Farms mark the year by the solar calendar.

The solstice, the traditional mid winter festival when the sun starts to return. For us too the solstice is turn-around time. The days when the sun seems to stand still are our time to do a yearly reflection on the past year. We evaluate the goals accomplished and plans for next year.

Chores are delivering food and water to the critters. I spend my mornings watching fluffy sheep get fat and play in the snow. They make sheep nests in the bedding pack for warmth. I watch the breeding ram to be sure he is doing his job. The current one in with my control group of ewes may be a candidate for baatwurst. He seems to be butting the ewes more than he is breeding them. The ewes will get another ram in January so they should get pregnant. We’ll know when they lamb who the daddy is and if Kai failed to breed ewes he’s sausage.

Chickens are all hunkered down, snug in the coop but in jail and they are not happy so I take hay and chicken treats to them and talk to them when I gather the eggs. Chickens are actually quite social and like to be talked to so I cluck at them and pet a few friendly ones.

The dogs also make their own nests in the hay and the old dog snuggles in between warm sheep when it gets cold. The horses frisk in the snow in the warm sun but stand huddled neighing for breakfast when it’s cold. I have a lot more time in winter so I am doing some hobby things that never get worked on in summer: knitting, spinning, doing a puzzle, reading. Winter is a time of reflection, more thinking and planning than doing on a farm. It’s a good balance.

I hope you all have an enjoyable winter solstice.