Autumn
Homestead Reflections

Autumn

It’s still dark outside as we rouse ourselves from our warm bed. There’s coffee and quiet moments in the living room as the sun rises over the cedar trees. A quiet contentment to not speak but just spend time sitting together.

The yard is silent as we make our way out. Those first still moments before the hustle and race of feeding, watering and milking starts, are the best. The only faces are our two livestock guardians meeting us at the gate, and the heifers looking for morning grain. Both watch quietly as we scoop feed into a various assortment of buckets. The heifer’s steady breathing coming out in puffs.

Milking is far more enjoyable this time of year. I cuddle up next to the warm goat, quietly squeezing the milk into the cool stainless steel pail. Her munching on her oats. No flies, no mosquitos, just me and her.

Our final round of meat chicks are finishing up. They explore and scavenge through the yard, always cheeping out to the others so they know where they are. A constant sweet sound that surrounds the valley yard. I will miss them dearly. What no one ever told me was how friendly cornish Xs are. They have to be the happiest birds in the world, and it breaks my heart over and over again.

Dan usually leaves for work and I finish up dragging the hose from pen to pen to refill water troughs. The roosters are belting out their morning hellos, the mist that surrounded the fields when we first came out is gone, and the day has started. Those first morning moments gone away.

My ritual after chores is to go back inside for another cup of coffee and enjoy the silence of an empty house before the tasks of the day. I like to write during those times. Stories, moments, memories. I try to trap each moment with words that help me to remember this place.

Fall brings with it a feeling of getting back on a routine.

All summer long we are tossed and turned by the work load. Dinners are simple and generally very uninspired (ever notice I never post recipes in the summer time?) and we flop into bed exhausted, with dirt under our fingernails, and skin burning from the sun.

But then Autumn graces us with her stunning presence and all seems right with the world again.

I don’t mind the cool mornings and the grey skies. Mainly because they’re the backdrop to the most stunning display of colour I have ever seen. The trees turn the most delicious shades of red, orange, and yellow. The meadows are alive with a thousand purple and yellow flowers. A stark contrast to the grey skies and golden grass. The entire season warms my heart. I wish every month was October.

I could spend a lifetime eating pumpkin pies, drinking cider, going for hay rides, corn mazes, my breath coming out in white puffs. My boots, my sweaters, my scarves. Autumn has always felt special.

Most people feel inspiration in the Spring but I get it in the Fall. The burst of fresh air after a long sweaty summer gets my mind racing again; always planning for the next season, the next month, the next year. Getting back into a routine is something that brings my A-type personality great joy. Menu planning starts up again, kombucha starts again, we get ourselves back on budget, the house is swept of the dust from summer chores, the flies die.

With all the joy that autumn brings, it also brings me a sadness.

To know me, means you know I like to be busy. Summer certainly provides that. But when the weather first starts to turn cool, I stop. It’s always just for a second, but I suddenly halt and look around. This farm is my heart; I need the farm more than she needs me. And every once and while it dawns on me that someday this will be gone. It will be over. I’ll be old and these words will be all I have left. While people like to tell me how much time I have left, I have been to enough funerals for people my own age, and I have met enough retired people that never got to live their dream, to know that time is fickle. She tricks you into thinking you have more, and then suddenly the cold hard truth is revealed. Everything ends.  So in those few moments, when I stop and look out over the farm, there is a deep overwhelming joy, but also sadness.  Autumn is a season all about letting go.

May I soak up these too short October days before the brutal breath of November turns this place completely grey.  And may I never take it for granted.

Amen.

 

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