Winter chores in Michigan, expressed in a creative way.
Source: A Ballad for Winter Chores
Winter chores in Michigan, expressed in a creative way.
Source: A Ballad for Winter Chores
Winter chores, I know you have arrived, when there is no sunlight at 5:45.
Darkness fills the evening air, and I cannot find a flashlight anywhere.
You bring to my attention the leak in my favorite rubber boots,
as I kick out ice in the water pail for the goose.
Gone is the warm wind rustling through the trees.
Cold water splashes and freezes me to my knees.
In a walk, I once took peace and pleasure,
I find myself wading through snow beyond measure.
Coyotes singing haunt my soul,
I still have several more paces to go
Until I reach the well-lit barn to make sure everyone is safe from harm.
Even my little furry watchers have abandoned me.
The cats in the barn are nowhere to be seen.
The mice are eating all of my grain,
and I think to myself this is a giant pain.
“It’s a glorious day,” says the man on T.V.
“It is sunny and 23 degrees!”
Clearly, he has not had the pleasure,
of delivering a calf in this kind of weather.
Water troughs steam away
as heaters warm them through out the day.
The energy meter spins without ceasing
and the electric bill is ever-increasing.
A thought, what if one of them should catch fire?
And burn this barn like a Grecian Pyre?
Lord, I pray,
that the animals would all be far away that day.
A break in the weather we will soon be seeing.
As I prepare for a flood, I am barely breathing.
60 degrees would be charming if it didn’t come with a flood warning.
A day of dangerous mud, the kind that makes horses fall with a thud.
Only to be replaced in the night with a terrible icy blight.
My children ride upon a sled as we move bales from shed to shed.
Bouncing over the frozen muck, they will sleep well tonight with any luck.
Spreading straw to warm frigid toes, any time now Lord, we could lose the 10 below.
Winter chores you test and burden me, and I often wish that I could flee.
But in a few long months Spring will be here.
And I will remember exactly why this farm is so dear.
Looking for unique Christmas gifts this winter? Be sure to check out some of the things your local family farms have to offer. Many talented Homesteaders or Farmers make things from their farms such as jams and spices, soaps, yarns and other knitted materials.
By supporting their small businesses you are helping kids go to gymnastics or science camps, parents pay their energy bills, grandparents visit their grandchildren and families support their favorite charities
Not sure what’s out there? Check out my friend and local farmer. She is so extremely talented, taking fiber from her herd and turning it into beautiful yarns, apparel and other crafts. You can find her at http://wheelycoolfiber.com
Thank you for supporting small business and local agriculture!!
This dinner was a little unique in the fact that most of us saw or talked to each other just a few days before for Thanksgiving. The special thing about that is conversations were followed up on, which doesn’t always happen when there is a whole week in between visits.
Around the table, there were 2 babies, 1 toddler, 2 tweens and 12 adults. I would like to preempt this attempt of recalling the conversation by setting the mood for you. My 8-month-old daughter was yelling at the top of her lungs for nearly 2 hours. I mean I really think she was just hollering so we would all have to talk over her for the sheer joy of causing a ruckus. Perfectly happy throwing her plate and food everywhere and squealing at anyone who looked her way. The other baby in the house wasn’t entirely sure he liked what was going on, but tried his best to be brave and play with her.
Dinner, to no one’s surprise, was left over turkey, transformed into an ultimate comfort food of stew. If you have read about the Stew that Started it All, you will know that stew is served with biscuits and cottage cheese. We also had fresh bread, deviled eggs and cranberry sauce. Another new recipe for mom for dessert; Apple Dumplings.
Here we go:
Well hello sir, how are you?
I am good, how are you?
Can’t complain, it’s great to see you!
Hi, here is your baby… she’s done.
She’s done? Are you done?
That’s why we came to Grandma’s early!
Did you get to ride the horseys?
She got to brush the big new horse, Livvy. She thought that was pretty great.
Hi! I bumped into a handsome stranger in the driveway, he said he’s with you.
Oh yes, that is my “escort”. Because as we all know I have my husband buried in the back yard.
I’ve got the chairs!
Is that why you went running across the driveway?
We borrowed a few things, and I forgot to bring back the chairs. I remembered my camera, though.
That makes sense and awesome.
I have plain turkey if the girls won’t eat the stew.
I am sure she won’t. The little ones will.
Girls come get your plates.
Ok, everyone, dinner’s ready.
You’re up kiddo.
Bless this house, Lord we pray, Keep us safe by night and day. Amen.
(Please remember I have a baby hollering in my ear, so bare with me)
There is stew at both ends of the table, so you don’t have to pass the hot dishes around.
Everything else needs to make its way around though!
We have cottage cheese with our stew. It’s weird, but what we do.
Is it weird?
Do you eat cottage cheese with your stew?
No, I guess I just have an open mind about it.
Hi, there’s a chair there for you.
Did you get anything?
So my grilled turkey for Thanksgiving turned out great.
How long did it end up cooking for?
About 2 1/2 hours.
I used a medium-ish sized bag of charcoal and put some applewood on the top. I so NAILED not messing that up!
How big was it?
Around 20 pounds I think.
Wow, I usually figure 12 minutes per pound. Yours cooked fast.
But it was moist, and juicy and flavorful!
I’m just going to reach over here and take this bread…
It’s like she’s family or something, just reaching over everyone.
Well she’s missing someone with a rather large wing span.
Where is he at?
He’ll be here soon, had a meeting today. He’ll be dressed up wearing a tie and everything.
What is this?
Raspberry jam, I think it has too much sugar in it though. (The jam was indeed rather cloudy).
Can you pass the butter?
Wait! Switch knives (they actually passed their butter knives across the table, as one had only used butter and the other the jam)
No cross contamination.
That needs to make it into the post.
Look at you all dressed up!
Very festive tie.
I try to bring a little cheer this time of year.
We were at the Nature Center over the weekend.
Oh yeah? How did you like that?
It was really neat, the nephews enjoyed it. The double sided glass was cool!
Wow, she can really use that knife! (My toddler was very successfully cutting her biscuits to pieces with a butter knife)
Kinda scary isn’t it?
What was that?
She just threw her plate… and everything on it. Time to get down!
Well hello, Gerber Baby! I voted for you!
I voted too!
Thank you all!
When do you find out?
Not until like January.
What? They make you wait that long? The suspense!
SO! I found a new recipe.
What’s that for?
I saw that.
All my top Facebook videos are always of food…. and I watch them.
I get a lot of those too.
So how do you make it?
Well, basically you make your two batters and layer them.
So you bake the carrot cake first?
No, you layer the raw batters, it’s not exactly carrot cake batter. It might just show up here one day.
Well give me plenty of notice, so I don’t make another dessert!
No, please, by all means, make another dessert!
Any more cat stories?
No, they’ve been good.
What? Did you see one of them?
Yea… We let him in the house. He came in for a little bit and Blake came around the corner, saw him, and went back in hid in the bedroom. He wanted out after that.
We don’t mind him coming to visit!
It’s raspberry jam, it is just like a dessert.
It may have a little too much sugar in it.
It is pretty sweet.
Well, that’s why it’s so good!
Want a little raspberry with your jam?
Have you seen how she drinks coffee? Just enough coffee to dissolve the sugar.
That’s how he drinks his too.
Did you make this or is this the one you guys made together?
I made this one, not sure what happened.
These are my raspberries, though, aren’t they?
I am not really a big mushroom fan.
He lets me keep trying, but they are really something he just doesn’t enjoy.
She says she doesn’t like all sorts of things, and yet she eats them here.
Maybe you can serve mushrooms more.
You might not make me like them…
But we can die trying!
Yes! What a tasty way to go!
Save the jam, dessert might not be any good.
What is dessert?
Apple dumplings (Mom is making faces at the dessert she made)
Where do I start? Here? Here?
I’ll take it!
I don’t know, maybe don’t eat the bottom…
(I am a solid 3 bites into mine) I think it’s pretty great, just saying.
Is that everyone?
(Mom still making faces, takes a bite)
Well, I guess they aren’t bad, just not what I wanted.
Maybe bake the crust a little more?
I would say they are entirely edible…
Nice, as you are shoveling it is “Oh, they are edible”
Haha! As he is blocking his with his arm…
What kind of apples did you use?
Mostly Northern Spy and….
And whatever was on the clearance rack.
Yes, the clearance rack at the apple orchard, so there might be some Cortlands or Wolf Rivers….
I like the little bit of cinnamon in them.
Well, what -ever spice is in there…
There isn’t any spice, it’s just brown sugar…
It’s the Spies giving it the cinnamon flavor.
Well, at least they are edible.
I am surprised you didn’t use the Disney Princess recipe.
I didn’t know that there was one in there until I had already started!
She made them before, and they turned out good.
Do you need dessert?
I haven’t had dinner yet.
No dessert first tonight?
Nope, dinner first.
I’ll send you the link for the picture of the kids with Grandpa.
That would be great! Thanks!
(I had a little labor and delivery discussion in here with one of the Mama’s to be and also at this point my children were in various stages of passed out, whining and ready to go home, so the rest of what I remember is all bed time prep so hopefully they fall asleep in the car!)
Thank you Nikki, for all the beautiful photos!