On these late afternoons when the light fades earlier and earlier, the inability to complete outdoor work obviously draws one inside sooner and sooner. Once inside, there are winter squash to roast, with seeds to stir fry in the pan, as you might have done two months ago with pumpkin seeds, also in the squash family. Some of those seeds could easily have been saved for next year’s great pumpkin growing adventure.
There are plenty of root crops such as beets, turnips and carrots that store well in a bag in the produce drawer of a refrigerator. The carrots are sweeter if they were harvested after the frost. The turnips are great for cooking, mashing and adding tahini so as to try a turnip hummus. This delicious dip with plenty of garlic could wow anyone at the next holiday office party, with an effort to complement sprinkled cookies and stollen. The beets, with their wonderful rich red juice oozing everywhere could be lovely when roasted with oil, cumin seed and of course garlic again.
But I digress as this is not meant to be a new twist on holiday traditions, but food does permeate so much of our efforts to farm and teach. While inside a well-lit home, with darkness pervading in the outdoors, except for the many lights that adorn bushes and bare branches, I can cook and look out the window with great anticipation. The blinking lights of the postal carrier’s truck are making their way to my house, as the truck makes its way to the Farm as well.
Needless to say, the post office is busy these days. Many packages are traveling from points A to points Z, seamlessly flowing like a large river. The letters too are being sent. Some letters just show pictures of sun strewn children in far away locations. Others tell a story of an up and down year with joys and highlights. If I sent a holiday card to summarize the year, I would be hard pressed not to mention the disgust I have with the one in a round office.
Many letters are also being sent from organizations seeking to stay afloat, hoping that the season of giving which began back in November will propel people to give to a shelter, a school or a teaching farm.
The letters I am looking for are hopefully hand-written and could be sent from anyone near or far. I try and write letters often, even though a text could say what I want to share or an instant picture could capture the feeling I wish to convey. The posts that I could be posting are sent in an envelope with a thoughtful stamp and some careful handwriting, with a message for the person to whom I am sending.
The letters I hope to receive will also be drowned amidst catalogs from stores and seed growers and savers. The indoor light will allow me to peruse the latter and consider placing an order for sowing in the greenhouse and in fields.
But in the meanwhile, as I consider what to grow, whom to teach and how best to keep farming, I can be inside, longing for the light and reveling in the recently arrived delivery of letters, thoughts, stories and wishes, all while dipping some crackers into a homemade dish of turnip hummus.