Happy New Year, Farmgirls!

It’s been awhile; and while so much has happened, much is still the same.  I hope this finds you all well after a successful and joyful holiday season.  This was the first holiday season for our family of 6 (after Covid derailed it all last year), and it was a wonderful couple of weeks with lots of family time, food and, of course, gift giving.

Nova loves the holidays!

Nova loves the holidays!

For many years my favorite holiday has been Winter Solstice, but we have never been able to truly make it into the celebration we dream of.  We got mighty close this year! It is a magical time of the year with promises of brighter days ahead.  The sun and moon seem to freeze in their roles for a few days surrounding the solstice, with barely any perceptible change in daylight vs. night.  We celebrate here with books and all things cozy.  This year, Evan gifted the books, and I gifted cozy wool slippers! We made a huge charcuterie board and snack buffet for us to graze all day so we could escape the (seemingly) never-ending “I’m hungry”s and “When is lunch/snack/dinner”? It was lovely!

These girls can me bottomless pits some days!

These girls can be bottomless pits some days!

While the other holidays during the season are also magical and wonderful (the joy of watching children’s surprise and gratefulness on Christmas makes all of the exhausting prep work more than worth it!), Solstice is where it’s at.  For me it’s an-all-in-one holiday: celebration of the return of the sun, family time, feasting time, and a time to reflect on the past with a hopeful eye on the next revolution.

We were graced with a whole lot of snow the day before solstice!

We were graced with a whole lot of snow the day before solstice!

As January 1 approached, I did my dutiful job of thinking of goals and resolutions for the new year.  I realized that I had spent the time between solstice and the “official” new year largely just doing what my mind and body wanted to do with limited pressure from work, school, extra chores, etc. We ate what we wanted to when we wanted to, slept when we felt like sleeping, worked on forgotten projects, read lots of books, played outdoors without any agenda, and watched movies.

Cuddling on the dog's new bed and watching Christmas movies

Cuddling on the dog’s new bed and watching Christmas movies

Solstice fun!

Solstice fun!

While some (read: most) might see January 1 as a time to reset and start anew, a time to establish new habits and get rid of that which is not serving us…I realized that the time between solstice and the new year is my big, slow, long reset button!  I know most of us are women who pride ourselves in our families, our animals, our gardens and our work.  But these things can often distract us from our true selves, from our base beings, from our deep seated goals and passions.  At least for me, putting all of the pressure for a reset or big shift into one day just doesn’t work. Allowing time to just be with my loves (while of course keeping up with the duties of water, food, shelter and love) gave me time to reflect, observe and sift through what is working for us and what is not.

Christmas Jack-o-lantern? sure why not?

Christmas Jack-o-lantern? sure why not? Our Christmas corner!

With all that said, I didn’t come up with much except that I really do enjoy eating home made sweets every day and sleeping in.  I also enjoy eating non-homemade sweets! I love spending undistracted and unscheduled time with my family.  While these things are obviously not very sustainable with our current lifestyle, they were pertinent reminders of what is ultimately the most important: Love, time and kindness.  Being distracted by the constant barrage of expectations and duties we experience in our day-to-day can really detract from what is important.  Taking a long step back helped put things back into perspective.  And this got me ready to sign up for a gym membership, become a vegan, and really focus on building my stock portfolio.

Just kidding 🙂

It did, however, get me ready to focus a bit more on myself; because when I take care of myself, I can take care of others much better, with more love and with less frustration.  I’m ready to give up excuses that don’t serve the betterment of my family.  I’m ready to say no to that which is excessively stressful and yes to joy-filled moments.  As in all of life, there will be excessively stressful moments and time crunches and yelling and tears and all of that, but they can be less frequent.  This I know and have known…but those couple of carefree weeks were a wonderful reminder!

Fern's NYE fashion

Fern’s NYE fashion

Unfettered outdoor time is magical

Unfettered outdoor time is magical

And then!

And then we had a HUGE windstorm in our little Alaskan town starting on…you guessed it, January first!  It persisted for 3-4 days, causing power outages and a lot of damage. Temperatures dipped below zero farenheit. Talk about a reset. 122mph wind gusts were clocked in the windiest places.  We escaped unharmed up here, just with a yard full of many, many, many snowman arms.  We are out of the main wind tunnel.  People lost windows, roofs, play sets, trailers, port-a-potties, lumber, sleds, and boats.  Drifts in some places are over ten feet tall of hard packed, cement-like, snow.  Livestock owners had to have water delivered or drove with large tanks to fill up from those with water (private wells are a perk of rural living, but they are useless without power!). One of my friends lost all of her bees and chickens (chickens to a dog because the berms were so high around her chicken run).  Another friend’s greenhouse blew away.  Several friends have burst pipes and inaccessible driveways.

Planes got thrashed

Planes got thrashed

Lineman at work

Lineman at work

sections of roofing spread around the valley

Sections of roofing spread around the valley

Boat caught on a street sign

Boat caught on a street sign

Our beloved train engine lost its house!

Our beloved train engine lost its house!

It is a mess…but as in all big messes like this, we see the helpers and power of community coming through.  The linepeople are amazing! they were out in the frigid wind (windchills of -15 to -30 farenheit) up on poles and cherry pickers, sometimes having to take snowmobiles out on the power lines in the dark, blowing snow.  Many people were still out of power for days (and some still are), but they kept huge swaths of people with frequent enough power to keep their homes warm (like ours, the coldest it got was 50 degrees).  This storm has been dubbed “Windpocalypse 2022” and the “Betty Whiteout 2022.”  A state of disaster has been declared.  Weather reports show we are in for more wind this weekend.  Hopefully, the gusts are lower and the timeframe shorter.

Opal celebrated her 6th birthday amongst the chaos.

Opal celebrated her 6th birthday amongst the chaos.

In this natural disaster, I think we are all reminded of the futility of expectation.  We cannot change the past or predict the future, we can just do the best we can in the present.  The juxtaposition of the lazy, long nights surrounding solstice with the worrisome, hectic nights during an emergency show that a “reset” comes in many forms.  Perhaps it’s from a long time of reflection, perhaps it’s out of necessity, perhaps it’s from a seemingly insignificant slight shift in realization or belief.  It is clear, however, that one date cannot dictate when and how our reset buttons are pushed.

Family lefse making

Family lefse making

If you made a new year’s resolution, or if you said screw it–great!  If you are, in fact, joining a gym, becoming vegan and building your portfolio–then all the more power to you!  If you have decided that cookies are now a food group–you do you!  If you are going to try your hardest to be more present in the present–I hear you.

We can all take some cues from our furry friends about how to live life to the fullest.

We can all take some cues from our furry friends about how to live life to the fullest.

All I’m hoping is that this new year brings you more of what you love.  I hope you put your best foot forward when you can.  I hope your expectations are low and the rewards are high.  I hope you find joy in the day-to-day.  I hope you have time to look within, love what you find, and spread that love.  We don’t know what 2022 has in store (although it’s looking like…a lot), so let’s face it with peace and grace when we can.

Sending all of you SO MUCH peace and love from our windblown corner of Alaska.

Until next time,

Alex, The Rural Farmgirl.

  1. Karen Holderman says:

    I am glad you did not have a lot of damage. I can’t imagine those winds! Here in Chesapeake, Virginia, we had 50 mile an hour winds last week during a rain storm. My suburban hens hunkered down in their run. However we do have many snowmen arms all over the yard. I love your use for broken branches. There are pine cones all over. I guess opportunities for crafting. I pray for those who lost green houses, had frozen pipes and more. Community is everything.
    Finding joy and satisfaction in each day is a goal I will look forward to. Our children should be treasured daily. Thank you for sharing.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      I know our community will step up and take care of everyone! We are waiting for a little “warm” snap next week to see if there are opportunities for the little ones to lend a hand. Yes–our children should be treasured daily!

  2. Tess Chawi says:

    I stumbled on your blog this morning….so enjoyed it! Mary Janes Farm was a magazine I read years ago and enjoyed. Best wishes to you and your sweet family. Thank you for a reminder to slow down this busy life a bit and enjoy each and every day. Thanks again!

  3. Donna Cyr says:

    So Happy to here from you. Have loved your blog from the very first one, to baby #1 2 3 and now four. Hope this is a wonderful year for you and yours. Love Light and gratefulness.


    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Wow, thanks, Donna. It’s pretty awesome to think of the people who have been on this journey with me since the beginning. Cheers to you in this New Year. Sending you love!

  4. Joyce Miner says:

    This is beautiful – both the content and the pictures. I am going to try to forward this to my daughter and daughter in law, who live in Florida as I do. The world is not made up of just the area in which we live, and it is good to see another area and therefore another perspective. Thank you

  5. Laura says:

    Your home looks like a cozy, safe nest!
    I remember fondly the break between the old year and the new, when my girls and I were free from our normal schedule.
    I’m glad you and your family are safe and I hope your community survives the next round of bad weather. Keep up the good work and your humorous way of looking at life!
    take care,
    Six degrees in Indiana today. My people and my chickens are all tucked in, safe & warm!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Oh, that sounds cold for Indiana, Laura! Winter break is my favorite of vacations–a time to slow down with our loves. Thanks for checking in!

  6. Michelle says:

    Enjoyed reading your article and wishin you best year ahead filled with many blessings. Take care and may God bless your sweet family…..

  7. Joanie Hendricks says:

    I’m glad you made it through that windstorm! I’m surprised we didn’t hear anything about it down south here in Washington state. We are just coming out of three weeks of snow that started on Christmas. More snow than we usually see here, and for a much longer time. It did serve the purpose of slowing life down so I had a really long reset. Our adult children were here for some of the time, and it was just lovely. Everyone got home safely, and I managed to get 2 of them to the ferry dock and back. That was 13 days ago. I haven’t left since! We’ve had a power outage that lasted several days and is over now. US Highway 101 was closed on Hood Canal where I live for 3 days while fallen trees and power lines and poles were repaired. We spent a lot of time helping neighbors and checking on property for people who weren’t here. Now I am just waiting for the 18 inches of snow to melt. It’s too wet for snowshoes any more! I will always remember this glorious Christmastime, though!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      That sounds pretty magical, Joanie! I saw that you got a ton of snow down there. Normal wind speeds up here are newswrothy in other places, so it’s no surprise that this storm wasn’t broadcast elsewhere. I’m glad to hear you made the most of your snowy holiday!

  8. Brenda Cervantes says:

    Thank you for sharing. Love the kiddos pics. I am older and there are no children around. I miss playing with children. They really know how to have fun!
    Be well and safe!!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Brenda! Yes, I love seeing kids in the snow. Ava (almost 8) and Opal (6) are getting into prime kid time! They can spend hours outside in the coldest weather in their own world. Love it.

  9. Sandi King says:

    Alex, wow! is all I can say. What with the wind blowing so hard, it is a wonder more damage wasn’t done. When the wind blows here, which it has for many, many, days now, but not real strong, but it is cold – our temps are now 15 degrees – warm compared to other parts of the country, but cold for us as it has been many years we have had warm winters and I was always hoping for a colder and snowier winter like we used to get years ago. We do have snow, but on Christmas it was warm and no snow and I was worried we would have another warm winter, but so glad to see snow once again. So glad you all were not damaged as so many others were. I love the pics of the children out in the snow, reminds me of my childhood. I lived in NY and we had close to 4 or 5 foot of snow and we made tunnels and forts and had so much fun. Take care and hope this year will be better than 2019 and 2020.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hi Sandi! Yes fingers crossed this year is better. I can’t help but feel kinship with anyone who hopes for cold and snow. I hope your winds die down and the snow accumulates!

  10. Sharon says:

    Appreciate your point of view: the reflecting, regrouping, moving forward. Also your mentioning that disastrous times can remind us of the goodness in people as they show up to aid those less fortunate than they. So much of the current news is filled with just the opposite!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Sharon! Emergencies do have a tendency to remind us of what is truly important. Maybe some day we can more readily remember that more often without the disaster element.

  11. Amanda says:

    I was smiling as I was reading about your holiday celebrations and then BAM! things took a turn! Regarding the holidays, we also lay out a snack type buffet. It’s just way more relaxed that way (while waiting for families to do barn chores, milk cows, dump peeps-yes we got two houses of chicks Christmas Eve night- etc) and we get to enjoy each others company for a longer stretch of the day. Here in PA we just got our first snowfall and it looks nothing like where you live!!! I’m really hoping that everyone comes out of that okay! Those pictures were really something! Blessings to you all!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Amanda! Fortunately, it sounds like everyone is coming out of the storm okay. The community is really coming together to clean up and dig out. The snack buffet is the best! It really allows for more family time which I have been craving.

  12. Marji McDonald says:

    As a neighbor a couple of hundred miles north of you, we also have experienced this winter’s fury. The 3 back to back snowstorms with 2 inches of rain in the mix turned our 20 inches of snow into rock hard ice trapping us at home. We waited patiently for the man with the loader to come and dig out our road. Being trapped at home for 2 weeks really gave me time to think about days before loaders, electricity or what I would do if I couldn’t go to a grocery store for milk. I sent a prayer to the lineman out restoring power. I was grateful we had a wood stove and lots of chopped wood. Summer garden produce stored and a well stocked cupboard. Fresh baked chocolate chip cookies keeps the house smelling wonderful. It’s wonderful to hear that your family has done so well and always love your post with the kids enjoying our life here in the far north. I think of the great “reset” as the “re-learning” on how to experience our daily lives in the moment. Your family is doing a great job understanding that concept.
    Breakup will be here just in time! So with that said, Happy New Year and Solstice blessings to you and your beautiful family.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Marji! Our state has gotten battered this winter! That rain on top of all of that snow was worrisome. I’m so glad you got dug out and were prepared for the long haul. I did not put up much last summer, but luckily had a well stocked pantry. I figured we would stay put up here until the storm was over…didn’t need to be causing any more problems in town!

      We were looking at pictures from summer the other day and said to ourselves, “oh yeah! summer is a thing :).”

  13. Marilyn says:

    Thank You for this interesting post. Glad you are all safe and did not receive too much damage. Wishing Opal a year of happiness and blessings. God Bless.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

  14. Laura says:

    Hi Alexandra,

    Happy to see you back and get a glimpse into your full and rich rural life in Alaska. I have been reading since before your children, so I am always so interested in seeing what you are up to with your precious, creative, and lively family.

    I was thinking today how you are like a favorite character in a book series that I read. So it is like I get a new chapter or episode to look forward to when I see your new blog posts. I hope you keep them coming, as your refreshing and reflective attitude and creative celebrations are certainly inspiring.

    Greetings from the east side of the country,

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Gosh, Laura, you have me tearing up. What a meaningful and powerful note. Thank you! I will be writing seasonally this year. Four kids is a lot of work, but I love to write so we are trying to find a low stress balance. Thanks, again!

  15. Janet Kynerd says:

    It is good to have you back. I have missed you, your family, and your reports from Alaska. Glad to know everyone is healthy again.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Janet! We are all doing well aside from the normal kid crud that circulates. I will be posting seasonally! Looking forward to keeping in touch.

  16. Dear Alex,
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and events of the past several weeks. I really enjoyed your post–except that I am sorry about the damaging weather for your community. Stay safe and stay warm!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hi Tammy,
      Thanks! Our community is rallying and helping each other out. There were no major injuries or losses, so it’s looking good.

  17. Ellen Osborn says:

    Love the lack of pressure! So true. ♥️

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