Winter is here, and so begins a brand new year! For many people this marks a time of celebration, reflection and planning for the months ahead. At our house we celebrate these things on the Winter Solstice, which took place last week. For us the Solstice is New Years. We light a candle on the eve of winter and let it burn until dawn the following day. We say a prayer of gratitude for the year past, and say a toast to the year to come.
The winter solstice marks the longest night of the year and the coming of the sun. For thousands of years people took notice of this date, and even though it is the first day of winter, it also means that slowly but surely daylight grows longer. This is important stuff if your a farmer and certainly worth celebrating! The sun and the seasons dictate everything we do. There is a time to plant, a time to harvest and a time to let the earth rest.
But even when the earth is tucked away, fast asleep beneath a blanket of snow, the farmer is keeping busy. There are chores that need to be done no matter the cold and snow. Livestock must be fed and watered. Planting plans are drawn up. Seeds and supplies are ordered. Equipment is cleaned and maintenanced. And if there’s still time in the day, we may get to one of the dozens of projects we have going, like building the new coop or fixing the old fence. Heaven forbid if you grow all four seasons, then you certainly get no rest! Farmers are a busy lot, even in winter!
It’s a 365/24/7 job unless you’re lucky enough to squeeze a vacation in someplace and con a friend into doing your chores for a few days. But it’s worth it, we’re all crazy, but it’s worth it! How do I know? I know it’s worth it in many ways, but one way that truly resonates this time of year was seeing my table at our family Christmas dinner! It was filled with the bounty that we harvested, that our fellow farmers harvested and that our local food artisans prepared. It was a feast of so many delicious foods and a table filled with smiles, laughter and love ~ it’s totally worth it! Happy New Year everyone!