Monday 23 January 2012

A Light in the Dark

Every year I look forward to Winter.
The summers are too busy and hot.
Winter in central Ontario means it's time for a break.
There is too much ice and snow to work outside.
So, I turn to neglected projects in the house.
But the Winter dim can get through the windows.
And it gets through me too.
And when it rains......well, it's hard to feel inspired.
I look over all the projects outside, laying in wait.
I imagine the sound of red-winged blackbirds signaling the end of the dark.

I know.  We are only half-way through.

There will still be snow-shoeing and maybe some ice-fishing.
We plan to make our own soap sometime soon.  It would be nice outdoors, over a wood-fired stove.

And I love coming into the house after being out in the cold. The smell of freshly made food and the lingering scent of hardwood from the woodstove brings me around.

Planning for the Spring helps too.
We need to decide which projects to advance and which are too burdensome.
But I can daydream about a new building or raised garden bed.

There is this year's chicken plan to devise.  Should we raise our own chicks or buy new ones?
How many this year?  ( My goal is to keep one-hundred birds.  So far, the most we've had is seventy-five.)

There is land to be cleared.
We need to get some more ground opened up for crops.

Still, there's rain today.
When the daylight is already is short supply, the rain clouds shorten the day all the more.

  Sometimes I turn all the lights on in the house just to ease the weight of the dark.

  Sometimes I don't think we have enough lights to do the trick.  I don't want to waste electricity, but the light is a salve for a sodden soul afflicted by Winter's desolation.  I am going to work on some new light fixtures soon.

I remind myself to focus on the task at hand.
The rhythm of the homestead slows in Winter but it does not stop.  There are still animals to care for and the house needs to be defended from Winter's brutish hand.
And of course, there are the children to raise.  They are indeed a 'light' of their very own.
Balancing the day's chores is a challenge, but the kids are the priority.  Whenever I feel that I haven't accomplished enough during the day I wonder how important it really is.  The kids will grow more quickly than our farm, and the farm is ageless.  I will know regret well if I lose sight of that.

Now it's time to tuck the chickens in for the night, check on the pigs, and then I'll go to the kids room and just listen to them sleep.

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