The rains which moved through early in September left our summer-parched world greening and refreshed. The grass which had been shriveled and brown sprang back to exuberant life.
Grandson D. volunteered to mow the lawn the day before J. was due to return from his Wyoming stay.
I left the over-due book keeping which has so vexed me and quickly used a boxed mix to bake a pan of brownies, timed to be ready for D. when the mowing and raking were finished.
Energized by chocolate and sugar, D. looked about for another task.
The sun was beautifully warm--not hot, and the dooryard smelt sweetly of freshly cut grass.
I eyed the makeshift trellis standing lop-sided against the bricked wall of the porch storage cupboard.
It was contrived by Mr. Rogers, the former resident, a rather splendid example in its day of making do.
Several metal posts were jammed into the ground and chicken wire had been lashed in place with a variety of ties to support two clematis vines--and rather oddly--a grapevine.
The grapevine had clambered up into the porch eaves, wrapped itself about the nandina shrubs, trailed across the clematis, threatening to throttle everything in sight.
D. and I yanked out much of it in late July--which didn't do anything good for the chicken wire support.
During the drought weeks the clematis vines shriveled after producing seed pods.
I removed the flat stones at the base of the trellis and D. began yanking on the metal posts--which obliged by bending instead of coming straight out!
After considerable effort to remove the old support, D. fetched a post hole digger and began preparing a place to set in the sleek new black trellis which M. bought for me at auction in the spring.
We found that the stump of the grapevine had to be wrenched out to allow room to set the new trellis.
I suspect that in the process we damaged some of the clematis roots.
In the spring there was a tangle of flowering vine as well as seedlings that had sprouted and never been tied into the chicken wire frame.
I can only hope we'll have new seedlings come spring which can be properly trained.
I pulled off the rusty chicken wire with its clinging bits of dried vine and seed heads, and bundled it out of the way on the grass.
Willis, helpful cat that he is, immediately came to investigate and wormed his way inside the heap of wire.
We have noted that Willis's tweedy coat provides him with excellent camouflage.
As he trails us around the yard and garden he manages to disappear and reappear rather like Alice's Cheshire Cat.
Early twilight was falling by the time the new trellis was carefully leveled and fresh dirt compacted around the legs. I gathered up the old wire, collected tools, while D. trundled the wheelbarrow to the garage.
"Meme," he shouted, "Look at this!"
Peering into the gloom of the garage I didn't at first see where he pointed.
There it was--a mantis.
This is one of the best of the photos which D. took.
On his return J. immediately expressed a wish for apple pie.
I didn't get to making pie on Thursday, but began to assemble ingredients on Friday afternoon after J. D. and I did errands in town.
"Shall I run home and get dad's apple peeler?" suggested D.
I remembered suddenly that I own one--even knew where it was!
This is a lovely gadget which can be used to peel and core apples and set to slice them as well.
The depth of the peel is even adjustable.
The peeled and cored apples sometimes need a bit of trimming--the device being designed with a perfectly symetrical fruit in mind.
J. trimmed while D. ran the peeler and I rolled pastry.
D. sampled a long swirl of peel.
They were still happily churning out sliced apples when I ran out of pastry.
D. decided that the extra apples could be heaped into his pie!
Not hard to see which pie D.planned to take home!
Pebbles was delighted to have a tea-time treat of apple peels and cores which disappeared
in several greedy gulps.
Willis, who has a distinct preference for male company spawls with D. on the sun-warmed drive.
Who knows whether this venture onto the garage roof was D.'s idea or the
inspiration of the brilliant Willis.
D. came inside for the camera while I was washing up the pie-making dishes.
Willis parades across the woodshed roof.
Safely on the ground Willis prowls through the rough grass at the edge of Mr. Rogers' old rasied bed.
Does he wonder at the disappearance of the sunflowers which grew there in the summer?
I suspect he is simply content to busybody and oversee all that takes place on a sunny autumn afternoon!