The color of November is grey and fawn and taupe and tan – rusty oak leaves on the ground in carpets and iron-washed olive greens on the evergreen trees. The ground riddled with gummy-edged pinecones.
The mess of my dye studio is trying to be put away for winter from the back porch to the basement -the last pots of brittle annuals need to be turned out to the compost pile -pumpkins that froze on the stone wall can be fed to the chickens -kettles of black walnuts and dye vats and yarn fill my kitchen on the stove and on the floor and on the counters when freezing weather turns me to the indoors.
The shorn lambs snuggle in a stall at night and turn out to a small paddock under the apple tree. We both love the twice-a-day parade. They kick and jump up into the air when they see me approach at days’ end.
The breeding groups are set up with suddenly-serious-rams and quieter ewes. Quieter than the ewes that are in the pastures away from the breeding groups. Those ewes are baahing, “What about me?” I shush them with hay because the forage is lean to nonexistent.
Busy workshops and festivals are becoming memories of 2017 while planning 2018 events are in full swing. Online Holiday inventory is being readied. Trips to deliver ewes and rams are added to the calendar. A puppy is coming! Another pup is being spayed soon. Two ram lambs are being wethered. Fencing upgrades are in the works. Manure piles are being added to to clean out for winter and then transferred to fields and gardens for the best mulching. Yarn is being made from fall shearings and fall shearings are being organized for handspinners. Holiday pie-baking is underway.
I’m patching my woolen overalls and mending my barn coat pockets, shaking off my handknits to stay warm while working all day. This past weekend, my heels were blocks of ice and took overnight to have sensation again – finally, I’m going to start wearing my socks.
I thought about playing hooky for a day. Who would know if I chose to knit and read and sip tea all day? Or cook those recipes that I’ve been dog-earing my books on the counter? Sew up the smock and the dress I’ve had cut out… But instead, I make a half-list to accomplish and that is as good as a vacation. My favorite way to stay incentivized is to plan rewards. If I clean this stall, I get points toward a cup of coffee. If I organize the tack room, clean the fridge, put away a month’s worth of laundry, tag all of that yarn, fuss in the chicken coop…I earn a cup of tea, a clean sweep of my eyeglasses, a glass of wine to warm my aching back…small celebrations.
It is the month of Permission.
In the midst of the fullness of each season, it is a chance to exhale. In planning for the new year, there is no remorse for the old. It is 11:00 and midnight is a month away. There is only so much time, which forces my hand to let go of unrealistic to-do’s. And though my m.o. is to get cracking under pressure, I’m leaning toward sleigh bells and rosy cheeks, hustle without the bustle. I’m smug with Permission.