So here comes March... the birthday month, as I used to know it (although I daresay that is December in this house).
Ice shanties are coming off the lakes, even though the snow still falls. The cold hasn't been too cold, only in the 20s at night, and we've seen 30s and 40s in the daytime, depending on the amount of sun. Today, yet another storm spins off the ocean, bringing drips and drops of snow and rain, and I assume I will yet again be stuck in the driveway. I hope not, because I need to pick up Aidan and Sage from their dad, and Aidan begins wrestling today.
Despite the on-going snow, the lilies are up next to the chimney on the south side of the house. And the weeping willows south of here look suspiciously like they might be thinking about budding. This week we will tap the maples, and begin the process of boiling some sap... probably in the middle of the driveway. Next year, I'm sure we will have figured out a better option (actually a friend of Col's has a set up we can buy... but not until summer). The kids and I are looking forward to the sweet smell of boiling sap, the quiet time of having to hang out next to a fire, the taste of scallops steamed in the sweet air above the syrup pan. Someday, I hope our home sugar house is as busy and interesting a place to be as the one at Sterling was for all of us,.
We finally took down the hearts that were everywhere around the house, but I expect to make paper shamrocks and egg-container tulips with Nadia (and maybe the rest) the next few days to stick around the house. I even have a new project... twig dandelions made with twigs and homemade yarn puffballs (you know... like "warm fuzzies" from summer camp). My string of clover lights go up as I single-handedly try to recreate the Irish exuberance of my Syracuse childhood. I think parades and shamrock shakes and green milk and green birthday cake and spring just around the corner... leprechauns and rainbows and kelly green everywhere. Spring is so far from arriving in March in the NEK, but the Syracusan in me expects it anyway. After all, once in awhile, it was green and warm on my birthday, and that is in less than two weeks. If my daylilies can be optimistic, why not me??
We have been making the most of the winter we finally have, however, with increased runs down the sledding hill, one straight down the hillside close to the big-house's driveway (makes us sound like sharecroppers on a plantation, eh?), and one with a little less slant coming down the old farm road than angles across the property from the field around the big-house to our line of maples. We built snow monoliths and snowmen around the front yard the other day, digging right down to the grass. We then painted them with spray spritz bottles full of food coloring water... vibrant greens, yellows (and yes, everyone pretended that was "yellow snow"), blues, and reds, and all the colors they make in between. We were chased inside that day by the snow turning to rain, and the colors pushed toward the ground, leaving only a brown ring around the bottom of deformed snow monoliths.
The waning hours of winter also give us time to think ahead to spring and summer. I have been perusing seed catalogs, trying to avoid any that get seeds from the grower in California that Monsanto recently bought (really? they have to own the mini-gardener's soul as well?). And thinking about what I will just get at farmer's market. The garden is moving forward to the front yard, in small, enclosed containers, walled areas, etc. The front garden from last year will be exclusively herbs and medicinals. And we agreed that the "weeds" in the back garden have won... only to look them all up and see that the weeds that grow there are exclusively ones for coughs, asthma, skin, and a general tonic high in rare vitamins. They say the medicine you most need finds you. Point taken. (We are however, going to park pigs in part of that plot to rid the area of some of the weeds, and to let the piggies be our vitamin intermediary).
Speaking of critters, we have put in for our permit for the pole barn. We've moved from having a lean-to shape to one with a gabled roof, with windows above the doors (sketch to follow). The doors will be typical barn-like doors, but with nothing that closes. It will have 2 bays with significant storage space on the sides, and essentially a 2nd floor for storage. Colin needs space to move the tools to (we reclaim the porch come spring!) and there will be space on the hill side for the beef calves to have an indoor stall. And, outside the building, we expect the roof to overhang enough to provide space for firewood. Above the garage space, there will be space for storage but also space for hay. We'll need hay for the calf/calves (one? two? what about loneliness in small cows?) for next winter.
Beyond all that, the bedroom is almost done, and Aidan will be able to move in maybe next week. This is good, because he will need to be focused and organized in the next few months... not his strongest point. But he has wrestling and drama and trumpet, and we are putting an emphasis on academics (all electronics other than radio have been removed from his daily life). So he'll need space to himself.
Nan will move upstairs to live with Sagey (isn't it funny? Her name has morphed into a version of mom's nickname? The short/long vowel is all that is different). She wasn't too excited about it at first (Man, can sisters fight!) but they play together so often and with the same stuff, it really is time. Plus, they are both so independent and strong minded, I think that maybe it is ok for them to learn to live with someone else.
And Milo's crib and dresser will move into the yellow room, with the day bed (for all you guests... and ok, for me when I fall asleep nursing). I am excited about everyone finally having space that makes sense, and being able to put things away, and organize. Maybe I can finally unpack all the book boxes.
So there is life here on Wild Nettle Farm as we begin spring, and a new growing season, and another step closer to the life we envisioned as we moved here.