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.

Snow piles up on the side porch railing
Snow piles up on the side porch railing

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:

The Living Room
The Living Room
The kitchen
The kitchen
The Dining Room
The Dining Room
img_0912
The Master's Room

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.)

Snow piled up at the milk house
Snow piled up at the milk house

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.

The lonely house in winter
The lonely house in winter

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.

by Dr. Brent

Reader Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mary Hutchins

Do you take all the wreathes down after new years in the snow
?

Reply
Dr. Brent

We try to get all of our decorations down after the holidays so that we appreciate them more for the short time that we have them

Reply
Sidney

Oh Brent, thank you so much for the video of the beautiful falling snow. I know it seems bleak during the winter, I know this just from growing up in New York. But now, sadly, I live in Florida and have not seen or felt the snow in far far to long…There is nothing more wonderful than a cold winter evening with the fireplace roaring…oh how I miss it. So watching your video brought back such lovely memories…so thank you!!!

Reply
Andrew

You should look into installing Franklin stoves into your fireplaces. They are made of cast iron and radiate more heat into a room for a third of the wood consumed in a fireplace without one.

Reply