Not Officially Winter

November 17, 2015

Contributed by NicolasNicolas Graybear

It’s not officially Winter yet, but it sure has a wintery feel:  temperatures hovering around freezing in the mornings; occasional frost; mountainsides devoid of colors other than browns and grays – save the few pines, spruce and firs…

There are a very few lingering goldenrod, purple aster and yarrow flowers stubbornly displaying their defiance, but most of the summer flowers have produced their seed heads resulting in lots of fluffy clumps of various shades of off-white up the mountainside. The large mounds of virgin’s bower seed heads covering the dying vines always look frosty.

Ninety-nine point nine percent of the leaves have abandoned their tenuous perches and now begin their slow decomposition on the forest floor to humus to nourish their former hosts and new growth in the Spring.

The multiflora rose hips have changed from hard dry orange to softer red and, while they will never be as tasty as some other hips, have taken a decided turn toward a Vitamin C-laden sourness and sweetness.

Even the last of the domestic and escaped apples have ripened. A couple of prized trees have fruit that rival the Gala, Fuji and HoneyCrisp in flavor, texture and sweetness. YUM! (From which Elia, or one of the cubs, occasionally makes a pie for me.)

The scraps from the woodshop are knocking the morning chill back and warming us pleasantly as I write this. The scraps won’t last long when Winter really takes hold, but I and a couple of the cubs cut and split about six cords of firewood this past Summer that will hopefully provide two or three years warmth.

Speaking of the woodshop, I seem to have been cursed with the need to look at every piece of firewood as a potential project to be sawn, planed, bored, carved, turned or otherwise magicked into a practical or aesthetic object.

Ah, well, back to the apothecary. I need to whip up something Elia suggests I take for this cough while we eagerly await the first snow. (Which we had had by this time last year and does not look at all imminent – just another bout of heavy rain.)

Happy day to you!


Deb, Harry, bee balmNature enthusiasts Harry LeBlanc and Deb Vail are at home in the forest hiking to reach beautiful vistas and searching for native plants in the southern Appalachians. They are co-founders of Grandparents of the Forest, an intimate business offering simple yet meaningful ways for children and their parents to connect to Nature for well-being and healing. They also make Sacred Forest® Flower Essences from the plants they encounter. They are former organic farmers and parents of 5 grown children.

Organized under Autumn, Nicolas.

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