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!"