I don’t quite know how it is that so many months have passed since I last took the time to sit and write here, but they have. Actually, when I come to think about it I know exactly how it is that so much time has slipped by. Between farm work and taking animals to slaughter, selling our products, running farm workshops, keeping up with the garden, harvesting what we’ve raised and grown as well as having a first grader and a fifth grader homeschooling this year…well let’s just say the plates have been pretty full around here.
This year one of our goals has been to decide what works and what doesn’t. We’ve pared down some of the activities on the farm (no dairy, not selling eggs this winter) to try and get a better balance and give us more focus. But no matter what, the harvest season is busy. Between drying herbs, beans, onions and garlic, processing lots of tomatoes, freezing peas and carrots…there is kitchen work aplenty to keep me hopping for a while.
As well as the produce from the garden, we’ve filled our freezers for the year with home raised chicken (done for the year!), beef (we took our first steer to slaughter in September) and the pork and duck that will go for ‘finishing’ next week. We’ve worked hard and now the season is upon us to enjoy our bounty.
After the wood has been processed of course. Only about another 6 cords to chop and split I think. And stack. We mustn’t forget the stacking. But it’s worth it to have the house cosy and warm all winter, to have a hearth fire to gather around with tea and books and cosy times. I admit the work isn’t really mine, when my Dad was here he broke the back of it with Stephen and now my beloved is continuing manfully by himself to finish the job before the snow comes and makes everything that much more difficult. For the first year I think he’s actually going to pull it off, he’s quite a worker my chap.
I’m mostly inside now, except for bits of farm stuff and outside time with the boys; my goals are turning inwards as the weather slowly closes in and the school year really gets under way. With two boys needing a lot of my time and attention the days feel very full, add onto that some new activities for the year and it feels non stop! I’m grateful for this season of slowing down as the farm heads into winter mode, allowing for hearth and home to be our focus.
As life becomes more busy and complete I find myself less and less inclined to leave my cosy bubble of domestic life. We have our outings, and dear friends we are lucky to share time with, but as a wise and completely anonymous sage (my fabulous pal Jac on the phone this morning) once said, they fall within the circle of home. I love that phrase and aim to pass it off as my own by repeating it continuously, with a wise and knowing smile if at all possible, because it is so true. There are experiences that draw from us, ask of us and lower our energy; there are others that give, bolster and renew. Some places, and people, are home whether close at hand or far away. The glow of their presence is warming and uplifting, I feel lucky to have been given the gift of friendship and family in a world where many do without it.
So for me the season of new, of out there, of bursting into the world, is over. For a while anyway. It’s time to turn inwards, to bask in the circle of home (see, I’m doing it already) and enjoy the literal fruits of our labour. I will make tea from the wild plants of my farm, eat meals we raised and grew ourselves (whenever possible) and cosy up in front of the fire as much as is legally permissible.
And as I do so, I feel grateful and hopeful for all those who’ve been driven from their homes. For whom the circle has been broken. I do what I can to help, knowing it is not nearly enough. But we have to try; we have to try our best. Because home, that’s all that matters really isn’t it?