The past week brought rapid changes of weather: much needed rain, a [last?] gasp of steamy heat, followed by brilliant blue skies and cooling temperatures.
A male hummingbird winged in and spent several days with us, drinking deeply from the hanging feeder. During his first day here he was wary of Willis and company, before realizing that the cats had little interest in him. He made a final visit to the feeder last Tuesday morning--wings whirring, his body a dark silhouette against the pearly fog that wrapped the porch.
The cosmos were flattened by the gusty rains.
I noticed today that while there are still a few pretty blossoms the plants are bedraggled, spent.
I've learned that cosmos reseed abundantly with no help from me, but I will gather a few seeds as they dry; some to share, a few to drop in the spring just where I want them.
Bobby Mac is somewhat frustrated by wet mornings. He picks his way daintily along the walk that edges the side porch, ventures into the sopping grass, then returns, shaking the wet from his paws.
Rain water, blown in around the pot of nasturtiums, apparently tastes better than what is on offer in the kitchen.
Tulip poplars begin shedding leaves early in the fall. There has been a steady drifting of them, visible from the kitchen window.
Seeds have ripened on Clematis Candida. I will clear weeds from the base of the trellis so that new seedlings will have a sporting chance. I've also brought in some of the fluffy seed heads and picked out the hard dark seeds with the thought that I would like to experiment with starting some inside during late winter.
Rugosa Rosarie de l'Hay has produced a few soft fragrant blooms.
Hawkeye Belle, Double Red Knockout and the beautiful nameless rose. I cherish these late blooms over those of early summer, so quickly beset with Japanese beetles.
I admired my neighbor's dahlias and was given a bouquet to bring home.
This cactus has usually bloomed in late November--a 'Thanksgiving cactus.'
It spent the summer, nearly neglected, on the shady side of the porch.
I noticed with surprise that buds were forming in early October.
Jim dug sweet potatoes to take with us for sharing with family in Tennessee.
This was the yield from two hills, spread in the afternoon sun to dry the clinging soil.
We've found that washing newly up-earthed potatoes seems to limit their keeping quality.
Jim is fond of noting that one sweet potato could feed the two of us for a week!
Willis the Cat monitors our activities from a chair on the porch.
Home from our lovely weekend in Tennessee to find that the weather has turned crisp and cool.
The 'bones' of the surrounding trees are more visible each day as leaves drift slowly to the ground.
The sky wears the deep and brilliant hue that moved the poet to write of 'October's bright blue weather.'
Day shades into early evening in our back dooryard while the lower farmhouse is still swathed in the golden light of late afternoon.
After the bustle of unloading the car on our return Monday afternoon, greeting the cats and serving their 'tea', starting a load of laundry, we decided to build a fire.
I sat late in my rocking chair enjoying the gentle warmth, nodding over a book, delighting in companionship of Teasel-cat in my lap.
This morning the needle on the thermometer outside the kitchen window stood at 38 degrees.
We built up the fire and cooked the first meal of the season on the woodstove--a late breakfast of blueberry/buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup, crisp slices of turkey bacon, eggs.
It is time to put away summer clothes, to shake out the sweaters which have been folded on the bottom shelf.
Time, soon, to trim the begonias and geraniums, bring them inside. Time to tidy the tangled flower border, time to stack away pots and gardening paraphernalia.
Time to savor brisk mornings that warm into golden noons, to cherish the hope that winter will not cut short the joys of autumn.