Oh dear, I found myself lamenting the other day about the holidays being a good month away yet here we are, being bombarded with all manner of Christmas reminders … advertisements in the newspapers, the Christmas songs that blossomed on the radio the day after Thanksgiving, endless number of Christmas films one sees as one tries in vain to find a somewhat good programme on the telly … yes, Christmas is coming! I feel so unprepared, but then again, this seems to happen to me every year so why should I be surprised this one is any different? Maybe it is because this particular year seems to have passed at a very alarming rate. Darrell and I are not the only ones who feel this is so. Many folks I have chatted with express the same sentiment! Time seems to have gone into warp speed.
As I sat the other night contemplating how Christmas has become so commercialized, how we start seeing the holly wreathed advertisement pages in the paper, the snow, Christmas lights and holiday shoppers portrayed on television commercials, I felt a tad grumpy. Is it no wonder after close to two months of being bombarded with such advertisements Christmas can often lose it’s charm? Hang on a minute! Now who is being a bit hypocritical here? Have I not recently been showing off my wares on the computer? Professing my tasty peanut brittle, my Traditional English Christmas Cakes, my soaps and lotions, sausage and cheese gift boxes would make ideal Christmas and Holiday presents? Guilty as charged! I become a tad red faced as I realize I too have slipped into this commercialization modus operandi! But wait a minute, I can explain, really I can! Does my soap not have to sit on the drying shelves for about four weeks before I package it up for sale? My Christmas cakes need a goodly bit of maturing on the pantry shelves, cheese has to sit in my cheese cave to develop it’s distinctive flavor, sausages take more than a day to make… yes indeed, a lot of advanced planning is involved in our little cottage industry is it not? Ahhh… part of me feels a tad better. Of course I have to plan ahead! My faithful customers would be disappointed if they placed their holiday orders only to find I had not planned ahead! Still… one cannot help feeling a tad commercialized like the big shops!
As I look at my calendar, a true paper calendar by the way, there are very few squares that do not have some sort of writing in them. From notations recording when pigs were dispatched to when sausage meat was mixed, stuffed and placed in the smoker. Colour coded blocks indicating when folks would be coming to visit the farm, occasional doctor appointments, CPR classes, when milk cows were bred, pigs farrowed et cetera. Even Mr. Stumpy has a date to his name… although he does share it with a notation about Spic being bred by Casper and an EMS class to be held in the church. The EMS class was cancelled by the way! Yes, my calendar has a tendency to fill quite quickly. November started out having very little noted on its page. A quiet month I thought. But slowly the days filled with activities worthy enough to be recorded. As I flip the page to December, other than a couple of bazaars, a notation about attending The Nutcracker Ballet and doctor appointments, when to post off customer’s Christmas gift boxes, December is quite open!
A good few years ago, my dear pal Lynda Thomas gave me a Five Year Planner as a Christmas gift. I now am on my third such calendar and sometimes it is amusing to pull out on old planner from the files and look through the preceding years to see how much, if any, things have changed. As I glance at previous November and December pages I see they too are filled with notations of things to do and memorable activities. As I glance back through the past couple of months in my current book, despite not taking in the wild game to process for customers as I have in years past, my calendar does not seem to be as empty as I had planned. Too many date squares seem to be filled with notations. Of course that is not always a bad thing! One would greatly dislike being bored!
But as I look at the still overly full monthly pages of the past year I notice how few show activities just for my dearest Darrell and I. Did we not decide that things were going to slow down so we could have more time to do fun things together away from the farm? We did indeed! Did it happen? Well, not really. There was always something that came up or the weather was way too hot to go fishing, or we had to do this or do that. We really do love our life here on the farm and could not imagine living any other way. I still may have too many irons in the fire but that is me, who I am and will always be, a work in progress to try to change! But as I glance at my planner calendar and flip to January I see a nice, almost blank page, just a few reminders of dates when sows are slated to farrow and one of my milk cows due to calve. Maybe before more of those blank squares are filled in with anything else I need to set aside time for Darrell and I to go to do something fun, like visit the coast. Advanced planning can be a grand thing to do… not just for work things and farm things but for fun things too.
Yes, this year has gone by so quickly, in a blink of an eye one might say. Christmas is just around the corner again and New Year’s will be upon us before we know it. When I turn that page in my calendar planner on January 1st, I want to see time blocked out in red. Not for pigs farrowing or milk cows calving, not for butchering or sausage making, not for EMT classes or teaching but for Darrell and I. Next year may zoom by just as quickly as this one has, but along with all the irons in the fire a big one will stand out, one with our name written on it.