October 19, 2015
autumn leaves painted by Huckley, age 5
At night, the frost is nipping more frequently now, and the autumn palette of leaves are turning quickly. October is passing far too swiftly, and I’m hardly keeping up with the applesaucing, tomato roasting, and last pickling of the season. There is far too much more to do…like watching leaves bob and float down the creek, or digging with tractors in the kitchen garden. The doors are left ajar as kids run to greet friends who drop by, and the smell of moist earthiness mingles with woodsmoke and ripening apples. The aroma of autumn is so distinct, so pungent, so very familiar ~ like an old friend.
Tomatoes are still taking up most surfaces in our home, and they are slowly ripening so that I may oven-roast them and the freeze them in anticipation of a big saucing day. I did make a favourite soup, though, on a particularly cool October day. Roasted tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and dill from the garden topped with a large dollup of homemade yogurt. Delicious!
Our days are getting cozier, though, and we’re getting our firewood ready for the season ahead. We always have grand plans to begin early and let the wood get really good and dry from hot summer days. But farm life spills over into the available time to do such tasks, however well-intentioned. So fire-wooding becomes more of a sprint to the finish line, rather than a slow and deliberate course.
Sorting through the firewood photos above, I am reminded of my nine year old at this same age, working with the same focus and intent. I so love to see my children step into the helping roles with these tasks. There is a longer stride, a taller stance as they recognize their ability to be helpful. We have a saying in our home that you will hear often enough, “Always say yes to the offer of help.” And so we allow the five year old to wield a hatchett, or the seven year old to light the fire. Many hands make light work and that is never felt more acutely than in this season of preparing to hunker down.