Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Dog Days of September?

This is the face of a horse that doesn't understand why it is 85 degrees in late September. And you know what? I can't say I blame his incredulity. There are leaves falling off the trees in all the prettiest Autumnal colors. The local pharmacy is stocked with Halloween candy and costumes. I have an orange pumpkin on my doorstep - yet it feels like late July. It's humid and dry at the same time. Moisture is thick in the air, but not a drop of rain has fallen in a long span of days. Which makes going outside feel like being in a sloppy tundra with imposter syndrome. I look forward to chillier nights.

But the heat has also been encouraging. As someone who is tied to a woodstove all winter it is kinda freeing to know all my fire work has been stacking and sorting wood on piles and not bringing it inside to burn. I'll be trying to hold out on regular use of the stove for a while.

Around the farm things are moving at the usual happy panicked pace. Morning chores are a flash of black dogs and chicken feathers. I haul water and hay, feed and grain, and tend to the indoor kids' breakfasts of kibble and cat food. The rest of the morning is for design and illustration work and writing. Afternoons are for running, riding, and errands of all sorts. With the last cuttings of hay coming into barns and fall slaughter dates of livestock it seems every few days I am in a barn or butcher's office of some sort. At the end of each day I am tired and focused, like a draft horse with blinders on taking a nap in her stall.

I have been slowly but surely adding to the winter larder. Every few days a few new items are added, sometimes just a can of beans or a bag of rice - but always something. Every winter making a living here gets harder so I am trying to cut out as many extra costs as necessary with the plan being to eat 95% of my calories from the farm to save cash for the mortgage and utilities. If I get lucky and sell a book contract or get some lucrative freelance work I can set some aside for savings. My goal here is always to just be solvent. To stay put.

I'm heading back outside to soak in the sun while it lasts. It is hard for me to be too grumpy about it. There will be February mornings here so cold I could cut glass with the sharpness of my prayers for sunshine. And on that note, I am heading outside to carry water again.