December 1, 2010

Northern November

November takes on a harsh look here, compared to the beauty of October and the change of the season. It’s as if the leaves were taken up by flames, red, orange and yellow, and the ashen remains have settled on the land, gray and dark. It’s the time when we switch over to winter mode. For many of us, it’s the smell of woodsmoke, stacking and lugging wood in. Or trudging through mud, slush or snow to feed chickens, pigs and the like. And wreath-making. Several of Windflower’s November crew migrate to wreath-making, an intense seasonal business that helps pay the winter bills. We generally just continue the conversations that we left unfinished since the farm, which seems remarkable. How can you spend nearly seven months with the same people, and have something unsaid, unargued, undiscussed between you? But we do.

The beauty of the Northeastern winter takes a long time to arrive nowadays, until then we get wavering periods of snows, thaws, mud, and all of it gray, to the point that you almost beg for a good blanket of snow to seal you in the house. Winter means books for us, or other random indoor projects that we could not summon the energy for in the course of the farm season. There’s a feeling of unspent energy, idleness, but then happiness for the natural season of rest that winter is. They seem to be conflicting with each other, but work a season on a farm, and it makes sense.

That’s the one thing I love the most about my work. You are, for better or worse, plugged into the natural rhythms of the seasons. Spring’s awakening, summer’s frenzied work to keep up with the weeding, the growing, and the autumn’s slow fall from grace, characterized first by doing all the farmwork we were too busy to do in the summer, sloping down until we realize we have little left to do, and then, nothing. We spend a year wanting an end to the season, only to be at the end and wonder where it went. It’s a twisted contradiction that we seek the end, and by January, February, we’ll be looking forward to another year and ready to quit the woodstove, bookmark our spots in projects, and walk to the greenhouses to seed.


  1. And yes- I am brazen enough to submit a post ABOUT November, on the first day of December. The irony did not escape me. PS- the photo is the view from my back porch one morning.

  2. Posting for November in December is perfectly valid since the latter month is a strange transition time for the windflower crew. Once we find our way and get snowed in, things'll turn out just fine.