The lush vegetation is gone, and the green pastures are buried
under a foot of snow. But autumm and winter have a beauty of their
own. A little more stark perhaps, and with a touch of melancholy,
the landscape of absence has a poignant beauty nevertheless.
There is this plum tree at the bottom of the garden, for example,
and the early October sun burning through the morning fog.
And there are the leaves, more flamboyant in their dying than they
ever are in the prime of their existence:
Louie, one of the barn cats, enjoying the autumn sun near the horse
And then there are the pumpkins adding their surreal orange to
the burnished hues of reds and browns.
The evening sky too is special in early winter, elegant,
and the palette has changed from the dramatic reds and oranges
to an almost monochromatic blue-grey.
The snow and cold came quite early this year,
putting the fields to sleep softly.
The horses still enjoy spending the days outside,
but it is more challenging to the humans to ensure that the
animals have water and good hay to sustain them in the harsher
Things look different, and their meanings feel oddly different
too, when the context changes.
It is December now. We are not yet tired of the snow and cold,
but there is much winter left, and the temperatures have not
yet dipped below -12 or so. That will come too. But it will
be all right, and it provides a good excuse to sit by the
fire and plan projects for the dog days of summer.
Early spring is "mud season" on the farm. But one day you look out, and the drab browns and greys of March and April have given way to vivid greens. Flowers appear, trees bloom, and cycle starts all over again. Almost time to plant the vegetable garden.
It is the flowers, mostly, that are most surprising every year. We tend to forget where many of the perennials were the year before, and so it is quite magical to discover and re-discover what grows and blossoms.
We know it's summer when we start having that "berry problem": what to do with all the ripe berries, and who will venture out to harvest and face the mosquitoes?
First there are strawberries, then the red currants, and then raspberries.
By the end of July the freezer is full, and everyone we know has been given a basket of this or that fruit. The kitchen counter is filled with jars of jams and jellies ready for sale.
Our other main crop, hay, also gets its first cut in June, and the bales need bringing into the barn before the next rain.
It is a very busy and tiring day, but also a great deal of fun as friends and neighbours drop in to lend a hand.