Lately I’ve been so so ready for warmer temps and longer days and everything that comes with spring, summer, and autumn. Days when the outside air warms, the grass turns green and takes over everything, the fireweed comes up and blooms, hopefully the addition of a few four-legged friends to the farmstead, no fear of water freezing, and a sun that actually sets after 6pm. So in order to stay away from the winter blahs I try to maintain a spirit of appreciation and gratefulness. In keeping with my minimalist attitude, I generally stay thankful as a way of life, but I put in extra effort when I feel my attitude slipping.

What’s to be thankful for? Hmmm. Well there’s way too much to list here but here’s a few I’ve been meditating on in recent days.

Our Cabin – we built a faux wall that creates an 8′ x 22′ space for the three of us to live in. It’s small, it’s cozy, but with single digit temps it’s not quite as hard to keep warm than the full 16′ x 24′ (plus the nook) floor plan. I use warm loosely. Currently there is a small clump of snow on the floor near the wall opposite the wood stove that has been there for 24 hours. I’m not being a lazy housekeeper, I’m just waiting to see if it will actually melt….  There are places, lots of places, where I can look right out the gaps in between logs. We stapled sill-sealer up around the edges of the door and windows to slow the flow of cold air. (PS: it works surprisingly well.) There is pink closed-cell insulation boards screwed up on the ceiling and makes up the actual “wall” we erected.

Left to Right: the faux wall, sill-sealer around a window, and in the mirror you can see one of the see-through spots on the opposite wall.

With all this, how can I be thankful? Because it’s. our. cabin. We aren’t renting. We aren’t in town. We are on our own land. It’s peaceful. It’s quiet. And we built it all with our own hands. It feels so good to be in here. It’s far from finished but it’s ours.

Our Land – I’ve been following another blog where the couple just recently, like within a month ago, signed on their property and now they’re going out to it when they can, prepping the land, clearing brush for a driveway, etc. It’s exciting to read their journey so far and makes me thankful that we are (just a couple steps ahead of them) actually living on our land. It’s our little slice of dream-made-reality. It’s home and I love being here.  Honestly, I don’t look forward to the days I have to go into town to get groceries and take a shower. I just wanna be home! As I walk around and look over our property, I see my future. I see my dreams. I see….my reality. It’s glorious and full of potential.

Good Health – One thing the Open Sky family is blessed with is overall good health. All of us rarely get sick. When I or my daughter do get sick it’s usually only for a day or two. I see so many around who are chronically sick or generally unwell and I am so thankful that we don’t have to deal with that. Granted, both Mr. Open Sky and myself have permanently injured our backs which forces us both to live with chronic pain and from time to time it flairs up and becomes something we have to work around. But it seems small compared to living with disease or other chronic health problems.

Single-Digit Temps – what?! No. I don’t like it that cold really, but I know compared to lots of other places around the world, this is mild temps for winter. I have a few friends that live up near Fairbanks in our great state and I see they’ve been getting the normal -20 to -40 F. Yeah. I’ll take single digits over that. Any day.

A Hard-Working Husband – while this is “our” blog, I still want to acknowledge him and his wonderfulness. I am blessed that Mr. Open Sky is not lazy, always provides for his family well and without complaint, and puts up with all my idiosyncrasies. The other night, for example, he came home from a day at his nine-to-five just to put on his gear to chainsaw up some firewood for the next few days. It’s dark and cold and we worked by headlamp. His back hurts and he’s tired and hungry but we’re out there working to keep his girls warm and dry. He knows I’m scared in the dark and yet every night goes out to deal with the generator for me. No matter how cold or inclement. He pushes me to be a better person and do more than I think I can. Not in a pushy manner but gently and usually with positive results. Sometimes I think he knows me better than I know me. I could keep going on but suffice it to say, I’m thankful for him. We don’t always see eye-to-eye and we certainly have our share of stresses and disagreements but still, we share the same dreams and hopes and life. 

Winter – wait….what?! Isn’t that what I’m trying not to think about? Well yes, but no. Autumn and winter are my favorite seasons. I love the snow. I love how quiet everything is. How slow life becomes. How many less people there are around (being that summer is tourism and commercial fishing around here). I love how the snow softens all the lines of the land. How brightly it reflects the moonlight. I love the auroras that are mostly seen in the winter because there is so much light at night in the summer. I like the crisp, clean quality of the air. I actually enjoy shoveling snow. It’s very relaxing and rewarding. I like walks in the snow. I like winter. But this year, with our current living conditions and our firewood situation…..I am looking forward to the season ending. And yet, still, for now I am thankful for winter. Even as I look ahead to warmer days, I know I will look back fondly on winter when the hot days of summer rolls around again.