Dawn broke clear and cold this morning, lighting up the eastern woods under a cloudless sky.
The cold was strong, if not so sharp as it had been this week, so I (Bryan) commenced morning work by restarting the main fire. I tromped down from bedroom to kitchen area to the basement, turning left to the woodstove. I opened up the black iron box's vents (cool to the touch), cleared a space in the somewhat-glowing ashes with a black iron poker, took a piece of wood and some bark from the stack (two years old; nice), and slid them into the box. They caught quickly enough, so I closed the door.
Outside our birds chattered and protested. It was warm enough for the hose to work (frozen earlier this week), and I filled up each drinking container in the coop with fresh water. When I opened the bird sanctum's door the chickens and ducks burst out happily, racing for yesterday's remains of food and today's drink. The ducks were especially pleased that I had refilled their little pool; they squawked happily around it, sipping, then took turns leaping in for a paddle.
Inside the humans were in different stages of waking up. Ceredwyn was dozing gently, which meant time for her coffee. It's good to make the stuff now, as I feel no twinge of desire for the brew, gone from my diet these eleven months. My wife sleepily accepted the cup. Back in the kitchen I made myself some simple hot water. Meanwhile Owain had leaped awake and was working on his laptop, composing fanfiction. He received bacon and eggs, cooked to his exacting specifications: bacon boiled then fried, plus a single fried yolkless egg fresh from our hens. My turn: one sausage and one fried egg. Unlured by these scents, Gwynneth slept on.
Outside the sun had continued to rise from the wood and into the sky, towards noon. The skies had brightened, illuminating the west woods downslope and revealing the nearby ridgeline. Walking, I found no breeze stirred the trees. The woodsmoke scent drifted down from our chimney, reminding me that the main fire required more wood. I selected an old wood pile from our yard of twenty or so, removed the blue plastic tarp, then filled up the wheelbarrow from it eight times. Each wheelbarrow load I decanted through the back door of the house, carrying armfuls inside to a new stack. It will dry a bit in the presence of the fire, five feet away.
Across the basement from the woodstove is my office, and there I worked through the morning news via RSS feeds. Some of these I read while striding on the treadmill. After some of this, I headed up to the kitchen to pour more coffee for Ceredwyn. Upstairs I found her abed, reading on laptop. Hestia the dog stretched out alongside, ecstatic that her mistress had returned home at last. Ash the cat curled up next to them, generously ignoring their failure to attend to her needs. Late morning light streamed in from the south window.