A christmas poinsettia is currently wilting in our windowsill. About this time every year I confront this same crossroads - to water the poinsettia or to throw it in the compost. I’m always over it by march of course - spring is in reach now and I ache for her so much that anything to do with winter becomes practically nauseating. Yet evenso, I feel sad taking a perfectly good plant and throwing it out. I accidentally kill plants often, sure, but to do it on purpose feels heartless somehow.

I have felt incredibly moody and for a good while I couldn’t pinpoint why, but as it turns out all I needed was a nap! Sleep!! Daylight savings really threw me for a loop this go-around when I woke up at 5:50 on Tuesday morning, which was only 4:50 a few days before that, and my body really struggled to catch up. I think I’m not fully caught up but I’m getting there, and when we see how light it is outside now at 7:00 at night I remember that there is a give and take to all things, and this give to the thrown-off-sleep take is really okay you know?

We lost another of our OG hens, which makes two total losses this winter. This one was my white leghorn named Lucy who was three years old and starting to slow down a bit. She was killed both tragically and heroically by what we thought was a giant hawk but have deemed was actually most likely a young golden eagle who has been spotted about our town recently, foraging through town because the snow was so thick in the mountains that he was desperate for meat. (He didn’t get meat, I’ll have you know, because I looked out the window too late to stop the killing, but in time to scare him away before he took her.) I know that this is a part of life with free-range chickens but it doesn’t make it any less sad. Lucy was always a spitfire of a chicken, never giving any effs at all! She wasn’t top in the pecking order but she wasn’t bottom either - I daresay she wasn’t even in the pecking order, she was in a world of her own! She was the hen who most loved my distant company, never wanting to be held but always nestling down beside my chair whenever I sat on the patio. She was strong and solid and brave and I loved her for it. I will miss her.

Some good news on the farm is that we had only been averaging one egg a day since the eldest hens went through henopause, but now our newest flock have been laying and it has been much more exciting than it should be! Perhaps, given the current price of eggs, precisely as exciting as it should be. We are thrilled to have our fresh free-range eggs piling up on the counters again, readily available for german pancakes and omelets and cake baking!

Listen, despite it being all I talk about here so far, I do have more in life going on than just chickens, although right now I can’t remember what…. Winter does this to me, I feel lost in a lonely world with emotions too big to hold inside of my body - but it’s the cold talking, it’s not real life. Spring equinox is next week, the snowstorms have turned to rainstorms and I see specks of grass showing. Soon we will be trading our snow boots for sandals and basketball shoes for baseball cleats, we’ll uncover the camper and dust her off for her first trip of the new year, we’ll start projects in the yard and spend mornings on the patio again…This winter was especially long! Do I say that every winter? Anyways, it feels true every year either way.

Recently we headed a few hours northwest to go snowmobiling in Yellowstone, something of a new yearly tradition that I like to call “sending winter off with a bang” - here are some pictures of that trip and a few more to boot! Life lately and all that! We are here, we are alive, we are trying our best and that is enough!

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