We ate, we drank, we were merry (still are in fact), and here we are: on the other side of Christmas. We hope that your Yuletide was jam packed with the stuff that fills you with joy and that you are eyeing the rapid approach of 2014 with excited anticipation.
But before we get into all that, a quick run down of the Homestead Christmas highs and lows; The lows first: lets’s get them out of the way. Not that there’s been that many; only two worthy of blogspace, anyway. On Christmas Eve the chicken coop lost Number One Boss Tinkerbell. Not well the evening before, we isolated her for a bit of intensive care but it was to no avail. These things happen, we know that, but you are always left wondering just what you could have done better, or not have done at all, to have avoided the death of something totally dependant on you. As is tradition on the Homestead, Number One Tink was farewelled with flowers and a final pat from Farm Girl. Santa, very kindly for one so busy, marked her grave by planting a tinsel bedecked Medlar (Mespilus germanica) which, in the spirit of the Circle of Life, we are all pretty excited about.
The other low, although it seems a tad churlish to bring it up in light of what’s being hurled at other parts of the globe at the moment, was the weather. Usually rain doesn’t worry us; A break from lugging the watering can around is generally a cause for celebration. It has been a pretty wet stretch though, and the wonders of the water cycle holds no joy for Leia and Nessie.
On the up-side, it has been a gorgeous round of leisurely meals accompanied by lively conversation and raucous laughter with people special to the Homestead. We’re not going to get all mawkish about gaps around the figurative table. Instead, we send a big Shout Out to The Spanish Branch and The Dover Division. Miss you heaps.
Thanks to Santa, we now have a plethora of brand new goodies to make life a bit easier: the goat specific hoof trimmers have put the spring back into Leia’s step in particular (she has…umm…artistic hooves – prone to curling in a very decorative manner), a gorgeous handmade willow laundry basket has made the prospect (please rain…it is meant to be summer) of hanging out the washing very exciting, and The Farmer can’t wait for the opportunity to try out the new sprinkler addition to his irrigation project. The biggest high, however, was that Farm Girl finally got to see what has eluded her every other year: Santa emerging from the Lyttelton Road Tunnel*. Admittedly, he was driving a Red Bus (the 28, Papanui to Lyttelton to be specific – The Bean Counter and Uncle AR felt it may have been the result of a unwise wager) but his timing was impeccable and, judging by his enthusiastic waving and tooting, he was every bit as excited to finally clap eyes on Farm Girl. Don’t you love that sort of thing?
So with all that behind us, we’re looking at the next milestone and with that comes the dreaded R word: resolutions. In the past we have indulged in this sort of thing in a variety of forms: we’ve announced them to all, committed them to paper in sealed envelopes to be opened at a future date, and whispered them to the Granny Smith tree in a half-baked wassailing attempt (yes, a large volume of homemade cider was involved). The Goat Herd, who is an engineer when all’s said and done, has even, diarised regular progress check ups with progress plotted in vast tables and full colour graphs. And the outcome of this: total, unadulterated, no-holds-barred, dismal failure by the second week in February if not sooner. We still weigh the same, eat fish and chips way too often for people who aspire to self sufficiency, and live in a half renovated home. So this year we’ve given it away. Morning coffee conversation, inside today because the deck resembles that of an ocean going vessel in a storm, determined that we were not, never, no way, nah ah going to set ourselves up again for such abject, soul destroying failure. Instead we will continue with The List.
The List is a running tabulation of all jobs, big and small, that need attention on the Homestead, from the weekly ironing of The Bean Counters work shirts to the installation of our dream grey water system and all that lies in between; and that’s a lot! With The List there’s no failure because it will never end. As fast we eliminate one list entry, another three things are added to the end of it but, far from being discouraging, the pages and pages of multicoloured crossings out remind us just how much we’ve achieved. Words can not adequately express the feeling of deleting one of those big ticket items, the ones we have to highlight so we don’t miss them singly dotted among pages and pages of long crossed-off chores. When the final double glazed window was installed in the Homestead, the race to be first to The List verged on undignified. So that’s our advise for what it’s worth: Chuck out the resolutions. Why put yourself through it? Instead grab an old school book, purchase a funky notebook, staple together some scrap paper, create a spreadsheet on your computer, open a memo on your phone – however you do it, create a list of what you want to get done. Enter 2014 with a heap of dreams and intentions but with none of the time limits, expectations, and ego bashing.
Have a wonderful rest of the year; we wish you all a happy, healthy 2014 with a long, long list of all the things you love.
© Copyright Union Homestead, 2014. All Rights Reserved.
*See A Pleasant Christmas To You All for the inside story