Winter, my favorite season.


Most people don’t like Winter for some obvious reasons. It is cold first of all, and the landscape might be perceived as, well, dreary. But farmers, especially this farmer, see things a bit differently. It is the calm time. It is a time for quiet reflection. You see, spending time out doors helps align one with nature’s hints. Everything dies back and takes it easy to gain needed energy for the coming Spring. I feel we all need to do this. Working in high gear all the time does not lend itself well to good production, not to mention stamina.

So take some time to look around. I find beauty in the monochromatic landscape. It is peaceful to look at the bones of the naked trees, and feel the crunch of the dried grasses and leaves. Also, without all the growing vegetation crowding the view, you see space. The landscape is broader and more open.

Now take a breath. Feel the crisp cold air invigorate your nostrils and clear your mind. I like to walk around the pasture with my guardian dog, Nisa. We slowly walk the perimeter and she romps picking up sticks, sniffing interesting smells. I love watching her move with her strong grace. We always stop on the pier over our pond and just stand and look and take in everything, noticing small changes since the last time we were here. I look for the black duck that has become a singular winter resident. I see that the lilipads have all but retreated underwater. It is a beautiful spot.

But all the reflection is not done outdoors. It is also a time to gather indoors and collect garden catalogs, plan for the spring garden. And since little actual gardening is being done, I also work on fiber projects, finding more time to process and spin fiber I have been collecting. I love the creativity and the repetitive nature of simple yet time consuming tasks.

And yet there is important work to be done too. A planning time for two businesses. The wholesale yarn dyeing business of Scarlet Fleece is going through a metamorphosis of sorts in that a new website is in the works and a big project coming up in Spring. So much computer work and pattern planning and so forth is taking place. And the retail business of Sweet Tree Hill Farm. We are in a growing phase and plans for more fencing, a line of products and a spring fiber festival all needs to be planned for.

So a farmer looks to nature for a lesson in time management. For in every season, there is a time to reap and a time to sow. But also a time to plan, dream, prepare and rest. This is winter.

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