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Monday, October 24, 2016

Winter Nights Tide

As I have been lead to believe (and do understand here that I am NOT Asatru nor a scholar, but follow a personal path that is very heavy on UPG (Unverified personal gnosis)) the northlanders, in the old days, did not break the seasons down into four, but rather into three, spring, summer and winter. I have also read of a festival that was held in October called "Winter Nights" which marked the beginning of the winter season. 

It seemed odd to me, a woman of the northlands here in the USA, that one would not recognize autumn as a season. After all, the turning of the leaves in my native Michigan, as well as my adopted home here in Maine, is something awesome to behold! However, thanks to the internet and friends abroad, especially in Norway, it seems they do not share our dramatic autumns. So now it makes more sense to me, this three season thinking and the recognition of the coming of winter at this time of the year.

It is my practice, as per my observation of the turning of the wheel of the year, that the energies wax and wane, like the coastal tides, so I see each of the markers for the turning year as tides, rather than days, and my "Winter Nights Tide" is currently well under way. 

I have, for some time, been feeling myself being drawn back inside, even though the fall planting and the last of the fall harvest had not yet been done. I want to spin and weave and study and tell stories. The Winter Nights Tide allows me the transition to this mode. 

This year, the seasonal color changes were several weeks later, in my observation, than usual. Shirt sleeve weather continued and getting into the mindset was hard, until recently. But this week I have planted the garlic and (though it is way late and may not work) the winter wheat. I potted up some oregano and moved it and a pot of struggling marjoram into the house. I mowed the fence rows last week, and earlier in the month, managed to get my first two Maine goats -- not that this has anything to do with winter coming, other than I suspect their previous owner did not want to keep them through the winter, as they are small and the doe really should not be bred yet. But the breed and price were right, so they came home. 

Meanwhile, other necessary projects were calling and we have been busy reorganizing the house to make it more efficient. All of the freezers (3 of them) are on the back porch and soon will be sorted by type of food: meat in one, vegetables in another and fruit and commercial products in a third. As the storage gets used up, one or more will be combined, but for now, having all three makes it easier to find things. Moving the freezer allowed me to move a storage shelf unit, and moving that made it obvious that the little space heater in the work/living room needed a bit of a move. That was completed, the grow rack now will get full sun and we have ascertained that we have one full and one partial tank of propane! Great start to the cooler days, as we will need that heater next week, for sure.

I am not sure if it's the coming of a serious -- very cold and snowy -- winter, old age or what, but our outdoor kitty, a TNR feral kitten that we adopted in NC that refused to tame and has been living life as our "barn cat" sans barn decided it was time to move indoors this month as well. At first she just meowed at the door for food, as always, but when we put it out for her, she continued to call at the door after eating. It was still warm enough, so despite the flies, we left the door open and -- for the first time ever -- she walked into the house several days in a row. I began putting her food inside... at first just inside the door and then farther in, and each day she came in more readily and stayed in longer. Eventually she did not bolt for the door when we got up and moved around, and I closed the front door. She has been in ever since, and did not even choose to go out when we had the door open for protracted periods on the day we were working on the propane. She seems to come to me for food and mews back and forth with me like she only used to with Tractor Guy, so he says she has chosen to be my cat. Interesting timing on her part, as the last cat that I could call mine amongst our crew was Ghost, who passed on a couple of months ago. 

We are currently not especially on track to be ready for deep winter, though. There is still stuff to be done in the garden and in the perennial beds, the coops have not been winterized, nor has the goat house, though if the snows hold off a bit, we may make it. 

The coming of  Samhain ( a more recognized seasonal event, from the greater Pagan community ) and the secular Halloween, the decreasing hours of light and the "thinning of the veil" as many folks experience at this time of the year converge to bring those who have passed on - both human and other -- to our minds. Anticipation of the riding of the Wild Hunt at midwinter nears, along with the physical challenges of a northern winter,  motivate us to focus on completion of our autumn tasks as the Tide ebbs and the Days of Transformation begin.