Cold-weather bedding time

The last couple of days have had grey moments that portend winter, and I have switched my focus to hardcore cozy prep. The house has, for the most part, been fully reorganized. Tidy, it is not, but there aren’t things spread all over the floor of the mudroom and dining room, waiting to be put up. Those items are either in a general area where they will remain, or up on shelves to be sorted during the winter months. This month, I am focusing on my inner health and the outdoor spaces of my home. The coop has been insulated – it just needs some roosts and additional bedding, the front and back porches need to be cleared and garden supplies stored so they can be maintained, cleaned, oiled, and readied for next year. Garden beds need to be cleared and covered. Because my harvest has been minimal to non-existent, whatever vegetables I receive from farmer friends, the CSA and farmers markets are stowed away in various dark places or prepped, bagged, and frozen. Last month we made a big vat of chili and put away half, and this month we are preparing a vat of pasta sauce to have in the freezer. Little baggies of cabbage and onions and jalapenos are frozen for use in the endless bowls of ramen that will be consumed in the coming months.

This will be my third winter here, and I’m finally starting to understand the rhythm of the seasons, along with the countless mini-rhythms that spin off from them. Yesterday’s micro-rhythm was the changing of the bedlinens from the slick bamboo sheets I splurged on when I was temporarily wealthy to flannels and my faux-down comforter in a crisp duvet that makes a satisfying crinkly noise when I situate myself under it. It does such an efficient job at trapping my body heat that my midnight forays to the bathroom end with a satisfied “ahhhhhh” once I’m back in my nest. I’m swapping my house crocs for fuzzy slippers and considering getting more long-sleeved shirts with thumbholes cut out. I have supplementary heaters for my bedroom, office, and living room so I can cozy up in those spaces without moving the house thermostat up over 55.

When I look out of my windows, the grey sky is beautifully contrasted by the flame-colored leaves and still-green grass of the field across the street. Except for the asters and the as-yet-to-bloom daisies, the wildflowers in the yard have all gone to seed, and this year I discovered the inadvertent genius of letting the weeds grow around the coop and yard, as I watch the birds harvest the seeds. They leave the grain I throw out for them on the ground, but because the barn cats have been so effective at keeping the rodents away, it remains for them to peck at the next day. I’m glad for this brief reprieve from the pressures of feed costs, because winter is coming and feed is necessary and expensive in winter. I’m slowly adding protein-rich supplements to the scratch I throw out for them, and have set aside outdated grains and flour from my kitchen so I can make warm gruel as a winter treat for the flock. Next year the goal will be to have worm farms started in the spring so we have plenty of fresh mealworms and soldier fly larvae in the winter.

I have worked really hard these past two months to create a space for myself to relax in this home of mine. I am hoping to spend the cold seasons further sifting through and organizing, but also taking time to relax and enjoy my home with puzzles, good food, lots of reading, and snuggling in the big bed with my journals and planners.

I hope your autumn is equally cozy.