Winter, Christmas, and All of the Lists

I sat down last weekend and made my Christmas lists.  Christmas shopping.  Christmas goals.  Taking some inspiration from a blogger I follow–Karen at The Art of Doing Stuff–I decided that this year, I want to have my holiday obligations (the shopping, the wrapping, the decorating, etc) out of the way by the end of November, leaving December wide open for less-stress celebrations and evenings enjoying the season in front of a nice fire.

This year, I will be organized and intentional, and I WILL NOT be wrapping the last of my gifts on Christmas day before we load the car…again.  I refuse.

Maybe it was the early first snow that kicked my butt into gear.  Maybe it was Karen’s email about her Christmas pledge.  Maybe it was the fact that my furnace chose the evening of our first snow to take a shit, reminding me very clearly and viscerally of what cold and winter feel like.

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Maybe it was a combination of the three.

Either way, Winter, I’m here with you.  To-do lists in hand. Continue reading “Winter, Christmas, and All of the Lists”

Autumn –Or– We can still do hard things.

Dear Readers,

How I’ve missed you.  Last I posted, I wrote about how we can do hard things.  Since then, well, I’ve mostly been doing those hard things.  Under my breath, every day, “I can do hard things…I can do hard things…I can do hard things.”  And guys?  It’s getting easier.  (My mother-in-law bought me a print, just to remind me; I hung it on the wall in my bedroom.  (It’s an Etsy thing; you can find the print here if you like.) It’s one of the first things I see when I wake up and one of the last things I see before I go to bed.  And I think it helps.) Continue reading “Autumn –Or– We can still do hard things.”

Talking about the weather…

I’m beginning to think that Spring in the Midwest is really just a nasty rumor.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.  I do, after all, live in Central Illinois.  Weather seldom makes a whole lot of sense here, and this year was worse than usual.  Today especially seems to be a regression for us, back into the low forties for most of the day.  It’s a damp cold, and to be honest, all I want to do right now is leave work three hours early (obviously, it’s not busy; I’m blogging from the office…) and curl up under my heated blanket.

But then I remember, it could be so much worse…because, you know, a few months ago it was.

Enter the Arctic Vortex…

A few months ago, it settled directly above us for weeks, bringing record lows and buckets of snow. We were out in the thick of it, braving the sometimes almost impassable roads between our house and the ranch.  (Thank God for our big-ass diesel truck is all I can say.) L and her husband were away on a trip at the time, and we were taking care of the llamas in addition to our own horses.  When you have a wind chill of negative twenty to thirty degrees, it’s difficult to pile on enough layers to ward off frostbite.  My husband, who used to be a professional fireman, went straight for his ARFF gear.

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Our snow covered grasses look like tiny, attacking aliens.
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My hero! Shoer of horses, rescuer of hedgehogs, and cleaner of snow covered car and truck windows.
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Jeremiah approaching Vinny. My OTTB wasn’t even afraid of the silver alien…probably because it brought corn.

The llamas have a heated barn.  They were livin’ it up!  30 degrees!  That fact admittedly made llama-barn chores easier.  The horses were a different matter entirely.  They live in the back pasture with access to a large stall in the hay barn.  At the point of the polar vortex, the three horses regularly refused to go into their stall, so when we got there to take care of them, all three looked kind of like yetis…

If I’m being completely honest, the worst part of it was the water.  Sometime in the middle of all of that cold mess, the waterline to the horse barn froze.  If there is any one thing worse than freezing cold weather, it’s carrying waterbuckets down iced over lanes in said freezing cold weather.  I spent hours out there carrying buckets to fill our 100 gallon trough.

It’s still cold.  The raindrops early sent chills down my spine, and the damp chill refuses to leave the air.  Looking out the window, everything is playing out in shades of gray; if weatherbug is correct, a storm is rolling in.  But it’s not hard to find things to be thankful for, even in this cold, tired blah.  For example, it was rain earlier, not snow.  Also, we have hose lines hooked up to fill the water trough (now that we don’t have to worry that they’ll freeze), so I won’t have to spend my evening hauling water buckets.

I’m almost sure that Spring will make it here eventually.  Nearly positive.  In the meantime, I’ll just act like a crazy Midwesterner and wear sandals in 45 degree weather while pretending that I’m not cold.