We've had quite the unseasonably warm week here, a few days even reaching into the 60s! It takes a bit of thought to remind oneself that it is in fact January and not March. With this tantalizing warmth and sunny days I catch myself wishing winter was over and spring was indeed on the threshold.
Before I started farming, that it is the mindset I had throughout the winter months. It was something to be endured, I couldn't see much of value that the cold and dark had to offer me. Spring was my favorite season for a reason, right?
All that made for winters that just weren't that fun. There were a few lovely interludes of holiday times with family and snow days spent frolicking. But otherwise I just wanted the next thing to come along.
As my first season on a farm came to a close, I began to reflect on my feelings about the fall and winter and realized they had started to change. Now I that I was spending so much time outside, no matter the weather, I could see where there was beauty, and even life, holding on when the temperatures dipped.
A shiny dandelion poking out of a grassy edge of a field, defiant against the chill bite of the winds buffeting me as I picked kale on a November morning. The painterly lines of the sycamore tree branches, bright white and now visible amongst the brown, leafless treescape of the season. A clear, frozen pond just perfect for skating.
And I learned that the green beauty of the vegetable plants I so loved from the spring and summer didn't have to disappear either. There are those hardy folks like kale and cabbage that overwinter just fine. And then I could always get my dose of freshness by stepping into a high tunnel full of baby greens and herbs, the scent of damp soil and growth all the more special due to the coldness outside the plastic walls.
I also realized that the early dark evenings meant more time spent cozy inside cooking, which is always one of my favorite things to do. Now was the time to dedicate hours to involved, multi-step baking projects or to finally make that stew or braise that takes several hours in the oven. Why not soak up this time by making and creating?
So, since then I have tried hard every late fall and winter not to let the descending temperatures bring me down with them. I relish in the views I couldn't see when the trees were full and green. The cold air has a certain smell, especially when it's going to snow, that is the most refreshing and not found in any other season.
While I still hold onto spring as my favorite season, winter is no longer a period to drudge through and dread, instead it's now a time when I can intentionally find things that make me happy. I think there is a unique satisfaction that comes from doing that for yourself.
If the winter is a tough time for you too, I encourage you to spend some time outside and look closer at the seemingly dormant world around you. There are lots of little things to notice and appreciate during the winter and to find joy in.
I hope our vegetable offerings to those of you in the Winter CSA can also be a point of happiness and freshness in this time of a more muted outdoor world. And if you're awaiting the return of the Summer CSA, we're getting it planned behind the scenes and will have more information out to you in February!
To a more intentionally happy winter,