That fast, the countryside has transformed from a very brief fall to early winter. The birds know it, the deer dread it, we humans perhaps feel mixed. Regardless, Mother Nature rolls on with unending surprises; with unending beauty. You’ve read it here before: Mother Nature always has a way of balancing things out. At the Autumn Equinox, I believe we sat at scarcely ⅔ of our annual precipitation for the East Slopes here. By the years’ end, I’ll wager we will have caught up and even surpassed that average. If only we were as patient as Mother Nature!
Chickadees, finches, nuthatches are busy at the feeder and soon I suspect we’ll see the waxwings hitting our rotted crabapple trees. Long gone are the bluebirds, larks, and swallows. Urgent sharp yips and yaps of the coyotes fill the air most evenings. Before long, owls will be joining in with their own winter, nighttime talk.
Fall field work came to a halt after the first rains in October, and then began the snow and the ground never dried out again. Here on Thanksgiving week, a solid 20” of snow has settled to a solid 16” on the flat – more on the north slopes and in the hills. With the ground never having frozen, all the wonderful moisture should be soaking in and this begins to set a great soil profile for spring.
Up at our granary, the mills have been running strong and the challenges of winter freight, driveway cleaning, and digging out have already become old hat it seems. Some days I marvel at the amount of product we still churn out from up here and get it to all you customers “just in time” fresh! This only happens through hard, conscientious work from our employees who take pride in what they do and work through the fog, wet snow, ice, and rain. Just like the Pony Express! Truly.
This is one of the many things we feel thankful for. We are most thankful for our health, but we are thankful that we’ve been able to keep connected with so many of our customers through this bizarre year, as well as develop relationships with so many new. To be sure, the hardships of this pandemic far outweigh the positives. In fact, positives need to be sought out. One of the good things, I hope, is the fact that many families have been spending a lot more time together, as a family, in their homes and although this, too, comes with its challenges – family time can never be taken away.
Everyone knows this Thanksgiving is going to be different. However, let it serve us as a reminder to take stock in what some of us still have and therefore, let us be even more empathetic toward those in loss – of which there are far too many. This Thanksgiving may be bittersweet. Societal reset has never come easy and some might consider this time period a re-set of our values and of our resilience.
These words during this year that many of us are ready to see disappear – are words I am going to try and follow and words that in my mind, make my favorite holiday ever more important. I hope we all find things to be thankful for. I know in my reflections this Thanksgiving, I will be reflecting on our children’s generation and how this experience, in many ways, will hopefully make them more aware and resilient moving forward. Adapting, as it were, to the “seeds of change”.
Gather where you can and with who you can – if not around the table, around the fire, or around in a circle and try to be patient like Mother Nature, and be thankful for one another – from the ground up!
Yours, Farmer Sam