February on Honey Grove ~

I am not sure that you will believe me when I tell you that Winter has not left us yet. (Well I should tell you that he did leave for 2 short weeks, but since then has returned, and as you can see, has wasted no time in settling right in).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are snow drifts on Honey Grove at least 2 feet high in all directions.


And icicles hanging off every eve.













It is as though we have found ourselves in some kind of  classic fairytale, under a powerful spell cast by a mountain witch, who has made the winter last for years, instead of a season. You know, we are even developing new muscles from all the shovelling.


And digging.


And knocking snow from trees.


And roof tops.


And when that all gets to much, which it does, we sometimes abandon all grown-up responsibilities to have a good 0ld fashioned snowball fight.


But for 10 short days, before winter’s return, all the snow on Honey Grove had melted, and for a little while, we thought winter had really left us. And so we got to the business of garden prep. If you were to come up the pathway to Honey Grove one week ago, you would have found Katie and I digging 4 yards of steer manure into the veg plot.


For several sweet days it was a balmy 10 degrees and it was not long before our wool sweaters were hung on the nearby fence posts and we were working up a decent sweat.


Yes, all that hard work had us feeling really quite chuffed with ourselves.





















We even had a spot of tea under the warming sun.


Ohmy how sure we were that Winter had left us for another year. And Mark was cheerfully baking his beautiful bread without having to traverse the ice and snow. I even heard him  singing a joyful tune as he worked.

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For two Saturdays in a row Katie and I were easefuly getting those loaves to market and having a good deal of fun under the nearly spring sun.

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And then, one night 4 days ago all that changed, and Winter came knocking upon our door once again. And when we woke the world was white again, painted over with no sign of spring. And for a short while we all walked around feeling rather annoyed, until we recognized the futility of feeling irritated with a season, eh eh.

And so, we went back to embracing our old friend winter, whose snow drifts will be filling our water-tables this spring and keeping much needed moisture in the summer ground.  After that, we went back to walking in the woods, with the one member of Honey Grove who just can’t get enough of Winter’s beautiful company.


Now, I must be off, for there are ducks and chickens that need to be fed and watered. And there is, I have heard, another snow storm coming.

With Great Gratitude for your Company,

Nao, Mark, Gus, Cohen and Katie and All at Honey Grove~










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Winter, he is still here. And, he seems to be enjoying his stay on Honey Grove like never before. The Pacific Northwest is experiencing the coldest winter in 30 years. The snow outside our door has been with us for over 6 weeks now, with temperatures well below zero. Our dear ducks have not bathed in their pond since November, and the woodland lake behind our house has been transformed into an outdoor ice rink for skaters and hockey players. As for our driveway, well, some would say that it too has become an ice rink.



Winter is, for some, overstaying his welcome, but I have not yet decided just how I feel about him. My feelings toward this seasonal guest seem to fluctuate, for there are days when I can think of nothing better then his quiet company.


Walking in the silent snowy woods among the firs with my dog friend and then returning to sit by the wood-stove with my tea offers a kind of nourishment that only comes in the company of a long winter. And on the days when the sun shines down from the bluest of skies making sapphire flecks on the snow that shine like jewels across the fields, I can hardly believe the beauty before me. I stand there in my felt boots and my wooly hat, saying aloud to my dear friend winter,”my goodness, how very beautiful you are.” And if Gus is with me (which he always is) well, I am reminded that winter is not only beautiful, but he’s incredibly fun too!





And then, on other days, when morning chores take me three times as long because I am carrying buckets of water from the house, and thawing animal dishes, while my hands go numb from the cold, I enjoy his company less.


When I am moving chicken coop straw to the raspberry beds with a wheel barrow, because I do not have a sleigh, I like winter even less still.



When there are places to go and things to do, and the roads look like this, I want nothing more than for this guest to pack his bags and get on the next train north.


And still, however much I appreciate him, or become frustrated with him, despite my eagerness to get back into the garden, to move soil or turn compost, to push the seasonal wheel forward with my own dedicated willfulness, there is nothing to do, but wait. And with this recognition (the kind of recognition that one has when one realizes the futility of one’s desires and the unnecessary suffering that results) comes the surrender, the great letting go and the deep breath. It’s usually at this point that I just go for another snowy walk with my dog friend, who is always waiting at the door.


And while the snow keeps falling and the temperatures keep dropping, Mark is still baking bread, and Katie and I can be found at the farmers market, with his fresh-out-of-the-oven-loaves, every Saturday morning at 10 am.

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Speaking of Mark’s bread, there is some very big and exciting news about Mark’s bakery, which we can hardly wait to share with you. As for Cohen, you will find him wearing two pairs of wool socks, making sausages in his kitchen, in a hand-knit Aran sweater (sent all the way for Ireland by Katie’s Dear Mum) while listening to podcasts, through a pair of very large headphones.

And now I must be off, for there is a fire to light in the oven and bread to bake in a few hours time.

May this find you in the midst of a beautiful winters day~

Nao, Mark, Cohen, Katie, Gus and All at Honey Grove


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