FALL IN THE MOUNTAINS ~
We are blessed to live, farm and ranch in the mountains. Our 25 acre organic farm sits along a river, nestled at the base of the high peaks. As fall color drips down the mountainside kissing the maples and poplars with reds and golds, the evergreen balsams stay true to their green/blue hue, accenting the golden grasses of fall. All of this is silouetted against the babiest of blue skies saturated in fall sunshine that warms my woolen vest as I trek through the woods to spot buck rubs.
This is our favorite time of year on the farm. The garden harvest is already canned, dried or frozen. The animals are nestled in ready for breeding season that begins in October. Our goats and sheep who we bred in spring are preparing to give birth to fall lambs and kids, and I am busy harvesting my honey from our honey bees. My husband is busy tagging trees that need to be culled to strengthen our forest. He will mill these this winter after frost.
My husband and our daughter also spend much time in the woods on these weekends. This one is no different. She is off to college but comes home on some weekends to go hunting with her dad. This weekend they’ve spent time walking the trails, looking at scat, watching for ‘rubs’ and ‘scratches’, in preparation for hunting season. They are always on the lookout for coywolves and bears as well, as our goats the coywolves love to kill and our bee hives the bears love to devour. We tend to our fence line and trails for the wild animals that live and traverse our property, as we abutt up to thousands of acres of ‘forever wild’, and are therefore a refuge for beaver, deer, bald eagles, geese, snoe shoe hare, muscrat, link, coywolves and much more. It’s a living park for sure and a blessing we never take for granted. These are the woodlands we traverse and care for along with the wild critters (Canadian Geese yesterday) that are spotted on our farm.
While they are trekking, I have spent my Saturday tending to our bee hives, pulling out hive frames to begin processing the honey. The morning temperature here yesterday was 36 degrees, so indeed temperatures are dropping. I have our frames full of honey placed next to the wood stove we have running to keep the house warm to our liking. The warmth of the stove allows the honey to soften enough for me to use my comb knife to cut through the comb and allow the honey to spin out of the comb easily when I use my honey extractor today.
As our daughter is heading back to college later today, I have armed her with a quart of honey, with the propolis and pollen still in it as it is great for colds and immune system. She uses it for her teas. I’ve also given her 20 bars of homemade organic goat buttermilk soap I made for her for college. The ingredients are tallow from the deer she shot last year, buttermilk from our goats, lye and coconut oil. She is always excited to get ‘from the farm’ care packages.
After she leaves, we’ll have the extractor spinning and honey flowing, just like spring when we tap our maple trees when the sap is flowing. It’s interesting how the seasons, so very different, have so many things in common. In Spring it’s the sugar bush, and in fall it’s the honey bush.
I believe ‘true peak’ color was this weekend here at our farm, and it was such a blessing to have our family together, outside and in the woods to enjoy the color, walk the land and touch the earth.