Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Homestead & Holidays

     Holidays bring a special challenge to the homestead, especially if you intend to holiday away from home. I am blessed to live rather close to my family making holidays here or there flow much easier that most. Either way, homestead chores will need a little changing to get us through the gatherings.
     The week before a gathering I try really hard to get all the harvesting in, preserving things as I go. Often, this means long night hours in the kitchen in order to pull it off. From there the garden is 'on hold' until the gatherings are over. Only emergency chores get done, such as tossing a frost cover on tender items before a freeze.
     Livestock never give us a day off, so chores are done as closely to their routine time as possible. If we are going to be late we try to give them a little extra hay to hold them over until we return; hens are fed early if we will not arrive home until dark. We try to clean stalls/coops a few days before the gatherings; feed is purchased and portioned before as well.
     While our regular work slows significantly, other tasks keep us on our feet. My goal for homestead gatherings is comfort. When a person comes to my homestead I deeply desire they feel welcome, warm, and right at home. The fireplace is going, home made beverages are on hand to share (herbal teas/coffee/cocoa), plenty of comfy seats and hearty food is available for drawing them near. If children are joining us, there are activities set up with them in mind.
      For years when little ones visited us the horses were decked out in their finest attire ready for rides and rubbing; carrot nubs were in buckets for little thank-you's. To prevent fingers from horse bites, children gave treats in an empty bucket instead of handing them with their hands. The tractor would be adorned with colorful corn and leaves; the trailer attached was filled with hay and pumpkins for little hay rides.
      As a quilter, we often planned secret projects for the children- handprint quilts, artwork quilts, or wood working. Slipping off to the wood shed offered privacy as we worked together; I would finish projects if needed, wrapping and delivering them on Christmas. Facing the joy of grandparenthood, I truly believe those days will be upon us once again!
     Holidays on my homestead are not times for pomp and fanfare; no fancy recipes or loud decorations. The heart of my home is a simple one; one aimed at comfort and welcome. My décor may be simple, colored leaves and pretty pinecones, my dishes may be ordinary, but know you are always welcomed with a warm hug, a thoughtful smile, and the very best we have to offer. Blessings to each of you this Thanksgiving. May we each reflect on the many gracious roads we have traveled and the amazing Lord who has seen us through.


Michelle said...

You have the true spirit of the holiday.

Dolly Sarrio said...

I agree with Michelle. You do! Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family.