The Farm and The Darkness

Listen, I know that Daylight Saving Time has been a part of my life every single year of my existence. This shit has happened to me thirty-six times and at this point it shouldn’t be surprising how much it affects my desire to do anything other than lay on the floor with a bottle of wine and watch Star Trek TNG reruns for the rest of my life AND YET I AM STILL SURPRISED.

I mean just last week it was getting dark by 7PM, but I was still able to get home, see the animals in the daylight, catch a sunset, do my usual evening work (or workouts)… no problem. But set the clocks back an hour and all of the sudden by 6 PM I am literally done with everything.

This is particularly difficult because it coincides with the time I’m under the most pressure to get things done on the farm (you know, right before we enter the Deep Freeze) and the busiest time of the year at work.

Over the last few years I’ve learned to give myself a little grace in winter. This is part of the natural ebbs and flows of my life (and, honestly, if there weren’t ebbs at some point I probably would have burnt out long ago, but that still doesn’t mean they feel good when you’re in the middle of them.)

Also, if there’s been one constant in the last fifteen years, it’s that the thing that comes most easily to me (even when it gets dark and my energy is low) is telling an authentic story. And now, all of the sudden, it isn’t. Maybe because I spent a fair amount of time in a tent in the mountains this summer, legitimately disconnected, and got out of practice?


Maybe because the minutia of house-projects–while still a big part of my life… you have no idea how much time I still spend switching out electrical outlets– feels repetitive to continue to talk about all these years later?


Or maybe because the projects I’ve been drawn to this year seem a little self-indulgent and unrelatable?


Or possibly it’s just that everything seems harder, darker, and more dramatic than it really is once the sun starts setting at 6.

(Yep. Probably that last one.)

The bottom line is that I had an amazing, if unusual, summer, and after getting back from a long weekend of climbing and camping in Nevada a few weeks ago, I jumped right into prepping the farm for winter and prepping myself to try and stay sane with the lack of daylight…


It’s only working moderately well at the moment, so I’ll be pushing myself hard to knock things off this list over the next couple of weekends, and if anyone has any strategies I can add to that “Try not to lose your shit because it’s dark at 6PM” List, I’m all ears…

14 Responses

  1. Yep, it stinks.

    “Try not to lose your shit because it’s dark at 6PM” Exactly!!!Have also been saying this to myself.

    And this one:
    It will pass,
    it may pass like a kidney stone,
    but it *will* pass.

  2. I hate daylight savings time. I come home from work and put my jammies on. HA!! I can’t even mow my lawn after work, unless I put headlights on my mower.

    Good to hear from you ~ and happy you had a great summer. 🙂

  3. Turn… on… the lights. Seems simple, but made a world of difference to me.

    I live in a house with 100% natural light all day, but in the mountains it is dark in winter before 5pm. I was absolutely loosing it and actually went to bed at 5pm one day. Then I finally realized I have to go around and turn on bright lights all over the house to keep going. Finally rigged some of them on timers so they came on automatically, and feel a ton better.

  4. I’m my case, entertain the cat. We have a good play fest with a ribbon or other ‘toys’. In your case, you could also hug a donkey or two. Give them some special attention.Or spend 15 minutes working on a dreaded or essential task each night. Only 15 minutes. See how much you get done in a week. Reward yourself with TV time. If you have wireless headsets you can listen to TV reruns if you know the show by heart. I also love audiobooks and listen to them on my phone. Free ones from the library. Easy mysteries are the best when working on dreaded chores. Can you tell I’m trying to get my butt moving here too? If only I had some donkeys…

  5. Yeah…it sucks Only a white man would cut two inches from the top of a blamket, sew it on the bottom, and think he now has a longer blanket.
    “and if anyone has any strategies I can add to that “Try not to lose your shit because it’s dark at 6PM” List, I’m all ears..” Well.. the first thing I did when investing in a zero turn is to mount a pair of LED’s on the front so to finish the job. Also wear a headlamp letting Willie out in the early AM and last call. Comes in handy, on a day it had to be done, evan used one re-doing underground rain gutter drainage pipe pesky moles got into and messed up.
    I miss your B A Chaulkboard 😉

    129 days until spring

  6. Jack, honestly, the “white man” comment is a little weird.

    Unfortunately, my only tip is more caffeine and more of that grace you mentioned.

    1. The “only a white man” comment is a quote that has variously been attributed to several different Native American sources. The story goes that an official on a native reservation was trying to explain why the tribe should adopt Daylight Savings Time to an elder. The elder responded:

      “Only the white man’s government would be so stupid as to cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it onto the bottom, and think they have a longer blanket.”

      It’s apocryphal and I personally wouldn’t use the saying at this point, but I know people who do, including some Native Americans.

  7. As a long-time SAD sufferer (35 years),I sympathize with you 1000%. That’s why I highly recommend that you do yourself a physical and mental health favor and purchase 2 items:

    1. A wake-up light, similar to this one:

    2. A light therapy lamp, similar to this one:

    I’ve had different versions of both in my adult, SAD-suffering life, and you’ll want to do your own research, but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you at least go with the therapy lamp. Turning lights on in your house is helpful (my house is always lit like a Christmas tree), but it cannot and doesn’t have the same impact as light therapy. Just turning on lights around the house and changing out a light bulb or two isn’t enough for moderate to severe SAD sufferers (I’ve been on both ends of the scale…mostly the severe end).

    I’m typing this while sipping tea in front of my therapy light. I have to fit it in every morning for 30 minutes. I’m not a morning person on a GOOD day. So dragging my ass out of bed 30 minutes earlier than usual (even after being nudged awake by a wake-up lamp) is still damned hard. But, necessary. And, I’m still SAD depressed, but I KNOW how much worse I could be, because I have been there.

    [Warm, sunny hug]

  8. To me, it sure feels darker than usual this year. You pack a whole lotta living in your life. Write what you wish but I have missed reading about it!

  9. Pet peeve, we have just ended daylight savings time, so we are actually in regular time now. So your complaint is actually with the switch, rather than daylight savings. End rant.

    I really don’t have any helpful advice for dealing with darkness, other than to set goals. For me I have to make short term goals in order to make the long term goals work. For instance, I set a goal to walk 2017 miles this year. To make that work, I have to average 5.5 miles per day. If I get lazy for a day, I have to make it up later. If I have too many lazy days, the makeup gets too tough and I am in danger of giving up, so I try not to get too far behind. As of last night, I am at 1760 for the year and on pace to make the goal. Not bad for the year I turn 60. One frustration for me is that I don’t get many steps on the days I lift so I have to make those up elsewhere. Oh well.

    So keep it realistic. Some of the things on the list likely can wait, others need to be done sooner rather than later (think bees or squirrels). Maybe just make one of your goals to work from dinner until 8:30 five nights per week before you reward yourself with some wine, TV and cat time.

    Good luck with your list and have fun with the darkness. Also, snowy moonlit walks can be pretty nice. Might try that on cross country skis this winter.

  10. This is probably a drastic solution, but you could move to Arizona! No daylight savings time and lots of great sunsets.

  11. Try putting glow in the dark duct tape on your tools for winter so you don’t misplace them.
    Drink wine, write us and relax in the cold winter days, you deserve it. As you can see we all love reading about your projects, animals and adventures.

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