The week between Christmas holidays and the beginning of the new year is always a week for reflection. It’s that in between time, after building up so many expectations over the holiday season for it to all be done in a day. It’s the lead up to the new year, which brings hopes for new beginnings and the fruition of new dreams and plans. This year especially, we find ourselves in the middle of a deep freeze, where the only thing to do is snuggle up by a warm fire and give thanks for all we have.

Christmas is always a busy season, as we find ourselves caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Christmas shopping, holiday baking, decorating for the season. This season Dan and I kept with our little traditions, and headed out to the bush to cut down our very own Christmas tree from our own land. After several rounds of our property out back, we had found the perfect one. My lumberjack, equipped with his chainsaw, fell our new tree. We loaded it up into the truck and brought it back to the house for alterations to ensure it fit into the house. What was cut off the tree was used for firewood for the season, making sure that nothing was for waste.

After the tree was placed inside our little Kitchen nook the decorating began. Each equipped with our decorations and a hot rum toddy, we were busy making the tree our own for Christmas. I love each year reliving the memories and old stories each decoration has to offer and reminiscing as we hang them on the tree. This year’s tree was one for the books!

Along with the Christmas tree came the decorations around the house and of course, Christmas lights outside. While the lights had been strung well before the world froze up and grew frigid, decorations around the house were continually popping up through out the season. Some of my favourites are my old set of snow shoes, the old kids toboggan and an old pair of wooden skis that make an appearance each winter. Our home felt ready for the holidays!

Even the farm yard was feeling festive as we hung wreaths around the garden fences and along the feed shed. If I could, each animal on the farm would have their own Christmas tree to boot. Perhaps next year!

Another holiday tradition is all the holiday baking that takes place on the farm! From my Mom’s Bits and Bites recipe that is always a hit, to of course chicken sugar cookies (because when you are a crazy chicken lady, chickens are always considered Christmasy) and even trying something new with home made turtles! It is safe to say there were probably a couple of extra pounds gained all around here on the farm over the holidays!

Along with home baked goods, there were also lots of home made / hand made goodies that were put together on the farm for gifts. A holiday tradition of gift giving from the farm includes a basket of home made items, canned preserves from the garden and a bottle or two of home made wine. I always feel like one of Santa’s elves leading up to Christmas as I knit away a stock of dishcloths to give as gifts. Along with the dishcloths comes a jar of my home made laundry soap, which is an absolute must here on the farm that I use year round! Baskets are packed with canned goods, and even though we didn’t have the most successful year with the garden we were able to add a couple of extras including canned peaches from out trip to Ontario and grape jelly from our passing through Manitoba.

While we had made a conscious effort this year to take a step back from spending and to not go overboard for Christmas, we still got pretty spoiled. I am so excited to start into some new quilting projects, while listening to some vinyl on my new record player, while Dan flies his new drone outside!

While we have had our fair share of struggle this week, dealing with temperatures here on the farm dropping well below -30 degrees Celsius, everyone is surviving and there is a light at the end of this cold, cold tunnel! Fresh, dry bedding for the donkeys, accompanied with a heat lamp to get through the drafty nights has kept the Donkey boys from becoming icicles in the back pasture. We even had some Christmas fun and a mini-photo shoot as the boys prepared to try out for Santa’s team for next year.

The three little pigs probably have the best house on the farm, with all three walls and the floor being insulated. My three boys keep toasty warm snuggling in the cold weather. The hardest part is getting them to come outside for dinner!

Of course we can’t forget about the chickens! While they do have an insulated coop, we try to stay away from too many extra means of heating during the Winter months. The coop is wrapped in plastic to  help protect from the wind and weather, and the nesting boxes get extra insulation along with a strip of heating tape. The chicken waterer is heated as well, but even so sometimes requires a chipping out of ice and a refill of warm water. Morning porridge and lots of extra treats high in protein help the ladies to get through the cold snap. We musn’t be doing too bad, because my lovely ladies are still providing us daily with farm fresh eggs!

Even the ladies (our farm dogs) are surviving this cold snap. While they really do fine in the cold and have a dog house filled with straw to escape to, there are still some frigid nights when they get invited into the house. Especially when Mr. Burch is away working! The last couple of nights us ladies have been holding down the fort. I really do love these two big goofy dogs and all the company and protection they provide!

I can also finally share my first quilting project as it has been gifted to a sweet little boy for Christmas. It may not have been perfect, but for my first baby quilt, I was beyond excited with how it turned out!

As we look towards the new year coming, there are so many things that we are thankful for for this past year here on the farm. This year I married my best friend, and we proclaimed our love from the mountain tops. We watched as our little farm grew before our eyes, as we added more fences and our dreams for this land grew. We traveled across Canada on a roadtrip that was so near and dear to my heart. I signed the bill of sale on my very first new vehicle purchase and brought home my own new truck.

We look forward to 2018, to all the new and exciting adventures we will find through out the year. To all the new animals we will welcome here on the farm, to using all the new knowledge and wisdom we have gained for our gardens and fruit trees. We look forward to the buzzing of Spring here on the farm as we await the arrival of our new bees we ordered this winter. We are so excited to watch our little farm grow and to learn and build on it each and every day. We are so blessed and so we welcome the new year with open hearts and wondering minds!

A new thing we are starting this year, our year of reflection, is our little “Joy Jar”. Each time something important, life changing or just exciting happens, we will write it down and add it to our jar so that this time next year we can sit down and reflect upon all the wondrous things that have happened in our lives. I can’t wait to see what all this little jar will hold for us!

Wishing the happiest of New Year’s to our friends and family, far and wide. We will be seeing you next year!!