We are about to enter the magical, heartwarming month of December. The first Sunday of advent is upon us and we are officially allowed to sing Christmas carols out loud and not just in our heads. We can also start to bake gingerbread in all sorts of funny shapes, ready for the big event.
Our dear animals do not care that we are getting into the swing of Christmas to come. They strongly believe in the "here and now" mentality so they are just enjoying our mild weather. The hens are digging for worms and our lovely, kind sheep are nibbling and tasting their way through the fields. They don't even mind the drizzling rain, as their coats are so short that I can dry them when they get back into the stable. They look like four extremely round dogs in a row when I dry them before they carry on eating, this time their hay. The hens never, ever mind rain if they have things to do and places to explore. If they don't want to be outside they complain loudly that it's cruel to make them wet and cold. It's just to let them out in the mornings and to see from which way the wind is blowing this time, so to speak....
Ebba finds all kinds of weather to be wonderful and as long as she has the company of dear husband she will go far, for long periods of time and fast. Ebba is turning into a real gem and she has the kindest of heart. She is still frightened of most people and many things but she tries to put on a brave face and soldiers on.
Ebba even got into a car and came to visit her friendly vet, one afternoon. We went to get her claws clipped, as she still feels unsure about that. It's better to let the professionals’ help, until Ebba finds more situations comfortable and safe. We also wanted to check her weight and to get some vitamin and mineral supplements for her. She still needs to put on more weight and we got some oil to add to her food, too. All went well and her relief when we got back home was so endearing to watch that it almost made me cry. She is really reluctant to enter new houses and to get into cars in case she has to move again. We keep telling her that she is stuck with us and maybe she will start to believe us, soon...
A funny thing happened when we got home from the vet. Ebba came in, ate some food and the next thing we knew she was running through the house like a dog possessed, playing with a new tennis ball. For ten years this house has been a tennis ball free zone. Mr. Chip was not allowed to play with them as he got so agitated by it that he became a slightly different dog than the kind soul we knew and loved. So Ebba turning up with one was a surprise. We wondered and pondered about this and the next night Ebba turned up with a brand new, red little Christmas elf's hat, white bobble and all. Now we are thinking that maybe Ebba has friends in high places. We do have hay in the barn, ready in case Rudolf turns up next and Ebba has the look of a dog that could mix in magical circles... and you never know, Advent time and all.
We have a Christmas rose, 'Helleborus niger', on our kitchen table. It was a gift and it just keeps making new buds amongst its white flowers. I find it's the most dignified of all Christmas blooms and the most difficult one to keep alive indoors, all through the winter. There's a legend about how it sprouted in the snow from tears of a young girl. The girl cried because she did not have a gift for little baby Jesus, born in Bethlehem. Beautiful legends aside, it's good to remember that the Hellebore family is a bunch of poisonous flowers. Maybe we should move ours away from the kitchen - or maybe not, as it's hopefully safe from Ebba there. Our kind magician still eats all our pot plants...
Molly seems to eat a lot too and she is soon the world's roundest sheep. Mandy has a haircut that makes her look a bit out there and Mindy just gets more beautiful with every passing day. My has the glossiest coat I have ever seen on any animal and wears it proudly. The sheep and I have started our winter club and meet up most evenings, in the stable. We aim to discuss world events and fashion but mostly end up talking about food and friendly hens. It's a very wonderful way to put the day to bed and we all feel better for it. The hens pop in and out but only Darya is part of the group. Darya the hen and I share the title of honorary sheep.
The Danes are selling the concept of their "Hygge" to the world as the best way to feel happy. We are doing "happy" in our own way and we do hope you have time to relax a bit in the evenings, too. Be well and Happy December to you all!
The Finnish forest reindeer 'Rangifer tarandus fennicus' is a rare and threatened subspecies of reindeer native to Finland and northwestern Russia. They are larger in size than the semi-domesticated Northern reindeer 'Rangifer tarandus tarandus' and prefer dense, boreal forest to the open tundra.
Don't we all??
P.S. We are very happy to welcome our illustrator, Dasha, back after a few weeks of sickness.
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.