Mid-November is a time when many Kodiak residents spend most of their time indoors. The wet and windy weather is simply not conducive to much enjoyable outside work. There is still food to be had, however, as many of us know well. Deer hunting off the road system is still open, and the cod season is ongoing for those intrepid fishermen willing to take on the wind and waves of this time of year. The kelp is piled up in deep windrows on the beach, waiting for the willing to load up and spread on their gardens to feed next year's crops.
Here at Bounty Farm we have transitioned away from most vegetable growing, as the daylight is now well below the requisite 10 hours per day that plants generally require for growth. The remaining kale, lettuce, collards, beets, and Brussels sprouts are hanging on, thanks to the mild temperatures we've had thus far. These plants will be consumed throughout the winter as long as temperatures don't get too cold. The spinach is small, but will wait for that 10 hour mark in mid-February to put on new growth and make this family very happy in March. The garlic was planted last month and sleeps beneath a bed of straw, sending exploratory roots into the cold soil, getting their feet beneath themselves in preparation for an early start in late winter. The dahlias have been dug and rest in bags of sawdust, awaiting spring and another season of beauty.
There is still food to be grown here, however. The chickens have slowed their egg production in the shortening days, but still provide a trickle in spite of the darkness. The milking goats are still giving over a gallon a day, even as new life gains a foothold inside. The young does are frisky in the frosty grass and never miss a chance to be naughty, as goats do. The rabbits are in the greenhouse now, in their spacious quarters side by side, and they relish in the "salads" I bring each morning, from the old broccoli and Brussels sprout plants. The piglets are in a greenhouse now, and have installed their own racetrack around the truck topper that serves as their "house." Their boundless appetites and the speed with which they grow never cease to amaze me.
This time of year, we are all reminded to be thankful for our many gifts and for the great fortune of having what we need. I strive to keep this feeling of gratitude at the fore as I make my rounds on my little focal pinpoint on this great big earth and care for those who feed me. I am honored and humbled by the opportunities before me and with each bite of the bounty grown here, I give thanks.