Time writing: 20 minutes
Time editing: 10 minutes
The house was chilly upon awakening. That was the down side to living in a renovated, Amish built home with no central heating. I slipped on my bathrobe and slippers and quietly tiptoed downstairs. It was always nice to have a few minutes to myself in the early morning while the children slept. Sidestepping the creaky stair, I inched my way down.
Silence filled my ears. What a glorious sound it was! Glancing out the window I saw that it was going to be a beautifully clear day. No wonder it was so chilly!
Kneeling down, I lifted the lever to the wood stove's door and gently eased it open. Taking the fireplace shovel, I scraped away the ashes from the previous night's fire. Turning around, I found a couple of good cedar logs and laid those down first, then came the fire starters in between them, sticks and twigs next, tinder scattered on top, and finally, a couple more cedar logs carefully laid atop. Standing up and stretching a little, I found the matches on the top shelf. I knelt back down, struck the match, amazed by the heat that one little flame will give off, and lit the fire starter. It would take a few minutes to see if my fire was laid out well enough, so I shut the door. Using the wood stove to help me stand up, I felt the cold, hard soapstone under my hands. This wood stove was my absolute favorite! With its veiny soapstone and shiny brown porcelain exterior, it was just the right combination of practicality and elegance.
Turning, I walked toward the door to look out of its window and survey the morning. Looking out past the shop and barn, I could see the blue sky waiting for the warmth of the sun. The cow was already in the barn, patiently waiting by the gate for Steve to come out and milk her, while the goat and sheep were in the pasture appreciating the field grasses. The dogs and cats were still fast asleep on the front porch, and our black and white Border Collie, Madame, as she frequently did, had a cat sleeping on her back. That dog could sleep through anything! Looking across the lawn I saw that the kids had not obeyed when I told them to put their toys away for the night: a dolly, asleep on the dewy grass was probably damp from her campout on the lawn, a pop-gun laid abandoned on the sidewalk, bikes strewn every which-way, and that's when I saw the scariest critter I'd ever seen lying dead on the grass next to the toy dishes! (continue to: R.O.U.S. Part 2)