This year, as I lit them about 3.30pm, the hens were going to bed and the rain was beginning to fall, again. The ground is waterlogged, the fields are lakes, the world is under water. We are on high ground, so we don't have to take to our upper rooms, or sandbag our doors, but our land ... lies useless and unapproachable.
We finally had to be out of our barn this week, and for the first time, poor Cormac is out 24/7 after a slight misunderstanding where it was absolutely a given that he would have a shelter - he has trees and is coping so far, but we need to fix that next week.
And our goats are also outdoors properly, fully, for the first time ever - or at least Linen and Lace are - and that's not going any too well either. They have a shed. They just haven't worked out how to use it.
We have fought bitter battles this year. I won't be sorry to see it end. But we're still standing. I said goodbye to my guide unit, kind of by accident. We stood fast by the land and in God's grace, we won - and those who hoped to take it from us by maligning us failed to do so. They still attempt to take things off us - but by and large the things they have taken weren't worth having, and the things that matter they fail to win.
Powers and principalities.
2013 is going to be an amazing year for us. God willing, my beautiful, powerful, (soon to be) 16 year old daughter will go to agricultural college and begin to live her dream. My younger princess - who just had 2/3 of her uncut since baby days hair lopped off and looks amazing ! - will change schools and be out there in the big world. I will learn to work the paying job and leave room for the real work - of growing and nurturing, teaching, sharing and writing (no pressure then!) - and Neil will finally get a job which does not destroy us quite so much as this one.
As I type, the clock has ticked past midnight and it is Christmas Eve. We are about to celebrate the most amazing .... moment in history which changed everything.
I leave you with a friend of a friend, fresh from our carol service.