Thursday, September 20, 2012

Harvesting, mourning and celebrating

 A lesson in chicken anatomy, my son knows a chicken liver, lungs, heart and gizzard. He insisted in pulling out all the organs from each chicken we butchered - just twelve in all, averaging eight and half pounds each. (Not intentionally, just pure procrastination.)

We had about three days where the Birch trees were full and completely golden. A night of wind and now the woods are bare and empty with only the occasional fully gowned tree bringing us to stop and ponder why it still has all it's leaves  I am a frantic squirrel gathering and stowing away, scrambling this way and that. My gathering and survival instincts are strong. I cannot go for a walk or just stand around and enjoy the beauty. Instead every walk is accompanied by a basket on my arm, gloves and my pocket knife or clippers, with me wondering what should be harvested next, Usnea or rose hips? Raspberry leaves or Dandelions? The past two weeks I gave up on carrying or hauling produce or herbs down from the garden and instead I drove the car up and down the hill, filled one day with cabbages, then comfrey tied in bundels, the next day; buckets of beets and carrots.

Dustin is on his sixteenth day straight of twelve hour shifts with an hour commute in each direction. I'm feeling like I've been a single mom for the last five months. The kids and I have had a challenging few weeks with me trying to do too much and they've been letting me know they need more attention.
I'm trying not to panic at everything that still needs to be done before the snow falls - we should have a few more weeks of bare ground, I hope.

 My winter squash, gourd and pumpkin harvest. Not impressive by most standards, but to see me gaze adoringly at my squash pile, you'd think I was gazing on a child I'd just birthed :)

Now for some sad news. We said goodbye to our faithful family dog of nine and a half years. Chana was an intuitive, gentle and hard working dog until the day she died. She was our first child. We think she had lymphoma or some sort of intestinal or stomach cancer. She went down hill quickly over the last couple months. The day we had her put down, I drove her up to the garden to sit in the sun, and took this picture. The kids spent the day writing and singing her songs. We buried her in a deep hole that Dustin spent a night digging, and we covered her with sweat peas and garden flowers. The kids and I have been visiting her and telling her about our days and what she has been missing. The house is strange and empty without her. It has been very sad to say goodbye.

We just celebrated Avery's fourth birthday. She had a fabulous day. We celebrated at the park with friends and family.

And that has been our September news. Harvesting, mourning death, celebrating life. Our days should be growing less eventful and we turn indoors and begin to relax and enjoy the fruits of our labors. We are just beginning lessons. I'm looking forward to have more time for crafts; knitting and felting, elaborate meals, learning with and from my children, reading and writing. What are you busy with and looking forward to?