The Holidays Taste Familiar

Something about the softness of a cloudy day stirred up with the spontaneous fires and sparks of changing leaves always steers my dreaming towards childhood memories and family gatherings.  Maybe it is the chill of the weather that brings us together over food and libations, sharing our mysteries and retelling the oldies but goodies.  I anxiously await a table full of handcrafted creations, shared and passed by many hands before it is plopped down in front of me, steaming and smelling of traditions kept.

As my emotions orbit the upcoming holiday festivities of Thanksgiving and Christmas, the farm continues to get ready for the cool down.  Our crops in Douglasville are starting to slow as our cover crop in Buckhead is starting to grow.  Rows have been skillfully tilled and shoveled into perfectly straight lines by Elliot and garlic will soon make its  home in the soft, fluffy soil.  The beds will be mulched with hay and (fingers crossed) there will be garlic to harvest following winter as the world begins to warm.  The animals are all putting on their winter coats and fences are being mended to welcome their arrival onto our new land.  The blissful act of chopping wood accompanied by the meticulous building of fires in our fireplace have taken the edge off the slowly cooling weather.  Clouds of blackbirds have been dancing for us over the open fields mimicking the bee swarms of the summer.  Their cackling and conversations fill the air as they land in the treeline of our home.  Our homestead continuously smells of hardy meals of greens and roots devoured quickly in hopes of staying warm through the night.

Much of my time during this activity lull is spent spinning the pounds of wool collected from this year's fleece harvest.  There is nothing more meditative to me than sitting on the back porch in the golden hue of fall with wool running through my fingers.  Elliot and I have a lot of planning to do with both our plants and animals in the spring.  We will be elbows deep in more wool, goat's milk, lambs and kids, chickens, vegetables, and hopefully two piglets for the chest freezer.  We are currently crafting a plan to can all the vegetables we will need for next winter throughout next year's growing season.  We are still working through the kinks of our CSA as members are beginning to show interest in signing up.  There is still more advertising to do and more families to add to the list of families we hope to provide wonderful food for.  So much to do, such a short window of opportunity, and all I can do is hurry up and wait!

These cool weather days spent indoors are often accompanied by smothering ponderings both positive and negative.  Lately I have been so lost in thoughts that it feels like the "real" world is spinning by without me.  There is always so much to consider when trying to process the endless list of problems human beings face on this planet and within our own society.  Often, these thoughts lead me in a very hopeless direction as the negatives collect and churn into a bad attitude.  In all of this hopelessness, I have found sanctuary in the spirit of children.  One will recognize quickly after spending time with a child that evil, hatred, greed, and intolerance are not embedded into the DNA of human beings born.  All attributes of humanity are learned and just as easily learned are the guiding forces of compassion, a love for the natural world, and the desire to love and nurture other human beings.  This desire to only do good is easily complicated by the demands of a modern world and I would encourage all to embrace the child like desire to love and do good work throughout our day to day.

“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.” - Rachel Carson