Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Cabin iFever

The view down our road

Short days and inclement weather are putting the kibosh on our outdoor fun. We're in the throes of severe snowstorms, at least by British standards. As a hardened New Englander I scoff at the scant centimetres of snow, grass in the front year still poking up through. But we're not equipt with gritters and salt for the roads, and the temperature is just hovering around freezing so the freeze/thaw cycle is making black ice.

Big Lamb and Little Lamb shelter by the hedge

We fed the pheasants before the weather set in. I was up early defrosting drinking water and putting out extra food for the critters as the snow started. I had planned to go stalking as the deer are holding in the sheltered woods, but my scope filled with snow and visibility was poor. I had to give up. Now I'm watching the little wild birds hanging from the peanut feeders and eating the corn cobs I left on the ground. A cock pheasant came by to feed with the chickens in the yard.

This little hen sees her first snow

Even Mike's given in and come home. We're holed up in the warm room with a healthy pile of wood I split and stacked, knowing the weather was on the turn. Even in the warm room I've prised my cardigan out from under a sleeping dog and put it on. The wind is taking the heat out of our not well-insulated cottage. Some people still use heavy curtains to prevent the draughts. But pulling the curtains and sitting in the dark would probably drive me over the edge.

We're coping with cabin fever by drinking endless pots of coffee and catching up on conversation.

"My mobile phone contract says I'm due an upgrade and I can have an iPhone" Mike said

"Do you know what an iPhone is?" I said

"Well I know it's not an iPod." he said, referring to the time when I bought an iPod and couldn't figure out how to use the phone. Not realising that they were two different devices. Much to the continued hilarity of my sister and friends.

"You only know that because I'm stupid." I said. "What are you going to do with it? You can't even work out how to use predictive text."

The word we christened to describe our gross ignorance in this area is "technotardation".

 "It has apps. They're useful." Mike said

"On what planet are there iPhone apps that will be relevant to you? Unless it has a leatherman and jumper cables." I said.

"It takes pictures." he said

"You only take pictures of fish and dissected pheasants for your own reference." I said

"Is there an app for that?" Mike asked

Good lord.

I took Mike outside and pointed to our back door. "Here's all the technology you need" I said-

"That white bin is your 'inbox'. The postman puts your mail in it. The silver bucket is your 'recycling bin' - compost and ash for the garden. The thermometer on the wall is your 'app'. It tells you what the temperature is. What more do you want?" I said.

"Hmphh." Mike said. "Well I'm kind of hungry..."

"I can make you pancakes or there's some leftover cake from Mrs Martin. It's in a tin in the footwell of your truck." I said.

Mike thought about it. "People who eat cake out of the footwell of their truck are probably not the kind of people that need iPhones." he said.

I rest my case.


Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for a while and not commented before, but the ending of this post (cake in the footwell of the truck) is so funny, I had to say - I love your blog! I live in Oxfordshire and we too have snow today. Again, not a significant amounts by the standards of my US friends, but enough to paralyse everything and make me work from home today. Though I put my wellies on to go visit some friends, as cabin fever living alone was getting a bit dull :o)

Poppy Cottage said...


But if Mike got and iphone, you could borrow it to read blogs whilst, erm... being outside.... erm..... stupid idea.

Am spinning again. Your washed fleece is much better then mine. It spins better, thinner, looks more like real yarn.

Paula said...

Don't do the iPhone. It's too much like a Crackberry, and you guys are too busy for a crack habit. Even if you are snowed in.

Paula said...

...oh yeah- I meant to mention that I really enjoyed this post, both in terms of pictures and words....

Jennifer Montero said...

Anon - Thanks for the comments. I see your neck of the woods is due for more snow today. Taking your wellies for a walk is probably the best way to cope with cabin fever.

Colette - Even if we had an iPhone we wouldn't be able to make good use of it, we're too behind on our technical know-how. Mike would end up using it to prop up a wobbly table leg or something, and that's only if one of the dogs didn't eat it first.

Glad the fleece is spinning up well. I think it has more to do with the variety of sheep than my washing. I'm about to start knitting a cardi for myself from that wool. Will need the group's help I'm sure!

Jennifer Montero said...

Paula - No fear of us getting addicted to a device, iPhone or otherwise. I still have a phone given to me by a 9 yr old when he upgraded a few years ago. My 2 previous phones fell in a water trough and got mowed over respectively.

I manage email and basic blogging, end of. We haven't got a games console like a Wii or even a DVD player. We're absolutely hopeless. Our ignorance is getting embarassing.

Tamar@StarvingOfftheLand said...

Jen -- And here I am, feeling like a Luddite as I struggle with search engine optimization and Wordpress features. I feel much better now!

Here's hoping your weather improves, and you and Mike can get back to what you're so clearly good at.

Your post made my morning.

Kevin F. said...

Jen... Your post has brought laughter to our little cabin in the woods. Here on the Cape where the months go January, February, March, March, March, it's the last March that gets you. It's nice to be able to joke about it before you can't help but complain. Todays technology is wonderful and is taken as a part of life for those under thirty. I for one feel safer out at sea with the wireless that is waterproof and can take a pounding than a cell phone that is useless if it gets as much as one drop of saltwater on it. Tell Mike that he and I are not the type of men one finds on Planet Of The Apps. "Get your bloody hands off me you filthy app!"

Jennifer Montero said...

Tamar & Kevin - It's cathartic admitting our stupidity / ignorance but it's also nice to find someone who understands old technology (like the wireless) is sometimes better. Our cell phone reception is so bad out here that Mike & I use walkie-talkies when we're working alone around the estate. We can at least guarantee reception.

We try to keep up with new technologies but we just can't. I was amazed that Mike even knew the term app (he learned it from the Apple ads on the back cover of the New Yorker!)

Love the 'Planet of the App' reference. Mike will be relieved to know there's more like him out there.

Pomona said...

I agree with you both entirely - my phone was advertised as 'semi-rugged', and described as an ugly, old-fashioned boys' phone by my sister, but I have had it for about 3 years now! It bounces which is a good thing. And we don't have much high tech stuff - just a small old scavenged portable TV (mainly for B&B guests), a scavenged radio (not DAB!), and don't buy DVDs, or any of that stuff. I'd rather spend my money on yarn! And you don't need a Wii Fit if you use your legs to walk with. But I do have a good computer, and have found the internet has helped me to cut down car journeys, etc - I just order everything in so I don't have to go shopping! And a decent sewing machine has made a difference to the quality of my output - it is also good for darning sheets, etc.

As a family who go through the waste food that people give us for the hens and other animals, and pick out the rejected croissants, etc, for human consumption (in fact, now my relatives give us food that they are about to throw away, because they know we will eat it!), I think we are on a par with those who eat cake from Landy footwells. It was in a tin, anyway, and so could be retrieved from absolutely anywhere, with no risk to health, couldn't it?
Yours from a draughty farmworkers' cottage

Pomona x

Jennifer Montero said...

Don't your friends know that stale croissants make the best bread & butter pudding?!?

I save the tins biscuits come in for storing cakes, perfect for a dirty footwell. If I leave food in Mike's truck, I know he'll eat something even when he's busy working because it's there.

We're not trying to deprive ourselves of modern conveniences but we just haven't found a need for all of them. Like you said no need for a Wii fit if you spend all day on your feet. I do need a better sewing machine though.

FrauKlug said...

Ha! That post made my day. We only just stopped using tin cans and string..We have a cel phone, but really don't use it except for road trips through the wilds of Oregon.
What if the car broke down/etc..?

Hope you two don't go mad in the snow!