Getting dirty in the springtime with planting and again in the Fall as we prepare for the coming snow reminds me that it is good to live close to the land. I remind my son–it is good to know how to grow things and how to store things. He smiles in his “yep, I know it mom,” smile, and goes about his business. But it is so true. To know how to prepare for the seasons and to enjoy to process of the changes is something of a gift. Is it just small town? I’m not sure, but I do think that it is more focused on the harvest in small towns. When I lived in the city, we pulled out the winter clothes from the storage and switched them out for the shorts and swim trunks, but that was nothing like processing 300lbs of apples in two weeks, or turning over compost for six garden beds. The chickens have to be prepared and so do the cars. Snow tires are coming out of the shed this weekend for my car and for the other car, well, we have to get new ones still. I’m sure the snow will beat us to that chore. And of course, the winter clothes still have to be brought out.
With all the preparations for winter, we still have our daily activities at work and school. Cross country and soccer. Fall fundraisers for community organizations and whatever else fun we can fit in. It is a lovely time of year, and busier it seems each year. But a time that I enjoy as I listen to folks talk about their Fall harvest, their apple picking, cider-making, green chile roasting, raspberry preserve adventures, pickling and other preparations for winter. It reminds me that the dirt under all our fingernails keeps us all a bit healthier and hardier for the coming months when it gets cold and dark out there.