Friday, February 5, 2021

Winter Together

It feels like a new farm and a new life around these parts. Having someone else here to help when things are particularly hard and celebrate when they are good has changed the entire vibe of this gin joint. For example, this morning chores went by in a literal flurry! Chunky patches of happy flakes filled the air as we split up the morning work of feeding and caring for the animal crew. I went out first with the dogs and let them romp about in the snow (Friday especially loves catching snowballs in the air) and together we open the coops from the night before and get to the morning grain feeding. The goat and sheep get their feed, the chickens get theirs in their respective coops. The geese are let out of the barn and the pigs get their feeders filled. Horses and the flock get hay, filling the nets Shannon tied by hand here in the farmhouse. Once everyone has their fill of grain and grass we move on to carrying buckets. Indoors while all this is going on the percolator is churning out a thick espresso.

Once chores are done we have our own little family rituals and order to the day. Coffee and a board game are always a pleasant start on a snowy day if we have time before Zoom calls or to-do lists start. That was today, since we have the awhole snowy at home to work on our freelance, soap making, and art we sat down with hot mugs and played a game. We put on an ambiance channel on Youtube (today was spring birdsong as if it wasn’t a snowy morning in February) and took in our caffeine out of steaming-warm mugs while songbirds tweeted. You need less sugar in your coffee when that is how you start the day.

By midmorning chores and coffee are done. We slide into our separate work lives and office spaces here in the farmhouse. Shannon has a lot of conference calls and meetings with clients. I have soap to make in the kitchen, orders to pack, and illustrations to work on while podcasts play the news when we can listen. It’s a happy routine, and a lot gets done before noon every day. With our evenings usually set aside for evening chores with the animals, yoga, and cooking a meal together, it feels so nice to have the bulk of office work behind us before sunset.

It’s been lovely. Despite some hardships this old house always sets up: like frozen pipes and bad winter drainage (we do need a plumber for the drainage but I DID fix the burst pipe last week myself!) and weekends in deep cold mean adapting our routines and the house (like staying up all night with wood stoves and dripping pipes) but together we have made it. And there are more good memories this winter than bad, despite the horrific news and the fears of the pandemic. We are lucky to have this place and have it together. The animals are well. Friends have been amazing, kind, and we are all on call for each other in this quarantined time.

Speaking of which, my neighbor and large animal vet, Shelly, has come down with very complicated health issues this winter and needs help. If you can share this on your own social media, or even possibly donate, please do. The link is here and every dollar can help a local family here in Veryork get through a very hard time.

Be well. Be safe. Be kind.