by Stan

The weather continues to be a favorite topic – especially this year (or do we say that every year?). For some of us, hockey is a favorite winter activity. This year we played hockey during the first half of December – until the 5” snowfall; ever since then, our main ice has been the road. One day, Emory & I skated down the middle of the road! I remember doing it back in the early 80s. With the recent January thaw, the ponds resurfaced and we are once again playing hockey together with our neighbors at Dancing Rabbit and Red Earth farms.

A not so happy encounter with ice: Mica slipped on the ice and fractured the bone in her wrist in several places. It was solstice evening: Mica & Frankie were on their way to a solstice celebration at dancing rabbit. The car slid off the ice covered road in front of our houses – they wondered: perhaps this venture is not meant to be?? On their way back to the house, Mica slipped & fell. It was a bad break. She went to the emergency room in Memphis, where they tried to put it in place but told her she would have to have surgery. Due to the holidays, she had surgery 5 days later – Dec 26. Because it was a multiple fracture, they put a plate into her wrist and then screwed the bones into the plate to keep them in place. Obviously, during all of this, she was in a lot of pain. She had pain medication but it only goes so far. Anyhow, she survived; however, Mica is a very physically active person – it was/is not being easy for her to suddenly be one-handed and unable to do the most basic things – like slice bread, cook, cut firewood, play hockey, etc. BUT then at her checkup at the surgeon’s office in Kirksville, she met people who were on crutches: wow, that’s another trip! She notes: at least I have one free hand – they have none.

Due to the continuing ice on our driveway, I took the disc to the road. What? It actually seemed to work fairly well: it cut grooves in the ice which helped to give traction to our vehicles. What next??

Laird, the only founding member of Sandhill who is still here, began a one year leave of absence after Thanksgiving – to live with his wife, Ma’ikwe, at Dancing Rabbit. He moved out of his bedroom/office of 25+ years: my, my, how stuff accumulates in a quarter century. He is still nearby, but the separation feels significant. Laird decided that he wanted to experience living together in a daily way.

Winter seems to be a time of travel: sometimes, it feels like a revolving door here. Various people went to spend time with family during the holidays. Joe went to Minneapolis to be a caregiver to a friend who had hip replacement surgery. Mica is on the east coast to see friends and family. Trish & Frankie just left for Ecuador. Tyler (intern) went to TN to be with family – his grandma died during that time. It seems that I am the one at home these days (during the warmer months I am gone a lot – doing organic inspections). These days, I am stoking wood stoves & cutting firewood for next year. It’s my favorite time to be in the woods. I’m also looking forward to basketball & campus bowl games at the high school.

I went to Costa Rica (CR) for two weeks: Nov-Dec. Gigi’s daughter, Renay, was in CR Aug-Dec on an exchange program (her junior year in high school). Gigi went to visit her and travel in CR two weeks before I did and stayed another two weeks after I left; she and Renay came back to Memphis on Solstice. Gigi and I had fun traveling around CR, seeing the countryside, meeting the people, and practicing our Spanish. It was great to see Renay at her school (she stayed with a CR family while at school there). CR is a very beautiful country: mountainous, active volcanoes, beaches, tropical agriculture: coffee, cacao, all kinds of fruits, vegetables, & herbs. The people are very friendly and many speak English; interesting: we wanted to practice our Spanish and they wanted to practice their English – lots of multi-lingual communication.