Fall has been gentle this season, offering us warmth, rain, and a little extra time to prepare for the long and inevitable winter ahead. I am looking forward to the cooler weather, the winds, and the snow for all of the gifts they bring.
Winter can be a time of replenishment and rest. I try and take winters lead (if I can) and slow down. A lot of time is spent indoors- focusing on care, homecrafts, community, cooking, baking, and visioning for the spring. As a family we also spend a great deal of time outdoors. to stay in movement, so as a family we go for a walk each day in the winter. Right now, we are settling into the transitioning seasons. The gardens have been put to bed for the season, the garlic planted, the firewood stacked, the hay gathered for the chickens, and the fire cider made. Believe it or not I'm still busy harvesting!
Even though many plants have gone dormant for the winter, there is plenty of harvesting to be had. In the late fall we gather nuts (black walnuts, hickory, acorn) to dry and put away for snacking in the winter. We like to harvest nuts at the end of fall, the reason being that nut trees usually have 1-3 "droppings" The first occurring in late summer, which tends to consist of undesirable, infected nuts. Currently, we are processing a few gallons of red acorns to make into flour. The activity can seem challenging but once you get a hand of the steps and the leeching process, you will never turn back. Some anthropologists believe that humans migrated following the oak trees. Acorns are a valuable, nutrient dense, abundant, and free food source available to all whom gather.
I'm also gathering our local and native holly, which tends to grow on edges of wet earth. I gather these beautiful branches laden with crimson fruit along with spruce, pine, and red cedar for wreath and swag making each winter. This is a fun activity to do with little ones and friends in celebration of winter time.
Winter is also a time to take all of spring/summer/autumn harvests and transform them into wonderful gifts for family and friends. This week, I concocted a warming muscle rub made with white pine pitch, sweet birch, bear fat, and beeswax. The aroma was uplifting, grounding, and lung opening. We will gift the muscle rub this season, along with herbal meads (think sweet cicely, beach rose, black locust), nettle seed gomasio, homemade 3 year aged miso, elecampane infused honey and more!
However you may be transitioning into winter, hopes for the best xo.