Autumnal Joy

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Beautiful fall day
Colors dance upon the trees
Perfect time of year

Helpful neighbors have made the last couple of weeks extra special for us.  It started with the gal that gave Sylvia a bushel of the best apples ever–crisp, naturally sweet, but tart and very tasty.  We made enough apple sauce for 26 pints.  Also an apple pie and some apple dumplings.  Sylvia’s benefactor had never had apple dumplings, so Sylvia took her two of them–softball size.  We still have some for eating fresh, making pie and dumplings.

I had lined up some help for this week to cut up the fallen tree that the road commission had pushed out of the way.  Last Thursday we looked up from lunch to see our neighbor at the tree with chainsaw in hand.  We quickly finished lunch and hurried out to help.  The mess is gone.

Thanks neighbors.  You prove the maxim: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

This Morning

I slept through sunrise, but our neighbors (Curt and Meghan) were up and at ’em.

Their picture.  Their house.

Their picture. Their house.

Meghan posted this today.  It is so strikingly beautiful that I had to share it with you.  In our neighborhood, this day is filled with sunshine and blue skies.  I hope yours is too.

Ready For Winter

Yesterday, was not very nice and I let it show in the poem that I posted.  Today was a different story.  Sunny and nice if on the cool side.  It was a great day for outside work and that’s what Sylvia and I did after lunch.

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The garden is ready for winter.  No, that garden is not freshly tilled.  It has been covered in a thick layer of well composted manure.  We have the most generous and well behaved neighbors and their two legged care givers are generous too.

With some help from the good Lord and cooperation from the weather, we are looking forward to a good harvest next year in the garden.  I’m hoping that the jalapeños do well.  This year we didn’t get any.  Our parsnips also failed.  (I think that was heavy spring rain.)

Two people are going to sleep very well tonight.  At least, that’s what I believe. :smile:

Making Hay

Mowing the tall grass on the low ground

Mowing the tall grass on the low ground

The sun is shining and our neighbor is making hay on our low ground.  The photo is from last summer.  The only thing that’s changed is the garden, and this has been a different year for the garden.

Can you believe we picked peas in August?  Yes, we did!

Sylvia did two plantings of green beans.  It would have worked well if we hadn’t had bunny visitors. Nevertheless we were still picking green beans late in September.

Zucchini was poor this year.  Instead of an over abundance, we had barely enough for the summer.

Parsnips must have drowned in the wet spring time.  Fortunately, Sylvia froze some of last year’s harvest.  Parsnips went well with last night’s shepherd pie.

We should have an excellent asparagus harvest next year, Lord willing.  This summer, I blanched and froze some while Sylvia was with her dad.  When we tried it recently, we found it to be very good.

We are already thinking about next year’s garden.

Good News Day

Neighbor Bob makes hay

Neighbor Bob makes hay

Yesterday was a very good day for us.  It was one of those days that you check mark on the wall calendar.  (Or do you do that?)

I always look forward to neighbor Bob cutting our lower [used to be] lawn for hay.  It saves me a couple hours and a gallon of diesel each week of the mowing season.  It will feed his beef cattle.  It’s a very good deal for both of us.

On the way out the drive, I stopped at the mailbox.  I handed the contents to Sylvia.  She opened one envelope.  It was from our mortgage company.  Inside was a small check for “overages on mortgage payoff.”  That was terrific news!

Then we drove to the orthopedist’s office.  There, they took X-rays of Sylvia’s wrist.  The images showed good progress.  We won’t have to go back unless she has problems.  Also, she does not have to continue with the therapy sessions, something to which she has been looking forward.

It think we’ll sleep well again tonight.  #feeling good

Making Hay

Two days ago, I posted this picture for Wordless Wednesday:

That’s my neighbor Bob cutting grass on the bottom two plus acres of our lawn.  We had talked about it over the summer.  I was elated willing to let him cut that grass, bale it and feed it to his cattle.  It saves me time and diesel fuel to not mow that myself.  At the same time it keeps that area from becoming overgrown with weeds, vines and brush.

That happened on Thursday before Thanksgiving.  The next Monday, Neighbor Bob was back to bale the “hay” into large round bales.

It didn’t take long and the baling was finished.  Normally as each bale is completely formed, Bob stops while the machine secures the bale and dumps it out the back.  That day as the bales were completed, he would drive the short distance to a spot near his barn where he let the bales finish the process and eject where they would require no further handling.  He is one smart fellow!

It sure is nice to have good neighbors.  We think ours are tops.

Hot Time Monday

Shortly after 8 PM Monday evening, Sylvia and I were watching TV when we heard a siren. It was an emergency vehicle coming down our secondary road. It was a fire truck. Around the corner and about a half-mile from here, I could see the flashing light of another unit that was already on the scene. The action was just beyond a hill, so we couldn’t see what exactly was creating the excitement. The trucks were still there when we went to bed nearly three hours later. At 6:30 AM on Tuesday morning one unit was still on the scene.
Part of my morning routine is to check the Sentinel-Standard Webpage. This is the newspaper for our county. They had a picture and the story.

Sentinel-Standard Photo

It was a neighbor’s house that had burned. The neighbor was home and called in the alarm. The farm house appears to be a total loss, but fire did not spread to the dairy buildings. The good news is that no one was injured in the fire.
For you urbanites, it may not be a big deal to see the fire trucks roll by, but out here it is, And this time there were several area departments that were involved.

My World ~ Looking West From Here


Sunday evening was quiet around here. I was returning to the house from the barn when I saw a sun dog (also called a parhelion, meaning “beside the sun”). Unlike a rainbow they appear in the sky near the sun — usually about 22 degrees from it and at the same altitude. This phenomenon is caused by ice crystals high in cirrus clouds that refract sunlight and, like tiny prisms, break the light up into colors. Red is closest to the sun, blue and violet are away from the sun. The colors are not clearly defined, nor are they vivid.


I walked quickly to the house to retrieve the camera. I was concerned that the sun dog would not be visible when I had returned. It turned out I had good reason. That’s the sun behind the weeping willow tree.


The bright spot above is not the sun. It is just a thin spot in the clouds. A minute or two earlier the sun dog was clearly visible just to the right of the bright spot. When I shot this I could barely see the fading color. Unfortunately the CCD of the digital camera is not as sensitive as my eyes.


Before returning to the house, I noticed the neighbors cattle grazing in the pasture across the road.


Is it any wonder that our visitors quickly fall in love with this place? We love nature, but we also feel blessed to live in this agricultural community where productive people do their part to feed our nation. This mob is turning grass into steaks and burgers.


Monday morning we went to visit Sylvia’s dad. (Our niece and her boy friend
from South Carolina were there for a visit.) These were some of the geese that had spent the night in the same cow pasture. We saw them as we were leaving, stopped and took this shot. (The cattle are out of the frame to the right.)

January Thaw in February

Winter came early this time around,
The air too soon was frosty,
And I walked on frozen ground.

January brought no joy no thaw,
As winter clamped us in its vice,
But now it’s February and we stand in Awe.

The winter has eased its grip,
the snow and ice just melt away,
No gripes, I’ll just zip my lip.

The other day brought the first of blessed relief from the bitter cold. Unfortunately, the camera cannot handle the high contrast ratio. Reflections on the rivulets looked like sparkling diamonds. I’ll have to get a refraction grating for my camera. (If I can save some money.)


As I turned to take the mail back to the house, I heard the sound of my neighbor’s tractor. It was headed my way. Here came neighbor, Bob, and he was carrying hay.



So soon he passed with food for his cattle (aka: steak on the hoof). It’s a common sight to see this hard-working older fellow. A good man, and a fine neighbor.

How many days to spring?