Tis the season for all things Christmas as the countdown to the holidays begins to dwindle. The Christmas lights are hung on the house in all their glory, our little mini tree is up and decorated, and our stockings are hung by the fire. The winter decor is out, the fire is going, and our little farmhouse is quite cozy on a chilly Monday morning.
This year we will be heading home for the holidays, and flying to Ontario to spend our first Christmas with my family in four whole years! To say I am excited would be an understatement! So much has changed in four years back home, and it’s time for this girl to get back in the loop. I can’t wait to spend the holidays season surrounded by my family and sharing it with my husband.
We still wanted to be in the holiday spirit on the farm, so we found a mini tree to put up and decorate (much to Dan’s delight). It looks cute tucked below our window, beside our hanging stockings. There have even been a few presents to grace the bottom as we hosted Christmas dinner with Dan’s family a little early, and of course all of our “Friendsmas” dinners.
Each year we also hang Christmas wreaths left behind by the previous owner on our gates at the end of the drive, along our garden fences and on the feed shed. Because even the critters deserve a little Christmas cheer!
We started the holiday season in sadness on the farm. This past Summer we welcomed two alpaca gentlemen to the farm. I knew they were older, but just not exactly how old our two guys were. When Winter came their age definitely began to show, and despite doing all we could for the both of them in regards to shelter, warmth and extra feed, it was time. We sadly said goodbye to Calvin, who passed suddenly on a Saturday morning. It was the first really big loss on the farm, and it was felt by everyone. We took several days to grieve and come to terms with him being gone. My heart was breaking for his brother Hobbes, who was sad and depressed, and showing it.
I reached out to a lady I had met in the Summer, who we had taken the boys fleece to to have made into yarn. Her and her husband own an alpaca ranch where they raise alapacas for fibre, and are only an hours drive away. She said she would have a replacement for us for Calvin and a new friend for Hobbes to help him cope. So we loaded up the livestock trailer, made the drive over, and returned home with not one, but two new friends for our Hobbesy. Beetle and Bailey are settling in well and our trio of alpaca are always together, whether it be standing around the feeding, exploring the trails through the bush, or snuggling in together at night. My heart is happy they are bonding with Hobbes and he has two new friends to help heal his heart. You’ll also see Hobbes is sporting his new uptown winter jacket. This will help to fight against the wind and elements a little better for him this Winter as his fleece hasn’t grown back quite the same since the previous owners trimmed him.
The donkey boys who share the back field with the alpacas are also adjusting to the changes and making new friends with our two new additions. The boys are also sporting their winter fluff and are just too adorable for two bad donkey boys. Dan created a few new trails through the bush for us, and they are all within the fenceline of the back pasture. We have been going for afternoon walks in the Winter to get out and get some fresh air and exercise, and the donkey boys love to follow along through the woods. Judging by the trails and footprints, they are frequenting the paths out back in the bush.
The three little pigs like to hide out from the snow and cold, and spend most of the Winter days inside the Pig Haus snoozing away. They are the first ones at the gate when it is breakfast time though! I love all the sounds of the barnyard coming alive during morning chores. These three boys have come so far since they moved into the farm and I swear that Oscar is smiling for most of his photos.
Mama Sue decided this year she was going to try out for Santa’s team, and who am I to tell here she’s not a reindeer? I think she’s the cutest little goat with antlers you ever did see! The four little goats are doing well this Winter. They are burning through hay like nobody’s business. They are always good for a smile and can be heard pretty much from any where in the yard.
Our ladies in the coop have all but stopped laying this Winter. We are lucky to get an egg a day and have been on the verge of buying a carton from the grocery store on several occasions. We have three new ladies who should start laying any time, and we are holding out for those eggs. We saved three hens and one rooster from out batch of butcher chickens this past fall. Our rooster, who Dan has name Chanteclair from one of his favourite childhood movies Rock-a-Doodle, has finally started to crow and has completed our menagerie of barnyard sounds.
November was a busy and rewarding month for us on the farm. Being open season for rifle and hunting, we spent the majority of our free time sitting in a tree stand out back. Mother Nature is so amazing and I feel so blessed to be able to have the land we do and the opportunity to watch nature unfold right in front of our eyes. Have you ever heard the wings of a bird cutting through the air? Have you ever been nose to nose with a yearling doe? Have you heard snow flakes falling on branches, crashing down around you? Sitting in nature is my favourite part of hunting season. Watching as a doe and her triplet fawns walk down the cutline straight towards you, stop to graze and frolic. Hearing the world come alive in the morning light, the woods erupting with the chatter of squirrels and hustle of little birds.
Dan and I were both lucky enough to fill our white tail tags this year, and our freezers are full for another season. I am so happy Dan was able to spend the time out in the bush with me. Usually he is busy at work providing for us, or spending his time showing me the ways of hunting, so it was really special this year we could both take down our bucks together. I also bought my first, very own gun this season. A little 0.22 for predator control on the farm and chicken hunting. And wouldn’t you know it, first day out I took down my first chicken with it! We definitely are not going hungry on the farm here any time soon!
With the cold and snow, it has made for the perfect evenings to curl up beside the woodstove and get all my projects completed! From knit dishcloths for our Christmas baskets, to my first attempt at home made soaps and finishing up some quilting, I have been keeping busy crafting this Winter. Looking forward to starting some projects for myself in the New Year, including a quilted lap blanket and finally getting my second sock knit for a pair!
I also found time for a little holiday baking, and of course some reading! I joined an online book club and have been loving the book choice and discussion. Looking forward to next months meeting already! I may have a whole shelf of new books waiting for me after the Christmas season. We also bottled our latest wine just in time for the holidays, a mid-winter mulled wine! Looking forward to enjoying that one over the holidays with family and friends!
We wish all of you the merriest of Christmases, may your time be spent with those you love and cherish. Happy New year from the funny farm. We will be seeing you in 2019!!
Wild & Witchy
For those interested, below are a couple of my favourite diffuser blends for those cold winter days or holiday festivities!