This past summer and fall, I may have worked harder than I ever have. There were the turkeys, the chickens, and the bees. There was fishing, lobstering, and hunting. We tended a garden, built a hoophouse, and got an oyster farm off the ground. And, in between, there was writing. Tens of thousands of words of it.
I was looking forward to the downtime of winter, when the turkeys have been dispatched, the garden decommissioned, the lobster pots pulled, the oysters stored, and the deadlines met. There’s nothing to be done but make sure the chickens have water that isn’t frozen, and there’s enough wood split to keep us warm. And that second one is optional; we have a behemoth of an oil burner in the basement.
While it wouldn’t be accurate to say that I miss the chores, I do miss the activity. I can’t go outside to see if there are any ripe tomatoes. There’s no point in checking the water conditions because there’s no fishing to be done. There are no mushrooms, either wild or cultivated. Deer season is over.
There are a few winter activities. I’ll be shellfishing when weather permits, and if we get a good freeze on the pond we’ll be ice fishing. I may have a chance to go duck hunting. We have to plan next year’s garden, design the smokehouse that we’ll be building in the spring, and decide, once and for all, whether we’ll have pigs next year.
That won’t keep us occupied until March, though, so I have one other winter project planned. I still have fifteen pounds of frozen grapes from my friend Melissa’s arbor, and they’ve got grappa written all over them.
I’m going to build a still.
The devil does indeed make work for idle hands.