It has been so beautiful these past few days.

A deep frost has covered the valley each morning, but by mid-afternoon, bright sunshine has bathed our world in a wonderful crisp warmth. Today was an absolutely perfect day to do the laundry and hang it outside to dry. As I matched the socks and hung them on the line, it occurred to me that that the still below-freezing air was helping to wake me up far better than any morning coffee, and when I checked back in mid-afternoon, I was surprised to find that the gentle breeze and bright sunshine had dried the laundry far quicker than I would have imagined.

It was also a perfect day to work inside the greenhouse. It was actually downright hot inside the glazed walls. My glasses steamed up as soon as I entered, and I immediately took off my jacket. I happily watered the little citrus grove and pruned back branches. A sweet citrus scent
filled the air. It was difficult not to linger.

My next task was to pull the water hose from the frost-free spigot over to the pasture trough. As the trough filled with cold clear I talked with our two new calves and the little horses. The Holstein has become the leader of our cattle herd, now numbering three: the Holstein, and an Angus and a Hereford. The horses run and graze with the cattle, happy for the companionship. The Angus and Hereford are new to our world and are still somewhat standoffish, but I have no doubt that the Holstein will show them what creek valley life is all about and that they will soon be as friendly as he.

The trough filled, I pulled the hose back over to the spigot and carefully emptied it of any water. It would not be a good idea to let the hose freeze solid and then be of no use to fill the trough when it next needed filling, so I held the trough end of the hose high and walked back
down the line, letting the water inside the hose fall away from me.

Someday, we plan to run an underground line to another frost-free spigot out by the pasture, but that someday has somehow not quite happened yet. I returned to the pasture to stand by the fence, rubbing noses with the Holstein, and then I climbed back up the hill to gather the chicken eggs.

The entire flock ran over to greet me as I headed out to their coop. The little peach-colored hen, which always manages to place herself right under my feet, made my going difficult. I stopped and bent forward to tell her to be careful or I might step on her. She cocked her head to one side as though she understood, but as soon as I began to walk again, she positioned herself right in front of my footsteps. Oh well, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, so I just took my time gathering the eggs.

As I returned to the cabin with my basket filled with eggs, I reached up to feel the laundry on the line. It was wonderfully dry, so after storing the eggs, I returned outside to take in the laundry. It was cool to the touch, but I could not help but bury my nose in the sheets before I brought them inside. The crisp scent of the creek valley air had completely enfolded them. I almost couldn’t wait to climb the loft stairs and fall asleep snugly covered by the valley’s breezy sunshine.

And bedtime was approaching. The whole time that I was taking the laundry down from the line, the sun was slipping slowly behind the hill in the back of the cabin. I watched as the hillside shadow lengthened across the upper field, and as soon as the shadow fell across the side deck where I was folding the laundry, I felt an immediate chill. By the time I had the laundry all folded and put away, the shadow had passed across the lower fields and was beginning to climb the hillside across the creek, on the far side of the valley. The woods shone golden in the evening light.

The chickens began to head to their roosts. I heard a few gentle mooing calls from the pasture, and as the sunlight slipped away and the sky darkened, I knew that it was just about time to call it a day.

What a perfect, sunshine-filled day it had been.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in Ohio. Visit them on the web at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.