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Posts Tagged ‘solstice’

We welcome winter this morning after a night of blistering winds and a high for today of 44 degrees which has already passed. Outside the blindingly bright sun belies the frigid temperature as we begin our return toward longer days once again. As high cirrus clouds sail across an icy blue sky I find it hard to believe that today is this blog’s one year anniversary. Although life has had its twists and turns (as it always does), and I have not met my goal for the number of posts over the course of the year that I had hoped to achieve (as I never could), I did at least carry on. Sometimes that is the best we can do.

Last month we finally put Lumpy down, the mama with the swollen jaw who lost her calf last year. The swelling never responded to any treatments and had finally gotten so big that she could no longer eat. Still it was hard to accept; I suppose culls always are. You just can’t help wondering if you did everything you could. In better news, we bought two new bulls at the last sale to increase the genetic diversity of the herd. We have been feeding hay on a daily basis for some time now, the grass in the pastures dying off a little early from the dry fall it seemed. Winter wheat has been planted and now struggles to come up. All the mamas-to-be have been sorted into pastures near the house and barns for the upcoming birthing season. I hope to bring two donkeys onto the farm before birthing begins to help keep the coyotes at bay. Driving on nearby roads I see other herds with some new babies already, brown, white and black packages of bovine adorableness. Although I appreciate the black Angus breed for what it literally brings to the table, at times I wish we had a little more diversity in the field, if only for visual interest…

My middle child is pestering me for her garden gloves. Soon we’ll bundle up and head outside to set out a few pansies around the blueberry bushes. I am tempted to postpone this task because of the wind; our Christmas lights clattering wildly against our front windows scold and warn like crows taking flight. I know myself, however, and one postponement will lead to another and another. Eventually the pansies will not forgive me, and then I will not forgive myself for not just planting the stupid things. So, out into the ripping wind I go. It isn’t that many pansies.

pansies waiting

pansies waiting

Happy Solstice everyone!

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The latest cold front pushed through a couple of days ago, sweeping the skies clear of clouds, making way for sun and wind to give earth some balance with all this standing water and mud. This morning the clouds returned, soft stratus from horizon to horizon. We’ve had hard freezes the last two mornings, and now those stratus clouds sink into drifts of fog, making the drying out slow going. It’s still far too wet for bean picking.

Brad trudged out to feed and check cows early this morning; no babies yet. I’m eager for them to start; I think Brad is too, only for him I suspect it’s tempered with a bit of dread, the kind that makes you set your jaw and heave a sigh as you head out to do a necessary but unpleasant task.

Already we have gained daylight, perhaps as much as an hour in a week’s time. The sleepy short days and ever longer nights crept toward the solstice, inching into that one longest night; it seems the growing sun now leaps into the lengthening of days, as if shaking off the residual drowsiness of an afternoon nap. The gap between sunrise and sunset widens, the arc heads northward again. We wait, for fields to dry out, for calving to begin, for winter to progress and eventually give way to spring…

The clouds now have folded themselves upward into puffs of cumulus, sunlight pushes its way through, and thousands of starlings just outside the house elicit an argument between the nine- and the four-year-old over the right way to frighten them into flight. No amount of explaining will soothe the wronged child. Brad’s return from milling signals the start of dinner preparation, and we wind down this day and head for the next.

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