Well, we got our first rain this weekend. The whole bit, with thunder and lightening - very cool. It reminded me of the east coast....we hardly ever get thunder in CA. So, now it feels like winter is coming. We wore sweatshirts, and I was ready to start a fire yesterday, I made soup for dinner too....very autumnal. You can smell the change in the air, and all the fruit trees (except the apples) are losing their leaves. I made some fig jam with the last of the figs, and we pulled the zucchini plant yesterday to make room for new beet and carrot seeds. We also built a new raised bed for more planting space. I'm so excited to plant new seeds, I'm actually impatient for the old stuff to finish up just so I can clear the space and plant more. I pulled the broccoli and cauliflower and even glared at the brussel sprouts - if they don't produce something soon, they're coming out to make way for more carrots! We've also put in winter potato crops, onions, more lettuce, and soon some arugula and garlic.
Winter is also a time for some yard reorganizing and cleanup, so yesterday, in addition to working on the raised bed and planting seeds, we merged the two chicken poplulations into one flock. The ladies spent the day squawking and pecking at each other trying to figure out who will be the boss lady now that all 6 of them are living together. This means we can move the chicken tractor out of the way to make more room for garden beds and tree planting. Our goal is to put some trees in the ground this fall and get them out of their temporary buckets. Then they should (hopefully) grow much larger and produce more fruit next summer.
Winter also feels like a time to regroup and rest a bit, to plan for next summer and to dream about new projects. I'm starting to work on holiday gifts too. Last year we did all homemade gifts for Christmas and Hanukah, and we'll do the same this year. I crocheted hats and scarves, and this year am working on more elaborate creations. Also, there will be canned treats, and if I can spend a Sunday working on it, hopefully candles from the beehive wax.... Come to think of it, I guess we're still busy in the fall and winter, but the projects tend to allow more time for reflection and quiet...they take us inside more, and tend to be about the transformation of things that we've harvested. One of Z.'s favorite bedtime books is called The Story of the Root Children by Sibyl Von Olfers. It's about the root babies of the flowers and the plants that rest and regroup all winter until they are ready to emerge from the earth for summer splendor. In the fall, the wind blows again, and they retreat back underground to Mother Earth where they are warm and fed waiting out the winter. I felt the chill in the air this weekend and it seems like almost time to join the root children under the ground.