Here at Ephphatha, we send wishes for blessings, fulfillment, and joy to all our present and future friends, sponsors, and visitors in the upcoming year.
January is a time of reflection and inwardness. We spent the past two months with family and friends, feasting and enjoying the Holy days with each other. We basked in the love and light of those we care about and experienced the light and joy of the season. It’s a wonderful time of year!
However as we bid adieu to the season and pack away holiday decorations, we need to unpack what is in our hearts. We can do this in the quiet of January. We become introspective, thoughtful. We sit in front of the cozy wood fire that spews warmth about us. We sip our hot tea (or hot chocolate), wrap ourselves in a cozy blanket, and carefully, quietly unwrap our thoughts, hopes, plans, and aspirations for the year ahead. We do an assessment of our hearts and souls: Where did we fail? Where did we succeed? Did we grow or remain stagnant? Are we on the right path or should we change course? Are we surrounded by hope or do we exist in a climate of despair?
It is my hope that everyone sits with these questions and meditates on them. If something is in your heart then it is helpful to bring it into the light and make efforts to heal it, transform it, and then go forward always being gentle with yourself. All of us have aches and joys. We keep some memories and blow the hurtful memories away as we blow snowflakes off the eyelashes of a child playing in a snowfall. The point is that January is a great time for soul planning. As I write, we are finally having a proper snow. Beautiful frosty flakes are carpeting the earth and coat every twig and limb making for a magnificent wonderland.
As soon as I finish writing I’m off to the barns to give lunch to the horses, Bodyke and Diamond, who are, at the moment, playing in the snow and trotting in the fluff—so much safer for them than the ice we’ve had these past weeks. Thankfully they haven’t slipped. We put wood shavings down for them to walk on when the paths to the barn and pasture become dangerously icy.
Our goats, Gus and Shadow, don’t venture out of their little barn (they share it with the chickens) but they get plenty of straw and hay to make them smile—do goats smile?
Our chickens do not like the snow. They fly out of the coop as the barn door is open, but when their feet hit the snow they screech, and fly back to the nesting boxes in the coop! We are expecting our young hens will be laying next month (they will be five months old) and by spring we will be able to resume producing eggs for our loyal customers.
So all the furry, the feathered, and the humans are wintering Winter well and enjoying the time to plan for our next season.
We are planning our gardens. We just received our “Johnny’s Selected Seeds” catalog last week so the fun begins! Both new and old flower and veggie varieties are discussed and debated — where to plant, what to plan, and how to plant it—we are organic so soil preparations are discussed along with acceptable pest control measures. But today I look out at the Farm gardens and everything is covered in white and I breathe a sigh of relief. We have time to plan!
We are also researching various ramps and lifts to allow for accessible horse riding and other equine interactions with the horses for our friends in wheelchairs who hope to visit the Farm this spring and begin riding programs as well as ground exercises.
In addition, we are now in the beginning stages of building a barn, or at least the dream of it and discussing different building options and the optimal placement for it.
So January, though pensive, is full of plans, hopes, and dreams for the Farm and for the individuals we are dedicated to serving in an effort to enrich their lives with agricultural and animal experiences.
So united we approach 2023 with presence and hope! We invite you to follow along with all of us here at Ephphatha Community Farm. We are grateful for your presence in our initiative and together we go forward. It’s so good to have you journey along with us!!!
Robin for Ephphatha