Saturday, October 31, 2020

autumn: how it is and how it's supposed to be

 "Autumn had touched the world with the tips of her fingers. In the mornings the valleys were always filled with mist and above them the slopes of the moors, covered with fading heather, were rose-pink. The hips and haws were scarlet in the hedges and here and there the green leaves had turned to pure pale gold. The gardens were filled with Michaelmas daisies and blazing dahlias, the blackberries were ripe and the children were gathering the sloes for winter-prick-wine. Threshing was in progress and in the centuries-old orchards, under the gnarled old trees, the cider apples were stacked in glowing piles. The rhythm of the autumn harvesting went on as usual, in spite of all, and the beauty of it stole into anxious hearts and brought its peace."

                                           -  Elizabeth Goudge,  The Castle on the Hill

That's how autumn should be.

It actually snowed yesterday, beginning while I was getting ready for work, slowing down around three o'clock. Before Halloween, and feeling like Christmas. It really could have been December, with temperatures only in the thirties! Except it's October. 

I took this shot at work. 

 Today it was like March, with snow melting and mud appearing. But we're glad to see it go; we tend to get nervous here when there's snow in October. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

half-past October

 I knew it would be warm today, but it wasn't. It was hot, and the air conditioners were put to bed last week. So I would do some cleaning, and then do some reading. Do more housework, and then watch a youtube video. Balance.

Just a couple of days ago I washed my lightweight summer robe, but it's on me now; I had to dig out a cotton nightgown I'd put away just two days ago. 

The oscillating fans were waiting to be cleaned and put in the basement - I'm glad I didn't get around to it. They are both in service at this moment. I know my two bedroom windows will be open tonight. And when I looked outside just fifteen minutes before dark, I saw beautiful goldens and oranges everywhere  outside the window. 

I saw this poem online today, at Tea with Mrs. Mourning Dove:


Maybe night is about to come
calling, but right now
the sun is still high in the sky.
It's half-past October, the woods
are on fire, blue skies stretch
all the way to heaven. Of course,
we know that winter is coming, its thin
winding sheets and its hard narrow bed.
But right now, the season's fermented
to fullness, so slip into something
light, like your skeleton; while these old
bones are still working, my darling,
lets dance.

-  by Barbara Crooker

Monday, October 19, 2020

everything you need to know

 My brother sees many people in his work and the talk is often about politics. But when complaints are made about a candidate, it often happens that the customer hasn't gone to the party's website and read their platform. This is frustrating, so with a great deal of time and effort, he got a URL and put as much information pertinent to this election on there; his name isn't on it and he's not tracking anything.

This is it, if you're curious.

 nothing to do with the election

Thursday, October 15, 2020

blue sky, low sugar and easy stew

 Today could only be described as magnificent - deep blue above, bright leaves, in the warm seventies and quite windy. I do like the wind. 

it was really bluer than this

I washed another window; it was a heavenly experience! Rain tomorrow, and then below sixty on Saturday; I was so fortunate to have this lovely day off.

Great news: Dolly had her blood tested again and it's down to 195! I'm amazed! This is about a hundred points below my expectation. 

I made stew in the crock-pot today - I definitely prefer it on the stove, where I can have more control while it's cooking. But the trade-off is that I was able to work around here all day and not have to think about dinner afterward.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

a warm light over all

 Today was very dark and gloomy, with rain pouring at times. But we know this water is needed rather desperately, so no complaining. After, when I came home from work and was moving about the kitchen, my eye kept going outside to the bright swamp maple all orangey, and another maple still green, but with many red-tipped leaves. And the light was yellow-ish - not eerie, not really golden, but a soft yellow tinge over everything. So I took a picture.

I don't think this photo really captures it, but it's all I've got. You'll just have to take my word for it. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

a better acquaintance with the slow cooker

 My crock-pot is an older model, but it still works fine. I recently had the notion to utilize it more, not only for slow cooked recipes but also adapting others. 

So, I read the little booklet and learned what I need to know for adapting recipes. I find it preferable to not have so much kitchen work at the end of the day, after doing housework; to have most of it done is such a relief. 

Anyway, I adapted an apple cider chicken recipe, which was nice, but I made it again with some ingredient changes and that was even better! Thursday I think I'll use the pot for beef stew. 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Queen Dolly

 I saw something I Never thought I'd see. Sweetie was scratching around in the litter box (we are keeping one in the living room now) and Dolly passed by. She stopped and bopped Sweetie on the head! I was ready to panic, thinking there'd be a fight; Sweetie has always been so unpredictable. Does Dolly remember how for almost four years she avoided Sweetie and was apprehensive all the time? Maybe, but maybe not. 

Meanwhile, Sweetie had no problem with it! This whole episode reinforced my confusion about cat behavior. But one thing was plain: Dolly knew what was going on, and so did Sweetie. So what does it matter if I don't? And Dolly is still The Queen. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

clean windows before supper

 In the midst of a number of cool days, today came like a warm blessing. Sunshine and rather windy - it was wonderful! I washed a window, and the breezes were so heavenly that I washed another - even though it was nearing suppertime. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

mean sky

A threatening sky after work yesterday. Thankfully it didn't amount to much.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020


 "The Christian will be judged, not by his ability to escape from his human tasks and responsibilities, but, on the contrary, according to the fresh meaning which he has discovered in them and the renewed devotion with which he has discharged them...

The sacramental world is essentially a link between two other worlds, the world of eternity, in which the risen Christ lives, and the world of today, in which we have to live and attain in ourselves the life of the Risen One."

                                                                 - Father Louis Bouyer, from Magnificat, October 2020

Sunday, October 4, 2020

early October

 So far, so good.

a vineyard dream

The keeper of a vineyard dreamed 
Of vines alive with fruit
And tended vine and dream alike
Down years of sharp dispute,
As others came to claim the land,
To drink its fruit as spoil,
Without a grower's love of growth
Or farmer's love of soil.

The keeper had a child, firstborn,
Who came to work the land.
The malcontents desired his life
But did not understand -
This life, once it was given up,
This blood, once spilled like wine,
Would soak down deep into the ground
And rise up in the vine.

And then the plant, fresh charged, would be
Itself a vein of grace,
A way the keeper might extend
A hopeful, green embrace,
Connecting child and foe and friend,
Co-mingled an entwined,
To be and bear the fruit of God
In one life-giving vine.

-  a hymn by Michael Hudson, from Magnificat, October 2020

Saturday, October 3, 2020

playing fetch with Annie

 Not long after Annie came to live with us, my brother noticed that she'd dropped a ball behind his chair at the kitchen table. They ended up playing fetch, and nobody taught her how - it's just something she knew. She's gone through periods where she'd fetch, and spells where she wouldn't. But lately we figured out that a smallish piece of crumpled paper is perfect for her little mouth to carry and I've tossed as many as ten times to her, with her carrying it back to me. This is awfully cute. 

So today I put the camera on the floor, and took my chances. As for the sheet-covered furniture, what you see is what you get.

Did you see her flip over at the end? She seems to like going head first, never worrying about her little noggin. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020


 We were driving along after Mass down an old tree-lined street and noticed a woodchuck strolling on the sidewalk! That was unexpected; perhaps he is a connoisseur of architecture - there are nice old homes there.

It's October, and I'm happy to say it was October-y today, with balmy air and the constant background music from the insects. It's a good start.

My brother reports that early this morning he found a "new" cat toy on the floor and gently kicked it to the kitchen. Later in full sunlight, he saw what it was: A little tomato, still intact. It is the Orphan's work to bring items from the Far Corners of the Earth into the living spaces and she does a good job of it. 

Since we got rid of our hawthorn trees years ago (my brother being tired of the needles stabbing him while mowing), the mockingbirds have less reason to come to our property. So I've been happy lately to see one enjoying the bird bath, several times. And that seemed to give his cousin (a cat bird) the idea. So, it's a busy spot with the brook dry, and Diane's cats also come to stand up and drink from it. We're trying to keep it fresh and clean for them.

Sweetie seems pretty cheerful these days; I feel badly about the thing growing in her throat. Dolly's blood sugar is improving. It started out at 412 and after a week of keeping her off dry food it went down to 384. Two weeks later, and after trying many types of higher protein and lower carb wet food, it's down to 343. Dr. Joe wants it below 300, so we go back in two weeks again. Meanwhile, she is so much more alert! This is amazing to us. Behavior we were attributing to old age may well have been due to this. Poor Dolly! She doesn't seem to miss the crunchies, as long as she can eat when she wants (which is often! too often)