Winter in the country. Snow and ice and biting wind that takes your breath. Thoughts of summer seem far away, deep in the recesses of your mind. Snuggling under blankets, knitting the day away. Listening to my daughter play piano. Reading stories to the children.
~a brown thrasher~
Outside, after a big snow, the animals are almost afraid to step foot out of their cozy homes. I see our goats, large with babies (possibly twins), peeking out of the door, almost as if to say, "No way am I coming out there!" Goats do not like rain. They do not like the drip-dripping of melting snow. They do not like to stand in mud. They are fairly particular. They munch on hay and lay down carefully. Their bellies are big and they are slowing down, waiting patiently.
The chickens don't mind rain. Or mud. They scratch away at the mud, still searching, ever hopeful.
Our doe rabbit, Queenie, had two litters of babies last year. Her second litter produced 14 babies! Of which only 6 survived. Out of that batch, she had two snow white bunnies. We kept one and named him Prince Thistledown.
Plans to improve the farm are under way. Last fall, we built a mobile chicken house. We move the hens every few weeks to a new spot. This keeps the chickens healthier, lessens chances for disease and worms, and also improves our soil. Preparations for spring, believe it or not, are already under way. Fences are being mended, gardens are fixing to be tilled (tilling snow under helps aerate the soil), gardens will be completely planted by the end of March and new chickens will be ordered. Our baby goats will have been born and we will have a new hog.
Though plans are being made for the months ahead, we have also enjoyed the holiday season from the end of October with our Annual Fall Party, through Thanksgiving (one of the best yet!), a peaceful and happy Christmas and quiet New Years (yes, quiet) We are enjoying the flavors of this season, with wonderful meals and desserts. Happy traditions and fun and laughter. But still, I long for spring.
I anticipate the birth of babies on the farm. I look forward to beautiful blooms on the trees, leaves so tender and new. I look forward to the smell of honeysuckle and the bright green grass. I relish watching my animals enjoying the wonderful new assortment of foods to eat. I can sit for hours outside watching them. Maybe this year we'll get a cow. Maybe a horse. We want both. We shall see. Until then, we'll keep dreaming....and planning....and living the country life.