Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Balance

Despite the zero degree days and a few feet of snow on the ground, it feels like spring around here. The sun has returned full force and the dark days are behind us. We rise with the sun, spend our day enjoying the sunlight whether we are indoors or out. I have been planning my day with sunlight in mind. In the mornings when the sun is just starting to come into the house I can go into the darker rooms and hallways to tidy and clean or head outside for chores, but once afternoon comes around and the living room is filled with glorious sun shine, that is where I have to be, whether I'm sweeping, tidying, doing lessons, playing cards with the kids or reading.

Ask anyone in the Interior and probably even in the State and there is a communal sense of triumph and celebration in March. We have made it through the darkest and coldest months. And for the next several months it only gets brighter and warmer. Here in Fairbanks we rarely experience a balance of daylight. Our winter months are crazy long and dark, and at winter solstice we only see four or five hours of sunlight (I think - but it seems like less.) By midsummer we have the extreme of daylight way past midnight with only a few hours of dusk. Whenever I travel anywhere warm, it feels so odd to me when it gets dark at night, because our summers never get truly dark until mid August, and by then our nights are crisp and cool. So I associate warmth with summer months and constant daylight, and darkness with cold winter months. Equinox is it's own sort of strange. We are not accustomed to balance, only one extreme or the other.

This week the kids and I blew out goose eggs to decorate. Noah cut down a four foot willow tree outside. It is planted now, and is soon to become our decorated Spring tree. I'll take pictures once we get all our eggs hung and decorated. Yesterday we set five goose eggs in the incubator. I couldn't resist. I love having geese around in the summer. They are so curious and entertaining. Unlike ducks and chickens, the geese are interested in what we are doing and want to be where we are. They make for delightful companions with the exception of some mature ganders.

The first seedling rack is up and running. I wish, like some of you that I could start all my seeds outside in the greenhouse, alas, that is not my reality. We make do with what we have, and if I had to trudge uphill through three feet of snow carrying water jugs to get to my seedlings, well, they wouldn't receive very good care anyhow, so I put them where I can see them all day and not forget to water them. So far onions, shallots, leeks, thyme and basil are up. The kids and I were looking at flowers and watermelon in the seed catalogs today and I told them we'd plant some tomorrow - which is crazy early, but we'll just plant a few and maybe we'll have some spring flowers as well as a watermelon by the end of the summer.

This month is spring cleaning month for me. Next month is both Noah's and my mom's birthday as well as goat kidding season and serious seed starting time. Now is the time to sort out the pantry and scrub the cupboards and walls - my least favorite chores. I pulled out a ham the other day to brine and smoke for Easter. I started a special cheese, I believe it is called Annette's cheese - I'll have to check and make sure I've got that right. It is basically a simple moldy wheel of chevre. I am excited to be using a different mold than usual and have high hopes for the grassy flavor it is said to impart on it's subject. Right now it is the sole item in our back up fridge as it is supposed to be aged at fifty degrees- much to my husband's dismay, as his beer is forced to fit here and there in our main fridge which is always packed.

Thinking of the balance of light and dark reminds me to seek balance in my days. I have been trying not to overdo the cleaning projects- as much as I want to delve in, and instead I'm trying to tackle just enough that when the kids are ready for me, I can sit down with them. Noah has learned how to play rummy, and we play several games a day, in the late afternoon and after dinner- moving our game so that I can be sitting wherever the sun is shining - of course :)  I am reading Charlotte's Web to the kids, and we are all loving it. The past two days I've been painting a village house scene that will be a story prop for our lessons. I spent about five hours painting houses today, and was in heaven. The kids and I coordinated perfectly, they playing wonderfully together all day while I painted in the sun. I wish every day was so smooth. I'm trying to enjoy the good days and not be overly disappointed and grumpy on their difficult days. Which brings me back to balance. Balance of light and dark, cold and warmth, happy days and frustrating days. I am just learning to not overdo so much that I run out of energy, time, love. To hold some in reserve and not spend it all at once. To be able to summon up some tender words and feelings even when I don't easily feel it.

Happy Equinox. Wishing you all days filled with balance and peaceful moments.

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