There is always an urgency when the first snow flurries make an appearance – many times they signal the change and then aren’t seen again for months. Josh and I are both familiar with it snowing on our birthdays in October and April, mid season bookends. So, it is no surprise to wake up and see a soft coating of the white stuff, the green grass still poking through, the leaves over their splendor now, seed heads offering up the last nutrition to the congregating Black-Capped Chickadee, Blue Jays, Tufted Titmouse, Nuthatches, Cardinals, Crows, etc. Our sweet chickens have started laying eggs (adorable little faerie eggs with deep orange yolks), maybe in payment for all the treats we give them (oats, our own grown strawberry popcorn – so tiny compared to regular, flax/sunflower seeds, etc). When they follow me around I feel like Snow White.
Most of the bulbs are in (ha! still some leftover alliums/croci/windflower corms) and time is running out for that sort of thing. Time to mulch over the strawberries, the garlic bed, the fruit trees, and give up on the rest of the garden plans. We have a known little hiccup coming in the late Fall where we will have to take a couple of weeks off any big projekts, and baking/delivery which will serve my dissertation well and our collective health (no little thing), but not much else. So, the urgency is to push to get a lot of goodies set aside now – like whey caramel, apple butter, hand pies, a sweet and spicy Fall kimchi, new and exciting pastas, and more preserved lemons (speaking of – I made a piccata the other night with some monkfish my mother was kind enough to pick up at Portland’s Harbor Fish Market for me; preserved lemons, parsley, and caper sauce over fregola – so simple and sexy).
We really should use our upcoming ‘Indian Summer’ to paint the chicken coop, maybe add another little pop-door for their convenience and shelter, get the Sugar Shack ready for February, rake out the garden beds and sow Fall seeds (Poppies, Echinacea, Bachelor’s Buttons, Milkweed, Rudbeckia, Gaillardia, Flax, Foxglove, Dianthus, Delphiniums, and even Calendula, and Daisy) as all do well with natural stratification (dormancy), cage all the baby fruit trees, and paint the inside of the house, too – while we can leave all the windows/doors open (though we use No VOC and Milk paint, there are still chemicals in it and drying time is reduced by airflow). One last good clean out and Fall cleaning before the nights start staying below 30 degrees and we’re in and cozy for the long Winter weather (which we need both of us – this place is crazy town!).
Oh, the urgencies – and on this day when there is a political urgency of hope (and hopefully some practicality), and with the compounding existential urgency – we, at Rock Bottom, wish you moments of deep breathing, gratitude, and a sense that all of our urgencies are worth living.