Thankful November

The Higgins Household is ready for winter. Buildings have been winterized, gardens prepared, and windows have 6-ply plastic over them. Thanks to the storm last weekend, the generator is up and ready with reserve fuel, and oil. All we need is to pick up a spare spark plug and put up the driveway markers. Aside from pellets, oil, and propane refills, our home is ready for cold weather.

Winterization on the mountain is a project that generally takes the better part of October. Bulbs need to be dug up, gardens need to be weeded one more time and select plants need to be cut down. The rock wall that lines the property needs to trimmed back and rocks returned to their places. The well needs to be covered, strategically placed 6-foot stakes need to line one side of the driveway, the garden and yard items need to be put away, space needs to be created in the garage, windows need to be covered and window inserts need to be put in. It is a huge project that my husband works tirelessly on.

I am so thankful for all he does to keep our home warm and comfortable. He maintains the property and continues to do a large portion of the house chores. He cooks, cleans, and carries the majority of the weight while I teach school. It is huge help and I try not to take it for granted.

November tends to be the month that people verbalize what they are thankful for on social media. So on this chilly November morning, I’d like to publicly thank my sweet husband of 30 years for pushing so hard to make sure that his family is warm and ready for the blistering cold season that is most assuredly on our back doorstep.

My husband takes great pride in our little homestead. This is our 7th winter on the mountain and we’ve learned the hard way that if you are not prepared, you are going to freeze like a popsicle. We moved in November of 2010 as the first flurries of the season presented itself. There was no time for preparation and we thought we knew what to expect. However, we moved 4 miles from the Ridge, higher in elevation, with no wind protection from the north. We should have known better.

Snow, snow, and more snow. When others get a dusting, the mountain is buried. A large portion of the town’s snow lands in our driveway. It is impassable. You can’t find it. The driveway ceases to exist. 16708545_10211146553173741_754449196215219283_n

As a result, my roommate from college, a town planner, designed 5 berms to help protect our driveway from snow. These berms would help to create a natural snow barrier, becoming more efficient, the taller the plants grew. It has been a huge project that has taken a whole lot of time and money to create. However, it has also been a nice project for my husband who has been forced into retirement at an early age. 12592463_10207787770246267_8926260366777293873_n

The berms help…for awhile. Once the snow reaches the top of the berms, they are no longer detected, and the front yard looks like North Dakota just big and flat. We have underground wires, so there is no way to know where the driveway is. We have even tried lining the driveway with snow fence, making the property look like a compound. Nothing works for long.

Thank God for neighbors who help with snow removal, or we would seriously not get out of our driveway until Spring.

Generally, we have snow on our property until the beginning of May, and we can plan on snow any time after Halloween. That is a long time to be holed up in the house. However, the good news is that my husband’s outside projects will be coming to an end and he can get back to his nap schedule. He needs to relax a bit.

Despite his diagnosis and being in chronic pain, he pushes hard to take care for his family and most especially, me. He wishes he could drive, and he misses having a job, but his sheer determination to keep our homestead running like a finely tuned clock so that I can go to work each day, does not go unnoticed. I am a blessed woman.

So on this 4th day of Thankful November, I want to publicly lift up the love of my life. Your efforts do not go unnoticed and I love you so very much: forever and into eternity.





  1. As a former accountant who was busy year round, diagnosis of LBD hit pretty hard for my husband. Rather than throw in the towel, he organized our home office that made sense and while I have been working steadily since his diagnosis, he deals with the household priorities and keeps track of everything. He is far more organized and it has become his job! Nothing falls through the cracks and he reminds me through a list of household needs! There is an App for that as he informed me. I continue to work and finf working outside the home in healthcare important and fulfilling for me. I was lucky to find an opportunity 5 minutes from home which will make winter driving easier with little interstate driving needed this winter. What I have learned is that while we understand marriages are teams and partnerships, the true test is with medical challenges, adversity and unknowns, like unplanned hospitalizations . While it may not be the forever plan, it is the plan that works for us in the “Now” and we remain ready to adapt as we recognize new needs. Understanding the future requires adaptability and flexability. I work hard at communication and understanding our needs as a couple and my husbands needs as sweer man who was dealt a card that I am not so sure I would handle with the grace he does.

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