Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Real Christmas Eve :)


Apologies for the post before this one. I have no idea why it is weird. I couldn't figure out how to fix it either and gave up. Sometimes it's more wise to walk away than get frustrated.  Or, maybe screaming at one's computer monitor?

So far, Christmas Eve Day is nothing like in the past. No snow, for example... heck, it's 45 degrees outside now. Oh well, the rainy day Could have been a blizzard. The first Christmas spent with Glenn took us to Maryland on Christmas Eve. We enjoyed the festivities with my family, and figured we'd head home to Pennsylvania the next afternoon.

HA! Seems Mother Nature had sent Maryland a HUGE snowstorm overnight. The main road we took hadn't been plowed but maybe once and the smaller roads had been plowed. Wow, did it snow!

By the time we drove down the little road to our farm, the snow was SO bad we could hardly see.. The photo below is the next day.

                Our farm had become a fairy land !

But thanks to the Jeep,and Glenn's good driving, we got home with out a problem.

Talk about a WHITE Christmas!  Wooooooooooohooooo.

Tonight, there will be none of that though. I'm sitting here enjoying a glass of wine from a local winery. The good folks who make it come twice a year and get our horse manure. A pretty fair trade, don't you think.

The horses are all tucked in their stalls, as are the hens in their houses. Simone`, our new kitten, was happily playing with the kitty ball she found when I left.

Now, this 'new kitten' Glenn chose to help replace our two other house cats is another story. Oh lordy, he is an absolute destruction team built into one longggggg cat! Life is a wonderful game for this dude- and everything is to be batted about the house, or dragged. He's knocked over the window candles, broken bulbs and some of the actual candles. He attacked the toilet paper in the guest bathroom and had it all over the place... he has stolen items from the office and I've not seen them again. ( I know he's got all that hidden away somewhere) He chases our poor American Bulldog, grabbing her tail, and it's been just recently that she has started retaliating.She is a very gentle soul but this idiot cat brings out the worst in her. Just this week, we put up the Christmas tree.... I did the decorating of it and now ? MAYBE 4 balls are left hanging way up top. All thanks to Glenn's Cat.  Needless to say, the tree is not as magnificent as it could have been. Never in my life with animals has one small cat been such a terror in the house!
< sighhhh>  Hope he grows up soon.

 I hope you all are having a great holiday season- no matter if you celebrate Hanukkah, Yule or many of the others that happen around this time of year. Hug those loved ones as you just never know how quickly they might be gone.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Eve.... 2016

I realize this has some troubles- blogger has had bad day, I think !

Christmas Eve....  Such a magical night.

"Say goodbye to November

She must be on her way
The cold winds of December
Feel like they're here to stay
Me, I'll just count the snowflakes
As they start to fall
Getting lost in the beauty
The magic of it all...

And our eyes filled with wonder

As the reindeer take to flight...

It's Christmas eve
Bells will ring
Through the town we gather to sing.
Christmas eve
Has begun
Peace and love to everyone

Light the festive candles

They'll chase the shadows away
Gathering round the yule log
With handfuls of holly
Winter winds will whisper
Through the shivering pines
Never have the stars
Looked brighter than tonight...

It's Christmas eve
Bells will ring
Through the town we gather to sing.
Christmas eve
Has begun,
Peace and love to everyone''
(Blackmore's Night )

When I was little, I couldn't wait til Christmas Eve. As poor as we were, Christmas was always a huge event. First, school let us all free for the holidays, lots of time to play. We'd tramp out to the woods where the crowsfoot grew, gathering lots of it ,and standing pine, stuffing it into burlap bags. Some weighed more than we did! Home again, then to making wreaths. Adding a huge red bow made each one perfect. We would then, take our treasures to each of our neighbors' houses.   For those who've never seen Crows Foot, here's a picture:

Crow's Foot:

It grows close to the ground and makes a wonderful wreath.

I know our parents liked us finding things to keep us busy as they had many things to be finished before Christmas Eve. We'd make decorations for the tree- popcorn strung on string, cranberries and blueberries on thread.  All of our 'store bought' decorations were quite old- they'd be very expensive antiques by now. We were so careful to not drop one on the tiled floor, but at least one got broken each year.

Our tree was one that'd been chosen a month before from the 'woods'. Our Dad would take an axe and we'd all walk out to cut it down. The little ones were told to ''stand back!"  They did- not wanting to get squished under a big fuzzy tree! When I was young, my Dad told us all a story of how the tree never wanted to be chosen as a Christmas tree... that it wanted to live out it's life in grandeur and in peace in the forest. So, we'd all bow our heads and one of us ( who'd been working on it all year long) would read our prayer to the trees. To thank them for being here and helping Mother Nature to continue living. Some of these prayers of thanks were real short, and some went on and on and onnnnnnnnnnnnnn.  Soon, we had a gorgeous tree in the tree stand, as my parents argued over whether it was straight or not. We kids thought this was silly. After all, what Christmas tree wasn't perfect, no matter what ? Let the decorating begin!

Then the long wait began. Those who already knew Santa Claus lived in our hearts and wasn't 'real', tried hard to not let on that he wasn't... 

I still have a handmade sign that simply reads "Believe". I still believe. Not in Santa or St Nick, or whatever name is given to him, but in Christmas and what it stands for. As I got older, I liked to celebrate the Winter Solstice as well- "Yule"...  Two grand celebrations with in the same week ? How perfect.

 Now that I am older, Christmas doesn't hold the fascination that it did when I was 10 or even 20. I noticed how my parents, as they grew older, got more into the religious side of Christmas. Sure, it's a Huge part of the holiday but as a child , those gifts called my name.  

We tried to go to the midnight service at church Christmas Eve, but it turned out that the littler ones stayed home and wait for Santa. I have some old family photos of various Christmas' and each one brought back such memories. It wasn't long til we were all adults and off on our own. We'd all 'go home' for Christmas Eve though.... The Finnish peoples celebrated Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day.
(  , for some reading ) So that's what we did. It was great fun, and even after my Dad was gone, Mom still had that evening for all of us. 

Back to being 8 again!  Morning arrived after, ohhhhhhhhhhh, a good 24 hours of waiting in bed. We were not allowed to get up until our parents did, which was sheer torture. Breakfast and then it was time! We'd each get a gift, and had to wait politely until the first gift was opened, and enjoyed. Thankyous, hugs and kisses on cheeks for the person who'd given it.  It was marvelous.

For me, Christmas is still magical and fun- just different now. My siblings are scattered to the 4 winds, parents are long gone,as is our homestead. No place to go 'home'. My husband and I have a quiet celebration, open gifts and create a wonderful Christmas feast for the evening. It's pleasant and peaceful.... 
but I still miss those early Christmas'...

''It's Christmas eve,
Bells will ring
Through the town we gather to sing.

Christmas eve,
Has begun...
Peace and love to everyone.''

Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016- Goodbye

What a terrible year for me.There's a lot of good though- I have a brand new hip that works perfectly, some delightful gals here at the barn and healthy husband,horses,and hens! Life is goooooooooood.

The terrible part was women leaving when I needed them the most. They moved the horses I'd given to them ( yep- free, w/ no board due). Here I was a few days out of surgery, and yep- one had dreamed up something she didn't care for and gave notice. Turns out I wasn't the only one relieved when all the proverbial dust settled. The barn's inhabitants settled down and got back to happy/ relaxed again, as did the people. Sometimes awful things have to happen to make room for more good things- and I think that is what happened here this past Spring. I am looking forward to 2017 with high hopes.

We finally got to take a 'real' vacation like normal people do- driving up the coast to Maine and relaxed a bit. It wasn't long enough though- not for me. I fell in love with Maine big time and could easily move there when we finally retire.Of course, the husband warns me about the cold weather and big snow amounts. I tell him that I lived in Michigan and did alright.

Chicken stuff: Issac has been doing what he's good at and we have had ummm,5 new hens grow up here. Four blacks and one Lavender hen. Turns out this is great because a couple of months, we lost Daisy our other Lavender hen. Also,we have discovered that Gracie, the small Silky hen is a horrid mama,but oh myyyyy,she'll sit until something hatches on fertile eggs. What I've learned is to let her sit, and then once her baby hatches, to raise it in the tack room. Otherwise, she'll hurt the babies... duh. Little to no motherly instinct in that little gal. She tried her best to make her feet hatch this Fall- to no avail. This means she went broody and decided that she was sitting in the nest, on her little feet instead of eggs.(we took them away because it would have been way to cold for peepies) Winter isn't a wise time to be born when you're a teeny little chick.  Some of the girls have gone thru a molt earlier this Autumn. Oh lordy did they ever look Horrible!Some only did a semi molt and others like Chocolate were all but bald for a couple of days. Thank gosh new feathers grew back in fast.

We have a new short guy here. He's the newest part of the farm. This is Eli :

He's all of 11 hands tall and is a rescue. He'd been sent to an auction sale in New Holland, Pa which is a big " kill buyer" sale.  Long story short- he arrived here a couple of weeks ago and everyone loves him. I bought him a little teeny pony turnout blanket as it turns out he doesn't like the wind/ cold very much at all. He still isn't sure about us not getting after him for something but is getting used to the routine and people here. Even my husband seems to think he's an okay pony. We want to teach him to drive and what grand fun that'll be! I am hoping "Santa" brings us a new teeny little harness for him. Ha- I have Never had an equine so short. According to Eli, he's as tall & fierce as any of those Percherons he's seen. 

I had to face facts about the ancient barn kitties. They were totally deaf and so arthritic their lives were pretty awful. I had to make the choice to call our vet to let them both move on or risk someone running them over, or being stepped on by a horse. The most kind thing was to peacefully let them move over "Rainbow Bridge". I know we all shed some tears over having them go, but even though it was hard to say goodbye, it was the kindest thing.

Seems that God/Goddess saw what was happening and decided to send our farm a lovely little kitten. We had no idea if it was a male or female, so I started calling it "Simon/Simone`" until we figured out which it was. SHE is now becoming very friendly and is gorgeous. The plan is to get her spayed after the first of the year,and hopefully she will stick around. She adores Amanda who keeps her pony here!

That's about all of the news here in PA. WE are getting ready for Christmas and our annual party so it'll be hectic here for a while. I love this time of year, but it needs to get a little colder to seem more like Christmas. A little dash of snow would be perfection.
Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season,
 no matter what holiday you celebrate!