Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winter on the Farm Begins

Layering up and strapping on my cross country skis to head out with the dogs is one of my great pleasures in farm life. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly it is that brings me so much joy-it's a combination of things. The insulating silence of snow is one. The way it muffles all but the most significant of sounds helps my mind do the same with my thoughts. It's the winter air, too, which in its crispness feels cleaner and more nourishing than usual. The physical exertion plays a role, getting the blood flowing, and the layers peeling off. And then, of course, there's the sheer joy in watching the dogs having the time of their lives leaping through the white stuff.

That being said, I have to describe one of my dog's love of snow. All three of them have a blast in the snow, think it's the greatest thing since roasted bones, but one of them I can honestly say LOVES snow. If you could see him in it - sticking his whole head in and sort of dive/rolling into it, you'd know I'm not saying that flippantly. That much sincere joy is inspiring wherever I see it, and watching my dog in the snow is no exception.

These are the things that fill me up energetically, and yet there are times when I think to myself "I'm too tired". How can I be too tired to do just the thing that gives me more energy??? Why does my brain do that to me? Well, that could take some time to analyse, and quite frankly, I don't think it's worth the effort. To me, the lesson in this is that my brain doesn't always know what's best for me, and ignoring it really isn't that hard.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Portuguese Rooster

Today I began my day by begging my Mom to share with me her green thumb. Now understand, I adore growing my own herbs, dabbling in veggies and berries, and I'm learning as I go. I do best with more robust species, however, such as mint (which as a side note has always been an inspiration to me in its ability to thrive despite all manner of abuse... but that could be the material for another blog...).

I needed her help to save an orchid. This orchid had been given to me with a great deal of love from a friend's mother as a bridal shower gift, and I am certain it was only with the best intentions that she wrote on the card something along the lines of "May your love blossom and bloom like this beautiful flower". I'm sure she didn't anticipate the level of anxiety I have experienced watching it slowly wither under my care. In the last few weeks it has been a challenge to fight the feeling of impending doom accompanying the thought "If this thing dies, does that mean my marriage will, too????". Now that's pressure.

My Mom promised to do her best in an amused, "my daughter might be losing it" way as I tried to convey to her my angst, however irrational. Then she told me the story of the Portuguese Rooster that her and my father had received as a wedding gift more than 30 years ago.

The rooster was meant to be a symbol of Everlasting Love. Apparently that rooster has had a bit of a rough ride through the years, and every time it sustained any sort of trauma something amazing would happen. My Dad, who ordinarily prefers to do household chores at his own pace (read between the lines), would be miraculously transformed into what I now like to think of as ERR (Emergency Rooster Rescue). He would quickly repair whatever damage may have been done to the poor Love Rooster, glue him back together, fix chips, etc.

We laughed at how sweet we both thought that was, and my Mom went on to say that the rooster has never been quite the same, and that set me thinking - what a fitting metaphor for a marriage: It's all shiny and perfect at the beginning, and over the years it'll probably get a little banged up, but as long as someone cares enough to run and fix it up at the first sign of damage it'll always stay together.

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In May of 2006 I moved onto a 67 acre farm in Alexandria, Ontario. My husband Mike and I live here with our ever-expanding menagerie, and the adventures never seem to end...