Monday, September 23, 2013

post-equinoctal thoughts

Light has been very much on my mind lately.

I'm considering adding a window on the only remaining bit of wall that still has room - maybe - for one more window. It would face east, and my goal is to see the first light of sunrise through the window every day. This has led to seeking out the northernmost and southernmost points at which the sun comes up throughout the year. If you feel like exploring the mechanics of sunlight in your own location, I recommend experimenting with the very helpful sun position calculator on Sun Earth Tools. Fun!

So with all this pondering about light, I thought a lot about the Autumn Equinox on Friday. There is something fantastic about the idea that twice yearly, the hours of day and night are equal. The notion of balance on such a massive scale is both thrilling and oddly comforting.

I am not so deeply attuned to the natural world as to actually sense this brief balance point of day and night. But I do notice at least a few of the millions of changes that are always going on around me, and I know that one season is tipping irretrievably into the next.

Adjustments have already been made, with more to come.

Morning chores now call for boots and a jacket, instead of crocs and a tanktop, and are often begun under a gloomy grey sky that seems to warn of coming rain. But by the time I'm putting up the buckets and heading back to the house, blue sky is sometimes peeking through the trees, and a beautiful morning has appeared after all -  just considerably later than it would have only a couple of weeks ago.

These days, even on clear, sunny, breezy mornings, the dew on plants and shrubs lingers til nearly noon. Unlike recent weeks when I hastened to finish weeding before 7 AM, gardening is now an afternoon activity. And my fingers are firmly crossed for all the vegetables still forming and growing.

The Poultry Palace "winter sun" is back; a little lamp timed to come on before dawn so the hens will have enough hours of light to continue laying, which some of them generally do. I am not obsessed with productivity - my hens will be well cared for as long as they live, regardless of production -  but having even one egg added to the larder per day makes a big difference in the menu here.

Only three hens in the Palace now, so four-egg days are a thing of the past. Time to add to the flock next Spring?

The goats are having their supper a couple of hours earlier now. It's far easier to shift the mums and kids into the barn for the night if they are headed up the ramp well before dark. I used to be able to get them moving when it was nearly dark by scooping up one of the kids and calling in a reassuring tone, "Don't worry, mamagoat - I've got your baby!" then walking toward the barn as quickly as possible to avoid being run down by the three goats who would immediately pursue the "kidnapper." Now, the goats are fed early and happily follow me to the barn at dusk.

I suppose I could still lift Tsuga if her life depended on it, but only because then I'd have the adrenalin working for me.

I bought three potted mums at the local nursery a few weeks ago, when they were budding. Now the abundant blossoms provide a warm glow by the back door even on rainy days.

Is it Autumn where you are? Or is Winter turning to Spring? I find the balance of seasons, like the balance of daylight, such a vast, marvelous once both awesome and reassuring. What do you think?