Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cooped up

We had a good Christmas with our families in St. Paul. A few years ago Mom began delegating some of the many Christmas tasks she does, only she diplomatically calls it 'making new traditions.' Years ago my brother-in-law got the new tradition task of preparing Christmas Eve dinner. My sister does the new tradition of helping Mom decorate the house and wrapping most of the presents. My husband now has the new tradition of making Christmas morning scones. So far I have eluded any new tradition responsibilities, but that could change at any moment.

All of our stockings are hung on my parents' mantel, and with four children and six grandchildren, the mantel is pretty full these days. My Mom uses nails to hang the stockings. Sometimes the nails fall out, and Mom puts in a new nail and hangs the stocking back up. I'm telling you this so that the next paragraph makes some sense.

This past holiday season, my sons wake up Christmas morning, grab their stockings that Santa has filled and laid at the foot of their beds, and race downstairs to open them up. Graham, my five-year-old, dumps his stocking out onto the floor. He sorts through the small gifts and candy, and finds -- a nail. He picks the nail up and looks at it thoughtfully. Then he says, "Santa must have given me a nail because I've been a little bit naughty this year."

Now, back at home, winter is at its height. So is the snow. We have about 15 inches on the ground, drifting to three feet. We haven't had temps above freezing in weeks. My chickens have been cooped up (literally), and this makes them do unpleasant things - like picking feathers out of eachother and breaking open their own eggs. Because of this we are only getting about three eggs a day now, when we should be getting six.

The disappearance of Mrs. O from our coop is now explained -- she has taken up residence in our goat barn. Which is a much better place for her anyway. Lots of hay to stay warm and make a nest in. Perhaps we'll see baby opossums next year. That will be interesting, especially with the barn cats also living in the goat barn. We'll see how that plays out. We'll keep the live trap on hold.

Here's a pic of a blurry Benjamin, who grabbed and pulled down my arm just as I was taking a photo. I like it. These cold winter days sometimes seem to run together and become blurred. A few little-boy birthday parties in January to plan, but not much else to break up the days until the weather begins to warm at the end of March.

Then everything starts to happen in April -- breaking up the garden and planting peas and potatoes, celebrating Easter, hatching chicks and kidding goats. But until then I have to be content with the stark, quiet beauty of winter. I just wish we could get a nice day or two, so the kids could throw on their snow gear and play outside. Being cooped up is no fun. I have no desire to lose any of my feathers.


Anonymous said...

Throw your kids outside anyway --that's what we do in Canada, esp at the Boley household. We are sitting in the kitchen enjoying a nice visit with your Mom and Dad. Maybe that will become a "new tradition".My dad (Uncle Henry) would love to see a picture of your new barn.We would also love to see photos of the goat and chickens. Take care of yourselves!
love Aunt Sue

Karen said...

I agree with Sue! Bundle them up and throw them out, even if only for fifteen minutes! By the time you get the last one out, the first will want to come in, but they will have burned off energy in the process! Much calmer once they get inside!

About the christmas traditions, I'll work on getting you a few new ones!!

Jo said...

Hi Sue!! It's great to hear from you. I think I will throw the kids outside tomorrow. Last time I did, it indeed lasted about fifteen minutes. Benjamin got stuck in a snow drift and Owen threw a snowball at Graham's head.

I will try to take some homestead and livestock pictures tomorrow, too.

I'm glad you're having a nice visit with M&D. Wish I could have visited too. Maybe this summer at the reunion ...

Again, it's GREAT to talk (write) to you! Give my love to your Dad for me. And to you!