The rodent called it right – Winter has returned!

Wow, new refrigerator. Neat!

But I guessed right – the drivers were not told anything about our situation, including the correct address. As I stood in my kitchen window yesterday morning at 9:06 I saw a huuuuge unmarked delivery van sail by my driveway, and I just knew.

“An-deeeeee!” I hollered at my husband, who was in the garage, pushing things around to make a temporary space for the old fridge, until we could haul it to our son’s house in Pair-o-dice. He had already seen the truck, and was trotting up our driveway to flag them down. They had stopped at the neighbor’s house – I’ll say, the addresses on our street, with a lot of flag lots, are confusing. I watched the driver jump back in his truck and turn it around – it was swaying and bobbing as he hit one pot hole after another.

That was nothing – you should have seen the looks on their faces when they saw the stairs into the apartment. Nope – all my careful instructions had been in vain. They were so surprised I was afraid they would turn on their tails and make a run for it.

Especially when they saw our old fridge – it’s a big sucker, especially compared to a little tiny delivery man. Young fellows too, I must say, very brave. Watching them scootch that big mother down those stairs made me nauseous, I was positive somebody – maybe the old fridge – was going to get it.

So I went back into the kitchen and hid in the refrigerator nook, calling out for progress reports. When I heard the wheels hit the cement of the patio I just about barfed with relief. After that epic struggle they brought in the new unit without a hitch.

By 10 am we had sent the boys on their way, replaced all our groceries in the new unit, packed up the truck, and were headed up to the camp shack.   Weatherman predicted a rousing comeback for Winter – I knew it, Punxatawny Phil is the man to watch. He said we’d get six more weeks, and sheesh! – he wasn’t kidding. Last week we had lows in the 40’s – within a few days, nighttime temps were back around 31.  We decided to bail out of the apartment for the cold spell and sit it out by the wood stove at the camp shack. We left the heater on 53 to safeguard the pipes and turned off everything else but the new fridge and the box freezer. Doing this a few times a month has kept our PG&E bill under a hundred dollars.

Clouds were skirting in – weird weather, clear and COLD at night and daytime temps in the 60’s with clouds rolling along in sunny skies. As we headed east the sky got darker and darker, a sprinkle of rain hit our windshield as we mounted Hwy 32.

The feathery snowflakes started to appear a mile or so above The Store, but it didn’t look like it would stick. By the time we got to the shack, we had minutes to get our stuff out of the back of the F-150, and secure the rest of the load with a tarp. We’d brought some furniture, our old bed frame and some other comforts, thinking we’d have time before the storm hit to move them in. No such luck!

Within 20 minutes the snow was piling up on the ground. The canyon had disappeared.


Within 20 minutes the patio was covered with powder.

The old thermometer on the front door that registered 41 degrees when we arrived had dropped to 39. We always keep a box of kindling in the cabin, so we had the stove going pretty quickly, and before we knew it, the temperature in the cabin had climbed to 55, so we could sit inside and watch the storm in comfort.

It didn’t last an hour. The recovery was dramatic. The sun came out and the ground around us glistened, while the eaves drummed with snow melt. 

But it’s still very cold – this morning the old thermometer outside the door registers 24 degrees. I woke up in the night worrying about my sensitive plants back in town  – we had rounded some up under freeze cloth on the front patio, and even set a fan on a timer in the greenhouse for my aloe vera. I don’t think it got to 24 in Chico, but probably cold enough to do some damage.

The nopalitos take a beating, but they’ll come back. 

Today I will rake and burn, stay close to the piles, set a few potatoes in the coals. 

I hope you’re all snug.



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