Indian Summer: a Christmas Letter

The calendar tells me it is indeed December, even though my brain cannot comprehend how fast the year has gone. We are content with the warmish temperatures lately – highs in the 40s – in our corner of Michigan. It’s like an Indian summer around here, finally. By the way, I discovered Indian summer has two meanings:

  1. a period of unusually dry, warm weather occurring in late autumn.
  2. a period of happiness or success occurring late in life.

As I write this we are mere minutes away from waving good-bye to autumn and welcoming (with mostly open arms) the official start of winter. The second definition of Indian summer reminds me that periods of happiness and success are something to be cherished. The trick is what we do with those moments in between.

We are having a lot of fun living this farm adventure. I’ve taken to sharing pictures of our animals on social media because they’re funny creatures – all of them. There’s a lot we can learn from watching animal behavior, whether in nature or in our back yards. The way they interact with each other and with us can be comical and it can be frightening too.

That ‘pecking order’ thing – it’s real, and not just with chickens. Rusty, the cat, is in charge of the other cats. Dixie, (our Black Beauty) is the boss of Zima. Lily, the lamb, is mostly in charge of her three siblings. While Rika, the wonder dog, is the boss of all the animals except the young rooster (who is currently undergoing ‘training’ to become a gentlemen, or else). It’s fascinating how they figure out their place in the flock or herd and they never worry about tomorrow. Animals know how to live in the moment.

To the casual observer it may appear to be complete peace on earth over here, but we know better – there is conflict and chaos all around us. You probably know what I mean.

Caring for livestock brings us silly moments of happiness and occasional feelings of success. I’ll take it.  When all are fed and watered, we do feel successful. But a kink in the hose or an unexpected rooster attack can ruin the day if we let it. Which means we must grab hold of, and be thankful for, all those little Indian summer moments. Those moments in between though, we should really practice a little gratitude for them too. Without them we might take for granted the lovely Indian summer moments.

It’s nice when the grandkids visit because they all want to help with chores. Although Owen is 12 and more interested in driving the Kawasaki Mule than gathering eggs. Olivia is 9 and leaps, pirouettes, and splits her way from point A to point B. Morgan is also 9 and does back-bends, and flip-overs across the yard, while dribbling a basketball. Ella is 6 and is happy as can be to kick a soccer ball everywhere she goes. And Charlotte is 2 and . . . well, she tries ALL the above with gusto (except for the driving part, of course).

Come to think of it they don’t really help that much with chores on their visits, but those visits are definitely part of our Indian summer moments.

May all your moments be filled with love and joy and gratitude.

The Good Distraction

Distractions are sometimes a good thing unless those distractions are a ploy from the man in charge with a sole purpose of keeping the masses divided and angry.

Sometimes a furry distraction (like the orange tabby kitten who recently adopted us) is just a few feet away but we need a teeny reminder that these things bring us joy like no other. They love us and count on us for their well-being. Have you ever noticed how the act of caring for a pet or even a plant, can make us feel whole and satisfied? It’s better than sex, I tell you, and it lasts longer. Continue reading