All summer long I think about the upcoming winter on the farm, and how much time I will have to relax and make up for the lost personal time that never seems to materialize in the busy season. This winter has proven to be quite busy for us though, and while we have much more time to sleep (the 8AM sunrise and 4:30 PM sunset help with that one!), we have already spent some precious time off the farm and are gearing up for another little adventure.
Thanksgiving was spent at my dad’s house in Sacramento, which is a two-day drive from the farm. We had two house sitters who cycled through the farm to feed my cat and the numerous goats, sheep, and chickens that need daily attention. We lolled about in the mild Sacramento winter, enjoying family time, hot showers, a delicious turkey (homegrown, of course!), and some television marathons while our poor house sitter friends dealt with a significant flood at the farm. One of the risks of living and working where we do is the reasonable chance of a flood in the winter, so leaving the farm this time of year is always a bit of a gamble. Our friends, along with Eric’s help, were able to get all the animals to high ground. Thankfully no animals (or humans!) were hurt, but it was certainly a bit stressful watching and coordinating animal evacuations from 500 miles away!
A few weeks later I was lucky enough to fly down to (one of) my hometowns in the Bay Area, and visit with my step-sisters and some of my oldest friends for a holiday party. I don’t get to Benicia very often, and so there is always a healthy dose of nostalgia as I roam my old neighborhoods and see how everything has changed over the years. My youngest step-sister is a full ten years younger than me, my old pal Tom who still lives in Benicia has two small children, and most of my high school friends have long-since moved out of town. I don’t normally feel old, but returning to Benicia with all of this in mind certainly made me feel my age. I don’t mind though…I’ve had so many wonderful experiences that have made me who I am today. Plus thankfully I don’t look a day over 29! Hah.
The last couple of days were spent with Andrew’s family who live about an hour away. We relied on Eric and his son Alex to check on animals for us and spent a wonderful time with family, enjoying Christmas traditions like a ruthless game of Shanghai (and more hot showers!) Now that we’re back on the farm we only have a few days to get ready for our next adventure, a trip to Tucson to visit my grandmother and my sister, who will be traveling there with her husband and baby. We are so excited to take a little vacation and see some new sights along the way, although the sub-freezing temperatures in Idaho and Utah have me a little wary. Our teardrop trailer isn’t road-ready, so we’re planning on camping in the back of the truck or in a tent. We will spend a little on a hotel here or there (hooray for Christmas monies!), but for the most part I think I will be bundled up from head to toe. Thankfully after spending a couple years up in Washington I have a pretty good stash of warm layers and waterproof gear!
Thoughts of vacation also bring a little more anxiety, as there is SO much to do before we are ready for next season. We’re working on procuring many more hogs this year (forty!!), have tons more chickens on hand, and need to figure out finances. Taxes are looming, and since this is our first year filing while owning our own business I am feeling nervous about it. There are other big changes coming to the farm, but since we are not ready to spill the beans just yet, you’ll have to wait a little while longer to hear what’s coming up for 2015. Thankfully we are still doing what we love, and are loving each other while we do it. How lucky are we?! Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful, healthy, and adventurous New Year. May we all find the wisdom and insight to recognize the love and joy that abounds in our ordinary day-to-day lives.