Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Trees and Geese

I noticed the first flakes when I backed out of the driveway. Gibson was hanging out the window on the passenger side, looking up the way he always does when weather comes. I think he is looking for the source, because he doesn't look at the flakes, but past them. I run a hand along his shoulders and tell him to come back inside as I roll the window up. He stands on the seat, his nose against the windshield with his eyes on the sheep chewing hay a few yards away. He always hates leaving them. I empathize with the sigh he lets out. I feel the same way.

We are just on a short trip of errands, mostly to get a few bales of hay from Patty's farm. I have a few bales in reserve but stocks are low enough to deserve the trip, ergo the truck loaded with a farmer and her sighing dog. The flakes picked up as I rode along the back roads to Livingston Brook Farm and I wondered if we would get a real snowfall? The forecast was sketchy. Soon as I passed over the Battenkill River, the snow stopped. I mentally shrugged and headed to load up a bit of hay. I was told there were two beautiful Canada geese near the front door for Italics, and so after I had a pickup truck loaded with hay I grabbed the two geese and set them int the back of the truck. I'd bring them inside to thaw and use them to help feed and train the hawk that is quickly winning my heart.

On the way home I crossed back over the river and through the woods, and wouldn't you know it - over in Jackson the snow was really falling! It was a bonefide squall and the roads were turning white! Elvis was crooning Christmas Carols on the radio and I had a small bit of beautiful pine bows in a blue bow ready to hang on the farm house front door. I was officially in the Yuletide Spirit. I cranked up the radio and sang with Gibson panting and wagging in the front seat.

I unloaded the hay in the snowfall and Gibson ran around the truck, herding my live geese, who honked and protested the entire time. The snow kept falling and I decided to look up, too. What I saw was not the source, but the promise of more snow and I decided to give into the emotion and celebration of the season. So without further adieu, I went inside and found my cloak, heavy and warm. I wrapped it around me, grabbed a hatchet, and set out into my woods for a pine tree that welcomed the Solstice. It was Iconic. Me and my sheepdog, out into the wild with one small axe, a cloak, and the storm swirling around us! We found a tree and brought it back to the house. There I used the hatchet to cut off smaller branches which I used to decorate the house from top to bottom. I had pine boughs everywhere, hanging from wrought iron and nail - their scent filling the house with the spirit of the season. I put on some music, Celtic Christmas in Gaelic and understood a few of the words sang in the chorus and felt powerful. Knowledge like this is like secret treasures, and every word and candle another smile in my life.

So here we are. A few weeks from the big day. Regardless of your beliefs or lack thereof, the science that soon the days will grow longer is among us. That in itself is a reason to celebrate on this farm. Longer days mean easier days. Less heat, more horse. I look forward to that. Very much, so.

So in the spirit of the season I wish you a happy holiday season, and hope you do the same for me. We have trees, hawks, horses, and hounds at this little farm. We all appreciate any blessing or favor you can send our way.

Also,  comments are back.


Blogger Bex said...


December 10, 2013 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger John Taylor said...

WooHoo comments are back! From our family to yours we would like to wish you a very merry Christmas!

By the way we love Italics!

With Grace and Peace,


December 10, 2013 at 7:47 PM  
Blogger 3 Dogs Barking Farms said...

merry xmas and many blessings to you and yours!

December 10, 2013 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

Yay! I have missed them. I always enjoy your blog, but the back-and-forth of comments, and hearing what other farmers and lay-people thought or recommended or agreed or disagreed with, made this feel like more of a community. (I understand the feeling of advice being overwhelming, but for those of us still at "someday" stage, hearing from a community felt valuable, even when posters would have done something differently than you, our hostess.) Looking forward to reading them along with the blog!

December 10, 2013 at 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah! Comments are back! And I've sent you a card in the mail! Happy holidays! ( and whoo woo for exclamation marks!!)

December 10, 2013 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Kevin and Beth said...

Thrilled beyond belief to follow your journey with Italics. Like I said before, that's one lucky hawk.

December 10, 2013 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Glad there are comments again. Great writing as always. I could see the snow falling from your description.

December 10, 2013 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger becky said...

Happy Yule glad you decided to turn the comments back on

December 10, 2013 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hooray! Comments are back!

December 10, 2013 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hooray! Comments are back!
Sending you and all the critters best wishes for a lovely holiday season and a peaceful and prosperous New Year from the East Village of NYC!

December 10, 2013 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hooray! Comments are back!

December 10, 2013 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Kelsie said...

The return of comments makes me happy indeed, simply because there are many times I wan to verbally smile in your general direction and never get to do so when the moment feels right!

December 10, 2013 at 10:41 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Hooray for comments! So many things for so long that I have wanted to comment on and now I can't remember(could be age). So happy that you got your red-tail! Hope your Christmas is extra special filled with lots of friends. Merry Christmas, Ann

December 10, 2013 at 10:41 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Hooray for comments! So many things for so long that I have wanted to comment on and now I can't remember(could be age). So happy that you got your red-tail! Hope your Christmas is extra special filled with lots of friends. Merry Christmas, Ann

December 10, 2013 at 10:42 PM  
Blogger macbew said...

I'm excited to hear about your adventures with Italics, and a little jealous (but not in a bad way)!!! I'm curious what prompted you to turn the comments back on?

December 10, 2013 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger Harmony said...

Love your blog! Happy Holidays!

December 10, 2013 at 11:41 PM  
Blogger ThiftedBliss said...

Merry Christmas Jenna, may this coming year be filled with love, peace and prosperity!

December 11, 2013 at 6:25 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Wishes for happiness and abundance this season

December 11, 2013 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

Woohoo! Comments are back!!! :D

December 11, 2013 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Alicia-Marie Lavoie said...

Happy Yule, Jenna.

December 11, 2013 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger EZ said...

Hooray for comments! I hope the people who made you take them down have cooled off a bit...and at least someone is enjoying the season. I live in Reno in an apartment and it was about 9 degrees last night...too cold for me!

December 11, 2013 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Thank you for turning comments back on....so many times, I just wanted to say "Great Job, Jenna".

We love Italics!

Merry Christmas and Happy Winter Solstice to you!

December 11, 2013 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger sarah e blog said...

you've inspired more of us readers than you know, and when you speak of failure and progress..we feel you, we understand, but i dont see the failures, i see the beauty you have surrounded yourself with,,it takes alot of mistakes to get where you wanna be, be grateful for them, they are like candles in the dark..and just know that my life has become better because of your help, your trials, your strength, and my own as well, not only have you created a life, a community and a business in a short time..you have created a new understanding, a love the unknown, a barnheart disease...and on days when i dont think i can make it..i tell myself..well if jenna can do it, i sure as hell can! thankyou jenna for everything..happy solstice from one farmer to another :)

December 11, 2013 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Shanda said...

I agree with CJ. I love hearing what you have to say but also value reading other people's views/opinions/suggestions. Thanks for turning the comments back on!

December 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Ha, reading "comments are back" gave me such a thrill! I hope it's more manageable than last time. And I just happened to have a question--did you ever find out what was up with the warnings about the pig hearts for Italics?

Glad the holiday spirit is with you! The bow-bound boughs* on your front door are pretty. (*Can you say that 5 times fast, lol?)

December 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger Woodhaven Place Homestead and Garden said...

Merry Christmas and I am loving your Italics updates!

December 11, 2013 at 7:30 PM  
Blogger Fernleaf said...

Hooray for comments! Love reading your ever-evolving story as always, and so thrilled that you were able to find Italics! A Happy Solstice to you and all of Cold Antler!

December 11, 2013 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

Hear, hear to longer days! Wishing all antlers well this season :-)

December 13, 2013 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger Sylvia@Treadlestitches said...

Happy Holidays to all at Cold Antler Farm!

December 13, 2013 at 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah, well said! Jenna, sounds like a magical day. Thanks as always for sharing your adventures with us, from the mundane to the arcane. A toast to Italics, and happy hunting!

December 13, 2013 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

The best of the Holiday Season to you Jenna- while I am not a fan of the Italics scene I still enjoy reading about the rest of the crew and how you make things work. Glad comments are back as well~

December 15, 2013 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

I'm late to the party, but I'm happy to have comments back as well. :) Happy Yule-Solstice-HumanLight-Christmas-Kwanzaa-New Years!

December 27, 2013 at 9:02 AM  

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