City living. I knew only that way of living before 1966 Farmhouse landed in front of me. Except for a few years in the 90’s when I lived in rented space in Tahoe, climate rarely caused me to radically alter daily activities. Harsh winters change all that, as I am learning.
A fine layer of snow blanketed the valley night before last, melted yesterday, and then returned stronger last night and this morning. Certainly, the apples are now over. Pears, too. Frozen lettuce does not endear itself to cold-sensitive molars. Certainly, cilantro has laid down to die. But still, the kale carries on.
Being a farmer requires following the writings on a calendar closely. The plans for taking green cuttings from grapevines and flowering bushes to propagate for next spring have now wilted like the beet greens. I missed that deadline, or dead vine, as the case may be. Unheeded instructions to move winter crops out of what is now shade to a sunny area of the yard are now crumpled and water stained on October’s page, folded over onto the back of the stiff calendar backboard.
Where did summer go, with its radiant heat and intense light? At 6,000 feet in altitude, the light and heat fades in November. My plans of experimenting with the Ruth Stout method of gardening were only partially implemented. Regardless of which method one uses in the garden, work is still required. My energy and attention faded with the heat.
Growing food while also working as a professional consultant requires daily decisions on whether to work outside or get a new retainer agreement written and signed. Work up a detailed analysis of the pros and cons of taking such and such position? Or, go outside and set up mini-tents over onions? Cut down brittle and brown sunflower stalks looming overhead or help a company get incorporated?
While the consulting work remains at less variable constants year-round. each day passing moves the garden closer to a new change in the season. Why must the climate always be waxing or waning in a certain direction? I mourn all the applesauce I did not make. Now the apples sit frozen beneath an inch of snow.
The creativity at 1966 Farmhouse now must turn to the interior -- the unpainted floor, the prior owner’s taste in mint green wall color, and the grocery bags holding dead plant bundles saved for their seeds. Now that I have to enjoy the outdoors by looking through glass, I realize I never cleaned the windows when I moved in. One wonders where the Christmas tree will go in this new, old house.
Must I take up doing needlework in the winter to make the transition to country living a perfect caricature? I will save that for old age. Renovation will resume, as long as the money holds out.
Au revoir mes peches. Ciao ciao arugula. Adios tomatillos. Hello new life of falling white snow, clear windows and crackling fires.