Friday, December 21, 2018

Yuletide!

It's Solstice and warm weather has rushed through the valley with intense rain. This has messed with the farm's rhythm and schedule so much more than a snowstorm or snap of true cold would. This means melting and mud and ice so slick that dogs can't cross without slipping and they have built-in crampons! Last night we all slid around the farmyard checking on the livestock before bedtime. Horse and hawk, hog and hen - all of us were tucked in and dry save for the gal and her fool dogs romping around in the rain by the glow of a headlamp. We came inside soaked and happy. A hot meal of soup and a warm fire are the things than wipe the board clean of any regret for this life. We sat and enjoyed the show - the weirdly warm night and gusts of wind. I fell asleep feeling like I was in a pirate ship instead of a farm house. The way wind and water hit the siding you would not even turn over in your covers if you felt the house start to float away...

The real pain in the weather is how it messed up lamb share pickups. My truck still doesn't perform well in the rain, even after a replaced distributor cap and new battery, so that mystery lives on. There's a chance that if it does start and get me to the butcher it won't get me home. It also needs new tires and so driving in an inch of rainfall in bald tires also seems like a bad choice... There was a good change I'd either get stranded or in an accident, neither a great predicament to be in when you have boxes of frozen meat promised to neighbors and friends. So I had to reschedule the pickup for Monday instead. Not ideal, but all any of raising meat on this scale can offer is our best. I'd hate to mess up the story of lamb to lamb chop by getting boxes of meat sprawled across the highway...

So I am home this morning instead of driving to the butcher. I am working on logo designs and starting the planning stages for spring. I want to invest in some more honey and garden operations this year - focusing less on meat birds and more on veg. I'd like to double the laying flock for egg customers and also double the lambs I raise. This is a transition year between breeding lambs and goats for milk and buying in feeder lambs and milk from other farms for soap making. It involves some more planning and hopefully by the new year I'll have that on paper. I do want to keep the pork, lamb, egg, fleece, and chicken operations ago but would like to involved more vegetables and honey/beeswax craft. It moves the farm in the direction I want to go - which is active and thriving but able for a single woman to spend a night off farm every once in a while with help from friends or neighbors. I still have this pipe dream of taking the dogs to Mystic Connecticut overnight, or walking the streets of Providence Rhode Island like some design student or backpacking in the White Mountains with Tara, my adventure buddy. I guess we'll see!

I'll be celebrating the holiday quietly here. Lighting the candles at dusk all over the homestead and instead of a bonfire there will be a fire in the stove, welcoming the return of light and hope to the cold, wet, earth. Christmas Day will be spent with friends at their farm, and a big feast of the lamb, chicken, and maybe even a turkey we raised while sharing our lives and stories. I feel very lucky to have people like Mark and Patty and Tara and Tyler in my life, especially this year with so much change in my heart and hearth. I hope however you celebrate you are surrounded by loved ones and the belief that next year will bring more love and light into your life. That's what Yule, Jul, Christmas - whatever you celebrate! - is about. Blessings of good tidings and peace to you all.