Thanksgiving this year felt redundant. We did not need a special day to pause and reflect on our good fortune. We have done it every day for the past six months. Maybe it is because we have time to reflect, now that we are retired. But, somehow, we can’t seem to fully grasp that we stumbled on this place, so perfectly suited to us, and with such exquisite beauty.
Our house is on a hill, with a view to the east and south. A small river and a series of rolling hills separate us from the ocean. The sun and moon rise over those hills. They don’t sneak up over the horizon quietly and unnoticed. Because there is little man-made light nearby and the coast produces constantly changing skies, sun and moon rises tend to be dramatic and colorful.
I have never lived in a place where I have been able to really see the sunrise. And moonrises were not even on my radar. Now they are part of our daily rhythms.
Here, the sunrise usually gets me out of bed the morning. Our bedroom faces west and north so we can only tell the sun is rising by the quality and color of the light outside the windows. A certain rosiness catapults me out of bed so that I won’t miss the morning show. George is usually already up, with coffee freshly brewed and waiting.
Every single time I watch that sun emerge over the hills, a little farther south each morning as we head into winter–or watch the moon, which comes up at all different times, often taking us by surprise—I am so grateful that we found this particular place at this time in our lives. In fact, I sound like a broken record, “I love it here … I can’t believe this place … yada, yada, yada …” I’m sure the sense wonder will wear off over time, but it hasn’t yet.
In the meantime, Thanksgiving week brought our first snow.
It was a little unexpected. We spent the day before, which was soggy and windless, burning brush from the area we are clearing for a little orchard.
During the night, the wind started screaming, the temperature dropped, and the evening’s rain turned to snow. It did not accumulate much, but when the sun came out mid-morning, everything was transformed.
Zoe was wildly happy. Water is her element, and frozen water—in the form of snow—is best of all. When we were on our RV trip across country, we would try to find patches of snow at high elevations so that she could run and roll in it. She was thrilled to find an endless supply here in her own backyard.
George has cut some trails through our woods. But it was treacherous going when the snow covered the fallen wild apples. They acted like greased ball bearings.
Even through the snow, we continue to harvest vegetables. We still have leeks, carrots, and spinach in the raised beds, and they just become sweeter, the colder it gets.
Our little cold frame, which I planted with greens back in August, is starting to produce nicely.
Some things were a bust. One of the leaf lettuce varieties bolted, the broccoli raab did not do well, the mache’s growth is glacially slow, and the arugula was decimated by cabbage moth caterpillars (I had to spray it with BT).
But the mustard, tatsoi, kale, red winter lettuce, and claytonia are thriving and we are harvesting beautiful salad greens.
Not everything is rainbows and chickadees, however.
When George took the truck in this morning for an oil change, the mechanics found a mouse living under the hood. In retrospect, George thought he heard some unusual noises as he drove all over the state yesterday. I can only imagine what that mouse thought when his new home went zooming down the interstate. Apparently, the experience was not too traumatic, because the mouse stayed tucked up there overnight only to have the further excitement today of freaking out the mechanics. Of course, it got away. We will not have to deal with it anymore because it’s now hiding somewhere in the Toyota dealership.