Saying goodbye to December and 2014
It has been a super busy month for a number of reasons, off trip farms, farm work, wood gathering, and my butt being kicked by medication hasn't helped.
It's also been the strangest December I remember in a while. We had no snow for Christmas - NONE. And we've had temperatures in the 40s F, close to 50! It's been completely insane. We did have a little snow earlier in the month, by Christmas it was raining and the snow was gone. We have a slight dusting right now, but it barely covers the ground AND the ground hasn't even been frozen!
I remember Decembers with no snow, but not one with so much mud.
As of last night the cold is starting though. I don't mind it, it's been nice for working outside but I am a little worried since the animals actually started to SHED. The goats shedding really worried me, Hopefully the cold comes and slowly builds so they can remember it is still winter.
Dahlia says what? It's not really April?
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas with the people they love. We enjoyed a really nice celebration for the Winter Solstice...
Our meal for Yule: sun bread, vegetables and pork en croute.
It was actually very reflective and relaxing.
As for Christmas I made us a prime rib with all the fixings and our favorite egg nog pie.
As we kept checking the temperature in case we were imagining it.
And I even found some elves!! Puffin makes the perfect elf...
And Peter, he wasn't sure he wanted to be an elf at all... but he tried it.
Even Rollie tolerated a little Christmas cheer. He's not big on dress up although he does fully approve of eggnog.
Of course he also approves of cookies too, which I made a whole lot of! This is the first year I did not send out Christmas cards mainly because I just didn't have the energy this year, but also because of cost. I did mail cookies though, and was surprised they held up well on their way to their destinations.
Otherwise there has been a lot of resting going on around here...
And still lots of knitting...
I'm doing chores when I can. No two days are the same for me still energy wise but I'm so grateful for all I can do and am doing. I'm just continuing to take it one step at a time, one day at a time.
Now I'm going to share some pictures from the past couple of weeks, most of the time when we did have our snow!
Lavender growing like a weed...
Flavious very happy. Winter is his favorite time of year.
Rollie racing home after a walk...
Santa Rollie visiting Jackson
My happy boy coming to greet me on my way to the barn for evening chores.
Everyone more than ready to call it a night and go inside to bed...
This is one of my favorite pictures from December, walking home after evening chores, following my goat path towards the house lit up with Christmas lights.
Someone decided to slack off during the holidays and gave us a mini egg. It was still delicious though, so it was O.K. It was the holidays after all!
Here is Aurora and Brie the other day, with the snow gone.... Just before Christmas we made a five hour trek to pick up a milking stand I bought from a 7 year old boy who builds them with his dad. He was trying to save some money to buy toys. I used the money I had made selling some of my fingerless knit gloves to buy the stand from him, and he used the money to go to Toys R us. Everyone was happy with that deal! :)
This will be the first time I'll be milking Brie if all goes well, and it's going to be an adventure. I haven't started working with a new milking goat since 2009. I did not need a stand with Biscuit, but I know I will with Brie and Bea, my other two dairy girls, and it will be easier on me probably as well.
It was a long drive to get the milking stand but it was worth it. It was a great family selling the stand and a great kid - he handled all the dealings with the sale and I was impressed at the lessons his parents are teaching him. I don't even like kids - but this guy won me over.
Before we left, he came back from the house and gifted us with a pack of smoked sausages from their own pig for Christmas. They were super delicious. I called his mom to let her know I appreciated it and also to commend her for raising such good kids. She told me she appreciated it because it's very difficult and trying and I have no doubt. I couldn't do it, but I haven't seen a kid of that age be as polite and motivated in a very long time.
Our deer situation continues to be nothing like it has been the 10 years I've lived here. Most of our herd is gone. It's actually quite heartbreaking. For 10 years we've had the same deer come back - and over the years we loose some but we've always had regulars. Our faithful friend Torn Ear we did not expect back considering he was 11 or 12 years old and had so many injuries the past few years, with loosing his eye and being torn up the past two years. But our Deer Norman showed up only briefly with his antlers all broken off, and all of our does are gone.
Only one of our bucks, Leo, made it through hunting season and visits us, and we also have a couple does with fawns and one orphan fawn. We always have at least one orphan fawn show up after hunting season to hang around here for safety and food. It's reassuring they are not ALL gone but their behavior has changed dramatically too.
Every year they sleep around the house, they do not run from us, and they feel safe here. This year they are terrified of everything - and I mean everything. They are in a constant state of fear and ready to run. Last winter between the ice, wolves, and this hunting season sure took it's toll. I hope some day things will return to the peace we had here before and in the meantime I'm grateful some of our friends have returned. But we are still shocked at how dramatic the change has been in their behavior and patterns.
We spoke to our local game warden after hunting season and he acknowledged the deer population has dropped dramatically and the rules need to be changed again to support more conservation, but so far the Government hasn't done it. That's not be anti hunting - although we do not hunt, but we know this area well and the populations and what they have been through - and the deer need a break so that we do not loose the population entirely. Hopefully people will realize that before it's too late.
So far it has been an easy winter on them though, so that will help.
I do not believe in New Years resolutions. But I am grateful to be starting a new Year, and I am hopeful and looking forward to everything it brings. It's been a hell of a year. Lots of painful things have happened on our farm, just like everywhere else. But also plenty of beautiful, breathtaking, moments that remind us what life is all about and what is really important. Both carry lessons, so both are gifts in the long run.
To be honest, it's been so hard to get back into writing. I want to write, it's in me to write, but it's been so long since anything was routine or "normal" for me. And since I'm still so tired all of the time, and things are so up and down, it's hard to find a flow, and to find my voice. When I was writing steadily and not as sick, it was so much easier blogging, sharing my life and thoughts with all of you because it just flowed so easily for me.
There is no flow yet. There are sparks of creativity, of excitement, of normalcy, but it's not consistent. It's so easy for me to start something and not be able to finish it - including my train of thought, which is why writing has been hard for me. The way back for me, will be writing at the very moment things happen and maybe writing less at a time, which was what I used to do. Now I wait, and time goes by, and feelings change, memories become faded or distorted. I cannot tell you how many emails I have started in the past months, simple emails that were just basic, nothing stressful, and I cannot even finish them. The fatigue is sometimes so consuming I forget what I was even doing at certain times, simple times, like in the middle of cooking dinner.
But I'll get there, I'll get back to myself, writing will become easier, and things will flow again, I know they will. It will take time and I appreciate your patience with me and support as I go through this journey. I always ask Kevin to check my posts and the past few posts I've questioned posting. I want to at least share pictures and updates but It's a struggle for me and I hate that my voice and my writing just isn't "right." It always amazes me when I've had readers who have become friends through blogging tell me, they could tell something was wrong with me or off just simply because of my writing... that has touched my heart very deeply to know that people can know me in that way, that they pay that much attention, or care that much.
Kevin said, no, this isn't like your usual writing, but it's an update, and also he said, if I do not share this part of my journey with you all, I'd be going against my own purpose of having a blog. I wouldn't be being honest if I saved only my best writing to share with you. And he's right. So for a while, my posts might be different, my voice might be a little quieter or it might crack once and a while...
But I hope eventually, or rather, I know eventually, it will come back loud and clear.
Cheers to each one of you, thank you for your support and I look forward to starting a New Year with you! :)