I began this year with deleting my facebook and removing myself even more from the news media. I realized that the desperate sadness I was faced with on my iPad was coloring my entire day and sneaking into my dreams. The utter helplessness I felt was making me miss what was actually happening in my life. If I am not feeling happy I can do nothing to help others. I do miss the beautiful postings that some friends posted and I miss the communication with faraway friends. I hope to write and receive more emails;
Tòti Bleu is sleeping under a frozen tarp, and the little sporty wagon, or Caleche in french, is tucked in behind her. Vanille’s harness is clean and waiting for spring.
I finished painting both sides of Tòti’s doors and they remain in our living room until we can fold back the tarp and install them. It was necessary to take out the windows and devise a way to paint the window trim so that’s the green sticks. There is lots of gold paint which does not show up in the photo.
Vanilla is on vacation, cozy in her winter coat. She is a Comtois, a french breed from the mountains, and she is most comfortable in very cold weather. She lives outdoors and has a pasture large enough to gallop around in. I lead her to another grassier pasture in the afternoon. I do this for several reasons: She can graze a bit although there isn’t a lot of grass at this time of year. It is a ten minute walk over gravel and rocks back and forth, and I feel this is good for hardening her feet. She waits for me and calls out to me when she sees me so it is our daily routine of carrots or apples, haltering, leading, and lots of hugs. She has hay 4 times a day as well but no grain. As you can see she is not suffering from lack of food. Her winter coat shines and her feet are in good shape.
I’ve started spinning wool to pass the freezing days that are better spent in front of the fire. It’s calming, very meditative and the delicate softness of the wool feeds my senses. It took years to find a wheel and learn how to spin but every winter I look forward to these days inside when I have plenty of time. The big paper bag is filled with smaller bags labeled with the names of the animals who made this possible. There is beautiful cream colored wool from two Alpacas, Snowdrop and Bertrand, that I met after they had been sheared, and black wool from our Ouessant sheep, Pivoine. Mark is wearing the first vest I knitted for him now that it is so cold. It looks like something from medieval times but it keeps him warm.
Yesterday we took a drive with Jean François to look at an incredible small road that winds through the mountains here. It meanders through ancient forest with no sign of civilization for miles. We are hoping this will be Tòti’s first long trip, in 2017. I am in awe of those who head out with their roulotte, not knowing what conditions they may encounter. Our traveling will be planned out in advance I’m afraid. We are in the mountains which means uphill climbs so we want to know that Vanille will not be faced with a dangerous climb.
We spent the winter solstice with friends, a fire in the fireplace, a big kettle of soup, wine, and best of all we were serenaded by a young couple who live nearby. He played the flute and she played the melodeon or accordéon diatonique. This inspired Mark to begin practicing his recorder and I am hoping to take lessons and learn to play the melodeon. It’s a wonderfully joyful musical instrument. I’m starting from zero so this will take some time! Hopefully I will live long enough.
Here are some photos of our world, January 2017. I often wonder how I ended up here in this place I love so dearly. It was a very long road! I never expected to live so long nor travel so far but here I am.
I wish you all a year 2017 blessed with good health, happiness, love, and the realization of your dreams. I wish peace for those suffering in the midst of war! I wish peace for us all!