Back To The Future

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As a dedicated list maker, there is no greater thrill than creating and organizing my annual “resolutions” list.   Last year I resolved to carry on as I had the year before, which was reassuringly simple and a bit of a cop-out.   Did I take time to reflect on the past, let alone plan for the future?

As the new year draws near, I enjoy the build up by listening to radio and reading newspaper highlights wrapping up the year: the goings-on of famous people, ground breaking discoveries, all the names of bands and books yet to discover, and of course, the helpful Things To Avoid List. Following these is an absolute must. For what would the start of the New Year be without examining successes and failures of others and ourselves in order to resolve to be better in the future? Across the world, millions of these little goals will be made and a good many broken. I know I’ve done it.

The more I think about it, resolutions aren’t really about making big changes. The resolutions for many people involve big items such as to get out of debt, quit smoking, loose weight, get organized, stop biting nails, get a better job, stop being so grumpy, get smarter or do something good for the world. But, I prefer to think of resolutions as simple intentions whereby I gain focus on and renew a commitment for how I choose to live.

With 2015 fast upon us, I am taking the time to look back on my list of resolutions from the past years, tweak them a bit, and present how I intend to kick off the New Year.

  1. Keep my health in order. Yes, the nutrition, exercise and alcohol consumption make appearances on most people’s resolution list, so I’m not alone. I’m not making any changes, just hoping to be mindful of what I eat, drink and do to stay strong and healthy.
  2. Make music every day. Maybe I can find a piano locally or learn a new instrument. If nothing else, I’m determined to continue singing aloud when I’m doing projects with apologies to Roger and Sam.
  3. Continue to keep family and friends in the foreground. If possible, more visits with long-time friends throughout the globe.
  4. Creatively document life through art, photos, and writing.
  5. Keep our home improvement project list manageable. The Crockern list is at times daunting, so I’m busy making lists of the lists as a way to have it seem more bite size.
  6. Always tell myself the truth and avoid trying to kid myself and live authentically and honestly.
  7. Be scared and brave more often.
  8. On a daily basis, rediscover my purpose and joy.
  9. Remember the happy and the half-full glass in all things. Throw in a daily belly laugh for good measure.
  10. Organize our closets – they are a mess!

So there it is, a simple and doable list. Of course, I’d love to know what’s on your list. Care to share?

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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,

Catherine

Crockern Farm

Pretty much in the Middle of Dartmoor, UK