Clearing the decks

hanging Christmas decoration

Last week the hall was decked with holly, ivy and all manner of greenery and I was happy celebrating, relaxing and eating leftovers. But on Monday I awoke with a determination that the season to be jolly was over. Suddenly it all seemed too much. The decorations were taken down, the turkey carcase was rammed into the stockpot and the Christmas tree shoved out through the front door.

I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions nor do I forensically examine the past year but it’s a good time of year to take stock of the here and now.

Loving: longer days. It’s always a relief to pass the shortest day of the year and though the mornings aren’t yet getting lighter, the afternoons are drawing out slightly.

Eating: from the freezer. The fridge is empty, the Christmas food is finished and we only have leeks and artichokes in the garden. It can be a bit of a lottery fishing out frozen lumps from the freezer and I must learn that a spell in the freezer doesn’t magically transform food from tasteless to delicious.

Drinking: egg nog, which is one of those drinks that I’d heard about, yet never tried. Finally, I made this rich custardy rum infused drink and was not disappointed.

making natural fire starters

Making: fire starters with the remains of Christmas. A few snippets of Christmas tree branch, the dried-up greenery from Christmas decorations, orange peel that has been left to dry on the back of a stove and some discarded walnut shells all wrapped up in a sheet of last week’s newspaper. I do like recycling Christmas.

Wearing: warm clothes and hand knitted socks because I’ve been working in an unheated barn all day.

Planning: Christmas 2017 for the Barley Barn. I know. Ridiculous. The round of trade fairs and showroom visits starts next week and by the spring we’ll have placed our orders.

Wondering about: the future of blogging. More of my favourite blogs bit the dust last year, posts on others (including this one) are becoming more sporadic and there are fewer comments everywhere. I hope that 2017 will see the resurrection of blogs, which are more personal and informative than the froth of Instagram.

Enjoying: life.

Feeling: content.

And you? Is 2017 looking good?

 

47 thoughts on “Clearing the decks

  1. Christina says:

    I am optimistic for a good year. Our Christmas decorations are packed away or awaiting collection in the front garden. There are still needles of course, they are good at hiding and re-appearing just after a good vacuum clean. My blog reading list has been getting shorter, too. It is a shame. I tried Instagram for about two days but I am not in love, it is too instant and somehow these short posts don’t touch me in the same way a well written blog post does. Happy New Year to you and yours!

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  2. Sam says:

    I’ve been drafting a taking stock, list-type post, too 🙂 (It might take a few days!) I was happy to pack away Christmas and throw out the tree – it was so heavy, I had to lop all the branches off in situ so that I could manage to lift it! Gosh, needles everywhere… I love your idea for fire starters – I’ll save my orange peel and give them a go. I’m resolutely sticking to blogging and don’t think it’s had its day (as some do). I love the connections I’ve made and would miss it if I stopped. There may come a time when I run out of things to say but not yet (and, of course, people may stop reading!). I hope you continue with yours, Anne, as I love reading what you have to say.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. busybea231 says:

    This year I am trying to enjoy the 12 days of Christmas, complete with some Wassailing on 12th Night. I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions but this year my aim is to relish the seasons and “be” in the time of the year, although I do understand that the world of commerce pushes us ever onwards.

    I hope that you continue to blog because I always enjoy reading what you write. I find Instagram and Twitter to be little more than “sound-bites” whereas with blogs I feel that I really start to make a connection with someone.

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      The idea of celebrating the 12 days of Christmas (as opposed to the 30+ days beforehand) appeals to me but the reality is that by New Years Day I just want to start afresh. May have to try some wassailing now you’ve put the idea into my head.

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  4. hoorayaly says:

    Neither do I commit to resolutions but I have stated on my blog what I am aiming for this year
    1. Finish the Gites
    2. Finish the renovation of our house
    3. Build the new duck/goose house
    4. Finish the polytunnel
    5. Put up the garden shed.
    All pretty big things but with the four of us achievable.
    We spent a day last week building the new duck and goose run as we are on long term lockdown here in France. There is no bird flu near me but rules are rules.
    Looking forward to Spring.

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  5. Cecilia Mary Gunther says:

    Interesting what you say about blogging. Are people saying the age of blogging is over? I have to say I read very few blogs myself because i like to answer the commenters on my own blog and that takes up much of my available blogging time. But I have an odd trend that I have noticed lately. The numbers of people joining are higher than ever, every day a good number join yet the count of actual readers reading per day only grows at less than half the rate. I love instagram – I find it dovetails nicely with a daily blog – kind of a breaking news channel. But it would never replace a blog for personal connection. But if people are not reading blogs anymore what ARE they reading?! c

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      I’m not surprised you don’t have time for reading many blogs with all the comments you get! Plenty of people are saying that blogging is over and I’ve noticed lots of bloggers switching to IG instead (rather than running the two together, which I agree with you, works well). I don’t know what people are reading instead of blogs – perhaps they just scroll through lots of pretty pictures on IG.
      It’s interesting that you’re getting more followers but not a comparable increase in readers. Maybe some of your readers follow you on IG and so don’t read all your posts like they used to. Who knows.

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    • Glenda says:

      Hi Cecilia
      I read your comment with interest. Like you I am getting a huge number of new followers but the number of people reading my blog is not increasing. I just can’t understand it. They are following but not reading anything. How weird is that? Something strange is happening. It can’t be legit. Even if one in 10 read a post my visit numbers would go up but they are not. Any ideas????

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  6. nanacathy2 says:

    I cleared the decks early too. Impatient to get started on a new year! Yes people stop blogging but new ones come along , so I make the effort to find them!

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  7. A Small Country Living says:

    [J] I agree with nanacathy2: in all of life there is a constant change, and no less so in the blogosphere! Your own interests change, after all: or at least the centre of attention may shift from one interest to another. You write well, about interesting things (of interest to me and D, anyway) and you introduce us (indirectly, unwittingly even) to other contacts and subject matter. Don’t give up, evolve. If your life is in flux, then let your blog flux too!

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      I hope that blogs are going to regain their popularity this year after a bit of a decline last year – it’s a shame when people abandon them rather than let them evolve. I’ve found out all sorts of things through a little blog hopping.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. BuntyMcC says:

    I think you have to figure out what you want out of blogging, or Instagram, or social media of any type, and then decide if it’s worth the time and effort.

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  9. arlingwoman says:

    Goodness, I often feel overwhelmed and read and do not comment, but I do like the connections and you can’t have them without making them! I try not to follow any more than I can read (and comment on) but I have. I think there’s a lot of good stuff out there to be read. Sometimes people stop for a while and come back. I have not posted as frequently because of travel and work this year. Instagram? Eh. It will pas as well, but I think people will continue to want to write.

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  10. Jane @ Shady Baker says:

    What a beautiful wreath Anne. I have cleared the decks also…I can only feel festive for so long. I wonder about the future of blogging too, my comments have certainly dropped off although it is the meaningful, long time fellow bloggers that continue to call in. I worry that perhaps the quality of my blog has diminished but really I think people are just busy and move onto other things. Instagram certainly has impacted, I am sure. Although I enjoy parts of Insta, I am determined to continue blogging when I can. I enjoy it so I think it is worth continuing. All the best for 2017.

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      The quality of your blog has definitely not diminished – I love to see what you’re up to – but people do move on or sometimes just run out of time to keep up with everything. Blogging is definitely worth continuing.

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  11. Nancy |Plus Ate Six says:

    I’m hoping I’ll get my blogging mojo back 🙂 I just felt I’d lost my ‘voice’ – that coupled with a personal stuff just took a toll on my desire to blog. I’ve found myself following fellow crocheters on Instagram they are so more down to earth than the foodies!!!
    I can’t believe you’re planning Christmas 2017 already – I’m still recovering from the last one!

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      I hope you’ll get your blogging mojo back soon – perhaps when you’ve settled in to your new place. The only bonus for planning Christmas 2017 is that 2016 is very fresh in our minds so we shouldn’t be tempted to make the same buying mistakes this year.

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  12. Maureen Ballard says:

    Please don’t stop your blog; it’s the first thing I open when I see the email. I’ve followed your recipes and find it refreshing and interesting. I’ve started a year in stitches, when I say started I mean did the first day and have 4 to catch up!

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      Thank you – I’m not going to stop and I hope that others will make 2017 the year they start to blog. I just googled a year in stitches and it looks quite a challenge. Good luck.

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  13. fergie51 says:

    What a great idea making fire lighters from the discards of Christmas! I have had an egg nog recipe in our deco box for years but never tried it, perhaps I should? I suppose blogging depends on what you want, expect and aspire to, but I for one love seeing and reading all the posts from bloggers I feel share a kindred spirit. I too cleared everything out quickly, done and dusted, on with the new year! I can fully understand your forward planning, you have to when business is involved. Enjoy those longer days, ours are currently a bit too long and way too hot! Cheers, Maree.

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      Yes, definitely try egg nog – though possibly when your days are a little cooler! Sharing a kindred spirit is exactly how I feel about blogging and I’m constantly enthused to try something new by someone I admire.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. homeslip says:

    Our Christmas tree is staying up til tomorrow. It only came in five days before Christmas so I am happy to enjoy it until Twelth Night, which is tonight I think. At the weekend I will take what won’t go through the shredder to the allotment and, if it isn’t freezing, have a bonfire with my asparagus, raspberry and fruit tree prunings and possibly pour some undrinkable cider around the apple and pear trees. Please continue to write as often as you can Anne, I blog very spasmodically but better that than not at all I think.

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      My tree was only in for just over a week and that was long enough (but we had been selling them for weeks). A bonfire sounds perfect – it always worries me how quickly a dried up Christmas tree goes up in flames when you think of them wreathed in lights and sometimes candles in homes. Spasmodically is definitely better than not at all.

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  15. kaydeerouge says:

    I too know that sudden decision that you’ve had enough of Christmas! Goodness knows how people cope who put up their trees in November!! January is hard – but there is that little bit of extra light to sustain us, and bulbs are pushing through. I also like to wear lots of my woollies because the house is cold (sometimes I take on a distinctly telly tubby appearance because I’m wearing so much). I hope you won’t give up blogging because I love your blogs. You are a model to me because you write so succinctly but so well. Happy New Year!

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      It’s always good to see the bulbs pushing through and we’ve had some bright days. When I read fashion editors extolling us to layer clothing, I don’t think they have in the mind the sort of layering you and I do :). Happy New Year to you too!

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  16. Julie@frogpondfarm says:

    Now don’t you go disappearing on me! There have been so many bloggers that have gone .. and I miss them! I do Instagram too .. but I could never imagine it as a replacement. I love that you recycle Christmas .. I hauled down cards and decorations today, funny I was quite pleased. Work on Monday .. oh dear

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  17. Brian Skeys says:

    The Christmas tree went to the recycling centre today. A warm day here so have been working on the To Do list in the garden, preparing for the open days. My wish is to spend more time enjoying the garden during the year, also the weather is an improvement on last years NGS weekend so we raise more money for the charity’s they support.

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  18. bassenormandie says:

    Oddly enough, I’ve just resurrected my Normandy wildlife blog that has fallen into disuse for the past two years.I’ve been spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen quite apart from the blogs (I’ve another, mostly local photos of places to visit, tumblr blog too) and once I’d finished work-related ‘screen-stuff’ I wanted to be out and about in the garden or walking the dog or doing craft-y things. Over the past couple of days I’ve remembered why I enjoy blogging – and reading the blogs of others – so I hope my blogging mojo is back. Time will tell.

    Gorgeous wreath, Anne, and all good wishes for 2017. Gosh, the years are passing quickly.

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  19. nandie in sydney says:

    Don’t be disheartened, because you don’t get a written response doesn’t mean that people aren’t reading your blogs (or other people’s blogs) just means that they have no comment at that time…later perhaps. We in the antipodes sweltering in 37 degrees heat love the cool land news but the thought of egg nog in 37 degrees is a bit off-putting instead a very well chilled South Australian Chardonnay sipped whilst dangling feet in the pool, accompanying sliver of running brie on thin sliced, baked sourdough. The very best of 2017 to you from us.

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      Though it doesn’t worry me too much about the lack of comments – I often have nothing that adds to the conversation so don’t comment even though I enjoyed reading the blog – I know it upsets some bloggers who used to get loads of comments.
      Egg nog in 37 degrees would turn my stomach! Enjoy that chardonnay and sourdough.

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  20. Lynn says:

    I just found your blog! What a lovely find and I look forward to checking in on you regularly. I, too, hope that there will be a resurrection in blogs. I need to start firstly with updating mine!
    So nice to meet you!

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  21. RuitFarmNorth says:

    I hope that blogs are not going by the wayside. I enjoy Instagram for a quick glimpse into someone’s life, but blogs are much more than that. And I really just cannot do Facebook!

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