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It's the first harvest festival of the year, the real start of fall to folks like me who keep the old holidays. I am presently awaiting the first delivery of firewood, a green cord that will be stacked first and allowed to dry out over the next 6 months to be used last, hopefully not until next March, but it's important to get a start on it. And even if it's cheap, green, firewood it's something that will make me feel like I'm moving forward towards warmth.

Today my personal celebration will be in the forest, walking along the stream and fishing for brook trout. Later tonight I'll make sure to set aside some time for mediation and gratitude for the summer I've had so far. For the challenges and the bliss, for the new friends and old. It's traditionally the gain harvest, so baking bread might be a wise way to celebrate tonight. Some folks take a loaf and break it into four sections, placing it on the four corners of their barn or property for blessings and abundance. I think that's a lovely tradition. Anything that allows you time to be grateful is worth your time.

My friend Andrew came by last week and took down an old apple tree that a storm took partially down. I have been bringing in armloads of firewood, it's about a face cord I still need to split the rounds from. I am starting that today. And hopefully, by tomorrow evening I will have dry, ready-to-burn applewood for the first fires that are lit for Autumn. I'll stack as much of it as possible indoors, and have a little security knowing at least I am getting started on winter heat. Between that apple tree and this delivery today I am at least on my way.

Fishing has become my place of reflection, peace, and passion this summer. I've written over 15,000 words in my River Diaries project. I've also been pitching fishing and sporting magazines with hope they'll want to publish some of it. Even asking them feels like a step towards more hope. You don't get 100% of the opportunities you don't ask for, right?

The pigs are growing steady and the lambs are too. The ten chicks that hatched out this May are now proper little birds, and I hope the majority are hens, but if not I'm happy to put some more roosters in the freezer.

The gardens have been more neglected than they have been these past few years but at least once a week or so I am in there weeding and trying my best to manage. The amount of rain and lack of sun this July has everything so stunted. The kale is doing well, but basically everything else seems smaller than it should for August 1. The corn is small and yellowing. The pumpkins are still just blossoms. The tomato plants are tiny compared to last year. Even the sunflowers seem weak?

Overall, things are hard but I remain stubbornly optimistic.

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