Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

All is Calm. All is Bright.

Posted on | December 22, 2012 | 5 Comments

I realize a lot of you are scrambling around in the stores and malls right now.  Sounds like lots of fun.  I, however, have been a bit pinned down.  2 of the kids were already out of school.  1 stayed home sick for several days.  And 1 lost a bracket off his braces and then missed the bus on the last day of school.  Which seemed like a bad omen on the day the world was going to end so I kept him home just in case things got worse.  So the week days were a loss.  And, of course, the boys’ Saturday basketball games started at 10am and were scheduled 3 hours apart.  Which was too too early to do anything ahead of time, too long to hang out in town inbetween games, and finished just in time to go home for milking and dinner.  So, no shopping for me.

Dang.  ‘Cause you people really look like you’re having fun.

Compared to all that hoopla, our days have been calm and quiet.  The broccoli and brussel sprouts are developing serenely under the frost cover.

The greenhouse offers a few tomatoes each week that ripen nicely on the kitchen windowsill.  As long as they are rescued from the greenhouse before the cabbage moths get to them.

Enjoy your winter sun room, moths.  As soon as spring arrives and the summer transplants move out of the greenhouse, I am going to lock you in there and let the sun scorch your larvae-leaf-eating-pupa and your adult-winged-menace bodies into ash.  Ho ho ho, punks.

Some of the herbs in the garden survived the last few frosts.  Which meant we made a delightful visit to the cat shelter bearing some Christmas catnip.  Which some like to eat.

And others like to play with.

But some just want a snuggle.

Or, of course, to play with the bag that the catnip arrived in.

After an hour of escalating cat antics, we bailed for the peaceful pastures of our own barn yard.

Where the new quick connect hose attachment I installed makes detaching the automatic waterers from the hydrant on freezing nights incredibly easy.  So easy that The Other Half and I won’t have to play the “Who Still Has Their Shoes On?” game any more to determine who has to go out and shut it off before bed.  Please note this game automatically rewarded those of us who always remember to take their shoes off when they come in the house.  As it should, people, as it should.

Plus, Tina had discovered new way to relax her gimpy legs.  While still hanging out with her brothers, as always.

And the Silkie chicks flourished in the brooder room.  They are already feathered out enough to peep and scratch happily without needing to huddle under the heat lamps.

Even Zorra settled down and decided that TS was actually not as smelly and nasty as much as he was the most handsome and sexy buck she’d ever met.  Mark your calendar, P, you’ll have goat kids at your house by Memorial Day.

Oh, I’m sorry.  Was that T.M.P (Too Much Picture)?  We can get so indelicate around here.

As if things weren’t restful enough outside, the children were desperate for last minute gift cash.  Which meant they were up for cleaning the bathrooms,



and whatever else they could do to earn a few coins.

Yes, Virginia, Christmas truly is the season of joy.

Leaving me free to finish making, taste testing, and packaging the peanut butter clouds and chocolate peanut pretzel clusters for the neighbors.

In addition to getting the chocolate caramel pecan coconut fudge (with marshmallows) done for Christmas eve dinner.  I know, it sounds over the top.  But it so isn’t.  Because fudge cannot be over the top.  It just can’t be.

Since using all that peanut butter left us with an empty jar, we also made a treat for the wild birds.  Another bird feeder.  Which they like enough to wait in line for.

Although they kind of have to wait in line no matter what.  Because the other feeders….

….are already full.  Although the dark-eyed juncos and the sparrows are kind enough never to monopolize a feeder.  Instead they spread out on the lawn, eating up all the grass seed we sprinkled this week.  Every grey smudge in this professional quality photo is a dark-eyed junco or a sparrow.  And that’s not all of them, just the section of the lawn with the highest concentration.

Dark-eyed juncos and sparrows.  Aren’t they just so….considerate?

So I’m glad everyone’s getting their shopping done over the last few days.  Even my kids have scheduled some time out with Grandma and Grandpa to spend their earnings.  But our biggest activities have been watching Christmas movies.  Playing a few hands of Pictureka!

and a visit to the incredible Paschal light show.  Which had more lights….

and lovely little houses….

filled with more Christmas collectibles….

and more miniature train sets….

than a person could possibly count.  Never mind take pictures of.  Which is awesome.  Because lights and Christmas collectibles and miniature train sets cannot be over the top.

As long as they’re at someone else’s house. 😉

We even got to see Santa Claus.

The half-hearted smiles are not because the children were posing under duress.  They were under duress, of course.  (Except for Little.  Little always smiles for the camera.  Little smiles and calls to you to take his picture and provides multiple poses and asks to preview them on the camera in case you need to take a better one.  Which I think is his way of trying to make up for the fact that we have almost no baby pictures of him because, really, he was the last of 4 and, let’s just be honest—- the novelty wears off, people.)  But mostly I think the kids were cold.

It’s hard for a Southerner to summon the Christmas spirit in 35 degrees and a bitter wind.  If Pretty didn’t have her newly knitted poodle yarn scarf she probably would not have survived.  Or at least not smiled at all.

Good thing we came home to a toasty house with a freshly cleaned and functioning woodstove.

So that everything around here was calm and bright.  Which is worth writing about.  Since tomorrow I’ll be making the side dishes for Christmas eve dinner and The Other Half will be tackling the last minute shopping.  And all that calm and bright goes out the window.  ‘Cause let’s face it.  You can’t have your calm and your family meal and presents, too.

Unless there’s wine.  Which, now that I think about it, is both calm and bright and probably still available at stores everywhere…..


5 Responses to “All is Calm. All is Bright.”

  1. treatlisa
    December 23rd, 2012 @ 9:17 am

    “You can’t have your calm and your family meal and presents, too.”

    See, this is my problem. I’m glad you set me straight. To understand there is no calm in the context of these other things clarifies a mighty truth! I will now quit wasting expectations of calm when it simply cannot be. Thank you!

  2. Ferne K
    December 23rd, 2012 @ 9:39 am

    Fantastic description of your pre-Christmas actitivies. I always look forward to your blog and read it first, when I check the e-mail. Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  3. Anne Kimball
    December 23rd, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

    Loved it. As always.

    Merry Christmas!!!!

  4. Sandybee
    December 23rd, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

    I have been following you all year. Your blog always brings lots of laughs. You are quite the storyteller. Happy holidays to you and your family. I look forward to more stories in 2013!

  5. Lin
    December 23rd, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

    Merry Christmas to you all! I’m so glad that I found you this year—Tina’s story is hands-down my happy blog happening for 2012. I love your determination to help her–it consistently made me smile.

    I wish us all more happy stories in 2013!

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