still life

though life is seldom still these days
each moment, each thought
is full to the brim,

the dishes and laundry gather daily
in mountains
to soak or scrub or put away
sometimes I let them go
to hold my sleeping babe
or push a racing car along the table

I am learning how to balance
the needs of my kin,
mostly I am overwhelmed by it -
the constant call, stretch and pull;
in a day it is possible to feel
ordered, disorganised, frazzled,
energised, able, defeated,
lonely, accompanied, humbled

but my heart is fuller and
more thankful than it's ever been,

sickness hangs around the house
me feverish and delirious
with a nasty bout of mastitis
then in hospital for two days,
followed by colds, runny noses
and throats raw with swallowing,

so we make more ferments
fennel and cabbage kraut,
cranberry and ginger kombucha,
a bucket of raw honey water for mead -

the wind beats the house at night
and in the morning we fumble for socks
discovering the very cool climes of winter
are indeed coming -

when I feel sun on my cheeks
I praise the heavens,
thanksgiving for our snow peas
and silverbeet, parsley leaves
we dig for potatoes and fill
a bucket with delicious,
soil-dusted gold -

we dispatch our first thirty four
truly free-range pastured chickens,
(feathers, guts and all)
we celebrate with a roast -
it is the sweetest, juiciest bird
and I am brimming with pride
for my farmer man who raised it,

we catch a dozen mice,
we are gifted with child-minding
soup, cups of tea, conversation,
we curl up in bed and read,

I pick the last blooms
of this autumn garden;
a promise of what comes after the cold