Saturday, December 3, 2011

Darkest of Days

If I'd been listening to the news, I would know down to the minute how much light we received today. Instead I'm going to guess about five and a half hours of total daylight, which was not very light at all, but rather a dusky gray sort of day, getting dimmer before I'd hardly finished my outside chores. I haven't seen the sun in several days, but it has been very warm (for us), twenties, both are results of the overcast skies, which keep the heat in and and the sun out.

I've been promising informational posts for some time now, and alas, this is just another update of how we are surviving these dark winter days. The truth is that I've made some significant changes in our daily routine, namely reducing and almost eliminating television from the kid's day. Television is now reserved for sick days, special family movie nights, emergencies and breeding goats (D and I go up the hill to wrangle goats and the kid's get a bonus). We have replaced morning PBS t.v. with quality family time, morning songs, stories and visiting. At times the transition was rough, but now the kids are playing better than ever. The kids are spending so much time playing so well together (we are talking hours upstairs playing legos) that I am loathed but forced to interrupt them for meals and lessons. I use to write first thing in the morning while the kid's watched t.v. and I drank my tea. Now, I seem to hit the ground running, making and serving breakfast before my tea has cooled. Then out to do farm chores, which is where I find my solace.

I have been thinking that I have too much going on in my life. I spend too much time feeding and caring for animals, and not enough time with my family. I need to be a wife and mother first, and a farmer second. I am not sure what needs to go or if anything does. I do know that I must spend more time with my children. I am around them all day, but I am cleaning and cooking, while they play on their own. I am reminding myself daily to go simpler on the meals, and not get overly ambitious in the kitchen. We don't need three hot meals a day. The kids would rather have me as a playmate than have elaborate meals.

Homeschooling has been a welcome addition to our daily routine. I am really enjoying sitting down and working with Noah. I am planning lots of crafts and activities to do together with the kids. This week Noah and I learned how to finger knit. Dustin surprised me with our first Christmas tree this week. In the past we've decorated potted Norfolk pines and cut out paper trees and taped them to the wall. Never felt like we had the room for a tree. Guess we got tired of waiting to have the space so we made it happen. Today we made homemade ornaments for the Christmas tree out of play dough that we cut out with cookie cutters, baked and then painted. I also made a wreath out of the trees lower boughs for the table, and attempted to make a nativity scene out of play dough which didn't quite work out as I intended. I have bought beeswax in bulk for dipping candles, natural wool roving for felting projects and wool animals, and some small wood figurines to make nativity scene characters.

In the evenings I have been knitting gifts, reading, or indulging in movies with Dustin. I am already thinking that I should start next year's Christmas gifts this coming January. As there is so much I want to make and I am not very realistic. I have red yarn for a neck warmer for Noah. I bought some specialty buttons, in combination with the wool roving I'm planning on making a wallet for Noah and a purse for Avery. I also wanted to make them some dress up hats, masks or crowns as they spend half their days playing pirates or knights and princesses.

Here are a few pictures from our Thanksgiving and Dark days:

kid's felting coil bracelet's

Our twenty-four pound turkey hen. Brined with salt and herbs, stuffed and rubbed with herbs. It was a lovely as a turkey gets, thanks to my mom who cooked it perfectly.

The prettiest rolls I've ever made.

Avery, cousin Aiden and Noah.

Tips for anyone feeling down from the dark days: get outside if you can while it is light, light candles when you are inside, bake cookies, start a good book or a new craft, curl up with a seed catalog - I've already gotten two! Get together with friends for a meal, simmer up some mulled spiced wine or cider - add a splash of dark rum or not, if the sun doesn't hit your house, drive your car somewhere and park and let the sun shine on your face while you close your eyes and dream of lying on the beach. If all else fails; go to the tanning beds - seriously.

I almost forgot, last night we saw the Aurora for the first time this year. A long green ribbon trailing across the north sky, undulating this way and that. Hello dark winter nights.


Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

The pictures are cute! I especially like the last one where someone is dancing with a little tot who mysteriously has no pants on.
I let my tot run around without pants and we just call it "nekkid baby time". Everyone needs time without pants, I say.
That no tv thing is interesting. I have found the best way to enjoy the holiday season is to turn off the TV! (Except for HBO Sunday nights - that's a must have.)

Anonymous said...

Awesome post! I like the part about not just cooking and cleaning, but a playmate for the kids as well. And trying to figure out how to find the time for that. What has to go, maybe nothing? That got me thinking about efficiency doing chores...