This is, undoubtedly, my favorite time of year. Just a few weeks ago, I thought I wasn't ready for summer to end, but somehow, by the time autumn has really arrived, I feel okay about it. Happy, even.

I somehow manage to forget, every year, that things don't actually slow down at this point...they just shift. I feel like a squirrel, packing my freezer, basement and shelves with goods from the garden, woods,  orchard, etc. I'm feeling a little frantic about not being able to keep up with it all.

The animals know too. The laying has slowed down from the chickens and ducks, and the mornings are crisp. The farmer's almanac predicts a big winter, with lots of snow. But, we'll see...they said that last year too, and were very wrong for us, up here in Maine.

The goats are sheared, and the sheep will be soon. The basement is filling with winter squash, and the freezer with chickens, berries, broth and the last of some summer vegetables. The shelves are filling with jams, preserves, tomato sauce, salsa, and apple sauce. The porch is overflowing with garlic and onions, drying. Dry beans are being gathered from the garden.

How can we not feel grateful for all these gifts?