Autumn lingered long this year, with cool fog-laden mornings giving way to
warm mid-day sunshine and blue skies.
Pasture and roadside grass turned tawny from lack of rain.
Wooly bears stretched on the warm cobbles of the drive.
A young local couple have purchased our fields by the creek.
The land, rented out, was not providing the income that we hoped for, with maintenance and taxes a yearly need.
I asked if I might continue to walk there and was graciously given permission.
The acreage behind our house is heavily wooded and demands a steep climb up the ridge--stout exercise rather than a meandering stroll.
The field just before soybean harvest, with the view up the valley.
Finally, in late November, a frost that touched the herb garden.
A tangle of thyme, purple-tipped by the frost.
The nasturtiums planter lugged into the sunroom rewarded me with a dramatic burst of bloom before going shabby and yellow-leaved. I clipped them back and have noticed tiny new leaves emerging near the base of the stems. Perhaps they will bloom again.
When we were in Tennessee over Thanksgiving [already seeming a while ago]
my daughter-in-law and I browsed through the indoor garden center at Lowes while the men sought tools and other practical items. I pounced on several displays of amaryllis bulbs and Dawn generously insisted on purchasing two for me--as well as a package of paperwhite bulbs.
I'm thinking to plant the paperwhites this week.
This amaryllis has stretched up several more inches since last week's photo, the second one is awakening more slowly.
A week of cold and dreary weather changed on Saturday to an uneasily warm and windy day.
By evening tree branches were clashing, dry leaves were flung in swirls onto the front porch. Rain came in brief bursts, pattering against the windows. The temperature began to drop from an unseasonable high of 60 F.
I went upstairs to bed about 11, listening to the whine of wind in the bare upper branches of the oaks.
As I settled under the covers [having displaced Nellie-cat] the velocity of the gale increased to a roar. Lightning blazed beyond drawn curtains, thunder muttered. Rain pounded the metal roof in a fury that lasted for 20 minutes. For the next hour brief spells of astonishing silence were interspersed with squalls of rain and renewed howling of wind.
When I came downstairs this morning at 7:30 the thermometer outside the kitchen window stood at 29 F. A crust of pebbly ice coated the car's hood and windshield.
The cats rushed out the back door--their usual morning explorations were quickly discouraged by the raw, damp chill of the day.
They tried again an hour later, wisely decided that it was a day to huddle inside near the wood stove.
A few bronzed leaves still cling to the oak saplings on the ridge above the retaining wall.
The brook, long silent and dry, rushes noisily beside the lane.
B. and F. have been constructing end walls for the goat huts, creating three-sided enclosures.
On bitter days the goats will remain in the stable.
The barn cats picked their way across the wet yard to greet me when I walked down at noon, but scuttled quickly to the dry refuge of the barn without escorting me back up the lane.
We've not been ambitious today.
We tended to the necessary chores--litter box duty, bringing wood into the kitchen from the back entry. Lunch was reheated lentil soup, thick and savory.
I made a large bowlful of tapioca pudding--eaten warm with a dollop of cherry dessert topping.
I do not approve of cats reclining on the table [although I don't go to pieces over it!]
Feline rationale would seem to be that it is warmer at this elevation and the homespun tablecloth serves as a bathmat. Beyond the table is the small counter where we deposit bundles, or sacks of groceries on entry via the front door. There is a folded towel there for the convenience of the cats.
I continue to shoo the boys off the table--but there are moments when it is easier to ignore.