Christmas on the homestead. Ish.
Am I allowed to call what we do a homestead? I’m not sure. Right now I don’t feel like we’re doing anything active. And what defines a homestead anyway? Alas, I digress.
I attempted a cleaned-up version of fudge today. It was ok. Honestly, we all will enjoy it, and my fellow real-foodies will, too, but for those not accustomed to coconut oil and its flavor… it’ll overwhelm. I’ll still gift it as planned… but more likely to people who are used to that kind of thing. I’m going to keep trying this week. Next up is a maple walnut and a chocolate peppermint. I have hope. ;-)
There are no presents under the Christmas tree.
Fear not, I haven’t turned into a grinch… I just can’t put them there for keeping because my fierce protector Izzie thinks they are toys. She actually got ahold of one present, completely ripped off the wrapping paper, and buried it in her blankets in her crate. She’s a smart cookie.
Needless to say, the tree feels naked and my room doesn’t feel complete. It’s probably the biggest reason I’m excited… my girls have no idea how much they’re going to have their socks knocked off.
Not that it’s all about presents. I mean, we all know that. But y’all, I have no guilt or shame in saying I love giving gifts. Gift-giving is my love language. This is my season. This is my TIME. I wish I could afford or excuse constant shopping for others, but since I can’t, this is it. I’m going to go big or go home.
We have more surprises in store for them than just presents. But that’s another post for another time….
We are thinking forward. We’ve got a bulk of the supplies necessary for doing our own maple syrup. The little corner of our garage is gathering speed this last month. We did dabble in it last year, but this year we have the pans, the stove… the real deal. There’s a part of me that feels a little in the twilight zone when we get stuff together like this. I can’t believe that we’re actually DOING this. Doing this crazy DIY, make your own/know your food thing.
Which of course brings us to the other burning question… chickens. No, butchering my own chickens and processing them did not scare me off from doing this again. The bigger concerns are improvements to our current system, the cost of those improvements… and just that the right cash is there when we need it for the annual costs. I reaaaalllly want to do layers, but that’s even more complicated. The landscape of our property is tricky and we’re near a major road (while the speed limit is 55, I’m certain most are going 60-70 mph). I want them to free range, I need to be able to get to them in the winter. I’d like electricity out there for the negative temp days and keeping the waterer thawed.
But the other underlying issue with the chickens is that a large part of these projects are MINE. We’re still in process with diagnosis and how to fix my medical predicament. And as we weigh what types of lifestyle changes we may have to make in the next year, will we have the upfront costs available? And depending on the treatment and how long it takes me to find a new normal, will I have the time and energy to manage them? I am so vehemently against randomly taking on animals without counting the cost. I am not going to take them on and then find out I can’t care for them and have to give them away. Or sell them. Or whatever. I firmly believe God gave us a huge and humbling responsibility when He asked us to care for creation, and not being wise and responsible without having the intent to care for them well is a sin. (#sorrynotsorry … lack of stewardship is a problem. Knowing the right thing to do and not doing it is just as much a problem as knowing the wrong thing to do and doing it regardless.) (Another parantheses… just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with knowing when it’s time to rehome an animal. Sometimes, that’s just as wise and responsible. But taking them on willy-nilly is not cool. We’ve been here before, and lots of lessons learned.)
So as it pains me – no really, it does – I am aware there is a strong possibility I may not being doing any chickens this year. I cannot take care of all of these things and my family if I’m not taking care of me. Think of that airplane mask thing… put the mask first on yourself. And that’s for good reason – you can’t care for others if you’re starving for oxygen. And mama can’t care for chickens and cook dinner and love her children the way they deserve if she’s so pained she can’t move.
These are my Christmas thoughts… because Christmas is going to come steam-rolling in and we’ll be in the new year and thinking and praying and deciding these kinds of heavy things. (By the way, pray for us, ok? We need loads of wisdom!)
It’s like a blank canvas. Christmas speaks hope and joy. A time when God does something new. It’s appropriate that it falls during our darkest literal days, and right before we begin a new calendar year.
God’s got something new.
(P.S. – obviously taken before the onslaught of snow :) )