Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter's Cocoa Mug is Half Empty

Tonight marks the winter solstice: the shortest day/longest night of the year.
[Not to mention a full-blown lunar eclipse.]
From here on until the summer solstice in June the days will get gradually longer.
None too soon, I say.
There's nothing worse than doing chores in the dark in the morning and then again at night.
I consider December and January to be "winter."
November is "lead-in to winter" and February is "coming out of winter."
October and March are both "sporadic hints of winter."
Once I make it to the new year, I consider it to be "half-way."
[At school, semester break is not until the end of January, but close enough--the last month of holiday build-up with 460 elementary school kids seemed like more than a fair share of craziness to call this half-way!]
I started the season with two and a half stacks of hay, about nine tons total. That concerned me a bit, as I like to have two tons per horse for the winter months, and I am currently housing five horses. But then I decided to get RT his own little stash of more chewable, palatable, and digestible orchard grass, and he also gets primarily senior mush. So nine tons is pretty safe. (And I can always grab more from Hank's hay barns if I need it.) It's hard to say just where I'm at in consumption, as I moved at least a ton to make room for Misty's new stall, but I've just started bringing down bales from the top of the "middle" hay stack, so I figure I've still got six and a half or seven tons, maybe more.We've got chores down to a ten minute "quick feed" in the morning before work, and half hour in the evening, while dinner is cooking.
I've got just a few little barn projects I want to get done: a couple of new saddle racks in the tack room, "push-aside" tarp curtains for the outside stall doors, some new bookshelves to allow relocation of boxes and boxes of Horse and Rider, Practical Horseman, and Equus magazines from the house.
[My Christmas present to Al is a top-to-bottom "cleaning frenzy" in the house. I generally prefer to work in the barn rather than clean house--go figure. But I love him!]

And I still have some Christmas stuff to do....
....we're half-way to SPRING!


  1. I'm with you, Laurie. Today is NOT the first day of winter!!!

  2. I agree - I love seeing the days getting longer and knowing spring is on the way!
    As for prefering to work in the barn than clean house - I'm with you on that one!!! I just don't have a barn to work in anymore, so I've no more excuses to avoid housework.

  3. Oh how I wish February was Coming Out of Winter! That's more like April or May at 6,800' elevation in Colorado.

  4. I wish it was just the start of winter, we have had it for at least 6 weeks already, and will go on till about March at least. But days getting longer is always better.

  5. February is nearly spring, I agree.

    What kind of crazy school system are you at? Do the kids get out for a week at Christmas, THEN come back for end of semester exams, then get a semester break?? Wow, bizarro world!

  6. I guess winter depends on where you are!

    Funder--We get two weeks at Christmas, then just one semester day for teachers to do grades (unpaid). It just marks the middle of the academic year. Course, our local college is on quarters, and they are just starting second quarter (just to confuse matters even more!). Our spring break corresponds to CWU, so it's earlier than most (late March), then nothing, not even a long weekend, 'til Memorial Day. Yeah--we got it so hard...

  7. The west is SO weird.

    In the southeast (at least everywhere I went to school / college), spring break is in mid-March, then the semester ends in early May. Graduation is the first or second weekend of May - I graduated May 10 2008. Then you're back in school in August.

  8. Hi EvenSong,

    I've fallen terribly behind, but always love to check your blog. These pictures are especially beautiful - greeting card potential here, don't you think? That first shot? Wow! Love the homestead/barn/snow pics as well. And, the one of the kids decorating the tree brings all the best out of the season to your bloggers with the concentration and pleasure in their expressions.

    How you manage to teach full time, look after your man:), take care of and train the horses, work on the barn.. you really are an amazing person! I wish you well with the housecleaning, but only because you made that a goal, and it feels great to accomplish what you set out to do. Otherwise, I just wish you lots of fun and peace and relaxation and the realization that you have all the important stuff in your life. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!