Maine really does have four, completely distinct seasons - if we're talking about winter, spring, summer, fall. People here like to joke that we have winter, hunting season, mud season and tourist season, or other humorous ways to describe life here in Maine. Here at Chez Brown, we have three seasons: winter, spring, and getting-ready-for-winter.
At least, that's the way it often feels during the summer and fall (I separated the spring as it's own entity, because, while we are planting the garden and starting our wild harvesting, etc., we are just so grateful for the retreating snow, warm sunny days, and the return of green after the bleakness of our long winter, that it doesn't feel like we're getting ready for the next one). In January, when we get the seed catalogs, it's all giddy and fun and exciting to look at the colorful photos, mouth watering, imagining how yummy everything will taste fresh from the garden. The reality is that most of what we plant is not for us to enjoy "in season", but for us to harvest and store for winter.
In addition, when the woodstove is not in operation, that's when we're getting the fuel for it.
So, while the rest of the world is down at the beach, soaking up their winter stores of Vitamin D, and leaving their trash that will be cleaned up with my tax dollars (with the ever increasing rates for which I get nothing extra), I'm getting ready for winter.
It might sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not. I love my very simple life. In the winter, I am thankful for the stored food, grown locally by farmers I trust, or hand-raised here on my quarter acre, and for the warmth of the woodstove that keeps our home cozy. I am blessed to have a yard that's big enough for some growing, but small enough that I'm not overwhelmed. I'm grateful for my amazing children, who help without complaint, and for Deus Ex Machina, my amazing partner - in all ways - who follows the advice of the Nike shoe corp marketing team just do it.
As I pulled the wagon filled with split wood to the fence-line where it was being stacked to dry, those were my thoughts. I listened to the birds and watched the bees flitting from flower to flower - pollinating our crops and making honey so that we have food.
Yesterday, Little Fire Faery gathered two baskets full of mixed greens and herbs - some cultivated, some wild. These were dehydrated, and we'll use them over winter in soups.
So far, we have one quart jar. We're planning for at least two more before the season is over ... and maybe we could even squeeze in a day - or two - at the beach.