Many Christmas traditions begin inadvertently, without ever a thought given to the meaning it will have in future years.
About 20 years ago, when Mike was very small, we were all baking cookies in the kitchen on a hectic, pre-Christmas day. We heard the first notes of the bells ringing on the random CD I had thrown in the player and something inside of us woke up. For the next two minutes and thirty-five seconds, we all danced around the kitchen with lively, exaggerated dance moves that would put Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton to shame.
All these years later and Lou, Mike, and I never quite feel the Christmas season has begun until the “Jing” CD, as we so lovingly call it, is taken from its case, placed in the player, and cranked to full volume.
Sometimes we surprise each other with “Jing” first thing in the morning, or after coming home from work, or sometimes, after a long, difficult day.
Never once, in all this time, has it failed to transport us back to that first joyful expression of holiday fun and togetherness.
We may be a little more winded after our exertions then we were then, but the way it touches our hearts will always remain unchanged.
Merry Christmas, friends!
Tom and Jerry were born on Valentine’s day to a less than enthusiastic mother. Since then they have been hand-raised and are being trained for use in educational classes for parties and school groups who visit the farm.
I have the distinct pleasure of being in charge of their leash training.
Of the many different jobs I do on the farm, I’m pretty sure walking baby goats on leashes is my favorite.
In a fit of delirium, after 12 hours in the sugaring shack, I wrote a poem set to music, or if you prefer the more popular term, a song.
The tune is loosely based on the old Bluegrass song “Boil That Cabbage Down”, but the lyrics are 100% about my family and me .
The chords are G, D, C, G, D, A, C, G repeated through both chorus and verses, just in case you ever feel like immortalizing us in a poem set to music.
Boil that water down
Cook it till it's brown
The only song that I can sing
A C G
Is boil that water down
Louis was a city boy
Who longed for country life
Got himself a piece o' land
and brought along his wife
They worked sunup to sundown
To try to make it fine
With deer and Bear and Fox
And an occasional 'qupine
Their boy was big and strappin'
And helped them all he could
By puttin' in new windows
And stackin' fire wood
The Chickadog was happy
But sometimes tried to dine
On the deer and bear and fox
And that occasional 'qupine
One day they got an idea
To make 'em something sweet
They tapped themselves some maples
To make a tasty treat
They started in with four taps
But how the story goes
They tapped into six more trees
And watched the water flow
They boiled it in the pole barn
They boiled it in the yard
Boilin' sap's a good ol' time
The work ain't very hard
Now syrup's on their pancakes
And everything they eat
They looked for miles and miles around
Their syrup can't be beat
So if you get an inklin'
To do just what they done
Get yourself a piece o' land
And have yourself some fun!
Boil Them Cabbage Down - The Dillards
I would consider our foray into the world of sugaring at our new house on Three Bear’s Ridge to be a rousing success. We jarred about 4 gallons of delicious syrup, and had a great time doing it. If the weather holds, we may even be able to get a few more days in the shanty.
While preparing for a show, I always escape to the woods near my house with my trusty recorder and headphones and walk along the lake reciting lines and/or laboring over lyrics and harmony to a song.
Today’s walk so beautifully paired my work with my surroundings I felt a need to capture and share it.