I remember other times away when we've sent requests home for photos of the gardens and orchards, looking forward to noticing new growth and old patterns, but not this time. In ten days we didn't expect any changes at all.
But quite the opposite happened. We left crisp, sunshiney, tee-shirt wearing days. We left apples, pears and quinces on the trees and tomatoes, zucchinis and cucumbers on the vines. We left trees covered in green leaves. We left days that dried laundry on the line and nights that were crisp enough to light the fire. We left blue skies and light and the promise of time to get everything done.
While we were away the wild animals cleared all the fruit off the trees and off the ground. They were so thorough that I felt like we'd been robbed until my farmer boy pointed out that no human would take all the rotten fruit from under the trees as well. Pears, apples, nashis and even the medlars have been eaten up without a scrap left behind.
The day after we got back I picked a crate of tomatoes and I could probably go through them again today and get another. But for every firm, ripe tomato, there are three split, squooshy soft ones. Hunting through the vines feels like an unlucky dip when you put your hands in and are confronted by the overripe, the decay, the damp, the slugs, the tar and that old tomato smell. Last Monday I lost my lens cap in a row of tomatoes and it still feels too icky in there to go back and look.
I'm gradually picking the beans as their pods brown off. There are carrots, beetroots, lots of leafy greens and leeks by the row. And for some reason the birds have left us some quinces for jelly. But the peak of the season has most definitely past and it feels like we're almost at that time now where some things will keep in the ground but nothing much will grow.
How did we go from peak to past so quickly? How are we not meant to take it personally when six months ago we were optimistically planting seeds and yet here we are now pulling out the debris by the armful and chucking it on the compost pile?
But the leaves have put on quite the show for us over the past few days. Everywhere you look there are reds and oranges and yellows and purples. We're constantly elbowing each other, pointing things out and ooooing and ahhhhing.
And as for the laundry and the fire? Inside and all the time.
I'm really worried about late autumn and winter. I'm anxious about the gloomy, grey days that are so cold they make my bones ache. I'm worried about driving the girls to school and back in the dark, over the mountains, on icy roads. I'm worried about the months where nothing grows in the garden. I'm worried about the inevitable questioning of whether I'm even a farmer if I'm not growing anything. I'm worried about feeling stuck and slow and uninspired and uninteresting. I'm worried about all the jobs on the farm I want to do before it's too cold to go out and do them. I'm worried about mould and damp and the slushy mud. I'm worried about how long it'll be before the warmth of the sun touches my face again. In a way I feel like I'm half a person in winter and I'm worried about that too.
A little while ago someone wrote to me on my blog about how often I express fear and that maybe I should confront it. In this case it's certainly true, I do have a fear of winter and I am totally willing and ready to accept it and face it this year. I'd love to work out where it comes from and what it's all about and how to conquer it. Or a least experience a milder version of it. I hope it's possible
I'm going to try and raise my level of fitness by going to gym for another session a week or by committing to some home exercise time on a regular basis. Actually maybe I need to a goal to work towards.
I'm going to expand my soup repertoire past the leek and potato and vegetable basics.
I'm going to learn something new. I think it's time for me to leave my comfort zone and experiment.
I'm going to try again to try and meditate.
I'm going to research and buy some quality, not itchy thermal underwear.
I'm going to take a break from knitting socks after I finish this pair and knit a bunch of beanies, mittens, scarves and shawls. Pepper has a list up on the door where family members can place their orders.
I'm going to make myself rug up and get outside whenever it's not windy and raining.
I'm going to plan some trips to Melbourne.
I am going to make up a mantra about decay and rotting being part of the cycle of life and I'm going to write it out and repeat it to myself.
I'm going to (try my hardest to) keep our house clean and tidy.
I'm going to make some nice smelling bath things.
When we're stuck inside for days at a time, I'm going to remind myself that I dream of the slow, quiet days in summer and autumn and try to re-frame the whole situation.
And then I walk out the front door and there are mushrooms growing on the grass. Seriously. I am not a fan of the fungus.
How about you?
Has the season changed where you are?
Do you have any sure fire ways to beat the cold weather blues?
Do you have any super soup recipes, yoga for beginners You-tubes, meditation for dummies apps?
Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?
I hope so.
See you next week.