Monday, November 20, 2017

November 2017 - getting ready for winter

Apples and cinnamon simmering -on the way to becoming applesauce
I once read an essay that a Stehekin School student had written about November. It was a short piece and it was not intended to be an amusing composition, but the depth of this young man's negative sentiment about the gray, wet days of November are ultimately entertaining, capturing the feeling that is common in this in-between season.
By mid-November most of the colorful leaves have fallen, faded brown in piles on the ground. The crystal clear sun's light is obscured by clouds and the daylight hours are short, while the mountains' shadows get longer every day. The days start late and nights comes early. The rains that we hoped for during the dry, hot days of summer finally arrive, cold and unrelenting as we watch the snow line come ever closer to the valley floor. The baring of the trees and the lack of direct sunlight transforms the Stehekin valley to an almost monochromatic world. There is much beauty that remains, but it's almost like a shadow of its former glory.
Our attitude about November has to do with perspective. Surviving and thriving in this middle season requires a plan. We call it "getting ready for winter".
On the cold dark days, a productive endeavor can be making applesauce. The beauty of summer brightens my kitchen sink with the fruit from our trees. As long as the apples are still firm, this simple 
peeler, corer, slicer makes short work of preparing the apples with the easy turning of its handle.
After about a half an hour the 40 apples are in the pot and ready to simmer with just a bit of cinnamon and a couple cups of water to help the process begin. 

Soon the house is full of the delicious aroma of sweet, cinnamon applesauce, and November doesn't seem so dark and dreary. Even the steer enjoys our undertaking - at least he likes cleaning up the scraps!
I almost thought I heard him say "Thank You!"

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Letting Go of Dazzling Romance: Stehekin Fall 2017

November in Stehekin, watching the waters retreat and the snow advance down the mountains

We were all in it, in love with this fall in Stehekin.

Perfection, you might say.  Deep and gorgeous hues entertained us far longer than we ever expected after ninety one days of no rain. Our Facebook pages were filled with pictures of admiration and wonder, for the refreshing and inspiring out of doors.  We talked to each other, "Isn't it another gorgeous day?" we said in awe and disbelief looking around, up, down and spying golden tamaracks turning gold near the gray granite peaks.

 Our favorite spots to watch... by Harlequin Bridge and surrounding vine maples, a certain crimson bush along the lakeshore, and drives to High Bridge increased our enthusiasm. 

A favorite view of fall beside Harlequin Bridge
Even now, November 8th, and even after a slightly rude wake up call of snow, the last of the  cherished classic yellows, cheery reds, glowing golds, fiery oranges, are trying to glow, mixing in a riotous mosaic against the evergreens.

The draw was to stay outside and be in the midst of it, forever. Hiking conditions? The best. Gardening? Even the tomatoes made it. Even work felt like play and  every day was a better gift than the day before! A gift of time for us Stehekinites, this longer fall as we build, fix, repair, move and deliver.
The lure of this dazzling romance with fall put us in a bit of a dream state, of thinking it would last forever! Love is blind they say..

It's over, now. Let go, we must. Everything is letting go. Leaves, antlers, seeds, berries, and so... we must follow suit……Dragging our feet and garden hoses around we are reluctantly saying goodbye to a wonderful season.

Blueberry plants prepared for deep snow

Well, most of us are scurrying around, truth be told, to finish projects and face reality. It really is going to turn into winter, but couldn't we just believe otherwise for awhile?

One thing about living in Stehekin is, nature is absolutely in control of your lifestyle.  And you KNOW it.  You are not going to change the arrival date of snow, just because you failed to get enough wood in your woodshed.

Still not enough...!
Get to work!
So friends and visitors to Stehekin, we thank you for being a part of our romance with a particularly special season.  We welcome your presence, no matter the time of year and no matter the rating of the season’s splendor.
We reluctantly turn the page, but also say thanks for being able to turn the page, and start a new relationship with ….Stehekin WINTER! l.c.