Sunday, October 31, 2010


It's a night entirely dedicated to comfort here at Cold Antler Farm. There's a smiling Jack-o-lantern outside on the front stoop and a fire in the woodstove is making the entire downstairs toasty. I recently came in from checking on the sheep, chickens, and rabbits. It's really cold out there, too. The weather report is calling for some possible snow here in the 12816, up to a half inch. It was the incentive I needed to really get that fire going in the cast-iron belly of the woodstove. She's doing a swell job on this good night.

Halloween means a lot to me. It's my favorite holiday. I have absolutely no interest in the modern scary stuff. I don't begrudge it, it's just not mine. My Hallows is a night to truly reflect, be calm, and be grateful I are still among the living. Thousands of years ago this was the Celtic New Year. The end of the Harvest and a time of much somber remembrance and gratitude for the food grown, animals harvested, and the people lost over the recent year. So for me: it's a quiet day. Not much fuss.

My morning started with Gibson's weekend herding lesson, something I try to make a couple times a month between two trainers. Today I started getting it, Gibson already knows it. My job is to hone instincts and show him the way I need him to work sheep, but he already understands that they are not like other animals. They are his. We are a team, however new at this old game.

You could call us Team Crow if you like. Around my neck is a small silver crow charm, and one identical to it is on Gibson's collar. I believe crows seen in pairs are good luck, always have. When you seen them alone it's nothing special, but together, oh boy have you got a good sign. So when I found these little charms at a discount jeweler I coughed up the couple of dollars and each of us adorned one around our necks. We wear them for luck. Together we're a pair.


Blogger Jenny Glen said...

Halloween is my favorite holiday too. The only negative to living rural (as I'm sure you'll have noticed by now) is that you won't get any trick or treaters. There's just something about the little kids going door to door that really makes for an enjoyable evening. (and I'm not even a "kid" person)

October 31, 2010 at 10:14 PM  
Blogger Helena said...

I admit to just a touch of envy for your weather. We didn't even have "faux fall" today in FL; I took my little one trick-or-treating wearing shorts, and she was splashing in the wading pool this morning. All the same, it was a lovely day (Halloween is one of my favorite days as well).

October 31, 2010 at 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is how I've always tended to think of Halloween too - the scary and the candy and all the stuff that conventionally goes along with it was never really for me. Instead, it was about the changing seasons, and the feeling of the year easing into its close and the settling in that needed to happen as winter approached (we've actually got some snow on the radar tonight, too).

October 31, 2010 at 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All is quiet here, except for the creaks and groans of the house settling for the night. I am snuggled in bed with my two cats. A barred owl calls to another one in the distance.

An hour ago, I pulled out pictures of relatves - those who are no longer among the living. My great-great-grandfather and his family stare back at me. Both sets of grandparents smile at me. And I remember...

Samhain blessings to you and yours, Jenna.

October 31, 2010 at 11:16 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I used to love Halloween, but I think it was the teenagers showing up at the door one year wanting candy and not even bothering to dress up for it made the luster fall of the holiday for me. Now we just tape cardboard over the little window in the front door, close off the rest of the front of the house, and hunker down in the back of the house and wait for it to all go away.

I did watch Sherlock on PBS tonight, though- that was plenty scary for me. Doesn't take much though.

BTW- that's a great Jack-o'-lantern!

November 1, 2010 at 2:03 AM  
Blogger DarcC said...

I love the crow charm symbolism, I love that you each wear one, what a neat symbol.

November 1, 2010 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Divine Rites Ministry said...

Hi Jenna,

I completely relate.

Halloween or Samhain as some refer to it is my favorite holiday too. Not the scary but the sacred fills our home. With the wood stove's belly full and candles lit here and there we set the table for our ancestors and loved ones on the other side of the veil, read a few selected poetry pieces to them and invite them to feast on their favorite foods.

Placing a votive on each plate we leave the scene, only to tip-toe through now again, leaving them to their private conversations while the wind blows leaves around the house outside.

November 1, 2010 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Damn The Broccoli said...

It's refreshing to see an american who remembers/knows what Halloween is about. I do kind of loathe the modern version although I have a smeaky suspicion we British don't do it right.

This would be the time of the dying of the year, the fields and gardens shut down and now its up to the store room to keep you. Little wonder it would become a religious thing to many.

I hope cold antlers first was a great one.

November 1, 2010 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Velma Bolyard said...

a lovely post. you sound relaxed! and peaceful. and i like the two crow talismans, a nifty idea.

November 1, 2010 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger farmgirljen said...

I totally agree with you, Jenna, on the holiday. Peace and pumpkins (and no kids pounding at the door begging - don't kids get enough sweets as it is? - call me Grinch, if you must). But I like the idea of a quiet evening by the fire. No snow here in Iowa yet. Just got our first hard frost last week (if you can believe it).

Thanks for sharing Cold Antler with us. On those especially stressful days, just reading the blog relaxes me.

And on a side note to Paula, I enjoyed Sherlock tremendously as well. If you haven't read Laurie King's take on Sherlock, start with Beekeeper's Apprentice. Excellent reading.

November 1, 2010 at 4:58 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

The last of the harvest, warm days and cooler nights, the leaves changing, pumpkins and fall decorations, and the traditional Halloween. Especially I like how small towns celebrate autumn. This is why I like this season.

November 1, 2010 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Stargazer 2 said...

Like the "CROW" bit!!!
Very interesting way to show
that you, & Gibson are a "real" team!!!
My Son & I are a team, & I'll do something similar "Thanks"
to CAF BLOG!!!
CHEERS with a health drink!!!
Ronnie A Very Happy Seat Weaver

November 1, 2010 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger cpcable said...

The crow charms...what a beautiful detail.

November 2, 2010 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It's funny, but I feel about Ravens what you feel about Crows. I find Ravens to be good luck.

November 3, 2010 at 10:51 AM  

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