Mornings come softly. I am awake by 5, watching drowsily for the grey of night to diminish beyond my west-facing bedroom window, for daylight to bring the return of color . The cats know that I am not sleeping; they skitter in and out of the room, lumber across the bed, waiting for the moment when I swing my feet to the floor and walk quietly to the kitchen. At this time of year the pine floorboards creak underfoot announcing my progress.
The barn cats, Willis and Sally, are waiting on the front porch when I turn on the outside light and slide their kibble pan into place.
Several of the cats who spend nights inside poke tentative noses around the half open door, wanting out but wary of Sally who guards the steps with the ferocity of a troll.
The morning ritual seldom varies: pour water and spoon coffee into the machine; trudge downstairs to clean litter boxes, shower in the downstairs bathroom.
Shelby-cat flies down the stairs ahead of me, rushes to the back door, twirling around my ankles, imploring me in her tiny voice to let her out where she needn't brave Sally's aggression.
By the time I come back upstairs Jim has emerged, coffee has brewed, blinds have been raised. Ground fog swirls around the garden, grass is silvered with dew.
Most days it is noon before the grass dries.
August departed with bursts of rain giving way to humid sunshine. With the turning of the calendar page to September suddenly the air cleared bringing cool mornings.
Grass and trees remain green due to ample rains in July and August.
The garden is bedraggled; the glory of the sunflower hedge is over, the stalks dry, leaves sere and brown. Since this photo was taken Jim has removed the bean trellis, mowed and then tilled most of the garden space.
I sheared spent blooms from the zinneas nearly two weeks ago allowing fresher blossoms more room.
Orange is not one of my favorite colors, but this brilliant zinnea and the golden fritillary butterfly are eye-catching.
Samaritan Jo has put out a few fall blossoms, much paler than the spring profusion.
First blossoms on clematis Dr. Ruppell--the plant has struggled.
Prairie Sage, grown from seed. I can see these plants will need staking next year to do their best.
Seed pods on Redbud.
First blooms on a New England aster grown from seed. The bees found this one the minute it opened.
A moody sunset after a sharp afternoon rain last Wednesday.
A mottled pastel sky at day's end.