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Winter Solstice in the Methow Valley, 2020

Whether it feels a lot like Christmas or not, it definitely is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, at least from our perch up here in the Rendezvous. This morning we woke to another 5-6” of fresh snow, and now as the sun reaches its height for the day, finches and chickadees and juncos zip between the feeder and our aspens as eaves drip assuring renewed icicles will soon be in place. Indeed, we have begun to hear owls at dusk as I suspected (last notes) but have yet to see the waxwings hit our rotten crabapples or elderberries. Soon.  Ahh… Winter Solstice! 

I love this time of year. Truth to tell, I’m not sure it has all that much to do with Christmas. To be sure, Christmas hopefully reminds us of  “peace on earth”, yet there seems another calmness to the season,  certainly in the outdoor world: Longer nights, slower dawns, “easy wind and downy flake”- to reiterate Frost’s timeless words…

Although the fields are sleeping soundly under winters’ blanket, and the fall grains are all snug in their beds, there are no long winter naps yet here at the Bluebird granary where the mills and packaging room have been far from quiet! Yikes, the holiday giving season has kept all our hands busy, busy this month, and for this we are most grateful. Our crew is hanging in there, albeit tenuous at times (Konrad!) until their well-earned winter break. Combined with our usual distribution up-tick this time of year, gift orders have been unprecedented. Apparently, you all are eating a lot, and eating a lot of really fresh grains and flour! Another great way to enjoy this darkest time of year.

What Bluebird has done year round for 16 years now up here in the foothills, is not always smooth and easy even though we hope all those packages, both big and small, arrive giving that appearance. It is during the inconveniences of weather, machinery breakdowns, freight delays , or stuck trucks just being, well, stuck, when our systems are truly tested and, what’s more, our team. I can honestly say that the current Bluebird crew we have on board right now is a stick-to, resilient no-nonsense crew that I am most grateful for, and as equally proud. These are the folks that are responsible for your good goods,  and if they ain’t good, they don’t ship!  Pride in one’s work, and in the workplace, has not quite gone out of style for this lot. Thank you thank you!

All of us know what a wacky year this has ended up being and we are still way back in the deep woods with a long trail of roots and rocks and curves to navigate out. It has not been, nor will it be easy. I believe that all of us at Bluebird are happy to overlook daily inconveniences and struggles and cold fingers and toes sometimes because we may know how fortunate we’ve been through the past 9 months. For the less fortunate, of which there are far too many – there always are – I try and keep you in mind.

‘Tis the season… more so this year than ever –  it is the season to help out others and keep focused on what will get us through the next year the best way that we can. It all starts with one another and respecting one another.  

I truly believe good food can help us eat well, stay well, and act well. Just as respecting the Earth can do much the same. However, there are far too many just trying to get anything to eat, and these dark winter days are not so kind to those. With this in mind, please reach out and help a neighbor, or someone you know is in need.Volunteer or contribute somehow to local food banks, clothing drives or what have you. The true honor of Christmas is in the giving. All I need to do is think of all the Earth has given us here at Bluebird to sanctify this beauty.

Cheers, Farmer Sam