Dinner tonight was, well, hardly. We ate a lot of cookies first. Then Renee did do a bang up job on some devilled eggs (twenty-four to be precise). And we had all eaten some of Alex’s cabbage potato stew earlier, for a perfect late-afternoon-early-dinner. So there was plenty to eat, but we didn’t all sit down and eat together, which is our daily ritual. In fact, we usually sing the Johnny Appleseed song before eating. But it seems in the dark of winter these rituals can fall by the wayside. I’ve theorized that this is the entire reason for Christmas–rituals that hold us together in the dark time of the year, thus keeping us from sinking into depression. Regardless of ritual, we ate, and we are happy.
The chickens are also happy, and the goats are restless. I’ve been daydreaming about a real barn. One building for all my animals. Then I would get angora rabbits, and maybe even a miniature Jersey milk cow. I’d definitely prefer a cow over goats, certainly for the whole butter thing (goat butter is possible, but complicated I’ve read), but also because I am a Taurus, through and through.
I was thinking about my astrological nature today as I freed the wood pile from the ice and snow. It was a job that needed to be done–our woodshed is getting low, and this wood that was delivered a few days before the snowstorm needed to get stacked and in the dry. Not that the ice is going to melt anytime soon. Just that the wood needed to be in the dry and near the house. Normally I leave such tasks to my teenagers, but there seemed to be a sense of urgency to this task, and urgency gets my Taurus energy in gear. I grabbed a shovel and scraped off ice and snow and pried pieces of wood out of the ice. Then I threw them across the way for Bert to put them on a sled and pull them up to the house. It was satisfying work, and I’ll be pleasantly sore in the morning.
I also managed to get up to the studio for an hour or so this afternoon. I was inspired to do so after reading about the artist Gabriel Shaffer, who has an opening at the Blue Spiral Gallery in downtown Asheville tomorrow (Hmmm, maybe I should go?). I particularly liked this from the bio on his webpage:
Gabriel Shaffer is that rare artist who fiercely explores his own vision and refuses any easier life as a compromise. Gabriel’s talents are born out of an endless reservoir of ideas and a necessity to share what he cannot control. He has no choice but to paint, and generously offers his viewers realms beyond immediate understanding.
As I walked the slightly treacherous path to my studio (the boys have been sledding down the hill, so getting up it requires paying close attention to each foothold), I thought about the phrase “he has no choice but to paint.” I thought about my own creativity, and how I have often enough sabotaged myself. Opening the door to my studio, I decided that being a mother makes the pursuit of other things more difficult, which is alright, but no excuse.
The studio was delightfully warm, a surprise, since I’d turned the heat on, but only to fifty degrees. Fifty keeps things warm enough without sucking up fuel. The kerosene has to be hauled up the hill, which is a total pain, so conservation has many benefits. Everything is massively cluttered right now (I’d take a picture but it would be embarrassing). But I’m very close to having my shelves painted and ready for stuff, at which point we can lay down the flooring and really start to tie up the loose ends on the building.
I sat down, turned on my Radiolab podcast (which is, as usual, worthy of an entire post), and set to work. It was delightful. I think I’ll do it again tomorrow.