I woke up today feeling grateful and recharged with a blue sky blasting through the window and a full night of sleep behind me (the first in a while.) Here are a few pictures I took with the early morning sun casting a bittersweet glow on everything. What to make of that late fall look? Winter is coming, summer has produced all it can, and it is time to settle back and enjoy the dark days ahead. The dormant days ahead work for the seeds that need it in order to crack into life come spring - it can work for us too. It is a just fine time of year for sinking into the couch, making soups, catching up on reading, and over all feeling gratitude for the cycles of the seasons, the sweetness in the people around us. While the basement is full of jars of applesauce, tomatoes, jams, chutneys and pickles, I also try to keep a few things going in the garden as long as possible.

Like these .....

The straw keeps the soil from freezing around the leeks so that I can harvest them even in deep snow. The lettuce, arugula, cilantro and dill behind them will keep going a little while longer. I can cover them up with row cover, but most likely they will be eaten before I even need to do that. I will plant 2 or 3 times more next year so that I can have enough to take us through December.

I love this close up of dill with all of its fine texture.

Dill is one of the hardiest herbs to grow in cold weather and gives such brightness to late fall salads, potatoes, eggs, and fish. I use it quite a bit this time of year after pretty much ignoring it all summer long except for using it in a pickle jar or two or three.

I always bring in a few baskets of herbs. I don't do anything to them except cut them, pile them into a basket and leave them around the house. They smell great and love to go to work by the handful when I am making soups, broths and stocks. I don't think they object to being stuffed into a poultry cavity every now and then either. There is nothing like using herbs in big bunches of branches to feel like I am living a rich and luxurious life.

I want to say thanks to compost too.

Parts of the garden are ready for spring, and parts still have a ways to go, but there is so much satisfaction in seeing the raised beds awaiting next year. Soil building organisms busy making teeming, hot life. The ones who really get some of the credit for this are these lovelies......

Enjoy your next few days of rest if that is your luck and your lot. And thank you, deeply, for being a part of all this beauty and grace, coldness, sunshine, poop, and all.