Monday, September 27, 2010

Autumn Light

Just last week it was hot and dry. After a couple of near chances with rain, which brought only the shrill of the town's tornado siren whining eerily with the wind and leaving us dryer then before,the third try was a charm. No tornado sirens, just a series of long, drizzly rains and one afternoon the gift of a rainbow to admire.




I am enjoying the cleaner air and cooler temperatures. Today was a day of mist. I stayed near the fire in the wood stove.

I read this over later and realized that it read like I was staying in the wood stove next to the fire. Well no, but I was sure into the fire. These cool, wet days are a change from what we are used to. So, it is really hard to believe it is going to get cold. How could the days get so far from being hot, so fast? This sudden veil of mist and rain between us and the sun are almost intoxicating if you have time to immerse yourself in them and then dry your shoes by the fire when your baptism is done.

Some hops are tumbling up the middle of the blue spruce tree so I was persuaded to pull some of the hairy vine down and brew some tea from its pretty, little nobs of gold. It suits me fine, the tea of hops but also makes me very, sleepy in the end. Not being one who needs persuasion to feel sleepy I had best leave the rest for some, future, snowy day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Goldenrod Sunsets

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Joe-Pye Weed, Goldenrod, New England Asters, Tall Yellow Coneflower, Ironweed and all the wild flowers of fall! Didn't God go all out when he planted these in their complimenting shades to bloom together, yellow, purple, mauve pink and green? They are filling up the roadsides and the pastures now with their grand splashes of color.
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I am thankful that the beautiful, soft cows leave the ironweed to bloom purple in the fields.
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I quite simply love Goldenrod and God must love it too the way He spews it around on every field and every spare corner.

Right now, out-of-doors, it is like splendor. No where are there more riches than the gold, the ruby, the sparkles, the velvets that await us there.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

the Hills in Autumn


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Eddy Arnold said it nicely in his song, God Walks These Hills, “We all have treasures we call our own. Mine are these hills I call my home.” “What a comfort to know I'm never alone for God walks these hills with me. (Every day when the sun goes down I thank God for the love I've found). For the contentment each day I see in these hills God walks with me, Yes he walks these hills...”

After my early years of navigating foothills I was appalled when the man that was about to ask me to marry him presented me with a map of the Northern Ohio area where he was from. All the roads were laid out in precise, orderly lines. Straight. My first thought was that I would die of gloom if I had to live where there were no bends in the road. So when Jim asked me to marry him I gave him the condition that he must promise not to try to make a flatlander out of me. I think I am good now that he is well rooted in these hills.

Monday, September 20, 2010

No Path



The way I decided to go home had no path. So, after taking this picture I continued to tramp my way through the brush and in doing so I bumped a limb of the tree. My bumping caused the dark, brown buckeyes to fall from their tan caskets, plunk, plunk to the ground.

"As I stood by the creek at dusk, the silhouette of a woman in a kayak came flowing my way. The last crease of the orange sun hovered on the horizon behind her. I spied the reflection of the planet Venus shimmering in the violet water before I saw it in the sky. The temperature was balmy. A translucent spider floated nearby at the end of an airborne silk strand. Nine geese in v-formation trumpeted as they soared overhead. When the woman got close enough for us to see each other's faces, she addressed me. "We win!" she exclaimed jubilantly, then paddled onward. I agreed. We were basking in a great victory, paradise having temporarily descended into our midst." Rob Brezsny

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Helber-Frasure Road




I love rambling down scenic country roads. Today we traveled towards the little village of Enterprise. We turned off of 664 onto Helber Frasure Road. What kind of word is that I asked my Husband, German or Dutch? Helber Frasure is a beautiful road, hilly and charming, no subdivisions!




Jim got to the bottom of my question when he noticed the inscription on the gravestone in the hillside cemetery at the church that we stopped at in the wildwood, Gotliev Helber. His stone informed us that he was born in Germany.



Graveyards are full of stories. Gotliev had a wife buried to his right and a wife buried to his left.




I love reading the names on the stones. I was so surprised to find the word Fairy as a name on a gravestone. Fairy M. Brown, born 1917. There is no later date so she must still be among us. I wonder if her full name is Fairy May Brown? I just couldn’t believe people used to name their kids fairy, how beautiful!






We are too uptight to do that now-a-days. I would like to meet this Fairy lady. Maybe I should go to church there one Sunday morning, maybe she will be there. It is a beautiful church, Faith Chapel Church, set across from the drive-way on the other side of a creek so that you have to cross over water to get to it. Just think how the creek would be gurgling in the spring. On this dry September day, it was quite dry.





The water in the creek could represent the spirit gurgling or dry in our hearts.
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There were butterflies busy on the wildflowers in the pasture beside the church yard
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Jim took this beautiful picture of a Question Mark Butterfly in the dry creek bed.
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I am always glad in my romp-abouts when there is an angel to lead the way to an old, but still usable outhouse. Outhouses don't require keys to open their doors as do sanctuaries of a more indoor kind. I am thankful for their open doors when I discover I drank too much coffee before my country ramble and seek relief.
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This outhouse was a delight, a double seater, one short for little ones and a tall one for adults. The shelter was very nicely decorated and felt very homey with a rug on the floor, pictures on the walls and toilet paper in a tin between the seats labeled, "paper".
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It was very, very quiet at this old country place.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Autumn is Entering



Autumn is bittersweet. That is the nature of her. There will be days of darkness. There will also be brisk, sunshine filled days when the trees splash their true colors like quicksilver across this land. The Creator cannot resist showing off these hills when they are in their full autumn splendor. I read in an Ohio Tourism pamphlet that generally the leaves change color in northern Ohio earliest then the color progresses through the south. I would love to see that from on high and in fast motion, the color sweeping like a wave down through the flat country and then rippling through the hills of our Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau.

I have a friend who lives in Colorado and she thinks that her autumn pictures are striking. They do have their own unique beauty, whole mountains of aspens turned yellow, gold grasses swaying on meadows. Still, I don’t have the heart to spoil it for her by showing her pictures of our hills, when they do their thing. Not only yellow and gold but orange, red, crimson, purple, scarlet, mauve, amber, jade, it goes on and on. The Artist that surpasses all artists never gets tired of finding new colors when he casts autumn on these.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Apple Trees and the Original Plan


Stores of Harvest

Richer for harvesting these, my eyes
feast on their play with gold and red.
Sunlight shimmers on their leaves, I am fed.
They are so much more than fruit for pie,
these ripe September apples.


We have other apple trees, trees that we ordered from mail catalogs, trees that we actually know the true names of, trees that we have pruned and thinned. We read all the usual advice on fruit tree maintenance. Almost any Master Gardener or Agricultural Specialist seems to agree, the backyard tree is to be kept properly in control, fettered, pruned, sprayed and thinned to keep nature in check for the highest, most consistent yields.

If I have it all right you must thin to encourage larger apples, prune to cause uniform fruit, fertilize faithfully and watch for and control insects and diseases. In our need to always have more and to have more on a regular basis it seems humans are consumed with interfering immensely with nature.

Yet, The One, we have left entirely to its own devices. We never prune, thin, fertilize, treat or otherwise flaunt our authority on The One. We just let it go. Every other year as apple trees naturally want to do, it bears an avalanche of apples that fall to the ground in a plummet. The next year it has a little crop, just enough for eating.

This causes me to think of something I heard long before I ever tried to read any books on pruning or advice on pesticides. It is something my Grandfather shared with me when I was a child one autumn day as we were out finding leaves for a leaf collection. There, under the trees on a dirt road in Noble County, Ohio, Grandpa taught me what his Grandfather taught him, which is that the fruit and nut trees, such as the oaks, the walnuts and the apples that we were gathering leaves from, bear fruit well every other year.

They do this he said because it keeps the fruit and nut-devouring insects from becoming too plentiful. During lean years a vast amount of the damaging insects dwindle in number. So, when harvest comes along the successive year the insects whose population was greatly decreased by the lean year, hardly make a dent in the crop.

Isn’t it beautiful to think that The Creator and Nature work in such harmony? Yet, because we humankind demand a steady yield every year, we are bound to an unnatural cycle, we prune, trim and force the apple tree to confirm which allows the insect population to increase so we resort to sprays.

I like the original story and the original plan and I am all for it because on big harvest year I freeze, can and process enough apples for two years. On the following lean year I take a break!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Apples Red and Green

The back yard apple trees are throwing down their apples. When I stepped into our down-hill-neighbors home the other evening, a warm spicy smell greeted me at the door. Bonnie was in her kitchen making applesauce. Shirley came by the other day, (to get some honey to send to Japan with an exchange student. Fun to think our honey will be enjoyed on the other side of the world). She scrutinized the little imperfect apples that I had in a basket by the door. I was embarrassed by her inspection but she inspired me by saying they are nicer than the ones she is putting up.

So, contrary to popular opinion some of us are in cahoots. We believe these backyard apples are worth saving because the bad spots can be cut out and the good parts can create something organic and fresh. I will take a few wormholes to cut around over eating chemical residues any day.

The apple tree that lays claim to us, on our stead, is behind the house and past the clothesline. It is very old, twisted and I have no idea what variety it is. I told my Grandma about it when we first moved in. Its apples are red on one side and gold/green on the other. (I have since found out that this color variation is due to the absence of pruning.) From my description she said it sounded just like the apple tree she harvested from when she was a young girl.

Grandma came out one day when my apples were ripe, walked her wooden cane to the tree and there her beautiful, worn face glowed with a smile when she saw them. Stooping over to pick up one that had recently plunked to the ground, she cleaned it off by rubbing it on her purple/blue/red flowered skirt, (she always wore purple, blue and red). She ceremonially bit into the red side, “Yes!” she said, “these are the ones!” I have loved my little imperfect apples ever since. They are, The Ones!