The moon was hanging like a spotlight over me as I milked outside the backdoor tonight. The last two nights it has been waxing with a lovely rainbow around it. There are more clouds than stars. It is cold. 23degrees and dropping. The other night as I milked the wind was blowing. At times I felt like I would be knocked over. One particular gust was so fresh and biting I immediately was transported to Marblehead, Mass. in winter time, walking to Fort Sewell in two feet of snow, with the bitter salty wind smacking the ocean right in my face. How could I think of the ocean tucked here in the shadow of the mountains? I don't know, but it was a powerful sense memory. I reveled in the wildness of the evening, face tucked into Coco's warm flank.
These days Coco smells like a barn full of hay. I love to smell her warm side as I milk. I give her big kisses on the side of the tummy and tell her thank you for all the milk and cream. She is a good cow. Some days I grow weary of milking. Sometimes it is done in pajamas. Sometimes in fancy dress and coat, like the other night when we got home late from a Scrooge performance at the Roanoke Civic Center. Once I drag my self out there, I never regret it.
We said good bye to our friend Rachel on Friday morning. She returned to St. Louis to spend the holidays with her family. We have grown to love her like a family member. Not only did she help with important farm chores, like trimming goat hooves, mulching garden beds, shoveling manure, she also washed dishes, loved on children and truly integrated with our crazy gang. We can't wait til her road delivers her to our door again.
The past few days have been way too overloaded for this extroverted introvert. Farmer's market, cheese workshop, dinner party, church, farmer mtg, piano recital. AAAARGH. All fun. All wonderful. All too much for one quick weekend. I am wishing that the world would stop for a couple of days and let me catch up. After a few tears this morning, we all decided to stop our world for a day and do home economics in homeschool. Everyone concentrated on cleaning their zones. Thomas learned how to scrub our huge stove. Patrick was amazed at the varieties of books in our family library as he cleaned and dusted the living room. Rose and Nora had fun looking at pretty things and pretty pictures as they dusted the dining room. Maggie and her sisters folded clothes. We put on Christmas music and all worked together. Putting things into order helped us all feel a lot more centered. We even managed to sit down at the table, light the advent candles and sing O Come O Come Emmanuel before the boys headed to Boy Scouts. AHHHHHHH.
PS We are studying the middle ages in history and literature. During advent we like to pull out the hymnal and sing advent hymns. There are so many lovely ones that never get sung in church anymore. We found one with words written in the 4th century, around the time the Roman Empire was divided. The music was written in the 12th century, which is what we are studying right now, the time of Saladin, Richard the Lionhearted, the Crusades. Here are the words. Maybe you will want to find a hymnal and sing it.
Redeemer of the nations, come;
reveal yourself in virgin birth,
the birth which ages all adore,
a wondrous birth, befitting God.
From human will you do not spring,
but from the Spirit of our God;
O Word of God, come; take our flesh
and grow as child in Mary's womb.
You came forth from the eternal God,
and you returned to that same source.
You suffered death and harrowed hell,
and reigned once more from God's high throne.
With God the Father you are one,
and one with us in human flesh.
Oh fill our weak and dying frame
with godly strength which never fails.
Your cradle shines with glory's light;
its splendor pierces all our gloom.
Our faith reflects those rediant beams.;
no night shall overcome it now.
All praise, O unbegotten God,
all praise to you, eternal Word,
all praise, life-giving Spirit, praise,
all glory to our God Triune.
Words: Ambrose of Milan(340-397)
Music: Veni Redemptor gentium, plainsong, Mode 1 Einsiedeln MS, 12th cent.