Now, I am not sure what adjective would be good here.  Frugal, Cheap, wise or something bred into me.  As large a family as we had, we needed lots of space. When the space became small, the confrontations became more frequent. It would get to the point, if someone just looked at you cross-eyed, that was too much. A scuffle of some sort would surely follow. And then of course the whooping after that for fighting. But that is how it went from January to about the middle of March. November and December were highlighted by the holidays. But then the cold of the New Year would sink in. As the wind began to blow the cold into every little crack, the house became smaller. What started the winter as a big farmhouse, shrank to one level with minimum rooms. Every room that was not necessary was closed so we did not have to heat that area.  If we were used to having our own bedroom was now one room for three boys on the first floor. The room may have been just big enough to hold the bed, but it was warmer. Three young farm boys sleeping in one bed was always a problem. Someone’s feet would stink, or they would hog the blankets. Freedom of movement was surely lost on those cold winter nights. You would wrap up in that blanket like a hot dog wrapped in bacon. Only the face would be showing on those frigid nights.

There was one winter that my circle of friends began to think I had finally gone wacko. As the cold of winter began to settle in, the house I lived in became smaller. I was living alone, so it was not much of a chore for me.  I just began to shut the rooms for the winter. The bedrooms upstairs were the first to close in November. Then went the living room and the master bedroom. As January and February settled in, I was down to only two rooms. The Kitchen and the bathroom. This posed a problem of where to sleep.  I would just put all the kitchen chairs in a row and that was the bed. With my sleeping bag and pillow, I was as snug as a bug in a rug. I just had to teach myself, no movement. Sleeping on chairs was not a problem for me.  I always had to put boards or doors under my mattress.  Because my bones grew fast, I had to sleep on a firm mattress.  In those days there was no such thing as a memory foam mattress.  My only memory was put more boards under the old spring mattress.  There were times laying on the floor next to the wood stove was the best. When I got cold, it was get up, and put more wood in the stove.  But the heat from that cast iron stove helped the aching back. Now, as I get older, I miss sitting next to that wood stove.  Don’t get me wrong folks, I do still have a wood stove in my cave.  I get lazy now when it comes to cutting and splitting wood. Since my older sister went to live elsewhere, I have moved out of my cave. I keep looking and wondering where can I put that wood stove?   A wood stove is not like a pellet stove.  I have moved my pellet stoves many times just because I wanted it moved. A wood stove requires a much better chimney.  I do have a nice chimney built for the wood stove. But I had to make a rule that the chimney is the only thing I can not change or move around. Walls, windows, kitchen sink, and such can all be moved and changed as I wish. The chimney is off limits and must stay where it is. Now, as the cold of winter is beginning to set in, the house is getting smaller.  The snows will soon arrive much more frequently. This is good and bad.  I can begin to bury my house with snow. But I will have to do all of the shoveling because no one else lives here. Sister left without splitting all of the firewood and I guess that is my job now. Now folks, don’t get the wrong idea. It is alright that I live alone. Who is going to tolerate an old man getting up at three in the morning, getting coffee ready and then surf the internet. I do enjoy researching many topics. Global warming, cycles of the sun, volcanoes, just to name a few.  But the one thing I enjoy most of all is I can make noises anytime I want to.  No one complains and that makes for a great day. The thing that one must realize is how we were raised. One does what is necessary in life and still keep one’s moral values. The body needs to stay warm and fed. It is a must to stay warm while sleeping. During the daylight, there is always a chore to do. The wood still needs splitting. One thing about burning wood is you get warm almost every time you have to handle it.

Ken White  mountainman  COB

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