I like imagining different habitats for myself. I don’t know if everyone does it, but it can be fun to visualize incredibly different houses, living spaces, and lifestyles. Would you like to visit my current holiday fantasy?
I’m so glad you could make it, come on in! I know it’s hard to find the place, but that’s one of the perks of a grass-roofed earth-sheltered house, isn’t it? For a long time now, I’ve wanted my own hobbit house, and the Consort designed this one for me. He even figured out how to make a round door that works, too.
Mmm hmm, it is nice and warm in here, thanks to the wood stove. It keeps the entire house so comfy in the wintertime. The wall coverings also help make it feel snug and cozy; in the warm weather I take them down, and the simple earthen walls give a sense of coolness throughout the house. Right now you can leave your bags here, in the great room. We’ll get you settled in later. Are you hungry? I just baked some bread and I’ve got some hot coffee and tea in the kitchen — that’s right! my round kitchen, tiled in handmade pieces — oranges, browns, and greens — with that old fashioned stove (but it works so well, you know). I love that the beams across the ceiling allow me to dry herbs right here. Hah! You should have seen it a few weeks ago when I “attempted” to dye some wool my neighbor traded with me. The Consort kept getting tangled up in the different-colored wisps of wool. (Yeah, he didn’t think it was very funny, either, after the tenth time.)
I was just about to go feed the chickens, did you want to come with? Just slip on these boots here at the back door, and we’ll take the path to the little henhouse. No, they don’t produce much in the winter, but it’s fun to hear the roosting sounds as they nap. Now that they’ve been fed, let’s take a little detour through the woods to the pond, we’ll pick up the buckets on our way back.
Listen — do you hear that? That’s the point, you don’t hear anything! I love the muffled silence of woods in the winter, it’s so peaceful, I think. Just the crunch of your boots on the snow, the whumps of snow falling from branches — it’s a great way to start the day. It won’t be this quiet for long, though — the kids will be down this way later to go ice-skating on the pond.
Oh, don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe — as you can see it isn’t a very big pond, so it freezes pretty thickly by this point in the winter. Yup, it’s big enough for a bit of cooling off in the summer months, and for some skating in the winter. I’ve seen all sorts of birds and other wildlife out here, too.
Oh, look, the pond fairy who lives in this tree seems to have braved the snow for a walk — do you see the tracks leading from the doorway in the trunk? This is Trixie’s little project. See, we’ve got several fairy doors strewn about the property, kind of like the fairy doors of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Trixie loves to organize the ever-changing dioramas alongside the doors. I’ll have to ask her how she was able to create the footsteps walking away from the door without her big footprints nearby. (But knowing her, she’ll just look at me innocently and say that she had nothing to do with it!)
I think you’ll enjoy meeting some of the different local characters who show up for our winter celebration. One of our neighbors snowshoes in, and another family actually uses a horse-drawn sleigh. (The kids love to go visit with the horse in the barn.) The kids? Well, it’s our girls, some of their friends, and a whole passel of younger cousins. I joke to the Consort that we always have a pack of feral children around during big friends and family gatherings; I just hope our sisters don’t mind how we let all the cousins do what they will when they visit. But they’re all good kids, and they know the rule: Always bring a buddy on your explores, and its corollary: Get help if you need it — don’t be afraid to tell an adult what’s going on.
Aha! I’m hearing some strains of music wafting our way. I think the celebration is coming to life. When Impera tunes her fiddle, our neighbor pulls out his string bass (that’s how he snowshoes in, with his bass on his back), and various others pull out whistles and drums, the ceilidh is about to start! I’m sure the Consort asked a few visitors to help him pull the furniture back so we have a clear space for dancing, and the pot on the stove is full of tasty stew, ready for noshing.
We’ll dance and sing, eat and drink, laugh and play, until the wee hours. The kids will run around, grabbing one more treat from the table, spinning on our makeshift dance floor until they get dizzy, and literally fall asleep where they can — on a couch, on a big pillow by the woodstove, curled up in an overstuffed chair. We have plenty of blankets and lots of nooks and crannies for people to find a place to sleep when they get tired. Oh, we’ll have a lovely time, and I’m so happy you’ll be a part of our magical winter party out in the woods!