Candlelit November

My son told me yesterday that our farm looked like honey. When I looked at him he said that the trees were golden and the sun was setting which made a golden glow over that. It was, indeed, like a honey-kissed landscape for us to rejoice in.

I love the calmness and coziness of November. Even here in the Deep South, the temperatures have actually been cold at night for us, and firelight and candlelight sound like such a good thing to go with warming drinks and foods and the cold crunch of leaves outside. This month, instead of being a frenzy leading up to the holidays, can be a beautiful slow-paced autumnal march towards winter.

I love November in all its crisp -leaved, golden sunset, chill temperatures perfection.  The leaves are FINALLY turning here where I live, and it feels like the beauty and coziness of fall is upon us at last.

This is a wonderful month of celebrations for our family (yes, even now that our children are 20, almost 17, and 12!)

  • November 1 and 2 – All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day
  • November 2 – Election Day
  • November 11 – Martinmas (and there are many other posts about Martinmas if you use the search engine box!) It’s also Veteran’s Day, which we celebrate every day with my husband and father in law who are veterans.
  • November 20- My handsome husband’s birthday!
  • November 22- Thanksgiving
  • November 28- First Sunday in Advent
  • November 30- The Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle

Learning and celebrating:

  • Learn songs for a Martinmas Lantern Walk – you don’t need a lot of people to do a Lantern Walk. You an also check your local churches – if you live in an area with a German population, there may be a church holding a celebration of this day.
  • Use transparency paper to make window silhouettes and transparency cut-outs and lanterns.
  • Bake bread on the cold days
  • Look for bird’s  nests as the trees lose their leaves; make feeders start to be filled all the time, make treats for the birds
  • Dip leaves in glycerin or beeswax and preserve them
  • Cook things with cranberries, corn, and pumpkin.
  • Try the book Cranberry Thanksgiving and make cranberry bread!
  • Learn some Thanksgiving songs and practice so you can play them after Thanksgiving Dinner!
  • Find a place to volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner
  • Make Thanksgiving Baskets and leaving them on your neighbor’s doorstep!
  • Gather greens and natural items to use for an Advent Wreath.  We do this at church from the areas surrounding the church and it is quite lovely!
  • Find books, cozy blankets and pillows, and mark off half days for just reading and lounging around. Pull out candles, homemade Martinmas lanterns, salt lamps  and scatter them around.  Cuddle up and read with some fabulous tea or hot chocolate.
  • Find handwork projects that you will love and get started.
  • Order some woolens for your family members; my favorite place to get them is Green Mountain Organics
  • You probably already have found your hats, mittens and gloves and coats, but we are a little slower down here with cold temperatures coming later so I just did that this week!

For littles especially:

For the older children:

  • Get them involved in your autumn traditions – baking, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the birds outside, hiking, star watching, volunteering.
  • Think of traditions of gratitude and light.  Some teens may no longer love a lantern walk (although I still love it and I am an adult), but some teens might go for a big bonfire with friends on Martinmas.
  • Some thoughts:  Cultivating Gratitude in Children
  • How do we help older children internalize the spirit of helping the most needy, the most destitute, the most poor? That is the work for this age.

Inner Work:

Farm Life right now is slowing down for our bees. They were very sweet and sort of passive bees, and I think with that personality came the fact that they were not aggressive gatherers. In fact, they have already eaten through all their honey, so I worry a bit about their survival this winter but we do live in a milder climate so hopefully they will make it through! The horses will be here in 1-2 weeks so we are busy ordering hay and shavings and getting stalls ready, making sure we have blankets for everyone as through the winter is still show season and many show horses are clipped and need some protection from the cold! People ask if we will get other animals, and we may get a few chickens, but honestly having horses here and boarder horses to take care of is enough work!

In school life, we are excited to have our oldest child home from college for breaks around the holidays and are making some plans to celebrate at home. Our middle child is a junior and doing well at her four day a week high school, which is still considered homeschooling due to shorter hours, but it doesn’t involve a lot of work on my end which still feels odd! Our twelve year old is still homeschooling with an outside program when I work, and we are slower going through our lessons, but he is putting forth good effort and I have seen a lot of academic growth this year.

I would love to know what you are up to this wonderful November!

Blessings,

Carrie