Winter’s Song

I love springtime and the return of the birds.  The warm sun on my face, my hands in the soil.  I do love seed packets and promises of gardens galore.  I love tree blossoms and flowers and bees and more.

I love summer and all the fun to be had.  The gardens and watering.  Fresh peas off the vine and corn growing high.  I love the long days and al fresco meals.  I love the way the hot sun feels.

I love autumn and its flurry of work.  Harvesting, preserving, the fatigue that comes.  The colors, the holidays the promises of rest.  The smell of wood smoke and coffee and warm blankets ’round the fire.

In my hurry to get back to spring, I was stopped in my tracks.  I checked on the chickens all warm in their house.  Big flakes of snow were falling suddenly from the sky.  The smell was so fresh.  The coolness livened my skin after the warm house within.  Such quiet descended as the flurries went on.  Just birds in the trees trying to keep warm.  Chirping and singing, they had quite a time.  As the flurries of fluffy snow came tumbling down, resting on trees and the sleeping ground.

Winter songs are of rest and peace.  Of cleansing and warmth.  Of cold and restoration.  This time I treasure for its ability to calm.  I am enjoying my hibernation.  Ready to be out in the garden beds in no time.  But in the meantime, the house is warm, the coffee’s hot, the snow is falling, and all is still.  Winter whispers, “Take a breath.”

Hibernation for the Pressure Canner (and the farmer!)

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524.  Final count of canned items.  The last was this week’s potatoes.  Twenty jars of ready to cook potatoes joined the ranks of winter and spring food.  The canners are going into hibernation now.  Hurray!  As much as I enjoy the salsa dancing sound of the pressure cooker, I am ready to just settle down and eat my way through the root cellar.

I planned out early how much I needed to can of each thing.  Rough estimates for sure.  Let’s see, green beans once a week until May….Tomatoes and sauce twice a week….Had too much of this last year left over….not enough of that.  A hopeful sketch emerged and the root cellar checklist I made will  head downstairs on a clipboard.  I’ll be even more efficient next year.

The potatoes are in their wire crates.  The butternut squash is too.  The onions in a box.  The corn is drying.  The carrots are in a five gallon bucket emerged in slightly damp sand.  There is a large bag of sugar, a fifty pound of flour on order, buckets of whole grains to grind.  There is the surrounding air of deep satisfaction and peace.