I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve sat down to write a post! Between trouble with my website host and sporadic and sometimes lengthy Christmastime power outages, an ice storm (or two) and slipping and sliding my way across the yard to tend to the animals and back in to tend to children, it’s been busy around here.
Although I’m not sure what it was like, as Al Roker loves to say, “in your neck of the woods” this winter, it has been pretty crazy in eastern Maine. Our temps were in the negative-thirties for a stretch, and the drivers on my street had to suffer the sight of me wrapped head to toe, eyeballs-only squinting out from the cinched-up hood of my humongous and cozy LL Bean down coat, praying my eyelids didn’t succumb to frost bite before the school bus brought my little home. Days and days I didn’t even get my mail, because the extra 3 feet of space between where I stood shivering and waiting for the bus was just too much to traverse for the sake of gathering bills.
Our community looked like Narnia for the weeks surrounding Christmas, and although we lost power due to the ice storm, and I had to ask my mom and grandmother to do my portion of the Christmas cooking, we fired up the generator and at least had twinkling lights on the tree and a cozy warm house. After years of my occasional grumble about having purchased a generator and then never, in years, having ever had to use it, my husband was finally vindicated. It was a great purchase. He is brilliant, which I knew anyway, besides being exquisitely handsome and very romantic.
In fact, he brought me home a special something a couple of weeks ago, as a token of his love for me: Carhartt “barn wear.” In years past he has brought me home flowers, which I also love, but I’m not sure if there is anything that could have made me smile more than my cozy and indestructible work-coat and fuzzy-lined sweatshirt. And warm leather work gloves. (I think the gloves for me were really a gift for him, because the day before I had a slight mishap wherein I accidentally launched one of HIS new work gloves – which I was borrowing of course – into the wood boiler, because my hands are littler than his. Don’t worry! I real quick scooped it out with a shovel and rubbed it around in the snow to be sure it wasn’t secretly on fire. It’s a little black in a couple places, but really it’s ok. But I think in his effort not to have any of his stuff incinerated, he figured it was smart – not to mention romantic – if I had my own matching set of stuff.)
I’m not even being funny to say that it’s romantic to receive barn wear. For years I’ve said how much I’d love to live in an old farmhouse and have goats. And everyone in ear shot would laugh. Because I’m the heels and nails and eyeliner girl with the previously strong aversion to nature and anything related to being outdoors. But this old rambling place, with it’s custom built goat-and-chicken-villa and the big workshop for my husband to use for building things (which will include things for him, not just livestock projects, I promise!)… this old place is a gift. And this barn wear makes me smile, because once again my husband has found a way to give me my dreams, whether we’re riding “marshrutkas” in Ukraine with a boy we tried to adopt or raising goats and chickens on a few pretty acres of land. This man… this man is something. I’m so thankful God made him for me.
Speaking of farm animals, I’m learning a few things about raising baby chicks. People (other than me) don’t raise chicks in winter in Maine, because having to keep chickens in the house for months at a time is not cool. They are stinky and they make a dust that is yuck. And it gets on everything. Our baby chicks are in the brooder in the basement, which is fine, but my romanticized vision of chirping chicks in the kitchen or some such thing… that’s for the birds. Pun intended. I think they are safe to be outside in the cold now, because they are 10+ weeks old and well feathered, but we’ve had such fluctuating temperatures that I don’t dare to put them out with the other girls, in case we have another cold snap (it’s a toasty 40-something today). (There are no current baby chick photos, because those girls are itching to get out and have freedom – poor things! – and if I try to get them to pose for a pic, they just run rampant through the basement, which necessitates my “Chicken Wrangler” named Sage to come in and help me to round up the fugitives from under the far reaches of the stairs that to up to that… what is that thing called…. a bulkhead??)
And I have to tell you, since we’re talking about the goings on in the coop: Lois the duck has begun to lay eggs! And that duck, she is a worker. Every single day – except one – since she started laying, there is an egg in some spot or another, on the straw-covered floor of the coop! Our other girls have been laying really consistently, too, which is great, since we don’t use extra light for them. We have a tinted, transparent roof on the coop, and I don’t know if that is allowing enough light in that even on days they’re inside, between the windows and the roof, they have light.
I’m off now to bake a cake for my oldest daughter’s birthday. Tomorrow she will be 15! And next month my guy will be 14! When did I get to be old enough to have kids this old!? And speaking of the birthday girl, she is having a very exciting start to her first high school track season! If, that is, they could ever have a meet. We’ve been to one, but the weather has prevented others, so this weekend we’re looking forward to watching her run.
Whatever your day holds, here is wishing you endurance to run the race before you and many happy moments. Whether dressed in barn wear or high heels (or maybe both, just not at the same time, please), I hope you are wearing joy and find yourself covered in peace and that you are blessed. Whether gathering eggs, tending babies or shuffling through stacks of papers at the office, I hope you have a day filled with a sense of accomplishment – and a coffee break.