Full disclosure - I'm dawdling a bit this morning. The school will be celebrating our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow and I should be out harvesting greens. I will get to them just not yet.
I have been thinking about autumn a bit this morning while chasing sheep around the pasture. This is the time of year that presents the most psychological challenge for me. It is a time to reflect on the year, to bring in the 'fruits of our labor (and the veggies of our labor too. . . they are different)', to think about pulling out the jackets and stoking up the wood stove and to remember the poor and rediscover the values of giving and thankfulness. But those aren't the challenging parts.
Autumn is also a time when traditionally, if you go back in history, proper farming wraps up and the men (and women) set about tending to the house more - putting away food for the winter, making sure you have enough lumber split, and doing maintenance on the tools before putting them away. Unlike today's office calendar there is no set date to start all of this, you just have to follow the season. When the winds are warm and the sun is overhead - you grow. When the north winds come and the sun can't quite muster the energy to climb as high - you put things away for a time and set yourself to a season of sabbath.
Here at the farm there are several benchmarks throughout the autumn and this is where I struggle. I look at each of the benchmarks as 'the end of the farming season', only to be reminded that it's not over when the next comes. There's the Common Ground Fair, then breeding time, the Sustainability Festival, turkey butchering day, Thanksgiving dinner. . . As they approach I triumphantly declare each 'The last big push for the farm this year', then the next event comes.
In the end I long for some of the old ways, though technology and the heartbeat of society have all but done away with those traditions. Honestly though, I really enjoy that the rhythm of the farm never stops. It's busy, it's consistent. It keeps us moving and challenged. It's a good rhythm.
Today we harvest the last of the produce for the Thanksgiving dinner and we have some absolutely lovely treats for Catherine's Cupboard tonight - some of the best of the season actually (please don't tell the chef!). All we have to do is survive the day because this is, after all, "the last big push of the season". That is until Monday. . . we have to move quickly to get a new section of field tilled and mulched for the new community garden in the spring. . .
Oh well. Maybe I will get a nap in, in December.