It’s the second Saturday in November, and I’ve been preparing for the winter weather that I know is coming. I washed sheets and hung them on the clothesline to dry – we won’t have many more days that are warm and dry enough, and I love the smell of sheets dried outside. Two weeks ago we harvested the carrots and potatoes from our garden, and I pulled up the rosemary and thyme from the outside pots that I had planted them in, tied them in bunches, and hung them upside down to dry inside. Today I snipped the dried stems and placed them on cookie sheets to dry in the oven on the lowest possible setting. After they dried I pulled the brittle leaves off the stems by pinching my thumb and index finger and gently running them along the stem. I told my husband that it was very “thyme-consuming”, but well worth the effort even if only for the satisfaction I get from smelling the herbs as I prepare them. This seemed like a good day to make bread, so I tossed in some of the dried herbs just for fun.
This afternoon we brought in the rain water, bucket by bucket, that I had saved from our last storm so I can use it to water my indoor plants this winter. Then I took down the wind chime to store in the garage over the winter. I’m always a little sad to bring it in, and would really like to be able to leave it out all winter. When the chimes are ringing in the summertime I always know that the wind has shifted around to a northerly direction. North winds usually bring cooler, drier air in the summer, but winter is a different matter entirely. I tried leaving the chimes out all winter once, but by spring the winter winds had scattered the pieces on the ground in the herb garden. Fortunately, I was able to find them all and put it back together again.
Although I’m a little sad to bring in the chimes this time of year, I look forward to winter. I love the quiet and how everything seems to retreat inside of itself. It feels a little like hibernating: a time to be quiet, reflect, and use the inner reserves that we’ve stored through the plentiful summer and create something new.
“In winter we lead a more inward life. Our hearts are warm and cheery, like cottages under drifts, whose windows and doors are half concealed, but from whose chimneys the smoke cheerily ascends.” Henry David Thoreau
Well, the bread smells like it’s done …