A harmless activity, really. Just cruisin’ around on craigslist, scoping out piglets. I am really really wanting some piglets right now. Andrew says I have an animal problem. We’d agreed a couple of months ago that we would not raise pigs this coming year. Organic feed is too expensive, but prmarily the main issue is that the risk of mayhem increases 3,000% when there are pigs on the farm. With the majorly increased feed price, there is little to no financial payback, even if we charge a fair price. I mean, seriously, 8 months of tending to them while they grow is a LONG time. There were two things that have happened that are going to change our mind. First- Thereis only ONE loin roast left in the freezer! Eek! Second- Our very first pig customers have let us know they would really like it if we’d raise a couple pigs again. When pigs are named and loved, raised outdoors in small groups, fed organic feed and given as much ground as they can root up-well, yes, it is some very special pork from very happy pigs.
I was looking at pictures of our pigs from 2010 & 2011. I miss having pigs. Having piglets in the winter, inside the hoop house to play with was such a great winter-blah breaker! They are like the ultimate combination of a wrestley dog that you can’t get ahold of and and a rambunctious wild child. I went ahead and set up the back of the hoop house yesterday for piglets, even though Andrew is not on board yet. I know we’ll have a ton of stuff going on in the spring, but what’s 3 pigs added to that? Plus, we are really going to need and want our pork when we run out. I’ll keep on my piglet hunt. There are some Duroc Berkshire crosses about 45 minutes from here….
My family has been struggling with Christmas traditions for a few years now, since my Mom passed away. She always led a beautiful holiday time in the family home, playing holiday tunes on the piano while we unwrapped presents. She saved our tree ornaments from each of our younger years so that we could reflect on the memories each winter, and always presented a monstrous spread of her specialty cookies and sweets. I close my eyes, and I can hear her delighted chuckle-about-to-turn-to-tears, as we ran to hug her after unwrapping perfect and thoughtful gifts she’d gotten us. We’re Christmas orphans now, since none of us want to pick up the ball and run with a new version of what our family’s holidays should be. Nor do we all get along, so the likelihood of it even working is slim. I’ve been rather frazzled over what my role should be, or how far I go to spend some of the holidays together, recreating our old traditions. It’s been a tough holiday season, especially this year, as fights with one of my sisters has escalated.
But today, as Andrew and I worked on the gifts we’re making for our nieces and nephews, I realized there is no need to feel blue over this. This is just what happens when you grow up and move out of the house- you don’t hang on to the past, you start your own traditions. I hadn’t really thought about it, but suddenly I saw and felt it- we actually are our own family here. And we have Andrew’s lovely family too! Just because we don’t have a “family” with human children, this is OUR family. We can start our own traditions, even if that means a completely custom version.
So, on that lightened note, I wanted to share some of our family’s Holiday traditions. It’s liberating to realize we don’t have to follow anyone else’s tradition. In our tiny farm house, we’ve been listening to Christmas music since Thanksgiving. It’s gross how much the two of us love it, but this is something that bonds us together. We heat our place entirely with wood, which adds a festive feel -even if it is an econmically better choice for us and alot of never ending work. We go on long walks before the sun goes down in the west, trudging in the snow, absorbing the beauty of our farm, feeling so extremely blessed to be here. We continue to do chores morning and night, giving the animals all a little extra something as a treat. We make delicious breakfasts and dinners, mostly all grown by own labor. In short, life goes on mostly as usual. We’ve both have gifts to give each other, but no doubt they will practical things we couldn’t justify just going out to buy otherwise. We’re taking a bit more time to relax and read novels on the couch. We don’t have a Christmas tree- I remember the first winter we lived here and we went out to cut down a little spruce tree and couldn’t do it. Why cut it down, when you can enjoy it where it will continue to grow and be a long lasting beautiful being?
Tonight we’re having Christmas Burgers. I haven’t had a real hamburger in 17 years. This beef is from an organic grass finished Highland Bull our friend Angelica raised, and he was harvested on their farm. Andrew made sweet burger buns today, which fill the kitchen with such an amazing perfume. There are baked beans simmering in the crock pot, with home cured and smoked bacon from our pig Rosie. I’ll call my Grandma to wish her and Grandpa Marlin a Merry Christmas, text my two good sisters a Merry Christmas, and then in a couple days we’ll be getting together with Andrew’s folks and his sister’s family. Change can be hard, but this isn’t so bad at all, I’m so very grateful for what we do have. I just had to order up some readjustment, flexibility and freedom from the past traditions of my family. I hope you have a peaceful and lovely Holiday Season!