The temperatures have been hovering in the low 40s by day, low 20s by night. The pond has a skim of ice on top. When snowflakes fell this morning, the wind blew them and a few stray leaves over the surface of the pond. It was lovely. The willow trees grew old this week. Once beautiful manes of green, they are now wispy gray strands shivering in the breeze.
Everytime the hill has a powder sugar dusting the children rush to get warm clothes on, grab sleds and head to the steep ridge on the other side of the creek. The girls make sure and get dollies dressed in warm garb, and they too enjoy the thrilling ride, gliding on crumpled leaves, grass and a wish that there were more snow, but let's sieze the moment. I think they are afraid there will be no snow this winter. They don't want to waste one single flake.
I love to bake bread. I love my job of milling wheat and baking wholesome food for people. It is a satisfying work for my hands. (Are you anticipating the big but yet?) On days when there are hills to slide down and hot chocolate to make and stories to be read in front of the fireplace with red-nosed children, I find it a difficult task. Right now the table is loaded down with nicely wrapped loaves of milk and honey bread and pizza crusts, and pumpkin pecan pound cakes, brownie mixes, pancake mixes and freshly rolled oats. The dough for cinnamon rolls is rising for the morning. The sorghum is waiting to be stirred into gingerbread in a few short hours. All those good things will feed us and many other people seeking to support local industry and to eat healthily. The money we earn will buy nice food for our animals. BUT, as I sit here, tired, unwinding so I can quickly go to sleep and get right back up again, I have a niggling feeling that I missed something because I was so busy.
I am so grateful to have a team working with me when so busy. Rachel and the boys drove to W. Va to pick up our pork from the processor. I will be able to sell wonderful sausage and pork chops tomorrow, thanks to them. Rachel and Maggie worked on trimming goat hooves for me while I baked. Patrick started the butter making process and made several quarts of cream into butter. Rachel and Maggie took over and finished the project. Rachel and I marveled at the wonder of milk. Out of a cow's body comes this liquid magical substance that makes butter, buttermilk and drinking milk, just like that. How? It is truly a wondrous thing. Rose and Maggie played the piano and made beautiful music. Nora made her bed. Patrick milked Coco for me both morning and night. Philip cut pieces of butcher paper for me to wrap bread and Thomas cut masking tape to make it easier for me. Everyone brought in loads and loads of wood to keep our house warm on such a cold day. We fussed a little. Fought a little. Said our sorries and hugged a little. I laughed listening to Philip and the kids laugh while watching The Pink Panther on dvd.
Thank you God for a warm house. Please show us all how to share the warmth to those who are cold.
PS Anita Firebaugh wrote about the Fuel Assistance Program run by the Botetourt Social Services in her blog, bluecountrymagic.blogspot.com and in the Fincastle Herald. There must be programs like this one in most regions. The program helps out people who are in a jam because of circumstances that make it hard to pay the heat bills, like being laid off, sick, whatever. Sounds like a pretty good way to help out a neighbor if you ask me... There are many places, like the Rescue Mission that need winter coats. Got a few tucked away taking up place in a closet??? We do. We need to share.