Thursday, November 17, 2016


There's much to be done at home now. For the last three years, the family Thanksgiving took place in Chicago, while Ed and I ate Chinese food one year, Japanese the next and Indian last year. But this time the complicated holiday family gathering schedule was resolved differently and Thanksgiving -- with my daughters and their families -- is coming back to the farmhouse. So there's stuff to be done!

I know people begin their holiday cooking many days in advance. That's not going to happen here. I can't think that far ahead. For one thing, Snowdrop is a farmhouse guest this weekend and, too, there's a Sunday family dinner to think about. But getting the house ready for the holiday and the Thanksgiving menu finalized takes time and I surely should be focused on this right now...

... except that today, we're to have near record highs, plenty of sunshine and gentle winds that belong more to early September than to late November.

And so shortly after breakfast...

farmete life-2.jpg

... Ed and I throw down out chores and projects and escape to our nearby county park for a walk on this most glorious of days.

We love the park for its closeness (less than five minutes by car) and for its good cross country skiing. In the summer, it's less welcoming because the mosquitoes really favor the nearby boggy terrain. But today -- oh, it is just perfect!

farmete life-5.jpg

I tell Ed we must commemorate this day of short sleeves and lovely blue skies with a selfie. He knows to look my way. He sometimes forgets to keep his eyes open as he snaps.

farmete life-3.jpg

I pick up Snowdrop just as the day is at its warmest and sunniest. But I go easy here. I've learned my lesson about expecting too much during this time where she really should be settling down for a nap.  We walk a little by her school...

farmete life-15.jpg

...listen to the train nearby, look at the last of the flowers...

farmete life-20.jpg

... and then we zip back to the farmette, where I let her take the lead. Today she asks to feed the chickens (and her loud cry "cheepers!" really brings them running!)...

farmete life-24.jpg

... and she wants to spend time playing in the leaves...

farmete life-30.jpg

... and picking remaining flowers. A deep frost is coming this weekend. There is no point in saving them now.

farmete life-37.jpg

We're in the front flower bed and this gives her a chance to watch the occasional car speed by. Today she is thrilled to see a big piece of farming machinery thunder along, with the farmer waving to us from his great heights. But she's also happy just to see the occasional school bus or truck.

farmete life-47.jpg

And now she's had her fill and is ready for a few musical prenap minutes back at the farmhouse.

farmete life-53.jpg

And then, finally, some much needed downtime with her bises (penguins) upstairs.

When she wakes, the bises come down with her and I watch as she engages in a spirited race around the farmhouse.

farmete life-1-2.jpg

Not infrequently, Ed is on the phone when the little girl is playing at the farmhouse. I tell her he has work to do and she is pretty good at leaving hm alone as he retreats to the sun room to conduct his affairs. Today, he is not only on the phone, but, too, immediately afterwards, he retreats to the sheep shed to work on one aspect or another of his machining project.

Perhaps one of the most smile inducing moments of the day comes when he leaves and she picks up her old play "telephone." As I watch her act out her own mini drama, I'm impressed at how exact she is at imitating what she sees around her. Do kids really grasp this much from what we think happens over and beyond their sensibilities? No one taught her how to work the phone. How to conduct a conversation. About the resulting back and forth. And yet, here she is, imitating it all so perfectly:

farmete life-6-2.jpg

She is a real chatter box this way and when I listen to her, I am so impressed that I take note of her words for posterity I suppose, exactly as she speaks them:

Hi, this is (Snowdrop) talking. Ah ah is in sheep shed working there.

farmete life-11-2.jpg

For emphasis, she hastens to the porch door from where she can see the sheep shed and repeats her earnest bit of news.

farmete life-13-2.jpg

And then she puts down the "phone" and asks to go out to see if indeed ah ah is in the sheep shed.

He never ever minds an interruption by the little one. At the sheep shed, very quickly she scrambles onto his lap and makes the letters fly on his computer screen. The machine to the side -- his recent invention that has so occupied his waking hours? She is a bit intimidated by it. The computer feels safer.

farmete life-14-2.jpg

She is, in general, curious about his work space and I show her that there is a chair near his desk -- one where I sat for many many hours in the days when I didn't live at the farmette, but would visit on the weekend. She is thrilled to climb up and down and onto the foot rest, proclaiming it all to be "Snowdrop's black chair."

farmete life-18-2.jpg

I usher the little girl outside then and we explore the great outdoors.  Our magnificent find: a couple of Henny's feathers just outside the coop.

farmete life-25-2.jpg

Add to it a dandelion puff and her cup runneth over.

farmete life-35-2.jpg

As does mine. It really isn't hard to find peace and joy just by stepping outside for a minute or two. If you need lessons on how to do it -- ask Snowdrop. She's a pro at it.