bands, all of the emergency services, steam engines, Red Rider wagons populated by wee ones in elf costumes being pulled by Moms, etc. It was a wonderful experience - that left me unable to feel my fingers... afterward, guess what? 409, vacuum, box knife. Lily and I both imploded that evening, it had all caught up with us, the adrenaline was long dissipated, as were we, and we fell into deep dreaming about 7:00 o'clock.
Tomorrow I'll detail Monday the 8th and all of the activities of that day; eventually we'll get caught up - me with writing and you with reading.
No cat pictures in MY part of the blog, I promise, well, unless Lily gets us a deer... right now she needs a cuddle and so do I. Bye for now.