Autumn deepens. It has threatened us with firestorms that we smelt over the ridge and battered us with rain and a fierce wind that blew all away our many coloured leaves. For Samhain we played story-telling games into the night and solemnly remembered the dead we have loved the next day over delicious almond tart.
Andru’s mother and brother arrived; we can now accomplish much more than we could alone. The dirt-floored one-roomed cottage, peacefully unmolested for a decade or two is now being rapidly partitioned into rooms with tidy brick walls and cardboard flooring. At it’s heart lies a squat black wood-burner for heat that is eating many of the trees we steadily hack down. For this job we’ve acquired a large bow-saw; a felling axe and an old two-person cross-cut saw that needs much sharpening attention.
A small grove of unproductive willow has been sacrificed to these hungry tools to let some light in for a few patches of raised bed gardens by the side of the cottage. In the wood behind the cottage we’ve inoculated two logs each with shiitake, oyster and lion’s mane mushrooms. With chicory, onions and strawberries in the soil we are proud and pleased to become producers of food. Food that came from our thoughtful and sharing neighbor, Pedro, who not only gave us many potatoes, tomatos, peppers, honey and herbs but also the plants now extending their roots in our gardens.
Another unexpected gift made it’s way to our door from Felix, who sold us the land, two little boxes with holes cut through the sides for the kittens to breathe through.
Lokí and Trýxe now join Unnarr as our menagerie blossoms. Unnarr, still shy from the kennel, is in danger of being dominated by the rapacious kittens whose primary duty is to molest our mice, not our dog. Hens will wait until springtime when we have moved the toilet indoors and built a house for them on the lovely stone terrace that the toilet now tops.
In fleeing a society fully transformed into throw-away consumerism-bots where decent things are thrown away for this season’s new models we fled to a place where things are still valued and held onto for as long as they function. What enfuriation! It is exceedingly difficult to find good quality things second-hand here; we crave the thrown away junk of consumerist Britain. Anyone have any good carpentry workbenches lying around?
We face the growing darkness now. The last of our Autumn harvests processed with jars of apple and tree-strawberry jams, syrups and cheeses, tangy green-tomato chutney and dried parasol mushrooms stored away. Our days short, our electricity limited and our projects many but our happiness grows. The darkness of winter is a good time for laughter and games: a good time to visit.