“She’s glad her simple worsted gray – Is silver now with clinging mist”… And so we usher in my favorite month of the year with a line from Robert Frost’s perfect “My November Guest.” This is the month for poetry. This the month for the soil to rest and replenish, for the skies to darken and purge, for the stoves to be stoked and stirred, for the wildfowl to head south and the chickadee, the finch, the nuthatch to return with the coming snow. And a visiting flock of cedar waxwings descended on our elderberry bush just this Thanksgiving morning to enjoy their own feast.
For a month many take to be bleary and bland, I rejoice! It helps that some of my favorite people were born in November including my Mother, her sister Mary, our daughter Larkin, and my brother Nat. Brooke and I first met 21 years ago this November, on this very country road we’ve lived on ever since.
With several rounds of moisture, some white, some not, this November has not disappointed. Thus far, milder temperatures have kept the soils thawed and allowed for the intermittent storms to sink deep into the earth’s womb. This soaking is much needed after our hot, dry summer. We are on track for excellent recharge both down in the valley floor, and higher up in the mountains where several feet of snow have already fallen. As I’ve often said, Mother seems to always have a way of evening herself out.
We were able to complete the field work we’d hoped to finish during the lovely October weather of last month. So the fields are cozy and tucked in for the winter. Now our efforts are spent primarily on the granary here, cleaning our grains, milling our flours weekly and making sure everyone is supplied for the heavy cooking season up-coming. It has been fun to see the different products that fit a season. We’ve been in business long enough now to track some of the more popular “holiday supplies.” One of my seasonal favorites is the sage biscuit mix; yummy with soups or stews or even savory with just soft butter.
The winter challenges with freight have begun, as our granary up here in the foothills isn’t the most accessible beginning about now. We all work together and are very fortunate to have more reliable “rural” freight carriers these days in Fastway and UPS. Our UPS drivers up here are terrific. As most of you also know, a lot of our smaller orders go USPS, which means at times we get to drive an entire car-load of USPS boxes down to the post office 5 miles away. Of the many thanks I give this Thanksgiving, I thank our Bluebird staff for doing such a great job in seeing to timely delivery. Also, to you customers who are so loyal.
Other Thanks that come to mind are to our veterans. My daughter Mariah and I enjoyed the Veterans Day ceremony at the Mazama Store this year and thought not only of the Vets present there, but Vets around the country – the world – who have served to uphold the democracy we enjoy in this Country. One Vet we lost this past fall, and who we celebrated this week was Bob Parlette – Brooke’s father. Known to our children as Grampa Bob, he served in the Air Force during Vietnam. We miss you Grampa… and thank you for all that you did in your life that enriched many lives in the Wenatchee Valley, as well as the Methow and beyond.
Our society is not without flaw as we all know. And this past year has been trying in a variety of ways as most every year is. I can only hope that we can take this time to gather round and count our blessings, and that we can reach out to help those who may not be as fortunate as some of us. We were welcomed to this country by the Native Americans and later waged genocide on them. I hope that this is common enough knowledge to us all so we do not repeat this sort of behavior. This country never was a “single possessive” country. And it surely will fail if it ever becomes one. It takes all kinds.
Cheers, Farmer Sam