There has been a pleasant sameness in the weather this week, after the previous onslaughts of rain and wind.
Mornings have been silver-frosted-- grass, fence posts, roofs glittering as the sun rises slowly over the eastern ridge.
Walking down the lane in mid-morning I note that the sheen of wet grass is over-laid with stripes of white where the shadow of a tree or power pole slows the strengthening warmth of the sun.
The boy cats clamor to go outside when I come downstairs a bit after 6 a.m.
The edge of the retaining wall offers a spot to warm and dry off furry paws that have gotten chilled in the first explorations of the day.
It was 22 F at 6:15 on this Thanksgiving morn. The 'boys' seemed disgruntled, surprised by the cold, almost expecting me to instantly fix temperatures more to their liking.
With nearly all the leaves blown to the ground, morning light has a different quality, flowing over objects that have been previously lurking in shade. Branches are sharply etched against clear skies. Plumes of wood smoke announce that someone is stirring, greeting the day.
Jim has firewood harvest privileges at the Amish farm up the road. He and our neighbor/renter have spent several mornings this week pulling out 'tops' left from a logging operation, cutting them into stove lengths and then using the wood splitter to make more manageable chunks.
Both men enjoy the work, carried on in the crisp sunny weather. They roar in with old Snort'n Nort'n loaded to capacity and stash the wood, turn about, at our place or the lower one.
On Monday, I kept Dazee Belle while our friends made a routine trip to Nashville. Dazee has outgrown some of her puppy ways and is a more docile visitor than she was a year ago. I take her out on her lead, let her rootle about in the fallen leaves, sniff along the fence.
She hears her owners' car chugging up the lane early in the evening and welcomes their return, wriggling with delight, bouncing about the front door as they pull to a stop.
Tuesday I drove to the South Fork community, wanting salad makings for Thanksgiving dinner.
Bins and baskets of apples line the outer entry; the scent of apples is heady-sweet on the cool air.
A grocery cart has been heaped a variety of pumpkins. A hand-lettered sign announces that they are 'pie pumpkins' for those purists who don't buy pumpkin tidily processed and packed.
[Making pumpkin puree is a fairly lengthy task--cutting up the pumpkin, scraping out seeds and their stringy surrounding pulp, roasting the chunks of pumpkin, then finally scooping the cooked flesh from the rind and putting it through a food mill. I buy mine in cans.]
This was our first Thanksgiving at home in several years. Daughter and her husband are in Vermont for the week, so grandson joined us for dinner.
I felt I was being quite organized. I didn't want to fuss with a whole turkey, so bought a hickory smoked turkey breast which was gently thawing after a week's incarceration in the freezer. By Wednesday evening the kitchen was fragrant with pumpkin pudding just out of the oven, a pastry shell was ready to pop in, fruited jello settled in a glass bowl in the fridge, two extra pies tucked in the freezer for future reference.
I nipped out early to record our holiday morning weather, fed the outdoor cats, prodded the fire into renewed life.
I squeezed fresh lemons for pie filling, whipped egg whites to glossy peaks.
It was a temptation to be outside in the sun as the temperature climbed.
Instead I peeled potatoes and butternut squash, decided to cook them on the wood stove.
Glancing out the window I noticed that Willis, his morning rounds completed, had settled for a nap in the buggy.
Jim acquired the Amish buggy along with the farm swap. It has been stored at various places, and has now been lodged for the winter on a corner of the long front porch.
The cats were immediately interested, so Jim provided a thick old quilt for their comfort.
Our porch chairs and settee remain on the south facing side of the wrap-around porch and are layered with old rugs and throws for the cats. Two blanket-lined baskets on the lower back porch offer another choice of snug cat beds.
If Willis has chosen the buggy as his preferred shelter I expect the other cats will need his approval to share the space.
To borrow a phrase from Garrison Keillor, "It has been a quiet week"--one of beneficent weather, of unhurried accomplishments.
I won't need to cook tomorrow--the fridge is stocked with appealing left-overs.
I can think of no urgent tasks to demand my attention.
A sunny day--and warmer--is forecast.
There should be time to meander outdoors with my camera, to visit the goats and the barn cats next door, time perhaps in the afternoon for a book and a mug of tea.