“A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air.” – Eric Sloane
As I read this quote, my mind traveled backwards to yesterday. The Country Boy and I had gone out to measure the front area where we used to have our garden. As I walked down the drive, the air was cool, and my feet walked across leaves that had been soaked by the morning rain. I breathed in that wonderful fresh earthy aroma and knew in my heart that Autumn was finally on its way.
Here in the South, we really don’t get a true, traditional Autumn. Yes, our tree leaves do turn color – but not many of them have the rich reds, purples and brilliant golds that they have up North. Surrounding our property are a few Sweet Gums, an occasional oak and a rare Beech or two. Mostly, we have pine and cedar, so we miss out on the colorful array. Still, to get a respite from the sweltering heat and humidity is a true gift of Nature.
Around here, Autumn means spending our time with year-end clean up and making plans for Spring. Our firewood is usually cut early in the year, and we take time to set up racks closer to the house, in hopes that it may actually get cold enough to use it. The canning is done, so I spend time in front of the jars lined up on the shelves in the cellar to see what menus I can plan, and what new recipes I can try out. Even with the trace of mustiness that is a permanent fixture in the cellar, my mind can begin to smell the aromas that will soon fragrance the house.
Autumn also means longer strolls around the property, and time spent down by the pond on the prayer bench. There is a certain peace in the solitude down there, and a respite from the hectic days of Spring and Summer. Autumn is the time where I can choose to just sit and think, or allow my mind to go completely blank. And as Mr. Sloane put it in his quote, I can just take time to do nothing more than to listen to the symphony of Nature.
Farming is constant. Regardless of the season, there is plenty to do to keep you busy. Spring finds you planting and working in the garden; working livestock; refreshing chicken coops; and getting the pastures fertilized for hay. Summer will find you harvesting; canning & preserving; cutting hay; and spending an inordinate amount of time getting up close and personal with weeds. Winter walks with you as you inspect the animal water bins for ice and frozen hoses and supplementing their feed; putting out hay; hauling firewood; and doing routine equipment repairs and maintenance, as well as the deep cleaning inside, that we don’t have time to do during the other seasons. Autumn still has its share of work, but for the most part, chores are fewer, gardens are a bit smaller spare time is a bit more plentiful. It is a simple thread of quiet time, slipped in between the busyness of other seasons.
For these, and many other reasons, Autumn is my favorite time of year. It is time for me to catch up on my reading; try out new recipes; get outside for long walks; and take the time to not only breathe again, but to fully appreciate the life I am living.
And the life I live is on a farm. It just doesn’t get any better than that.