Happy New Year, Santa!

Santa Claus (AKA, Kris Kringle, Papa Noel, and Father Christmas)

Santa’s Grotto, near Reindeerland

North Pole

Somewhere in the Middle of the Arctic

Dear Santa Claus,

I hope this finds you, Mrs. Clause, the Elves and Reindeer all happy, healthy and enjoying a restful recovery from your big night of global gift giving.   I imagine you had some challenges flying your sleigh through Dartmoor, as the weather was most horrible with gale force winds, biting cold and a lot of rain.  We even lost part of the stonewall when the river breached its banks, taking a few huge granite stones with it.  I know how heavy these stones are and my finger still remembers how much injury they can wield, so respect to the river.

The West Dart River breaks its banks.

The West Dart River breaks its banks.

Taking some of our stone wall with it!

Taking some of our stonewall with it!

I had intended to write you before the holidays, but found that time just slipped past.  After completing the ceiling in the living room, Roger and our friend Andy, started the downstairs project.  It is a messy, cold and a big project that seems to create chaos everywhere in the house.  Meanwhile, I have been working daily at a local cheese shop to lend a hand during the holiday rush.  In the last few days before your arrival, I did my best to tidy up the house, but found I had to repeat my Thanksgiving trick and shut the door to hide the renovation efforts.  Fingers crossed, you didn’t notice.

This is my second letter to you in as many seasons from Crockern Farm.  But you knew that as a regular follower of the blog and the possessor of those all-mighty powers to see us when we are asleep and awake.  I re-read my letter to you from last year and wish to thank you for your attention to my requests:  The roofers finally finished their work and we have felt warmer and dryer ever since!  And, the recent installation of our new boiler is fantastic; providing a new warmth and energy efficiency.  What a difference to the house!

Our hens have asked me to thank you, too.  They love their drier and safer home.  They enjoy the nesting boxes, but sometimes prefer to lay their eggs in places where we have to go on a hunt.  That day I found 7 eggs under a pile of branches outside was a stroke of fowl genius, but not, as I’m sure you would agree, at all sensible, as it would only attract predators.  I had a good chat with the girls, reminding them to avoid being naughty.  Since then, there have been no more eggs out in the wilderness.  These past few weeks, the chickens have been busy with finishing their molting.  Between that and having less daylight to enjoy all their chicken-y behaviours, they have pretty much stopped laying eggs.  They have also had some real challenges with the recent stormy winds, so who can blame them for their change in production until the days are longer.

It also goes without saying that we must thank you for helping us with a good year for our garden.  We certainly had a few failures, but as you’ve always reminded me, Santa, we learn from our mistakes, so I won’t be trying sweet corn again!   I would love to have another summer of warm days and sunshine like we had in 2013.  Would it be too much to ask for you to put in a good word to Mother Nature on that front?  It sure would help our efforts to improve our veg production in the New Year.

We haven’t seen much of the rats this year and I don’t know if it is because the moles have invaded us.  Do moles scare rats away?  I don’t know, but I can say with certainty that moles DO seem to make all sorts of uneven terrain.  I recently tripped over one of their tunnel mounds and almost did a face plant in the mud.  Instead, I opted for a tremendous dance move, which shall never again be repeated.  Oh Santa, you would have had a jolly ole belly laugh if you had witnessed that!

We love Crockern and all of its history and adventures, the projects and quirks, the visiting critters and various challenges, the coziness and the beauty, both inside and out.  On a clear night, we happily gaze at the night sky with our naked eye or through the telescope.  Soaking in the hot tub remains a gift of pure delight when the wind isn’t tipping the Beaufort scale.  We know we have learned a lot about life, death, and the surrounding environment by being here.  We’ve had to make peace with the food chain on more than one occasion as we witness nature, complete with its predation.  My finger remains less than 100%, so I’m not thrilled about having to lift big stones again to mend the fallen bits of wall.  Then again, we may just give over this part of the field to the sheep and the river, ceding that we are not equal to these elements.

I hope you, Mrs. Clause, all the elves and the reindeer have a happy and healthy New Year.  My resolution for 2014 will be to carry on as we did in 2013.  We’re having a great time and continuing to evolve.  If your summer schedule permits, pop over for a visit as we’d love to see you.

With love and warm wishes for a fabulous New Year,


Crockern Farm

Pretty much in the Middle of Dartmoor, UK


20 comments on “Happy New Year, Santa!

  1. Seasons greetings Catherine. I’m sure Mr. & Mrs. Claus, the elves and reindeer will greatly appreciate your letter.

    Wishing you a successful, happy and healthy 2014.

  2. kiwiskan says:

    and a Happy New Year to all at Crockern Farm

  3. Julia Osborne. says:

    Hi Catherine! I did wonder about how you were all faring in that strong wind!! It was bad enough here in sheltered Sussex. Glad to know you weren’t blown away! Happy New Year to you all. PS – what is it about you and cheese?!!

  4. Jenny Stewart says:

    Hi Catherine and greetings from us all. I’m glad you survived those storms was thinking of you and wondering how you fared. Sounds like Crockern Farm is warmer and cosier now at least with the new boiler. A Very Happy New Year to you, Roger and Sam and all the very best for 2014 x

  5. Donna says:

    I love all your posts. They bring a smile to my face. 🙂 Miss you friend. Let’s catch up in the New Year! Have a Happy and safe one. xxoo

    • Thank you Donna. It warms my heart to think of you in Texas smiling away as you read of the adventures and a few misadventures in which Roger and I find ourselves. All the best to all of you for a happy and healthy 2014! xx

  6. Dana Crowe says:

    Happy New Year to you and Roger! Hope it is a healthy and happy year for all of us!

    Live and Love Dana

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. jllevitan says:

    Another delightful post. How did you do that cool snow thing? Andrew has not stopped talking about what a special place Crockern Farm is. Thank you for sharing it with us. Wishing you, Roger, Sam and the girls a Cheeseboard New Year.

    Joanne, Alan and Andrew

    • Thank you Joanne. We’re glad that you all got to spend time with us here at Crockern and have an actual visual of the place. You also have the actual hot tub experience, too. All the best for a fabulous 2014! xx

  8. Paul Blaney says:

    Bravo! A fine example of seasonal gratitude. I hope the finger soon heals.

  9. Thank you for sharing the gift of your writing and your life…may you get everything you wished for in the new year…xod

  10. That was fun! Are Mr & Mrs Santa’s children subordinate clauses, I wonder? Stay dry on Dartmoor in 2014 (though I don’t mean you to keep out of that slightly sinister pub in Princetown) RH

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