Five below zero this morning. And here I sit, indoors, beneath a warm wool blanket, with a cup of hot coffee at hand. Furnace is running. And I don't believe on this frigid subzero day in the dead of winter that I will have any reason or need to go outside today. Refilled the bird feeder late yesterday afternoon, while the temperature was still in the single digits above zero.
Yesterday a friend who grew up in these parts, and who is only a couple of years older than me, told me that he grew up in a house (same house he still lives in today) where there was no indoor plumbing until he was in third or fourth grade. This was early 1960s. He remembers having to go out and use the outhouse when there was frost on the toilet seat.
Go back a generation earlier than that, and people would've been heating their homes on those subzero days by burning wood in a cast iron stove. Come to think of it, there are still several people around here who burn wood to heat their homes. Me, I'm enough of a city boy that I'd be stuck if I had to do more than just fiddle with the thermostat. But there are a good many folks around here who are not far removed from the roots of their pioneer ancestors.