I’m usually so happy when September rolls around. It’s a bit of “time to go back to school” excitement mixed with cooling temps and the return of fall food. With that happiness comes a relief that we “made it through another summer.” I know, with all the gardening and other summer activities on the ol’ homestead you might wonder why I’m glad to welcome fall.
It’s just always been that way. I joke it’s because I’m a December baby and prefer the cold and the snow. That’s sort of true. However you spin it, fall and winter are my faves.
This year the cooler (soon to be frigid) weather worries me a bit as we go through our first winter with the chickens. Our small coop does not have electricity and we will not be heating it. Everything I have read and heard states that heat is not required. Keeping the coop dry, ventilated, and free of drafts – now that is important. When we planned (by we, I mean Mr. Gordon) the size of the coop, he studied how many square feet per chicken (we have eight) was ideal and built to those specs. All walls are insulated – as well as the ceiling – and we have a metal roof. Mr. Gordon just added a strip of pliable, plastic trim (I honestly do not know what it’s called) along the outside of the windows to further prevent drafts. Gutters are up and we’re “getting there.”
I’ve heard that putting a heat source in a chicken coop in winter is more for the humans’ peace of mind than the chickens comfort. Hmm.
One item I have not yet resolved for myself (more accurately for the chickens) is keeping their water from freezing. I’ve read about different products, warmers, etc., but have not found what will work for us, yet. Again, we are not running electricity out to the coop, so that also limits us. If anyone would like to share what they do or what they have learned that works for others, leave me a comment. I’m all ears.
I guess I am sort of dragging a bit of a funk around, too. I don’t want to blame it on the pandemic – it seems like that’s too easy of a target. But it seems that I am struggling to be more grateful these days. I believe I should be a lot happier than I am. Mr. Gordon and I have our jobs; we both work 100% from home (I did before the pandemic, he has since March); and we don’t have to worry about young kids and how they are affected (his son is in his 30s – not that Gordon doesn’t worry, he does, but Kyle is a smart, capable man). We have plenty of good in our lives and live in the beautiful Finger Lakes. What’s not to be happy about?
But still, it’s there. I said to Mr. Gordon over breakfast: I am feeling melancholy today.
He asked why? Now, one definition of melancholy is feeling sad for no apparent reason, so his question was a bit ironic. But if I had to dig deep, I would have to say that not being able to do the things that we had hoped to do this summer; not seeing friends (Mr. Gordon is my best friend, but I am feeling a tad lonely these days); limiting public outings; the daily frustration of my job; less than ideal garden production; and learning that certain family members embrace an ideology that smacks of ignorance, hatred of others not like them (I’m so ashamed of this), and other disappointing qualities including a rejection of science – all that has definitely weighed me down.
I’m tired of it. And I’m worried. I’m reading over and over things like “2020 – Definitely would not recommend” or “I can’t wait until 2020 is OVER.”
Okay, but what if things are not much different in 2021? Is anyone thinking about that? I am. Turning the calendar to 2021 does not magically make everything better. We have a long way to go to making everything “better.”
So the calendar now reads September, and like I wrote at the beginning of this post, I’m always relieved when summer is over. And this year I wish I could leave behind all the tough feelings and fears that have filled spring and summer. But, the dust won’t shake off these shoes.
Still, like most people, I just plod on. We ordered our Thanksgiving turkey. We’re waiting on the freezer ordered in July to get here – now they are saying end of October. Mr. Gordon is going to put in a sink in the basement so I can wash the chicken dishes inside as the weather gets colder. We’ll pull what we can from the garden and put it up. We put up a greenhouse on the back porch in an effort to grow greens over the winter and start spring 2021 planting earlier (more on that later). We’ll keep doing our best to keep the chickens happy, healthy, and safe. We’ll appreciate their eggs and share with the neighbors. I’ll continue to end my days escaping into a good book (right now I’m reading P.D. James – nothing like good British mysteries). Mr. Gordon will keep researching ways to help him get more quickly to retirement. I’ll call my sister when I’m sad or mad. We’ll keep calm and carry on.
So, there you have it. Forgive me for my lack of usual cheeriness and please know that I truly am grateful for what we have – what I have. I am.
I’m just feeling funky.
Alrighty then. I hope you are all hanging in there. Drop me a message in a comment.
I hope you’ll also stop by Gutters Up! (And Beans. And Squash.) in case you missed it.