Fall Retreat

Curing Butternut Squash

Midst falling leaves, grasses turned brown, and apples dropping to the ground, I mowed for the first time in over a month. It may be the last cut before winter.

Monday I visited the vegetable farms where I work each spring and caught up with the farmers. Both farms want me to soil block next year. I plan to do it.

I picked up vegetables for which I bartered: a fall share at one farm, seed garlic, storage onions and potatoes at the other. We cooked a spaghetti squash for dinner and had sides of a burger patty and fresh green beans. I made pasta sauce with tomatoes, garlic, basil and onions. A jug of apple cider is in the ice box, but we didn’t open it just yet. It’s been hard to keep up with the abundance since the garden began producing and the summer vegetable share began. We could feed a larger family than we have.

Fund raising letters have begun to arrive via snail mail. If we had the cash, I’d contribute to each one of them: Practical Farmers of Iowa, Catholic Worker Houses in Iowa City and Des Moines, Veterans for Peace, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and others.

I called the snow removal contractor for our home owners association and the receptionist took a message. He’s out of town until Wednesday. She said they haven’t really started thinking about snow removal because they have been so busy. Isn’t that true for us all.

During the next six months I’ll be re-engineering our lives to live on our social security, transition our health insurance to Medicare, and slow down on work I do mostly for the paycheck. After a two-day retreat, I head back to jobs which have daily shifts until Nov. 3. I need focus so I get the transition right. That means something has to give.

With the current political and economic climate, most everyone I know seems to be in transition. Each week some new affront comes out of our federal government. The same would be true in Iowa if the legislature were in session. It’s a time to re-group and figure a strategy to deal with an aging frame, diminished income potential, and unwelcome changes in society.

My posts have slowed down. Although there is plenty to write about, life’s turbulence has increased making it more difficult. The existential threat to our way of life manifests itself more each day. We will survive the next steps if we take time to do them right. Writing in public may take a back seat to the tasks of living for a while.

Fall going into winter is a great time to do that.

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