Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Day at Home

Today is exactly halfway between my birthday (Oct 25) and Christmas—which I've always considered auspicious (of course, May 25 is also halfway between those dates, but spring is too far removed from the holiday season to have the same gravitational pull on my psyche). Occasionally Thanksgiving falls on this date, which makes it extra special, but this year it's only one of the days in waiting as part of the long Thanksgiving Weekend. 

While many good citizens are out shopping this weekend, responding to the clarion call of Black Friday and the materialistic imperative, I'm enjoying a quiet weekend at home. I haven't left my zip code in three days! That's noteworthy in that my arrival home Thursday afternoon—just in time to make the prune stuffing and giblet gravy for the 5:30 feast—ended a 90-day stretch where I was only home 15 days.

As I lay in bed this morning thinking about what to write about, it occurred to me to simply describe what I'll do on my Sunday at home, as it does a fair job of capturing my exotic mix of homesteader, process consultant, partner, and network administrator…  

o  Butcher a Deer
Yesterday Mica & I started working up the four deer that had been shot during the hunting season and were hanging in our walk-in cooler, which represents the major portion of the community's meat supply for the coming year. Starting yesterday morning, we took our time with the first one, slowly reacquainting ourselves of deer anatomy. Once in the groove, we polished off two more by mid-afternoon, leaving the final one for today, when Cody, a nine-year-old neighbor from Dancing Rabbit, comes over for his first up-close-and-personal encounter with a deer carcass.

o  Decant Wine
Every year, the bulk of the community's black currant crop goes into homemade wine. Twenty pounds of fruit is enough for seven gallons, which is the size of our largest carboy. Often we harvest enough for two or more batches but the fruit set was poor this spring and there will only be one batch. Per usual, I started the wine right after the fruit was harvested in July and it's a tradition to bottle it (siphoning it from the secondary fermenter) Thanksgiving Weekend. Now's the time.
Scrub the Kitchen Floor
There are a bunch of chores on the farm that don't need to be done every day (there are also a bunch that do, but that's a different rhythm) and we divvy up most of them among the membership to see that they all get covered without anyone being asked to shoulder too much. One of my tasks in this regard is scrubbing the kitchen floor. 

While cooks are expected to sweep thoroughly at the end of their shift each day, it's a rear guard action where we're slowly losing ground to stray food scraps and feral dust bunnies that breed behind storage buckets and in the corners that escape the reach of the broom. In the end, there is nothing for up but to get down periodically on your hands and knees and push entropy back. Today's my day for that.

o  Do My Laundry
I'm between road trips (home Thursday and out again Monday) and aim to take advantage of a sunny forecast to sneak in a load of laundry to have clean clothes in hand (and on body) for when I board the train west tomorrow evening. Tomorrow there's a chance of snow flurries, so it's prudent to get it done today. As we rely on a clothes line for drying, you have to take what Nature gives you.

o  Fill the Back Porch with Firewood
We have four buildings with bedrooms at Sandhill and I live in the White House (the original farmhouse), which also has the community's kitchen and serves as Sandhill's nerve center. Our primary heat source for the White House is a reliable airtight wood stove that we've had for more than 35 years, and we stage about a week's worth of split and dry cord wood to fuel it in our back porch, just eight feet away. As the wood there gets used, we resupply it from an open-sided storage shed out back. It's timely to fill the porch today, ahead of tomorrow's snow flurries.

o  Write Text for a Capital Campaign
As FIC's main administrator, I'm also the main fund raiser. Our Board made a commitment last spring to building a new office, replacing a funky '70s era house trailer that has served us for the last 15 years. The new building will cost us $90,000 and we'll be trying to raise half of it through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that will launch Tuesday (if everything comes together in time). It's my job to write the text that will be posted on the campaign website, succinctly making the case for why this project is worthy of support.

o  Put Out Lunch
At Sandhill all the adults take turns cooking. Your shift starts in the afternoon and continues through lunch the next day. As I was the dinner cook yesterday, that means I'm responsible for lunch today. While this tends to be dinner revisited and no big deal, it nonetheless has a guaranteed slot on Laird's dance card today.

o  Listen to a Football Game
I'm a sport fan and enjoy following football, the NFL in particular. Having grown up in Chicago, I'm a Bears fan. They've stumbled the last two games against strong opponents and have fallen into a 7-3 first place division tie with the Green Bay Packers—their archrival. The Bears badly need to get back into the win column this afternoon against the Minnesota Vikings. Kick-off is at noon. 

o  Write a Blog Entry
I aspire to post something every three days, and I'm overdue…

o  Post a Homework Assignment
I conduct facilitation trainings around the country and in two weeks I'll be in Santa Cruz for Weekend VI of an eight-part training. The teaching theme will be Delegation and it's time to send out homework in advance of the class, to get the students thinking about the topic before I send them the handouts.
o  Complete My Report from Last Weekend
A week ago today I was up to my eyeballs working with Vashon Cohousing in Seattle, offering them my thinking (and skills) about how to handle conflict constructively. I worked with them three days, culminating in seven hours Sunday. For each client I have as a process consultant, I make a commitment to write a report afterwards providing an overview of what we did, what I observed, and what I recommend they think about. While I sketched out my report on the train ride home, I still have a chunk of work to wrap it up and send it off.

o  Eat Dinner with Ma'ikwe
My intention is to complete my chores at Sandhill this afternoon and sashay over to Dancing Rabbit in time to enjoy the late afternoon and evening with my wife. It's a priority to spend time with her when possible, and I'm leaving tomorrow for 16 days.

o  Take a Sauna 
I was first introduced to saunas as an eight-year-old, when I attended summer camp in northern Minnesota and I've always loved them. A silver lining to Ma'ikwe's battle with chronic Lyme disease is that her doctor urged her to get an infrared sauna as part of her treatment protocol (Lyme bacteria don't like the heat) and this summer she did. Ma'ikwe aspires to take two sauna sessions daily (30+ minutes each), and I can get in there with her if I'm around at the right time. This activity is all the more enjoyable now that the weather is turning cold. And besides, I like seeing my wife naked.

o  Play a Game with Jibran

My wife's son is 15 and we enjoy playing board games together. Sometime between the sauna and bedtime I'm hoping that we can connect for a game or two. It'll be the middle of December before we get the next chance and I'd rather not wait that long.

So that's my day this November 25.

No comments: