Somewhere on the other side of this continent, my Slighe nan Gaidheal friends are first-footing their way through the streets, romping and merrymaking, singing and hailing the incoming year with warming libations and lumps of coal in hand.
We're having a quieter night, but our hearts still sing with the joys of fellowship and the many gifts that threshold-crossers bring. This night, we look forward to the unfolding of another year-full of possibilities, a year of wee craiture-bairns and towering trees, berry-blessed bushes and mushrooms that will silently unfurl from the damp, dark forest earth.
The year ahead would be nothing without the year behind. Our greatest gifts of 2011 came in the form of WWOOFers, blown in from the four winds with unexpected capability and vigor. We weren't sure to expect, and that was part of the magic: each traveller arrived with his or her own distinct interests and skills, as well the specific insights and stories of their richly varied life experience. A farm temporarily hampered by three-kneeness was transformed, by these travellers, into more than we thought possible. We watched more soil get tilled, more seeds get sown, more buildings rise, more trees turn into logs and chips, hoop houses and hugelkultur beds take shape, and mushrooms get foraged, cleaned, and laid out to dry in the sun.
Other important tasks were accomplished as well: meals and laughter shared, board games played, instruments strummed, poems written, pictures taken, tales told and songs sung. Oh, and let's not forget the most important work of all: Zoe the Border Collie got to play ball with every single one of them, over and over and over and over again.
We have loved the adventure of opening up to wider possibilities, the adventure of sharing this place, of sharing the skills and resources we've acquired and the lessons we've learned with people who share our passion for good stewardship of the land. We have loved working side-by-side with our WWOOFers, and we have also experienced the joy of coming home from other obligations to find animals and pastures, gardens and woodlands well-tended and our temporary farm companions glowing with the quiet pride of honest labour well-done.
Thank you, 2011 WWOOFers. You have been the greatest--and most unexpected--gift of this initially challenging year. We are profoundly grateful... and we look forward to a whole new year of more adventures, more accomplishments, more shared creativity!
Blessed Solstice, Merry Christmas, & Happy Hogmanay
from the CowGaels to All of You!