As I write this newsletter on the last day of January 2022 from the long kitchen table at the Farm, I am surrounded by a canopy of fluffy white. The drifts of snow on the kitchen windows from our last storm are all-encompassing. I’m in a snowy cocoon! The sun is shining so brightly on our snow-covered blue spruce tree it is almost iridescent as the shadows created from the moving light fall upon her white fluffy branches. The chickadee’s flight in and out of the covered limbs as they race toward the black sunflower seeds in their feeders creates a scene of energy and joy and makes one very Grateful for the Beauty of winter.
HOWEVER! I know what you may be thinking!
Yes…January did have her challenges to be sure! But witnessing this afternoon’s beauty, the challenges of the winter weather are deep in the recesses of my mind…that is till I leave my cozy spot to go give dinner to our Farm critters. We have had to deal with bitterly cold temperatures (-17degrees Fahrenheit two mornings ago), snow, wind chill, and my least favorite ICE.
The ice this year is horrendous (and there is more in the forecast for the end of the week, UGH!!!) All our animals (and human caretakers were affected) but the most difficult problem we face is the horses. Large animals can slip and not be able to get up which would be disastrous. Thank Heaven we take every precaution possible: spreading shavings, straw, and clean sand to allow them to walk about, get some exercise, and not fall, And I’m happy to report everyone is safe…no accidents. WHEW !! We keep praying to keep everyone safe this winter.
To manage the bitter weather we provide lots of hay and straw, (Vitamin E in grain) and blankets for our therapy horses, and warm water for everyone.
We make a warm water “tea” with oats to feed the chickens, goats, and horses. Everyone really enjoys it, and it helps keep everyone cozy during the long winter nights!!!
So far, I’m very happy to report that everyone is doing well! So far so good.
We are enjoying this Wintertime…a time of taking a breath, collecting our thoughts, cultivating peace in our souls, as we sit with our mugs of coffee and bowls of steaming oatmeal and are warmed by the cozy wood stove after coming in from chores on particularly bitter cold mornings.
As the sun journeys higher into the sky and daylight is gaining, we whisper of spring. Garden plans are thought of as we peruse the new Johnny’s Selected Seeds Catalog. The wonderful photos cause us to dream of new seed/vegetable varieties to try, different techniques on how to coax our organic soils to produce more, and read about beneficial insects and their role on the Farm.
This spring we have lots of projects to finish that were started late last summer which were not completed: i.e. the handicapped accessible deck and swing platform, the upstairs meditation room for visiting guests, and our largest endeavor is the equine footing and fencing for our training pen and riding arena. We are still currently fundraising for the equine footing and fencing project. When this arena is completed we can do more extensive therapeutic horse collaborations and communication exercises and techniques (riding and groundwork) with challenged individuals. We are very much looking forward to this, as these interactions are very beneficial for our friends and visitors. Animals can be so healing !!!!
So springtime, we are excitedly looking forward to you! We hope to welcome back all our friends, clients, and supporters. Until then we plan and discuss and prepare so as to accomplish much, so we can share and offer unique healing opportunities to everyone who seeks them.
Before I conclude let me wish everyone a Wonderful New Year. Tomorrow is Asian New Year, The Year of the Tiger. The tiger is associated with strength, courage, and beauty…May all of you have a New Year filled with the attributes and gifts of the Tiger!
Enjoy these winter days, celebrate coziness and serenity. Remember the light is returning…days are growing longer!
From all of us at Ephphatha…..Love and Warmth to all.