I have learned that a hot cup of tea with a bit of honey bourbon is a the perfect nightcap. Tonight it is a peach fruit tea with a hint of mint and the honey bourbon is like the blue light outside, heavy and temporary. It also tastes the way lavender smells.
I am tired and happy. I spent the day working outside to get the farm turned into a place with working food, water, and walking systems and it took all I had to offer. Soon as I woke up and saw all that snow outside I knew I had to pace myself. I started with shoveling a path from the front door to the hay pile I stacked and tarped the night before. Somewhere near the pile was my truck, I assumed, under the snow as well. I fed the sheep hay and then started shoveling a path to the horses. It is maybe twenty yards, no huge distance, and the snow was light and fluffy. I did that work, fed the horses, and came back inside. It was time for coffee. After coffee I dug out a path to the barn (double the distance to the horses), fed the goats, rabbits, and chickens, and then headed inside to defrost and plan the roof raking. The house and barns needed to have a lot of heavy snow removed and I knew that would be the lion's share of the effort this morning. By the time I had that work done I was tired in ways I rarely am, but the cold and the wet and the sore arms and shoulders had caught up with me. I listened to a Song of Ice and Fire on audiobook and shoveled and raked away. Nothing I was up against was as bad as the white walkers.
I ate a lunch of rice with cheese and broccoli, and fried up some bacon to go with it. It was the first and only meal of the day. It was so filling I nearly passed out at 2pm from sheer contentment. I was reposing for a while, watching something online when I head Gibson barking. Someone was outside? I went to the window and saw my neighbor, Sheriff Tucker. He was using his big tractor to clear away all the snow in my driveway! I walked outside and waved to him, thanking him. He greeted me by saying, "I don't mean to insult your Pioneer Spirit, but here I am!" and I told him it was no insult at all and thanked him again. I offered to pay him and he declined, said he had a few hours before he had to pick up the grandchildren and liked his toys. I wasn't going to argue.
I think the Bacon Fairy might visit his mailbox though….
Last night my good friends came over for a Game NIght, we had planned it all week. No storm was keeping Tyler away from a game of Libertalia (which I think is his favorite game) but other gamers in our group had farther to travel in worse weather, so the plans got ruined. Tyler, Tara and I have a default to game night - Scary Movie Night - and we had just sat down to start a horror movie when the power went out. The only reason we knew the power went out was the ten-year-old iMac in the living room went black. I thought it was part of the movie at first. I am blessed to have a home where heat comes from fire and the light around us came from oil lamps and candles. And while there would be some inconveniences if the power never came back on that week, it would still be a warm, dry, place full of light, food, and friendship. That is a hell of a feeling of comfort, far more so than any 401k plan or health insurance I ever owned.
The power stayed off for hours so instead of staring at a screen together we put a kettle of hot water on the BunBaker and I got out the cocoa mix. We sipped our drinking chocolate and told stories instead, starting with a wikipedia read-through (thanks phone!) of the rest of the movie. When we found out our ghost story was just a slasher film, we weren't sorry we missed it. But I don't think I ail forget anytime soon reading a scary story by the wood stove while my friends listened to me tell it. We ended up just sharing stories that whole night, showing photographs from scrap books and hearing about the people we were before we met each other. It was delightful, better than most nights I can remember in recent history. We didn't get to play a board game (though we could have!) but we did sit in a warm house while a storm threatened us and we laughed back at it. Fire and friends and wonderful weapons.
So tonight I have my tea, and the blue light before dark. I know it is a full moon and a holiday for lovers, too. I hope all of you are feeling as happy and warm as I am tonight. I hope you tell the person you love how much you love them. I hope the moon shines bright, the snow melts fast, and the owls go blind at the sight of your chickens. I hope you have sore muscles, good friends, cold weather, good stories, and learn how to smell colors the way this farm as taught me.
When it is good, it smells like lavender.