Some weeks have slipped by since our last post. It happens quickly, that is, the passage of time. Mark and I will begin a project in the morning, outside in the crisp autumn air, we will be digging, or raking, or lifting, only to find that the next time we look up, it’s supper time. Yesterday it occurred to us that it was not only supper time, but it was also October, and that the night’s have grown cold, and that the geese are flying south. And that all this digging and lifting has made us very sore, but just as satisfied.
Above image from internet
And so we have begun the seemingly endless task of “tucking things in” over here. I like to think of winter prep like that, I always have. There is something cozy and nurturing about it. Something soothing about singing a lullaby to a daffodil bulb and covering it up with dense earth and leafy mulch (but I am a romantic as you know). Gus has joined me in the department of bulb planting. I must admit that his enthusiasm for it has surprised me. He has decided to drop his favourite orange ball into the bulb bed whenever possible, encouraging me to bury it along with the tulips. It made me think how much he would love a tree of orange balls to sprout in the spring, and I laughed for a good long time with my white dog, under a fir-tree in the lower field.
Flowers are one of my autumn priorities, even though you can’t eat them, even though there are farmers out there who would think this a frivolous thing to do. But you see, there is nothing more glorious to me than a bloom in spring, than a colourful wide-open display of petals after a long winter. I am a bit like a bee that way. It satisfies like nothing else~ beauty and sweetness.
We are not planting any fall vegetables this year, as our soil needs to be nourished this winter. It needs to be mulched and seeded with winter rye and left to percolate, so those good ol’ nutrients can soak in. For now we have been planting bulbs and readying some beds with rich manured soil for garlic planting. Thanks to Mark the firewood is stacked and the stove will be ready to be lit tonight.
We have also been insulating and waterproofing the bee hives. Damp kills bees faster than anything else and so warm dry hives are essential. This year I have taken extra care to make sure the hives are well insulated given the rains that apparently fall here. Each hive has been insulated on all sides, they are full of honey and pollen, and the bees have been fed some extra sugar syrup, just to insure they have enough food for winter. The outside of the hives have been wrapped with water proof tar-paper and giant rocks have been placed on the lids to keep them from blowing away. I think my girls should be just fine. They are going into winter with a clean bill of health, lots of honey and pollen stores, and well insulated water-proof hives.
We have also begun to turn some of our attention from outside tasks to inside tasks. I suppose we are doing a version of preparing to tuck ourselves in too. We have begun doing a few renovations to our little house in preparation for winter. Tiles around the wood stove, extra windows for light on dark days. The locals have taken to calling November “Monsoon Month”, it all sounds rather ominous.
I am putting a few coats of cheery paint on the walls so when the clouds roll in I can make a pot of soup in a warm dry house and begin making my magical honey potions, which I intend to sell in the local markets, but more about that later. Let’s just say it has something to do with age-old recipes and flower petals and unspeakable magic. ( I can’t give my secrets away just yet).
Overall we are getting ready for the cold and the rain and we are also looking forward to the other things that winter brings, the opportunity to dream, to plan, to organize, and maybe even to rest, at least a little bit.