Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Despairing over the Cold

Poverty Stricken Family Huddling Around a Wood Stove in Their Home

This is the time of year when despairing over the cold is common for me.   Last month we ran out of oil to heat part of this large 1800's house. I had an emergency delivery arrive the following morning.  It happened again the other night.  I was woken up in the middle of the night because there was no heat.  It was below zero outside and the temperature was rapidly dropping in the house.  I called the oil company first thing in the morning.

That day, the grandbabies and I spent the day in the parlour near the wood pellet stove. We couldn't play in their rooms because it was too cold.  The babies were entertained with toys, crayons, snacks and some children's movies.  Every now and then, one of us went downstairs to the nursery to get a few more toys. We had to wear a coat, it was so cold in there!

By midafternoon, our oil arrived and the heat was turned back on.  It took a few hours for the temperature to rise. The despair of being cold turned to joy. It is amazing how the simple comfort of warmth can delight the heart! By the children's bedtime, all was back to normal. 

After this ordeal was over I thought about the Pilgrims.  They had settled on the coast in a Massachusetts town.  Today, a living museum shows visitors the reality of the harshness of their living conditions.  Ocean air is bitterly painful and cold in the winter.  I cannot imagine how they kept their spirits up to get through the cold! 

In my father's boyhood days, everyone used a wood stove for heat.  The fire would be allowed to go out when it was bedtime.  The children often shared a bed and were covered with homemade quilts.  Mothers would also have hot water bottles or warm baked potatoes wrapped up by their feet for the children to give them extra warmth.   In the morning, someone would brave the icy cold and start the fire so breakfast could be made and the family would get dressed for the day.

In old remembrance books children wrote of waking up on cold winter nights to find snow had come through the roof and landed on their quilts.  They would also get dressed by the kitchen stove because that is the only place in the house where there was warmth.  These same children would attend a one room schoolhouse which was heated by a wood stove.  The desks would be moved to keep the children as close to that source of heat as possible.

These stories make me realize how very pampered I am.  But being warm is one of the greatest needs during a New England winter.  Many people spend the year saving for a family vacation, or a shopping spree. We spend our year saving up every dime we can to buy our heat for the winter.  I won't even let myself think of what it would be like to visit Hershey, Pennsylvania, Dollywood in Tennessee, or even Disneyland, because as wonderfully enjoyable as those trips would be, I am only able to sit by the wood stove in a rocking chair, reading my Bible, and waiting for the winter to thaw out into a pleasant spring. 

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Please don't be one of these - Ex - Housewife.

A Summer Visit to our Property - Tour of the Estate Grounds.

For those Difficult Days - Prayers Which Cannot be Uttered.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 



Kim said...

Mrs. White,
We were just talking about the Pilgrims yesterday. My little boy and I were reading about Miles Standish and the long, hard winter. I asked my son if he would like to live outside in the garage for the entire winter with very little heat. We live in Ohio, no where close to the winters in Massachusetts. But I do think he understood how hard it was for them and to see God's hand in their survival.
We too have to save a lot of money for winter bills. We don't vacation either, but my children are better for it. I think too many people give their children wrong expectations of what married life will be. We've been married almost 30 years and I can count on one hand the number of vacations. But those one's are wonderful memories. My children all know haw to work hard, get up everyday, cut firewood, do their school and college work, do chores, cook, and keep jobs.
I hope this winter ends soon for you at the Estate. I know it can be long and our spirits tend to falter. But God is good and faithful. The Joy of the Lord is my Strength.
By Grace Alone,

Unknown said...

I am so glad you were able to get such quick oil deliveries, but even gladder to read that you have a backup - the pellet stove. My family heated with wood all through my childhood. I've woken to snow on the quilts as well, and I often count my blessings that the house I live in now is so warm and snug. It has wood heat too, but tight windows and doors, thick walls, lots of insulation. Having lived differently, I appreciate these things very much!

Mrs. Laura Lane said...

Be encouraged friend, Spring's not far away. We too heat with a wood stove. It's early and hubby's trying to get it going. I feel the bite of cold on my arms and legs. We will enjoy the warm temperatures soon.

Keep the tea coming! You might find something helpful in this post I wrote awhile back.

Keeping the Shivers at Bay... Keeping Warm

God bless you!

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

Michelle @ Liturgical Time said...

Having just enjoyed your lovely post, I have renewed appreciation for the fact that my woodstove heated home sits in the California mountains! Sending warm California thoughts and prayers your way!

JES said...

When we read the old novels in our homeschool of a local farmer going out early to start the wood stove for the teacher at the old schoolhouse, I am reminded at what a blessing those acts of kindness are! People who battle the snow to bless others, or in my case, a husband who starts the wood stove early in the morning so that the family can be cozy...

Mrs. B, a very peculiar person said...

Hello Mrs. White,

Growing up in Hurricane country on the Gulf coast taught me, at an early age, that non-electric cooking & lighting sources & fresh water supplies are a necessity when it comes to natural disasters. The last hurricane we endured left us without electricity for nearly one month ... that included ALL local businesses.
We now live on the Montana prairie, where our autumn and winter temperatures begin dipping below zero in November and last until late March. The prairie winds are often 30 + mph sending the wind chill factor temps. down to more than 30 below zero. When we chose to move up here, I was so glad I learned emergency preparedness at a young age. Before moving furniture into our home, we installed a non-electric heat source, non-electric cooking source and a fresh water storage system. We've been fortunate that our longest power outage has been only several hours, but we are prepared in the event a bad winter storm knocks it out for several days or even a couple weeks.
Through the course of life's up and downs, our preparedness has also helped us through many financial hardships.
I am so glad to hear that you and your family not only have an alternative heat source for the bitterly cold winters but that your heat and warmth have been restored.
Blessings to you and yours,

Oklahoma Lady said...

I love reading this blog. There is so much I can relate to. My father was a farmer in Oklahoma. We knew what winter weather was like and what farm life was like. Thanks for writing such an inspiring blog!! Made me remember back when!

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I am glad that you were able to have oil delivered as quickly as you did and that you had the wood pellet stove in the meantime.

Your post made me think of a few winter nights spent at my grandparents house. They lived in the country. My grandma cooked on a really old, big black wood burning stove. They heated their house with a big pot bellied wood burning stove in the living room. The last time I remember spending a winter's night there we had homemade popcorn balls and then after a while everyone went to bed. My bed had grandma's handmade quilts on it. I was cozy as could be.

I never realized until I was an adult how hard Grandma and Grandpa, they were in their seventies, worked to cook and keep their house warm.

living from glory to glory said...

Hello, So glad you had your oil delivered the next day! But even that long is a bit tough! I just started thanking God for His provisions of food and heat! Thank You for sharing...

Melanie said...

I'm so glad you could get the oil so quickly! It's been very cold here too.
I'm sure the Pilgrims must have had a hard time of it! I've not been up that way, but I would like to someday.
We have a heat pump, but when the temperatures get as low as we've had this winter, it has to run off the furnace. Our electric bill is about double during these cold times. :-(
I know what you mean about vacations! It's hard for us to understand how people can take two or three every year. We usually just visit with my parents who live about four hours away. We enjoy getting away for a little bit and visiting with them.
We have a home, food, and clothes. We are blessed and thankful.
Looking forward to Spring.

Jacqueline@ said...

I will miss you here, Mrs. White. I will be in prayer for you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. White,
I will pray for you and your family. May God bless and encourage you during this time.

Deanna said...

Thankful that Spring is arriving!!! Praise God.