Picturesque Pandemonium

I really don’t know how it happens. I blink and almost a month has gone by! Christmas was three and a half weeks ago. The New Year came and went. And we are already well into January. Where to even start? What a beautiful blur it has all been.

These last weeks have blended and melded into each other, a pleasant, quiet chaos of life on the ranch, enjoying a slow down, yet somehow never having enough time in the day for everything. My days have been filled to overflowing with the general flurry of activity that happens this time of the year, with canning and baking, sewing, writing, chickens, piano teaching, and so much more. Add to that the variety of ranch-related tasks, sorting calves, vaccinating replacement heifers, helping feed cows, pouring bulls for lice, and the delightful mayhem of six puppies, and we’ve had ourselves plenty busy. Plenty.

I have had a little extra time indoors with the blustery, chilly days we’ve had, and am thoroughly enjoying bread baking. Food independence, however little or much, happens a little at a time, and I’m excited to be contributing to my family in this way. Baby steps!

We’ve done our share of contending with winter, with a bitter cold snap that lasted a good week followed by a week a snow-scarce, wind-wicked storms. We enjoyed a warm up, with T-shirt days and bluebird skies, and now a weather shift of foggy, frosty days. We’ve reveled in the mud and the damp, thankful for every bit of moisture we get.

The chickens have been really picking up the laying, to my immense satisfaction. Brad thinks I’m weird when I say things like “I don’t recognize this egg,” but I do suspect that my new layers are slowly getting started, both due to the increase in egg production and because of a handful of eggs I “don’t recognize.” Yes, dear, you married me. It’s fun to see this next flock get going!

The puppies have been relocated to the barn, after many mornings and nights of carrying them back and forth from our dining room (where they stayed at night) down to their pen in the barn. Let me tell you, those puppies are heavy and our hill started feeling very steep and tall. The puppies collectively have a crush on Polly, and it is a frequent sight to see anywhere from two to five of them pile on top of her in a frisky mass of black and white. Now that they outweigh her, her enjoyment of them is waning, but she still comes back for more. The pups have had a couple of run-ins with Bernard, the rooster. Their little antics are wildly funny.

We’ve been reveling in a picturesque pandemonium.

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