Wednesday, September 29, 2010


The Pond in Early October 2009


It is so quiet here today that I can hear the beat of my own heart.

There are no birds, not even at the feeder. The last hummingbird has gone. No one is mowing, no planes fly overhead. The pool pump has been silenced, shrouded in plastic for the winter. No breeze rustles in the leaves or tugs at the canvas of the gazebo. The leaves have begun to turn, and some are already showering down.

Thoughts take a melancholy turn in autumn. Bittersweet, with joy in the glorious colors and cool days, soft sweaters, hot tea ... and sadness in the certainty that all things must end.

We have lived here two years now, and two things are clear: We never want to leave. And one day we will.

Maintaining a house in the country involves a great deal of physical strength and handyman skills, things my dear husband possesses in abundance - for now. It also involves a lot of unforeseen expenses, which we can manage - for now. But time is a thief, and the day will come when we cannot stay.

This is the way of all things, a time to sow and a time to reap, to live and to die. There is nothing to be done but to cultivate the grace to accept it. I have had a charmed and sheltered life, and in the autumn of my days I have been granted the great gift of living in a place where there is silence sometimes and a forest of my own blazing gold and red; a place filled with wild creatures and moonlight, ringing with the laughter of family, lit from within by the love of a faithful and loving mate.

It is quiet here today. So quiet I can hear my own heart. It is storing up memories against the winter to come. And it is singing.

Click here to see more Nature Notes.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I Heart 'Maters

There's a red river running through my kitchen these days. The Hubby likes cherry tomatoes, so he planted three varieties plus the Big Boys, and they've all fruited their little hearts out this year. The ones in the photo are romas, very meaty, mid-sized ones that will make great sauce.

Every few days I parboil, peel, and freeze them. I squeeze the fruit and strain the juice, and I save that too. It's easy but time consuming, and it involves a lot of pots. I'll be glad when we're done, but I'm sure I'll relish the taste of summer tomatoes in our winter soups and sauces.

The corn didn't do as well. We only got a few dozen ears. The peppers are finally ready, but again, we didn't get very many. And the "haricot" bush beans were a bust; delicious, but did not produce for long at all. Last year we had green beans all summer.

The cantaloupes, on the other hand, are completely out of control. We have packed them off with departing house guests, shipped them to relatives, and dropped them off at the neighbors, and we still have six in the fridge on any given day. They are amazingly sweet and juicy ones, but really. How many can anyone eat?

We've been very lucky, not needing to use any chemicals or pesticides at all. The bugs get their share of nibbles, and mice have hollowed out the occasional melon, but what's left for us has been perfectly healthy and clean.

It's a lot of work, but nothing beats the taste of organic food that's made of sunlight, rain, and the good earth of your own back yard.

Monday, September 6, 2010

August at a Glance

Wow. I can't believe I missed the whole month. Thanks so much to everyone who sent emails inquiring as to my whereabouts and well-being. It means a lot to me to know you care. Let's just say there were some health issues. And house guests.

But September is a new and better month. For one thing, I'm getting a new camera!

I've been eyeing SLRs for a while now. My younger son enrolled in a digital photography class this semester at Ball State, and he thought the school was providing cameras. That has proven not to be the case, so my Canon G9 is on its way to him and I am shopping for a new toy for myself.

I've settled on the Cannon Rebel T2i, which I think will serve my needs well. Until I find it and a telephoto lens bundled at a price I like, I'll be depending on my archives for blog posts. (Could be worse. Pack rat that I am, it's a ridiculously huge collection.)

I did take some photos in August, though, that I wish I'd been up to sharing. Here are a few I thought you'd like:

Bambi and Thumper plotting a raid on the veggie patch.

Bambi and Thumper

The Turkey Tribe Elders relaxing under the pussy willow tree.

Turkey Tribe

A turkey chick exploring the bird feeder.

Teenage Turkey

And the sorriest looking hummingbird on the planet. (I think it's molting.)

Really Bad Hair Day

Hope your summer was a good one!