The height of absurdity

The big red tent now sitting in front of my house

Well, maybe not the height, but getting there. So, a few weeks ago, we had a few days of rain, a prelude to our usual fall, and Wayne came in telling me that Luke doesn’t like to get wet. I said, “He’s a dog. He’ll get used to it.” Now, guess what we have on our front lawn blocking the view of my pretty green door? A big red tent. Wayne insisted on ordering it to keep Luke dry. We have had two dogs now, but none of them needed his own personal tent to keep dry. Not only that, but Luke tends to go right out into the rain as far as I can see. As you can see, there was very little point in my having bothered to match my yard furniture to the door. I think we all know who the tent is for.

Lukey had his third vet appointment on Monday, the second with the vet. She had seen him last when we had only had him for three days. She said the change in his looks and behavior was remarkable. When we first took him there, he wet on the table, and she said that all his siblings had done the same thing. This time, he walked up to meet her and was friendly, wasn’t shy at all about going up on the table, and was pleased to eat the cheese she gave him when he got his shots. She congratulated us on managing to socialize him so well. He is still pretty scared of some things. Just this morning he dragged Wayne up from the road because a six-year-old with a cough startled him.

This week for our hike it was just Maja and me, so we went to the nearest park, the Hantwick access for Moulton Falls. It may have been my last time to hike in just a t-shirt for the fall and winter. Today it is only in the 50’s, and it isn’t supposed to get any warmer, but it is sunny. It’s been quite cold when I took the dog out. It is Maja and me again, so we probably won’t try anything that unusual.

This week is supposed to be the one when the colors change for fall, and I can see that happening. Around here, we have mostly evergreens, and the preponderance of other colors seems to be yellow with some red because a lot of people have maples. There is one glorious huge tree that we see when we turn from Garner to Kelly road that is a beautiful orange. I think it might be an oak.

My first basket of brussel sprouts with a few lettuce leaves thrown in

Speaking of fall, my garden is beginning to wind up. I have picked my squashes and begun to pick my brussel sprouts. I planted eight plants before I realized that was too many, and not all of them have sprouted very well. In fact, my biggest sprouts are only about an inch big, but I have been picking them if they are a half inch or bigger and leaving the smaller ones as long as I can before picking them, just keeping an eye on the nighttime temperatures. They are delicious at any size. I have lots of green tomatoes on one plant—the red ones have been coming out with spots—and that’s about all that is left in my garden. The cauliflower all sprung right away, so I just left it like that. It never became proper cauliflower.

Some friends and I have begun planning our trip in June to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Right now, we’re just trying to pick our plays so that when I am able to buy the tickets in November, I’ll know what we want. In order to see all the Shakespeare plays we want to see, we are expanding our trip to go on Thursday and return on Sunday, but we have a difference of opinion on how many plays to try to attend during that period. I think three is probably sufficient, although I’m willing to go for four, but one person wants to go to five and another person doesn’t want to do more than three. I’m sure we don’t all have to do the same things at the same times.

I worked on leaves for my art class all day, but I have them pretty much done. Now the only major part of my painting that isn’t done at all is the pretty pink peonies. After I do those, I would imagine I’ll be doing touch-ups and refinements for several weeks. That is the part that always seems to last a long time, during which I have no sense of how done I am and I am just doing what the instructor tells me to do.

Nothing else special happened this week except I did some shopping for my great-nephew’s birthday. He wanted a large Bumblebee Transformer, which, of course, I could not find at any stores. I finally ended up ordering it. He will be five, and we are all going out for pizza in a couple of weeks.



Autumn around our farm

My sister seems to be right in that our fall colors consist of yellow before the leaves die. I’ve been looking around, and the only glimpses of orange and red I get are from planted or landscaped plants. The natural colors of the forest seem to be yellow and green.

In any case, fall is my favorite season. I love the color and sunny, cool days. I also love the blustery days. I love seeing pink cheeks on the children. The cooling weather always seems to energize me. I even love the rainy days, which we had most of last week. This week has been gorgeous, though.

Yes, is the same bush I showed you a few weeks ago. We think it might be a blueberry.

So, I give you a few pictures of our fall color, because nothing much else is going on this week. First, that little bush that I showed you a few weeks ago is now bright red and getting ready to drop its leaves.

At least I think this is a maple. It has maple-like leaves. I know very little about trees.

Back behind our orchard is a huge maple tree. It must be a silver maple, as I believe that other maples turn red in the fall. I took this picture when I went out into the orchard to plant more of my bulbs. This week we also planted the Carpathian walnut I bought to be a partner to our other walnut tree.

Behind the house there is quite a bit of color, but it is hidden among the fir trees. Here is the most notable color, at the top of a wild cherry tree right next to the pond. It’s too bad that the color is behind the firs, because I think it’s quite spectacular back there, if you could but see it.

All around our pond there are yellow trees peeping out from behind the firs and the other trees that have stayed green.

In the orchard, something or someone has eaten all our apples. I was out there a few weeks ago, and there were lots of apples on one of the trees, the tree that is supposed to produce Fuji apples. They weren’t quite ready to be picked, and my research shows that they are ready in November, which is when my sister picked them last year. Our other apple tree only had one apple. So, yesterday I went out to the orchard to check them, and there is only one left, high up in the tree. I don’t know what or who has eaten them, but I didn’t find any cores or apple parts on the ground. Perhaps the deer got all but this one, which is too high for them, because our little Fuji tree is leaning over to the ground. I hope it is the animals and not the kids from across the road, as this is the closest tree to the road. In any case, one of these days we’ll take a ladder out there and get our last apple. The apple on the other tree is gone, so I assume that whatever got the Fujis got that one, too.

This weekend is the Spooky Birthday Party for my great nephew, who will be four. I went over there yesterday to find all the adults and his older sister engaged in decorating the house, the yard, and the forest for the party. It is going to be quite some bash. I will be sure to take pictures of the costumes and the decor for next time. My niece must have spent hours on this so far, because, for example, her kitchen is full of bottles that she has labeled “Eye of Newt” and “Arsenic,” things like that, with quaint old-fashioned labels. What an eye for detail she has! Even in the living room are piles of books with titles like Grimoire and references to witches and devils (next to the giant spiders on the sofa pillows).┬áMy sister went out and bought a fog machine to send fog down the forest path for the Haunted Forest Walk. These kids are going to have a blast, as long as the little ones don’t get too frightened. All events are scheduled for daytime, though, so it shouldn’t be too bad. The children are excited at having helped their parents put up the decorations, so they dragged me through the house and forest yesterday showing me all the things they had made.

Glimpses of fall

After a rainy and cold week, we had beautiful weather for several days, in the high 60’s or low 70’s and sunny and in the 50’s or 40’s at night. It is supposed to start raining again in a few days, but for now we are enjoying the lovely weather. And we need the rain, so we’re not upset about that either.

Just little hints of fall color here and there

I am beginning to see very faint indications of fall. I can hear leaves falling in the forest and there are a few more on our drive. Some of the plants on our ridge have changed colors. We thought the larger one on the right of the picture might be a blueberry bush, except that I never saw any blueberries on it, and I don’t know what this one is next to the rock. The trees haven’t started to change yet, though. Our friend is coming for a visit from Houston in a few weeks, so we hope that she will see some fall color.

Yesterday I popped by our neighbor’s house. It was such a lovely day that I had to walk somewhere. I don’t like to pop into my niece’s house for fear of interrupting them, and Tuesday is a day when my sister usually sleeps most of the day because she works at night. My neighbor had invited me to come round sometime. I think she expected me to call first, but I was too shy to do so and thought I’d just go over. I think I was a little rude to do that, but she invited me in and we had a long talk. She is a widow who retired last year, just as I did. She is the neighbor who hosts the Native American religious ceremonies two times a month that I have mentioned on occasion. Her late husband was a full-blooded Native American. We talked about how we both needed to get more exercise, so soon we are going to start going for walks, maybe over at Moulton Falls.

Around the house, I haven’t done that much this week except normal housekeeping. I hung some pictures, and that’s about it. I think I am suffering from a reaction to all the work I have done in the past year to get us ready to move, the move itself, and the handling of the contracting work afterwards. I was delighted, however, to find my electronic picture frame, which has been packed away ever since I stopped having an office at my work, probably about four years. Looking at the pictures on it was fun, awakening many memories.

Finally, we started a regular Game of Thrones night with my sister, niece, and her husband. Every week we will go over to their house after the kids go to bed and watch two episodes of the show. We saw episodes one and two on Friday night after a family dinner to celebrate the fall equinox. My niece is trying to celebrate different holidays than everyone else, so she has chosen some pagan holidays that correspond fairly closely to the dates of our regular holidays. For example, they did something for a day close to Easter that has the word Oster in the holiday. My niece is an unusual girl. My husband isn’t sure he wants to continue with Game of Thrones, but he has said he will try one more time.