The topsoil that was removed and stored in the motley assortment of containers has found a use after all! The guys spent the better part of the day yesterday using it as fill dirt in the driveway to replace the 1 foot deep cavity where the mulched/composted soil was removed.   They figured it would make a good base for the permeable paving that we plan to eventually put in the driveway. So far they have used over 1/2 the bucket pile!   

The weather has been quite warm, last evening we even had the front door open. Temperatures thru the holidays will be hovering near or above 80 degrees. Unfortunately no rain in sight as our rainy season period gradually narrows

Today marks the shortest day of the year, from now on it’s just a matter of time before spring creeps (or rather springs) upon us. I’d like to share with you a piece that Jordanne wrote few years back about this time of year:

Once again we stand at the threshold of a new year. This continuing carousel of time has been revolving for generations through millennia.

December is a rather sentimental month as it marks the last days of past time, past accomplishments, and past memories. No matter our wish, we can’t return to the outgoing year; we can only look behind and see from where we have come.

Yet, December plays the partner to optimism as it also heralds beginnings of new hopes. Dreams of projects for the approaching year are planted like little seeds in this month, ready to spring forth with a burst of enthusiasm.

For half of the world, December brings with it barren dormancy. The earth rests; the trees rest. Growth is suspended and flowers fold their buds inward, all waiting for that precise time when nature trumpets the arrival of spring.

A passage in the book of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a season for everything. For without the sequences of the seasons, there would be no equal balance to nature as well as life. It is this rhythm that every living thing depends on.

December is a time of losing and gaining, letting go of some things and reclaiming others. A time of learning and a time of promise. Spring will dawn soon and we’ll know when it arrives by the changes of nature’s texture. The sunlight feels different on our skin; the soil’s just a bit softer. The cyclical seasons will have come full circle. We move in and out of them for hundreds of times and each moment offers us reasons to expand our capabilities and learn.

Gardening is a rewarding way to expand our awareness beyond the here and now and it has a lot to teach us – growth, renewal, patience, the delicate existence of beauty. It also teaches us to pay attention to the subtle changes of the earth, the weather, the animals, and new growth. But it with each new change comes uncertainties that slip into our awareness.

No one knows what possibilities change may bring. What colors will the flowers bloom? Will the garden produce forth its bounty? Will the weather provide enough rain and warmth to keep the plants alive?

Yes, gardening through the seasons is one gamble after another. To work the land one must have unwavering faith. Faith is the necessary element that keeps the gardener planting. He has faith that the spring will come around, that the rains will come and the tiny little seed that he put in the ground would one day germinate and yield forth its bounty.

That is how gardening reflects life. Sometimes we don’t know what’s going to happen until it’s upon us. Sometimes what appears to be dead is not dead at all. Sometimes we don’t know if something will work out, but we still plant the “seed” and wait patiently.

We’ll never know our true capability until we try and we’ll never know what opportunities will grow into bigger things if we care to have faith in them. A seed thrown away is just that – a seed. But a seed given the chance to grow may turn into a plant and produce a rewarding crop.

It takes a seed to begin a garden; it takes faith, no matter how small, to begin the work of great possibilities. But the journey is never easy, nor does it have an end.

So. as this year winds into receding history. we remember to trust in the Creator’s guidance and have faith through the new season, learning and growing, while hiking that narrow, less-traveled path – the Path to Freedom.

From all of at Path to Freedom, wishing you a blessed season and new year.

No Comments

  1. Mimi says:

    I sat down at the computer today with a heavy heart and Jordanne’s beautiful words have really lifted my spirit. I come to your site whenever I seek wisdom and life and hope. Thanks so much for sharing that with those of us who are trying to walk our own path’s to freedom.

  2. Anais says:


    Thank you for your comment. We are so glad these words lifted your heavy heart.

    May the light continue to shine on your heart and lighten your path.


  3. gerry medland says:

    A ray of light in an ever darkening world,PTF tells it how it is.A beacon of hope in a world that has lost its way.Each one of us can make a difference,the choice is stark.Sit in a n armchair and do nothing,or go and plant some seeds!The start of the journey begins with a single step!Are you ready to take that step?Time is of the essencense!

  4. Joshua Parkinson says:

    80 degrees! You lucky you-know-whats! From the pictures I figured it was at least in the sixties, but you guys probably aren’t used to the colder temps as we are. I’m just happy out here that we’re getting a heat wave that may reach into the 30s! It could melt the snow in time for the holidays unfortunately, but we have a lot of snow this year, and the temps aren’t supposed to get that high, so we may still have plenty of white out there in the end. And of course, the real winter comes in January and February, but after Christmas, who cares about snow?! Just bring on the Spring! I have planting to do!

  5. Anais says:

    Shall I make your more jealous? This weekends temps will be nearing 90 degrees! The kid next door was wearing a tank top to wash his car and I’m walking around the yard in my barefeet!

    Though we are praying for rain — our garden is going to need it in time for spring.

    Sending warm thoughts your way!

  6. Joshua Parkinson says:

    Oh, very jealous! But I’ve become very defiant of the cold. I’m commuting and pleasure biking very comfortably in subzero windchill. I go barefoot around the house, even as the rest of my body may be bundled up. I even shovel a path out to my garden in the back of the yard as more snows come in, keeping an eye on the garden, planning for next year, just enjoying it, and making sure the fencing doesn’t get damaged or the snow around it too high so that rabbits can get in and chew down all of my fruit bushes, canes, vines and trees! (Last year they got in and ate everything right to the ground. Most of the new little trees never came back, except suckering from the rootstock which wasn’t at all desirable!)

    At least someone gets to still garden. I dream of the day I can have my own home where I can set up a season extension tunnel system like Eliot Coleman explains in his “Four Season Harvest” book. Ah, dreams….

    Until then I have sprouting for eating, and a few delicate herbs inside that can’t survive our winters.

  7. Anais says:

    I think it’s nice (well coming from someone who’s lived in a warm climate all her life) to have some “down time.” Nature tells you by the extremely cold weather that it’s time to rest – rest the earth, slow down.

    Here we are constantly outdoors, growing all the time. There’s really no defining season or time to sit indoors and perhaps pick up additional skills. People in SoCal are always on the move – going here, going there. Very fast pace and this gets very tiresome after awhile, but then I am sure those out East would say that they get tired of the bleak, white winters.

    So we make the best of it! 😉

  8. Joshua Parkinson says:

    For me, depression is a common seasonal thing at this time of year, although if we had the option of hibernation or real “down time”, maybe things would be a little different. And you spend all the time pent up away from nature, which is a major factor. During the week, I practically never see the sun having a 9-5 type job where you go to work in the freezing dark, come home in the freezing dark, and work all day without windows. At least with the bicycle commuting I get fresh air, and I managed to rework my hours a little to get at least some decent twilight.

    My defiant attitude this year I think has helped, refusing to be boarded up by the cold and darkness, as I haven’t had any depression really hit at all. Usually, I get hit the hardest in November and into December. My slowly changing dietary/health habits may be helping as well.

    I also have five months yet until our last average frost! And personally, I choose to have my rest periods throughout the year. I’m definately not a fast paced person. I probably wouldn’t survive in the city. And I’m a big believer in the slow movements, Take Back Your Time, and simplicity movements. Yet, just try and make me do otherwise anyway!

    And, by the way, a relevant little factoid. The ckicadee is a tiny, spritely little bird around here that survives our cold winters, and far colder ones. Unlike conventional wisdom, they don’t survive by slowing down, but by their incredibly high energy keeping them warm despite their minute size. It’s quite fascninating. And look at the deer and the cardinals, they are out chipperly dancing around even amongst the snow and ice as if it were any other day, only with far less food around!

    Also, I wonder if the imposed and extensive “down time” isn’t particularly hard on humans because of our innate need for daily purpose. We can slow down, but we don’t shut down. Our consciousnous produces a need for a reason for each day, and most of us don’t have the simple serenity of a monk unless we’ve actually trained.

    But I do have more domestic activities for the winter, such as woodworking, planning and reading, herbology, art and craft. And I would like to try following natural sun cycles better. But I find it counter to my nature to try and segment off my life like that dividing the year into big chunks of certain activities. It seems there should be some kind of more sinuous balance. And I’m also not so sure humans are really meant for the cold climates at all. I think we are totally out of our element as a species, but that we have the intelligence and need to make it work. And I think we can’t survive without a continual connection to the outdoors. We aren’t biologically and psychologically wired to go into a cave and hibernate without serious adverse effects.

    Interestingly enough, I also just read an article in the recent issue of Yoga Journal about an Antarctic outpost. They do regular yoga sessions, even out in the cold outdoors in the sun, just to survive the harsh climate and constant indoors.

    So anyway, enjoy your nice climate, but don’t get burned out! And don’t forget, adequate rest and down time are one of the most important things you can do for yourself.

  9. Joshua says:

    By the way, are you aware of the Post Carbon Institute at And of their Re-localize Now! initiative, including Post Carbon Outposts, Community Supported Manufacturing, and Community Energy Farms? It seems right up your alley, particularly if you don’t already have an outpost in your area. I’ve been considering trying to start an outpost up myself for my area.

  10. Anais says:


    Yes, we are aware of PCI — In fact David Room, Julian Darley and the two producers of The End of Suburbia have met our family and toured our urban homestead last year. David and Julian interviewed my father. Their interview is posted on the Global Public Media site —

    On the new edition of TEOS, PTF is mentioned by one of the producer’s in his commentary.