Sunshine was brief on this shortest day of the year.
I didn't note the time when the sun crawled over the eastern ridge, casting a red-gold warmth against the opposite ridge.
The woods beyond the tractor shed were still in shadow when we caught sight of five deer flowing down the steep hill to cross the dry brook bed and vault up the facing ridge.
The deers' coats have thickened in preparation for colder weather, fading from the warm tawny hue of spring to a somber dusty dun-color which allows them to blend into the winter landscape.
Jim left on an errand before 9; I gathered sheets and towels for laundry, puttered about at the usual morning tasks of tidying bedroom and bathrooms.
I pegged sheets on the clothesline, although by that time the sun had been blotted out by a canopy of pearl grey cloud.
I walked down the lane with an offering of apple peels, carrot and celery trimmings--appreciated by the four billy goats who are sharing a pasture now that the breeding season has passed.
I stopped at the stable to visit with my neighbor while she milked the goats.
The barn cats purred around my ankles, but I had brought no treat for them. I spoke to each one by name, patted their heads.
They are all plump, sleek in what Dylan Thomas called their winter 'fur-abouts.'
The two Pyrenees guard dogs in their respective enclosures let forth a volley of barking as the mailman trundled up the road in his noisy old vehicle.
I waited in the stable doorway until he had turned around at the end of the road and returned to poke mail into our box at the end of the lane.
I collected the mail--an inviting magazine to put aside for after the holiday--and headed toward home. I walked along the flower borders, wishing I had time for some pruning and tidying on this mild misty day.
Predictably, I've not been as efficient today as yesterday. Laundry dealt with; clean sheets on the bed; a quick trip to the Beachy Amish produce farm and an enjoyable chat with the oldest daughter there who was minding the shop.
Jim turned up moments after my return.
We worked together to finish our wood projects--worked without kindling a fire in the shop. When we came out Jim remarked that it was warmer outside in late afternoon than it had been in the building.
This evening I cleared my belongings out of the vintage maple hutch which our son will be taking, with its matching drop leaf table, to his sister-in-law.
Such a task is frustrating--what to do with the oddments that collect on shelves and in drawers and seem to have no logical new place to land.
I stand dithering--hands full of assorted clobber--one thing hinges upon another--where do I put the spools of thread I had ranged along the shelves--folders and papers stored underneath are in a big box--the box dragged into the sun room with a designation of 'I'll deal with that later!'
Edward insisted that the newly cleared space was an ideal spot for him to spend the evening.
I wanted to bring in the big cupboard tonight--Jim was not so inclined.
We have measured and discovered that either the big [now black] cupboard can fit the space that will be vacated by the hutch--or--my vintage Hoosier cupboard can go there. I am considering how best to position the edited collection of furniture--and suspect that morning will bring a bedlam of things shoved here and there, and a bit of bickering over the final arrangement.
Jim has a better sense of spaces than I do--but my sense of aesthetics is superior.
We shall see!
And, in the meantime, having unwittingly lost my 'things to do' lists, I am granted absolution if not all is accomplished!