As you know, I flew to New York at the peak of a major snow storm last week. I went from spring day to winter wonderland in six hours.

All the power in my hometown was out. The snow was so heavy that massive trees were dropping branches left and right. In some cases whole trees went down in the middle of the wooded road. They took not just the power with them but the telephone lines too. My brother came to fetch me at the airport and was running late because he had to shovel the snow plow out of the driveway when the guy got stuck twice.

There is something fun about absolutely no power though. It really makes you turn everything down a notch. It’s how I imagine it would have been living on the pioneer… candlelight, a good book, and some house cured bacon. I think these instances, though inconvenient, are kind of a fun reminder that it’s possible to turn life down a few notches and still survive just fine. It’s okay not to check facebook and twitter for a few days. Though I can’t say it doesn’t cause withdrawal pains… and I’ll admit I was grateful for a fully charged cell phone so I could do that radio interview. That little battery saved me.

Grandma Pellegrini doesn’t have a cell phone though. She called herself a “floating island,” during the storm. No way to contact the outside world.

I put on knee-length rubber boots and a big coat and went to visit her. The only color other than white and brown was the little chicken coop.

And then I realized the one set of characters who were absolutely thrilled by this storm…

Can you see who I’m talking about yet? It’s not the chickens.

Oh yes… do you see what I see? They’re a bit camouflaged.

A very large branch came down onto the netting above the fence, which meant the guinea hens got to fly right up and out onto the railing.

They were absolutely thrilled. Squawking a mile a minute.

The chickens were wildly jealous. They couldn’t figure out how the guinea hens made it up there and were awfully curious how two others made it to the other side of the fence altogether.

Meanwhile those two guinea hens were frantically trying to figure out how to get back in.

See? The grass is always greener, even in the bird world…

The chickens with any common sense stayed inside the coop and didn’t play this foolish game.

See? There’s always the adventurers and the homebodies, even in the bird world…

I left them to their own devices and went to grandma’s house.

This was my favorite corner of her kitchen on this visit. It’s like a little museum in this corner… blue glass, a green jadeite plate, a glass hand, wall tile with mushrooms and other edible things on it, a very big glamorous soap dish, a little bush with orange berries…

A feather which is probably from one of the wild turkeys that roams around, a red door… and her cane hooked onto the counter.

This is the corner where she keeps a lot of her herbs and plants. She’ll get her herbs started here before she puts them in her herb garden. And in theory, when this snow melts, spring is not far away, so now’s the time to start thinking about her herb garden.

She was investigating which herbs to order on the internet. She also was showing me a kitchen cart she’d just purchased to make her kitchen more “elderly friendly.” Luckily the internet was back up and she was no longer a “floating island.”

One of her hearty cats joined us.

And then I noticed something on her refrigerator…

I think that is my name, isn’t it?

And the magnet… is actually what I looked like when I probably drew this… perhaps 25 years ago?

And in this moment, I realized why grandmothers save everything.

I’m sure glad they do.

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