Saturday, October 17, 2009

Post-Harvest Exhalation

At Sandhill we had our first killing frost a week ago, and we finished milling and cooking down the last of the sorghum harvest Tuesday. While there are still untold buckets of produce spread across the floor of our walk-in cooler (the physical manifestation of our abundant gardens), for the first time in months we can linger over that first cup of coffee in the morning, because our days are not so packed with pressing work.

It's life on the farm.

The crescendo of the highly orchestrated days of fall has suddenly given way to the lingering days of Indian summer—where there is time to savor the dwindling warmth and walk among the fallen leaves swirling in the autumn breeze. The Earth is turning toward dormancy and there is time to exhale and reflect.

For all of these reasons, fall is my favorite time of year. I love having a full and busy life, yet cherish also these seasonal pauses that Nature periodically inserts into the calendar.

I'm in Colorado this week, gathered with five compatriots who together with me comprise the half dozen principals of Green Eggs (Guild for Relational Economics: Experts in Neighborly & Entrepreneurial Growth that is Green & Sustainable)
. This consortium is exploring whether we have a viable business specializing in services that marry healthy economics with cooperative dynamics. [See my blog of July 26, 2009 for more on Green Eggs.] It's a great group, and we're optimistic that some of our creativity will translate into income streams—both for our clients and for us.

Before I left home for this junket, I had enough post-freeze time to finish reading a library book (which is a novel way for me to spend time during harvest), make my final batches of tomatillo salsa & hot pepper relish for the year, and craft a custom-made threshold
for Ma'ikwe's new house from Sandhill's stash of seasoned 5/4 white oak—which I delivered to the house site Thursday afternoon, en route to the train station for my overnight ride to Denver. (Though I love working with wood, it was a rare treat to be able to spend time with a plane in my hand, beveling the quarter-sawn oak board to highlight the ray flecks.)

When I return home next Thursday, I'll help Ma'ikwe install the triple-wall stove pipe for her wood stove, and maybe lend a hand with building the cob wall in the southwest corner. Better yet, I'll get to spend more constructive time with my wife—not just more time with my wife's construction. I'm looking forward to that especially.

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