Simple Gifts

Our move to New York had much to do with trying to build a life that embraced simplicity. As we learn to live with less we can’t help feel that instead of loss, we feel blessed with abundance. Gifts of plenty come our way in the form of harvests and sky and time but also in unexpected opportunities. The past few months of unseasonably warm weather represented one of those opportunities. Winter weather has asserted itself in full force in the last few weeks, but the months of October and November afforded us with weather that allowed us to get ahead on many projects that we thought would have to wait for spring.

We got a bunch of perennials in the ground, giving them a jump start as well as adding a few trees to bolster our hedgerow up near our new hill house. We also took advantage of the warm spell to order and plant over 50 current and gooseberry bushes in the orchard. New beds were prepared in the back fields as well as the front. We piled up composted manure and covered it with black cloth and in the spring it will be ready to plant.

Our “raised” bed is finally almost complete. It was dug three years ago and because of its ambitious size, it has taken us that long to complete although we made good use of a part of it last season. It yielded hundreds of potatoes, onions, leeks, jalapeno and cayenne peppers even though we only used a quarter of the bed and we were hit with the potato blight. I can’t wait for next year … my seed list for that bed is ambitious (and it includes some new roots as well as perennials)! I say almost complete because all the ingredients are there, but it still needs some smoothing and raking and organizing, but we will be ready to use the whole bed next season.

The mild weather was also a boon to our building enterprise. Although we had a bit of a late start while we figured out exactly the right materials to use for our house, we have made really good progress. Ed did the heavy lifting organizing the work and building window frames etc. and our neighbors who are our builders did the really heavy lifting by setting up the walls, readying them for concrete pours and my job was to ask a few questions here and there and pound a few nails and admire the work and the view from the “living room” in our house to be. It feels amazing to see it come together.

As of this day, we are looking forward to some opportune days for getting the roof on and then we can breathe a sigh of relief. We have the waterproofing ready to apply, but that depends on weather too. Who knows, that might happen too, but it might not. We try to be patient! And we try to live in alignment with Mother Nature, a force we can’t control … it is a force that we can only respect.

So, we close out the year with thanks for all the opportunities we have been given this year and we look forward to the beginning of a new decade. And tomorrow the days begin to get longer again, and I have to say I’m really looking forward to that!

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