It occurred to me what a labor-saving device I had as I was kicking the barn muck off my boots on the edge of the front porch. It certainly saves me from having to haul manure up to the front flower bed. The rain, which is pouring down for the second day, saves me from having to stand and fill the water troughs. I work a lot on the incentive plan, and the storm that hit full-force last night inspires me to get the laundry done and all the dishes washed up just in case. It also put a burr under my saddle to get the baking finished while the power stays on.
For years, we've all complained about the commercialism of Christmas, with the ads on TV screaming about Santa Claus starting sometimes before Halloween. There just haven't been that many this year, and going shopping yesterday was somewhat disappointing. The stores weren't playing Christmas songs and the displays were sort of ratty. I may have to make a run down to Amador City, just past Dry Town on the way to Sutter Creek. In seasons past, this tiny group of eight or so shops with wooden sidewalks and porch overhangs were decorated to the nines, and each little store played carols and served up free cookies and coffee or cider to the customers, very Dickensian. It doesn't take a lot of money to dredge up the Christmas spirit.
When the kids were little, they cut strips of red and green construction paper and made chains to garland the tree, and we did the popcorn strands, also. Which brings to mind Louie, my pot-bellied pig who lived in the house in West Sacramento. (He was box trained.) Louie is worth a chapter to himself. Louie was a character, a pig with personality, and he lived in the house, sleeping beside the bed at night, wrapped in a bright orange blanket. Steve was tolerant of my strange taste in pets...I have no idea how he explained me to his friends. At any rate, Deb was staying with us for a time, and that Christmas we decided that we would string popcorn and cranberries to decorate the tree. Big mistake. It had taken us hours to make the garlands, but it took Louie only minutes to knock over the tree and devour our efforts before breakfast the next morning. That very day Steve built a house and a pen and Louie was moved into his outside quarters. I don't think Louie ever quite understood why he'd been deposed. When I make sugar or gingerbread cookies, I always use a pig-shaped cutter...always thinking of Louie. He was certainly a bright spot in my life.