I haven’t had such an early bedtime as I do now in over twenty years. The sun sets around 5, I make myself and Brady dinner by 7, I putz around the house a little, and around 8:30/ 9pm I’m ready to be in bed. Ever since I fished a black and white TV out of my parent’s attic in fifth grade I have been trying to stay up. Back then it was to watch the Simpsons, then an episode of Judge Judy, then another episode of the Simpsons, and If I made it, maybe even an episode of Elimidate. Gone is the shiny distraction of constantly adjusting the antennae and adding tinfoil, and even the endless offerings on streaming have little allure as we are in the deep winter of a pandemic, and I’m sleepy at 9pm. Unfortunately this pattern has started to backfire, and a slight buzz from Brady’s phone at 5am or an urge to pee has me up and awake, and then I am up for good. After our most recent snow I was in the jet-lagged state of trying to re-correct my schedule after another 5am wake-up. Over 2 days we got over a foot of snow, and the fact I would need to drive an hour to get to work nagged at me and I kept at the sisyphean task of shoveling the driveway before it was all said and done. That night bleary eyed and sore I announced I was going to bed at 7, only to wake up to pee at 1:30am. Brady, consistent in his night owl ways, wasn’t even in bed yet.
Now, as I prepare to get up and go pee in the middle of the night a fun thing I like to do is think of the most terrifying thing that would really shock me to see when I do get out of bed. In my grogginess between sleep and awake these phantoms seem the most possible. So, as I moved past the window and into the hallway, the snow illuminating everything outside, I decided it would be a naked person screaming, and running down the road towards us. I peed and tried to tack down the origin of this thought when I walked out of the bathroom. Coming back to bed I had to check the road just in case, and instead of a woman I saw an arched black figure in the middle of the snow field. A quick detour – the last time something like this happened I was drifting off to sleep and I decided to get up and look out of the west facing window in our bedroom. As I looked out I saw flames, and having spent most of the day burning brush I was convinced a dying ember had caught the wind and the field was ablaze. I ran downstairs screaming to Brady the back field was on fire, and we both ran out boots and coats half-on making it breathlessly to the field looking for any sign of flames. It turns out a neighbor behind us was having a bonfire, but the visual from my original vantage point was jarring. This time I decided to observe a moment before I ran downstairs screaming about the demon arched and eating in the snow. I determined it was too small to be the naked woman or a golem. It was a fox.
I went downstairs to get Brady, and we stood there in the dark watching the little fox run around the field, bouncing every now and then to attack something or to just play. It was cute for a while but our middle of the night paranoia creeped in and we started talking about whether or not said fox could get in the chicken coop, and then if he did would he be able to climb to the spot where they roost? We both came to the conclusion that this fox didn’t just appear in the snow, he had lived here all along and we just never had a clean white slate to hold him in contrast with. That satisfied me enough so I went to bed. The paranoia lingered and I ended up having strange dreams with extraneous animals, an amish offering of strawberry juice and the small field fox morphing into a hulking black wolf.
The next day I was able to sleep past 5am, and for the first morning in a while things had gone from gray to blinding white. I went to do my morning rounds, feeding the barn cats, giving scratch and dried mealworms to the chickens and found that the creeping paranoia had led Brady to action and the holes for the chickens to leave the coop and enjoy the yard had been haphazardly closed up for the night with spare boards. I can only imagine my thoughts if I were to hear a noise, look out and see a man rooting around the barn and sneaking in and out of the back of the chicken coop. I now have plans for doors we can open in the morning and shut them in at night, even though they have been safe for 6 months we have grown quite attached.
Winter has been slow and tedious but with every extra minute of daylight I feel excited for what spring will bring. Bulbs I planted months ago, the bulbs that may be underground already that we missed last year, the lilac bush in the corner of the yard, and eight baby chicks that we ordered that will be coming in April! See below for images of the breeds we chose. I am looking forward to re-creating the kitten environment from the fall into little chick central this spring.
On another note, I posted this on our Instagram but we have had a shocking number of deaths and disappearances especially since October. RIP? To some real ones.
We have three cats left now, only one needing to be fixed, and our chickens are down from 11 to 8. The chickens have started to lay again and are obsessed with apples and mealworms. Hooray for only 6 more weeks till spring!
Animal counts (See above)
FOOD: im trying to eat better and I’m really into cauliflower and that is so boring I can’t believe it is even “of note”
Got Marc Vetri’s Bread cookbook from my SIL for Christmas and I am looking forward to working through it even though I am not eating much bread myself these days. Holler if you want a loaf!