Max here... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everybody! We are having a wonderful Christmas season, and we certainly like to draw out the season for all it's worth! Things got rolling Christmas Eve, starting with a farmers market in the morning, then straight to my parents house for tree decorating, and then from there to Deirdre's parents for Christmas Eve dinner. On the way over, we stopped at the farm to make one final check on the plants, and to pick greens for that evening's salad. After a lovely Christmas Eve dinner of traditional fish soup and salad, the whole extended family gathered around the tree for poetry, carols and tunes late into the evening.
Siobhan awoke the next morning with delight to find her stocking stuffed with healthy, yummy goodies!
Christmas day started out once again at my parents' house, then midafternoon we drove 30 minutes to be with Deirdre's family for the rest of the day (and a lot of the night!) We lose track of time on days like this, and we did not sit down to Christmas dinner until 10:30 at night. Turkey, gravy, salad, homemade apple sauce, cranberries, olives... a true feast!
Why celebrate just Christmas day? We don't like to let a feast go uncelebrated, so we gatherered back at our house the next morning for a St. Stephen's day brunch, followed by a brisk hike along a mountain road within walking distance of our house.
Among the bounty of beautiful gifts given to us by many loving family members and friends, we mention just a few here. We prepared jars of our chai mixture spices, together with local raw honey, and homemade persimmon leather for our family members. Deirdre surprised me with "The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs," the latest book written by our favorite farming mentor Joel Salatin. I surprised her with a subscription and 10 back issues to our new favorite magazine "Taproot," edited by Amanda Soule of "Soule Mama Blog." We have been avidly reading the articles, which go hand in hand with our vision of a life fully lived -- intentionally seeking beauty, community and rootedness in nature.
Moving on toward 2017... we took some time the last few days to sit down and talk about what we want to accomplish this year. We came up with a daily schedule to live by which we will start tomorrow -- exciting, but it's going to take a real commitment to our goals. In particular, we plan to pull all the loose ends of our farm together, and really establish it as a smoothly (as smooth as a farm can be!) functioning, profitable farm, that generates a good living for our family. We have learned a LOT over the last two years of farming, and we feel poised to make our third year the most efficient and organized one yet.
We also have comitted to finding new ways to keep our home more organzied, and setting it up in such a way that tasks flow more easily, and messes get cleaned up quicly, or are even avoided altogether. Living with two kids, and doing business in a 540 square foot house is not easy, but we have commited to staying here until we can afford something bigger, and we will absolutely maximize every square inch of living/working/storage space until we move. Ever since we moved in 4 years ago, we have embarked on an ongiong quest arranging our home to maximize efficiency and organization, but just as importantly beauty and homeliness. Part of our new effort these last couple days involved building and installing wall shelves in our kitchen and bedroom. Functional and beautiful, these shelves are going to make a huge difference! Go vertical!
We re-arranged our living room to have our table in front of the main window -- more light for meals now. The table is set for this morning's New Year celebratory family brunch. Eggs, Pasture-raised sausage, buttered toast, homemade apple sauce, fresh sapote, whipped cream, brussel sprouts, roasted potatoes, fresh pressed spiced cider, homemade chocolate truffles and hot tea! Yum...
Happy New Year! Let's make it a good one!
Deirdre here -
Yesterday Siobhan awoke to find her boots in front of the fire place filled with treats from St. Nick, (delivered with help enlisted from the older generation). Traditionally, the time of visitation by Santa Claus (aka St. Nicholas) was on December 6th when children would put out their boots or stockings and receive treats. We like any excuse to celebrate so we are very happy to be visited by St. Nick twice in December.
This year, Siobhan's boot was filled with tangerines, kefir, yogurt, banana chips, chocolate mints, and chocolate covered almonds, raisins and cacao nibs.
Our boots were not quite as healthy... chocolate, chocolate and chocolate, in different forms. (I guess St. Nick knows that we eat plenty of healthier stuff without persuasion so we qualified for the 85% chocolate bar boot. Phew!)
I was excited and genuinely surprised to find my first issue of Taproot magazine sticking out of my boot. Taproot is edited by my favorite blogger, Amanda Soule of soulemama. A few days earlier, my sister in law had shown me the publication in our local health food store. As I perused the magazine I couldn't believe that every article spoke to me: articles on food, contradancing, farming, enjoying the natural world, etc! Thank you St Nick! I thought I knew exactly what my boot contained but apparently he doubled back around 3 am to sneak this one in while I was sleeping. (Thanks Max! You sure know what I like!)
This year, I decided to bring out our little collection of Christmas picture books out on St. Nick's day too. Siobhan and I spent the rest of the day reading them all! Both Max and I have some of the fondest memories as kids, during the anticipation that builds up to Christmas. These books were a big part of that for us, and it is so special to see Siobhan having some of these same experiences herself. I don't know whether its more fun for her or us!
About the Authors
Max and Deirdre Becher farm together on First Steps Farm in Southern California. They love farming, raising their kids, playing music, contradancing, cooking, and working together to create a vibrant culture of celebrating life. See it all unfold right here!