As more snow descended on The Beekman, and the gusty winds and the overall grayness combined to obliterate the views of the rolling farmland hills, I started to feel suddenly trapped by the elements. Shrouded and swaddled so tightly that I couldn’t move.
Note: I have a long aversion to “entrapment” of any sort. Ethan and Mary and Frank and April, Holden, Lily, Nick, and even Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice were all characters whose plight resonated with me (extra credit for the reader if you can identify all of these references.)
As we huddled in the kitchen by the fire, both doors to the room closed to keep in the heat, I gave some serious consideration to how the Beekmans did it.
The house has 7 fireplaces. Here are just a few:
But we all know that fireplaces are just for looks, right? The heat ours generates does not extend much beyond 2 feet, even though two of the fireplaces at The Beekman still retain their original efficient Rumford design. I like to think that mandatory winter closeness was what made William and Joanne’s union so strong (and fertile.)
While the house has been wonderfully updated with modern methods of heating, we come to it with some post-sensibilities – like how much is it going to cost to heat the main house this winter and what is our personal toll on the environment by doing so? These are the things that are the real burdens on our contentment, not the blustery wind, the snow drifts or the frigid temperatures. We would like for The Beekman to become “greener” over time, by installing wind and geothermal energy supplies. But this takes a major investment. And to save enough capital for those sorts of future improvements it’s best – both for our wallets and the planet – that we don’t spend it all on heating oil and natural gas now. This is the time of year when we frequent the Beekman a little less than usual, and for shorter periods, all for the sake of good environmental and economic stewardship.
But the farm has stood atop it’s hill for over two centuries and has weathered winter seasons far worse than this one without us being ever-present. It will be there every time we return.
And true to our “seasonal living” motto, we can’t appreciate the joys of a season unless we concurrently experience its sorrows. After all, tomorrow is a another day, the sun’ll come out, and silver white winters will melt into spring (another opportunity for extra credit, folks.)
To help celebrate one of our favorite fun seasonal activities, check out our HowToo blog for a lesson in Snow Cream.