December Dawn

It has been unseasonably warm here, and here I sit on December 2nd, with not so much as a flake of snow on the ground.

It was one morning last week when I walked up to the back patio door in total awe of the beauty of the sunrise. We’ve seen deer and pheasant every day, Fredrika the wild turkey now runs after me in hopes I’ll throw her a handful of chicken feed, the rabbits eat the vegetable scraps the chickens miss, and we’ve made a little game of staying up long enough to hear the coyotes howl and yip their reply to the nightly siren testing in the little town down the road from us.

As poetic as all of that sounds, I’d like to go on record saying just how much I detest coyotes and on a scale of 1 to creepy, they tilt heavily on the creepy side.

Even with the absence of snow thus far, however, we are in the winter season, which is one I’ve looked forward to since moving here.

We moved in August, which normally would have been the beginning of peak harvest and preserving season. I left my gorgeous garden in Minnesota, however, yet still found some food here that needed canning.

After getting settled in, we started homeschooling immediately, and that combined with work and housekeeping and chicken chores seemed to be all I could manage.

I’ve pared back my work considerably now, to the point where I’m labeling myself as semi-retired, and with Thanksgiving behind us, I can feel the long-awaited season of rest entering in. And I am so grateful.

It won’t be the kind of rest where we sit around and do next to nothing; that’s what our family Sabbath is for. But the kind of rest where we’re not working outside from sun up to sun down, not getting things built or planted or watered or prepped for winter.

We’re inside, putting dried fruits in muffin batter, boiling water for cinnamon tea, dusting baseboards and ceiling fans, organizing storage, handling minor repairs or upgrades, knitting shawls, sewing curtains, making lotion and candles – we’re essentially a modern-day version of Ox Cart Man over here. Except we don’t make any money from what we make over winter. And we don’t have sheep. Or oxen. Or a cart.

…yet.

At any rate, it’s a season I’ve eagerly anticipated since we moved. A season where we get to enjoy the home and make it more so. A season where muffins and scones are a welcomed gift to show others you’re thinking of them.

A season where the clothes can be mended in time to tear them again doing next summer’s work. A season where it’s warmer inside not just from the protection from wind and snow, but because the family gets to spend purposeful time together.

And have I mentioned the muffins?

We are officially in pantry-challenge mode, where we will only be buying dairy products (and probably root beer Zevia) from the grocery store. Otherwise, our menus and meals will be a direct result of whatever is currently in our fridge, freezer, or pantry. This is another seasonal perk – we can grocery shop from the walls of our own home (and chicken coop), no matter the weather or road conditions.

There are a host of reasons I’m excited December is finally here, but more than any reason I can put into words, it’s one of a weighted, tangible feeling. I’ve never been especially fond of winter, but for some reason, this year, I’ve never looked forward to a season more.

Whatever winter has in store for you, I pray it’s restful, restorative, and rewarding.

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