This holiday season I’ve been delighting in the things that other people are doing. I scroll through Facebook and Instagram every day grinning at family pictures and Christmas tree gathering and sledding and baking and the wearing of crazy Christmas sweaters. I flip through magazines swooning at gorgeous trees and mantles dripping with evergreens and berries, sigh contentedly at pictures of snow and icicles, and feel a rumble in the ol’ tummy as I gaze rapturously at piles of truffles, glistening roast turkeys, and pieces of pie mounded high with whipped cream.
This year I simply don’t have it in me to do much, and Bear doesn’t mind one bit, so we’re kicking back, keeping things oh-so-simple, and enjoying the hustle and bustle of those around us.
For those of you following on Facebook, you’ll know this month has been particularly ghastly on our farm with horrendous storms wiping out my gardens, shredding our orchards and vineyard, and killing numerous animals. It has been quite heart-rending to see so much hard work and beloved animals be wiped out in just a few minutes of hail, ferocious wind, and fierce rain.
My hubs, Bear, injured himself badly with a triple-torn hamstring, poor guy, and he’s under strict instructions not to do anything for at least six weeks.
Then I learned that the chronic health issues I’ve been struggling with are due to injuries sustained in the Cult that were not treated properly.
Ugh. It’s been rough. I had to take some time just to feel all the feelings that such a string of difficulties elicits. Grief, rage, frustration, loss, helplessness – all those things we feel when our lack of control in this world is highlighted so glaringly.
And then I bucked up and took heart. There’s not a thing we can do about what has happened, but there’s a lot we can do about what will happen. And that’s pretty marvellous.
Bit by bit I’m repairing the damage done in my gardens. Ruined plants are tossed over the fence to be feasted on by the surviving goats and sheep, stalwart plant survivors are nourished and protected to be given the best chance of coming back, and I picked up a few new seedlings to replace the ones I lost. Soon I’ll start shoveling the drifts of leaves and detritus the wind piled up on my veranda and against the fences, and, when Bear is better, we’ll put the sheds back together that were flattened.
Both Bear and I have fantastic specialists who are helping us. He’s doing so much better already and that makes us very happy. Mine will be a longer road, but that’s OK. It’s a good road, a road fraught with a lot of pain for a while with the tri-weekly treatments, but one that is already showing great promise. I can’t tell you how lovely it is to sleep through the night most nights, to only be in pain after the treatments and not all day, every day, and to see this dear, resilient body start functioning properly and take in nutrients and be resistant to illness. I’m tired but deeply grateful.
Although most of our holiday plans have gone by the wayside, we have done a few things to make it special.
Oma and I have our hams brining with bay, juniper, cloves, and lot of black peppercorns, and soon they’ll be ready for smoking.
Today I bottled (and tasted!) the strawberry liqueur we made last month and it is gorgeous!!! The colour alone makes me happy, but the fragrance and taste make it absolutely divine. It’s too hot for alcohol right now – we’re in a blistering heat wave – so I just add a spoonful of the liqueur to a tall glass of cold soda water and it is delicious and refreshing.
We started a new advent tradition this year. Instead of a calendar, we burn a special Danish advent candle while Bear reads me a chapter from a book. It’s such a lovely way to slow down and connect over a shared story by candlelight.
We don’t have a tree this year, so instead I’ve been hanging decorations from door handles and cupboard knobs and drawer pulls. When the wind whips through there’s quite the festive dance that goes on as every ornament bobs and twirls in the breeze.
Yes, it’s a bit of a wonky Merry Christmas, but it’s a jolly good one nonetheless. xo