There is beauty to be found in the changing of earth’s seasons, and an inner grace in honoring the cycles of life.
— Jack Kornfield
The sounds + smells of autumn linger, but the burning hues that splattered the countryside surrender to the icy fingers of a new season. Winter is making its entrance.
Mornings are made of mist, gusting winds occasionally sending a single leaf to dance at the window for me as I write in from of the woodstove, while evenings come to a calmer close, tucking in under the covers of a dense, almost glowing fog.
Sickness struck, derailing plans as I tended to my other half for several days — dreadfully ill and frustrated at the harsh jolt of reality + its forced stand-still. A reminder, for both of us, that every hour of every day cannot be consumed by work, even if pleasant, and we must take time to be more present, slow down, rest.
The limited light noise here means on clear nights we can count on innumerable stars, planets, galaxies lavishly spattered across the sky. We gaze up to see the constellations we know + dream up new ones to imprint in our memory of this place. Deep heart of southern France, apparently it’s not just us.
Planting by moon cycle is a tradition that runs deep. With only anecdotal evidence from a few locals (and the fact that every garden store has moon-planting guides on display at checkout), I did some digging. Between more or less nighttime light from the moon + rotational changes of soil moisture, there might be some merit in gardening by the lunar cycle.
The natural world around us is beginning to burnish brightly with the autumn palette, though there is plenty of green to be found as well. Meanwhile at home in Wisconsin, the first snowfall was a pristine glimpse of winter on its way there.
Speaking of life before the Great French Farm Adventure, mais bien sûr, our #fridaynightpizza game is going strong. We had a few weeks of storebought dough while settling down + settling in, but yesterday I finally rolled up my sleeves, proofed the yeast + hand-kneaded a small test of my recipe using locally-sourced farine de blé française. Beauts.
On the first of November I woke to the sound of something skittering in the wall behind the bed. Then the crow of our rooster — once, twice, three times. Still dark, I got the fire crackling anew before setting out in the fog to greet the menagerie.
Back inside I warmed myself through in front of the woodstove with hands cupped around a mug of coffee. My ears pricked again as a tiny brown mouse scampered along the wall and into a hole between two stones. Turning to look out at the morning sun stretching its golden glow over the garden an earthworm inched across the table from a basket of greens harvested on walk back in. I return to my coffee and pick up a book.
I find it quite extraordinary how perfectly easily one can adapt to change. What once seemed impossible or improbable or even unacceptable effortlessly becomes happy routine. This is, of course, not so in all situations for all people, and perhaps is occurring more fluidly in our case because we dreamt of this simpler, homier way of life.
I now practically live in wellie boots, airdry our clothes on a line (or on a rack in front of the fire when it rains), research the best methods to keep a litter of outdoor rabbits healthy and their runs clean, and work to increase egg-laying yields of our flock with fresh herbs, homemade fermented feed + a DIY maggot feeder. He splits our firewood with an ax, espaliers small trees along the lane to create a natural fence, created an electrolysis bath to help restore an antique grain mill, and tills the garden + compost hill on a tractor. Hello, new normal.
The dismal weather began to cooperate some in the past couple of days, so we squeezed in as much work as possible, but have found time to make delicious meals + desserts, take hikes around our hamlet + in the valley, and here I am finally posting. Tomorrow the rain returns — market day it is. I hope all is well + wonderful by you as we get into the new month. Here are several things that caught my attention in the past week. Enjoy, and happy November!
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Some interesting, fun, delicious reads:
November is Prematurity Awareness Month. One out of every 10 births in the US are premature. Worldwide the figure amounts to about 15 million annually, and approximately one million of those babies don’t survive. Help raise awareness + show your support for our very littlest!
Hearty rosemary is still going strong in the garden, lasting through the winter in many regions. Mix up a batch of infused simple syrup for use on pancakes + waffles, or in coffee, tea or cocktails, like a gin gimlet.
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