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The Sweet Life

For many New Englanders maple sugar season brings back memories of grandparents boiling sap on an open fire, running through the sweet, dense steam and eating sugar on snow.  My family didn’t have direct experience with collecting sap or making maple syrup, but the bright red sugar maple leaves lining our New Hampshire road will always remind me of home.  Every mom and pop restaurant in the area served local maple syrup and we gave maple candies as gifts to out of town guests.  The Sugar Shack was a well known attraction in the area and maple walnut ice cream was a top seller at almost every creamery.

But the kicker is that I DID NOT LIKE real maple syrup.  It’s true.  I made my mom buy Aunt Jemima Lite because I liked the glass woman-shaped bottle and sucked down gallons of high fructose corn syrup  before adulthood along with other artificial ingredients that tasted sweet and poured thicker than actual maple syrup.  It wasn’t for a lack of trying on my parents part- my mom was a die hard maple fan and my dad refused to even try the fake syrup.  But the more they tried, the less I wanted anything to do with maple anything.  I even resorted to eating pure Karo syrup on my pancakes at one point to avoid any potential for maple flavor to creep into my diet.

Now that I am an adult I see the error of my ways.  Real maple syrup isn’t just about the taste (but oohhh…is it good…).  It’s about the process.  It’s an experience, a culture, and a memory.  In the few short years that I have been a first row spectator at our maple sugar process, I have come to anticipate the arrival of the season with unbridled excitement.  For me it means time spent with one another walking quietly in the woods collecting sap, inhaling the intoxicating sugary steam and crackling wood fire smoke with loved ones by your side.  The process takes days at a time and lasts about a month in entirety.  It is not a unique experience on our homestead in eliciting more than one emotion and allowing opportunities for learning and growth, but it may be the one season that encourages closeness, energizes discussion and evokes passion.  There is something about snuggling in close to the one you love next to a burning fire while the dark and cold of the winter night encroaches around you.  It makes you feel as though you could live solely on sugar and sensuality for the rest of the year.  But I digress.

There is a sweet spot between winter and spring where maple trees turn stored starch into sugar in preparation for growing buds and leaves.  And we can steal it.  Well, some of it.  Here’s a good link with more information.  Maple trees make much more sugar sap than they need for survival, so it typically doesn’t hurt their production to take a bit of their product.  When outdoor temperatures fluctuate between freezing and about 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the tree is “tapped” with a spout that allows the running sap to drip into a bucket or a tube.

Maple tree tapped with a plastic tap and bucket.

The sap is then collected in a big bin until it is time to boil it.  Kalina, our youngest, who is home from school during the day helps to collect the sap each morning.

Harley actually had rigged up a system to pump the sap from a lower bucket to this elevated bucket with a spout.
Harley actually had rigged up a system to pump the sap from a lower bucket to this elevated bucket with a spout.

When there is enough sap collected to fill a deep pan or pot, it is ready to be boiled to allow the excess water to evaporate.

Sap boiling over a fire, evaporating.

Harley wrapped a copper tube around the stove pipe to act as a preheater for the sap before it flowed into the open pan, to accelerate evaporation.

Copper tube preheat-er.
Copper tube preheat-er.

Evaporation takes a while.  We boiled about 80 gallons of sap to make 7 quarts of syrup and it took all weekend.  The sap to syrup ratio will depend on the sugar content of your sap, with “sugar maple” trees having the highest sugar content.

Sap deepening in color as water evaporates.
Sap deepening in color as water evaporates.

Harley is the syrup guru in our family.  He had wood that was leftover from his saw milling stockpiled by the barn just for this purpose.

He worked from early morning to late at night- tending the fire and watching the sap.
He worked from early morning to late at night- tending the fire and watching the sap boil.

One reason that I’ve come to really love sugaring season is that it forces  you to take time.  You can’t go far from a molten pot of boiling sugar water if you want to end up with a usable product.

Using a refractometer to measure sugar content.
Using a refractometer to measure sugar content.

You must wait for the water to evaporate from the sap until it reaches a sugar content of about 66-67%.

Using a hydrometer to check sugar content.

When it gets close to the end, the perfect temperature can be reached quickly, so it’s important to watch it carefully and test often.

Removing the finished sap from the heat.
Removing the finished sap from the heat.

Once the sap has completed boiling it can be removed from heat and strained.

Straining finished syrup.
Straining finished syrup.

After straining, it can be bottled right away or brought back up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit later and bottled for long term storage.  We keep most of our syrup as a sugar substitute for use throughout the year.  It can be used in just about any recipe where cane sugar is used at 3/4 cup maple syrup to 1 cup sugar  ratio.  We especially love making maple candy, maple ice cream and maple cream.

The finished product
The finished product

We may even have enough this year to sell a few jars.  And stay tuned for a super special soapy project starring our own homegrown maple syrup!

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Reprieve.  noun re·prieve \ri-ˈprēv\

: an official order that delays the punishment of a prisoner who is sentenced to death

: a delay that keeps something bad from happening

: a period of relief from pain, trouble, etc.

Definition from Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Jasmine in the fall leaves.
Jasmine in the fall leaves.

This November has been unseasonably warm.  What would typically be the start of the wood burning, coat clinging, ice breaking New England winter has actually been…pleasant.  Daytime temperatures have been consistently in the 60’s, with a few days even reaching over 70 degrees.

The chickens have happily spent their days dust-bathing in the now empty gardens and shuffling through fallen leaves.
The chickens have happily spent their days dust-bathing in the now empty gardens and shuffling through fallen leaves.

As someone who loves autumn more than any other time of year, this extended season is more than welcome.  It has allowed us to finish those last few outdoor jobs that inevitably get put off until the last minute.

Taking a socialization break from mucking the summer build up of mud and manure outside the barn door.
Taking a socialization break from mucking the summer build up of mud and manure outside the barn door.

Harley has been spending every spare moment trucking firewood to the house and building a new chicken coop for our layers.  I’ve been preparing for the busy holiday season by making as much soap as possible to bring to the few small markets we’ll be selling at next month.


chicken coop.jpg
Everyone helps put the final boards on the chicken coop.

The kids have been “helping”.  While they are still too young to actually be of much real help, I think it’s an extremely valuable lesson for them to watch their parents constantly busy and being productive working with their hands.  Passion and work ethic exude from this home, qualities that I want my children to inherit.

family with wood boards.jpg
Everyone carries a board from the sawmill to the building site.

The beautiful weather has drawn me outside too.  And due to my more flexible work schedule, I’ve been able to be there to watch our children play.  It seems that self-entertainment is a rare quality in this new generation and I’m thrilled that our kids excel at pretending, cooperating, and being creative in their play.

Spending some quality time in the pasture.
Spending some quality time in the pasture.

While clearing the last of the brush from the pasture-in-progress, Jacob and Kalina made up their own game.  From what I caught, they were going on a trip to the beach (complete with wood bark “cell phones” for taking pictures of their travels) but got caught in a swamp on the way and made Shine their pet crocodile.

Shine getting some love.
Shine getting some love.

I couldn’t come up with some of this stuff.  But being there to watch it play out gives me huge amounts of insight on how they’re developing, how much they understand and what interests them.  I was even invited to play a few times, as were the animals.

Kalina and Hailey having a moment.
Kalina and Hailey having a moment.

In essence, most of our animals are still children too.  We have a very young herd, as only Violet is fully mature.  They must think it’s normal farm practice to get caught up in a game of “catch the bad guys” or “escape the muddy mud pit”.

Shine makes a better snake than a crocodile.
Shine makes a better snake than a crocodile.

I do feel a little bad for the bucks at times since they have to look on through fences and electric wire.  But we really don’t need everything within reach impregnated 5x over.  (If you haven’t heard yet, Violet is expecting!  Oops…)  Plus they are quite stinky this time of year.  Rutting bucks are sweet.  From a distance.

Marvel and Jojo.jpg
Marvel and Jo Jo don’t mind each others stanky company.

But they do get some attention.  I just save them for last so that I can shower after I touch them.  🙂

Marvel Nov.jpg
Marvel leaps off of his lookout rock to run to the gate for his daily beard scratching.

The sun’s strong rays have made a lot of extra opportunities possible.  But we’ve also had to delay some work.  There is one task that must be done near freezing.  Slaughter.

The girls enjoying the warm days.
The girls enjoying the warm days.

Since we believe it’s important to personally complete the entire process of raising a meat animal humanely as well as ending his life quickly and as stress-free as possible, we also butcher and package the meat ourselves.  When it comes to processing pork, the carcass must be cooled and hung in refrigerated temperatures (below 40 degrees) overnight.  We don’t exactly have a walk in cooler in our house.  So that means that we need to wait for outdoor temperatures to stay within food-safe range for at least two days in a row.

The 7 month old boars enjoy the sun
The 7 month old boars enjoy the sun

So far, no such luck.  But I suppose that depends on which side of the fence you’re on.  The boys have been reprieved.  For now.

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Shifting Priorities

“I don’t know how you do it all” was becoming a daily topic of conversation for me.  From coworkers to family members to friends I hadn’t seen in months, everyone seemed to think that I had added more to my plate than one person could reasonably manage.  I wasn’t so sure.  I didn’t feel especially overworked or overrun.  In fact, I was pretty happy with the variety my life included working full time, managing our mini farm business and taking care of my family.  But as time went on and I continued to add “just one more thing” to my list of responsibilities, I began to see a decline in the quality of my work.  I was doing many things, but I didn’t feel like I was doing anything particularly well.

It’s one thing to neglect your laundry pile (which I most certainly did), but it’s another to neglect your children, your spouse or your animals.  I didn’t do it on purpose.  And it didn’t get so bad that kids were going hungry or my husband forgot what I looked like.  But there was a change in my relationships with my family.  The busier I got, the less time I devoted to listening, to playing, to helping, to enjoying.  My days became longer as I started chores earlier and worked on projects later.  I was using the term “in a few minutes” all too often when my kids asked for my attention as I was trying to get something done.  Those few minutes turned into thirty, forty, sixty minutes and by the time I had a pause in my forward momentum, their interest had turned from wanting a push on the swing to playing by themselves in their room.  I was losing them.  And I was missing their childhood.

But I noticed.  There were a few gentle nudges from my ever patient husband that he was out of clean shirts, or times when he stayed up late at night after getting home from work at 1:00 am doing dishes because I hadn’t gotten to them before I collapsed into bed.  But there were also more subtle signs that made me stop and question how I was spending my time.  My daughter’s hair was suddenly long enough to braid.  She was coming home from daycare with nail polish and new hair styles, and I had never even thought of trying those things with her.  My son was coloring elaborate pictures of dinosaurs and writing stories about his mom planting flowers.  But I didn’t know half the names of the dinosaurs he wrote about or notice that he misinterpreted the vegetable seeds I was planting for flowers.  If only I had taken the time to explain or involve them or just plain notice.  But I finally did.

I noticed that they were growing up right before my eyes…or more accurately, behind my back.  If I had kept up at this pace I would have run the risk of missing out on my favorite childhood ages.  So I reassessed.  What was really important?  What made me happy?  Who was really important and what made them happy?  How could I do more of those things?

The answer, of course, involved giving something up.  I loved my job.  It was what I went to school for, what I moved to Massachusetts for, and what I had always dreamed of doing.  But- I had done it.  What I hadn’t done was raise a child or mold a family.  I had never unselfishly put someone else first.  And I needed to.  But I also wanted to retain my self-worth, my creativity and knowledge base.  Amazingly, as I sat and reorganized my priorities, I found those things in our family and in our little farm.

-the kids

-my husband

-the goats and cow and pigs and chickens and turkeys

-my aging heart dog

-making soap

-the garden


-farmers markets

-taking pictures

-friends and family

How lucky am I to have the privilege of living in a place with the people and animals that bring me happiness?  I had found my answer in simply spending more time at home.  With a leap of faith and a promise of a much tighter budget, I reduced my time at work by half.  I was surprised to notice that work was not my only source of satisfaction anymore.  I was laughing more, playing more and getting to know my children.  Of course, this trial would never have been possible if I didn’t have the financial and emotional support of my extremely hard working husband.  He has listened, encouraged, and assisted- all the while allowing me to find my own way back to my family.  Because of this opportunity, I have fallen in love with my children as individuals.  Those two little people in our home depend on us to help them find their path in this world too, and now I’m here to help them.

I wanted to share some memories that we made this summer, after my change to a part-time work schedule.  These, and many more, will be embossed in our memory bank forever.  And you can’t put a price tag on that.  I hope that these are just the beginning of a new chapter in our lives where mommy is fully present.

We had tea parties and painted our nails with blue glitter paint.
We had tea parties and painted our nails with blue glitter paint.
We invited friends to join us.
We invited friends to join us.
We raised and released butterflies.  When it was time to let them go, as tears ran down her cheeks, Kalina told me "that's just my sad gooey stuff because I'm sad to see them fly away."
We raised and released butterflies. When it was time to let them go, as tears ran down her cheeks, Kalina told me “that’s just my sad gooey stuff because I’m sad to see them fly away.”
We planted more seeds and learned about what they were and when they'd be ready to eat.  And then we ate them.
We planted more seeds and learned about what they were and when they’d be ready to eat. And then we ate them.
We took the time to play with inch worms.  A lot.
We took the time to play with inch worms. A lot.
We went fishing.   And lied in the wildflowers and watched the clouds.  And stopped along the path to point out insects, tracks and plants.
We went fishing. And lied in the wildflowers and watched the clouds. And stopped along the path to point out insects, tracks and plants.
We took the dogs swimming, where I saw my senior dog float, pain free in the water.
We took the dogs swimming, where I saw my senior dog float, pain free in the water.
I had "help" with chores.
I had “help” with chores.
We got to know our new animals.
We got to know our new animals.
I pushed them on the swing.  Just before this picture was taken, Jacob told me "I like it when you have time to push us on the swing, because a lot of times you don't have time."  You bet I go running when they ask now.
I pushed them on the swing. Just before this picture was taken, Jacob told me “I like it when you have time to push us on the swing, because a lot of times you don’t have time.” You bet I go running when they ask now.
And I even took a little Me-Time.  Dozer likes me to kick the ball for him while I'm out there.  But I don't mind.
And I even took a little Me-Time. Dozer likes me to kick the ball for him while I’m out there. But I don’t mind.
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What’s it worth?

Ho. Ly. Mo. Ly. That just about sums up my thoughts on our first spring on our first attempt at a real homestead. Wow. It’s a lot of work. I’ve heard those words uttered before- yeah yeah, farming is hard work. Obviously. It’s manual labor and any type of physical job can be considered hard work. What I didn’t realize was just how constant and time consuming hard work can be. It’s not just that you’re tired and aching and sweating. It’s that you’re emotionally invested in October already- when you envision fields of corn stalks, pumpkins as far as the eye can see and a Thanksgiving feast made from all of your own ingredients. But. It’s only June. And all of that produce is sitting in a paper bag on your kitchen counter in the form of seeds that arrived in March, when you still had energy to be excited about them.


Well, June came and went. It was the longest, but shortest, month I’ve ever seen. Does that make sense? It seemed as though everything needed to be done at once. The ground needed to be prepared, the seeds needed to be planted, the seedlings transplanted, the perennial gardens weeded, the strawberries and asparagus needed harvesting, the pregnant goat might be going into labor any minute, the fence needed to be fixed, the eggs in the incubator were hatching, the egg production in the barn was exploding, the turkey hen was setting on eggs- or was she?, the lawn needed to be mowed, the compost pile turned, the animal pens cleaned out and the chicks in the grow out pen needed to be moved into a larger space. Plus my husband (and muscle and mechanic and father to my children and support system) went to Alaska for two weeks. There was that, too. (And just so that it doesn’t sound like I’m looking for a pity party too much, we won’t mention the full-time job, 3 dogs or 2 children that require at least a little bit of my energy. Or the annual summer/birthday party that was looming at the end of the month.) Okay, I mentioned them. Pity me. Thank you. I may have overdone it by promising 10 gallons of homemade ice cream and much of the rest of the menu. It was my own darn fault and I learned my lesson. I digress.

iphone pics June 2014 266

The days got longer in June. Which was a blessing and a curse. There was so much to do that I needed the extra daylight- but that also meant that there was no excuse for bagging in early and getting a full night’s sleep. Once we got home from work and school, the goats were milked, the eggs collected, the animals fed and the dogs exercised, there was still more that needed to be done. The gardens needed to be weeded and watered, the kids needed dinner and a bath and we were overdue for a phone call with Grandma. Some of it got done, some of it didn’t. We ate spaghetti more than I care to admit and the kids weren’t always sparkling clean when they were tucked in much later than usual. Our gardens are smaller than they were in my mind, but they are larger than they were last year. It’s progress.


And then there was the haying. I was lucky enough to be inducted into the haying team on a cool spring day, picking up first cutting bales in our family’s field. With all of the help and excitement it hardly seemed like work. But I know it will get worse. (And to be fair, Harley, his parents, and grandparents did the second batch without me on a much hotter June afternoon.) The hot, humid days of summer are growing the grass just fast enough to ensure that we’ll be out there again before the autumn breeze arrives.

Young Hay Field 2014

Between the rushing and planting and milking and watering and harvesting and cleaning, there is an ever so small window for fulfillment. But it is there. It is evident. And it persists. The reward is in the sun-warmed strawberry that you grab as you walk by the garden that is perfectly ripe- and you just can’t pass by without tasting it. It’s in the spinach salad that was washed by the rain from the thundershower that swept over your property to relieve you from watering after dark (again) and then kept on going. It’s in the raw milk yogurt that you toss into your lunch bag as you’re heading out the door, and then allows you to think about home and how you miss it during your lunch break while driving in the company car. And most of all- it’s in the smiles and giggles of the children as they play with the baby goat. It’s in the developing muscles you see in your son as he pushes his mini wheelbarrow around the yard. It’s in the flower that your daughter hands you from amidst the weeds she’s helping you to pull. It’s in the sense of pride that you have when you finally lie down at night to count your blessings. Dirty feet and all.

iphone pics June 2014 224

Come on July. Bring it on.

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Baby Bump

Windy, our 1 year old Saanen goat, is the first mammal that we’ve ever gotten pregnant on purpose.  (Well, besides me, of course.)  In fact, she’s the first animal I’ve ever owned that has even been capable of becoming pregnant.  Even my pet rabbits have been spayed and neutered.  Most of the people in the pet world today (the world that I come from) are very pro spay/neuter- especially here in New England.  In recent years, we’ve done such a great job of promoting sterilization in the northeast that it’s almost impossible to find a mixed breed puppy that has not been imported from another part of the country.  Go us!  The problem of overpopulation and unwanted pet litters is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Windy 1 month until kidding
Windy- 1 month until kidding

But the problem that lurks on the other side of that achievement is one that never occurred to me until recently.  About 5 years ago, to be exact- the time when my husband and I decided to start a family.  I had no direct experience with anyone or anything that had been pregnant or had given birth.  Nada.  Sure, I knew people that had babies, but I wasn’t close enough to them to hear the nitty gritty details of how it felt to have another living being inside of you, or what actually happened in the months leading up to labor and delivery.  I had a lot of research to do.

Fortunately, we have the internet these days.  Or perhaps that’s unfortunate, depending on where you choose to look for information on said internet.  (Note to self- do not follow links to birthing videos or read horror stories of labors lasting longer than 36 hours while you are in your third trimester.  It’s too late to turn back and it isn’t a helpful way to stay positive about your impending future.)

Needless to say, I learned a lot about pregnancy in a short time.  But reading about the gestation period, measuring the growth of my waistline and comparing the current size of my growing baby to common fruits and vegetables just wasn’t the same as having witnessed an actual pregnancy before.  People didn’t used to be so isolated from the natural way of things in the past.  The way it used to be included numerous pregnancies surrounding each family, even if it was the animals in the barn doing most of the birthing.

My baby bump 2011
My baby bump 2011

Animals can teach us so much about the way of life.  Yet in recent decades, we have changed our relationship with our animals to such a degree that our experience has become more about control than reflection or learning.

It is frowned upon to leave your pets intact.  Veterinarians, trainers and rescue workers alike spout the many good reasons to alter your animals at an appropriate age.  For years I have done the same, (and I will continue to do so, but with the word pet clearly annunciated.)  There are too many uneducated owners and not enough responsible homes to start hailing the praises of leaving the family dog or cat unaltered.  (For more information on spay/neuter risks and benefits take a look at this article by the Veterinary Information Network:  But…

There is something to be said for witnessing the miracle of life in person before you go through it yourself, or with a loved one.  And I don’t just mean watching a chicken hatch from an egg (although that’s pretty cool too).  In mammals, the entire process of gestation, fetal growth, labor/delivery and finally nursing and nurturing a newborn is amazingly in-depth.  Being mammals ourselves, there is a lot to be learned from other mammals that experience a similar reproductive cycle.  And if there is a purpose for encouraging an animal pregnancy (like to produce more high quality animals , and/or to produce milk) then it is not irresponsible to do so.  In fact, it can give us a glimpse into a part of life that we have grown unaccustomed to seeing, and therefore are uncomfortable with.  Knowledge and experience are at the basis of building a comfort zone.  No one should have to go through a pregnancy without having some knowledge and experience of what it entails.  Goats and sheep and pigs and cows may not seem to have a lot in common with us humans in this area.  But I beg to differ.

I have watched Windy closely over these past 4 months as her belly has grown along with her adolescent body.  She has filled out, gotten taller (and certainly wider) and the lanky legs that she toppled in on are now solid and square beneath her.  She holds her head a little higher and moves a little slower as she learns to find her new center of balance.  Since she is shaped more like a swollen tick than an elegant deer these days, you might imagine that she isn’t quite as agile as she once was.  But surprisingly, she manages to jump around just fine.  (She moves much more naturally than I did at that stage of my pregnancy.)

I know the day that she conceived and I know the day that she is due.  I have a mental calendar that checks off weeks and months as May 29th (the day that we expect her to deliver) approaches.  We still have a lot to learn about livestock and this will be our first live birth experience here at home.  (Luckily we have some great support from friends that do have experience, in case we run into any problems!)  I don’t know if Windy has any idea what her body is going through at the moment, or what the inevitable end to this experience will be.  But I do know that nature will take its’ course and instinct will kick in when she needs it most.  That’s more than I can say for most people’s experience in modern day hospitals.

For now I am soaking up the calm before the storm.  I am spending time watching her grow and feeling her belly.  Each night as I feed her her grain and ready her for a place in the milking stand, I revel in the stolen glimpses I get of her baby bump undulating in the dim light of the barn.  Each time I feel the kid kick or shift suddenly, I remember how it felt to have my own baby adjusting inside of me.  It was scary and uncomfortable and amazingly wonderful.  I am so very grateful that I am able to relive those feelings by sharing our animals’ experience first-hand.   I only wish I could have learned from her earlier or was somehow able to give her a glimpse into what was to come.  But experience builds strength, and strength builds character.  Our hope is to experience this together for many more years.  By then, our character should be unshakeable.

Waiting for fetal movement
Waiting for fetal movement
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In Limbo

“Look Mommy, a bird!” Kalina has been pointing out Robins sitting quietly amongst the branches and hopping effortlessly along the rock walls as we’ve been going about our business this past week.  I can’t say that I would have noticed their appearance if it wasn’t for her innocent observations.  I guess the old saying “out of sight, out of mind” rings true.

Kalina pointing

This time of year- the time in between winter and spring- comes and goes incredibly quickly.  New Englanders have a way of clutching onto winter far longer than we should.  It’s not that we want to.  We just know better than to trust a few warm days here and there.  March is still known as mid-winter for us, and not until the first crocuses creep through the soil do we admit to ourselves that spring might just be coming, after all.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the preparations for the coming change in seasons, as well as with the voice in the back of your mind wondering if you have enough sick days to take any more snow days, if you’ll have enough wood stacked up to get you through another cold spell or how long your ragged winter gloves will hold out.   But while we’re busy appeasing the worrier in all of us, we sometimes miss the subtle variations that only this short time in limbo has to offer.

But the children don’t.  The animals don’t.  The plants don’t.

One of my favorite things about having young children is gaining their perspective.  They don’t have to worry about all of the things that adults do.  They’re too busy watching and listening and learning to worry.

As I was trekking up the small hill on the way to the barn this evening, my mind was filled with thoughts of how unpleasant all of this mud was and what a mess the 2 feet of snow was going to make of the yard as it melted.  And then I looked behind me.

I saw two sets of tiny feet, covered with shiny rubber boots, stomping in the puddles and making waves.  I heard two tiny voices laughing and sharing observations about the little river that has suddenly taken over our walking trail.  I saw three happy dogs, playing exuberantly in the late afternoon sun and digging in the sandy slush that today’s warmer temperatures uncovered.

Kalina and Jacob in puddle

They weren’t worried about tomorrow, or thinking about how beat down they were from the frigid winter that we are still in the midst of.   They were fully present.   They were enjoying the now.  They were having fun.

Dozer with ball 4

I took the hint.  I put my bucket down and grabbed my camera.  I sat in the snow and got soaking wet.  I absorbed the smell of the earthy mud and the metallic dripping water.  I threw the ball and watched the sunset with some of my favorite people (and dogs).

Jacob in puddle blurred

Chores can wait.  We can wash our clothes.  Tomorrow’s potential snow storm is tomorrow’s problem.  I’m busy today.

Jagger with ball 2

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