It's a week already in November and the real beginnings of winter weather have arrived. Mornings are frosty and ice is now forming on the animals' water stations. Nights dip well into the low twenties and fires are lit in the wood stove first thing in the morning. Folks, fall is over and we are entering the Days of Grace.
I wrote about the Days of Grace in my books before, but to summarize here, it's that magical time after the foliage of fall's splendor has disappeared but before the first true snowfall. It's basically a time for farmers to reflect, get last winter preps in, and enjoy the harvests worked on so much all year.
Right now that means enjoying all the garden goodies in jars and our freezer! It means freshly baked breads and treats! It means saving the very last of our saved spring pigs' bacon for the last really good brekkies before our next pig harvest. It means enjoying the fact that a summer of carrying buckets, weeding, repairing fences, moving a dumpster-load of trash, creating new hiking trails on the property, chicken harvests, egg collecting, herb drying, and rabbit butchering - all of that is behind us and morning and evening chores are more about maintenance then heavy work. This is a time of rest, perfectly situated after Samhain and before the party that is Yuletide. The days of grace are what we all need.
Our firewood and hay is looking okay. We will need more of both but right now hay is so scarce and dear - again. Last year it was due to drought. This year it is because of too much rain. Homesteading during Climate Change's roar means these shifts will keep happening, and be more dramatic then in times past. All a farm like ours can do to prepare is try to earn more, save more, work harder. Be ready to buy in more early in the season instead of paying-as-I-go. All of that. It can be a lot.
But we are going strong. With this load of 34 bales it should bring the barn count up to 60-70 bales and we have another 100 in a friend's barn for later in the season when things get REALLY scarce - so that is something we did do in anticipation of supply issues. Firewood is stacked, covered, and around 3 cords. Not bad!
So that is where we fall in early November. Better than in years past but with another person here the reality of being okay, of being warm and safe and whole, all of that weighs so much heavier on me. And so these Days of Grace will also see a lot of prayer and hope and work from me to make sure that when real weather hits - we are safe and tucked in. That feeling is all I ever wanted in life, and when it comes I relax in a way only hibernating animals can understand.
Here's to luck, weather, and love continuing in our coming winter!