I had a message from Hallie last night: “How are you? What are you doing?” Then she called. “It’s been a while since we had a new post,” she said.
Yes, my muse did leave. We went to town last Thursday. Chukar season opened Saturday (Oct. 1), and Mike, Ken, and Nellie were there! (On a sad note, Ken’s dog Duke battled cancer throughout the summer and passed away last week. We’re happy to report, though, that Ken is searching for his next dog.) They hunted Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. Meetings were the prime objective of my time in town, and one of those required the completion of time-consuming “October” duties. It’s done now, though, and that’s a good feeling. And yes, we’re back at the homestead for a few days.
I don’t know much about weather patterns, but it seems like the whole year has been off by six weeks. A cold, wet spring lasted until after the Fourth of July. Summer temperatures were really moderate but the warmth continued through last weekend with no guarantee that it’s over yet. You know, I’m a little tire of watering the garden, but it just doesn’t quit producing. Here at the homestead, it has yet to frost. Week by week I have toyed with the idea of putting our raised beds to sleep for the winter, but yesterday I picked another zucchini and more zucchini and summer squash have set on -- practically unheard of in these parts where the growing season can be cut short by an August frost. In Lewiston yesterday I heard someone remark that he saw his neighbor tearing out his tomato plants while the speaker himself was still picking many tomatoes. What are the rules, he wanted to know. I don’t think there are any. Perhaps the neighbor was just tired of gardening. The season has to come to an end sometime, don’t you think?
Tell you what else I’m tired of – wasps and grasshoppers and those odd stink bugs. Time for them to be gone. But then the mice will show up, I suppose. In fact, last week I awoke one morning about 5:30 to a rattling sound. Rattle-rattle . . . plunk . . . rattle . . . klunk . . . rattle rattle rattle. The picture that came to mind was of a mouse pushing a piece of Nellie’s chow across a rafter. So, I got up, crept downstairs, and peeked at her food dish. Empty – and I think it was empty at bedtime. Oh well, I thought, it could have been . . . something else. I made my hot chocolate and sat down to my laptop. Then I heard it again – rattle rattle rattle . . . plop – behind the open stair door. In the wall. Shudder. Oh well.
The only fall color visible in my yard is the artificial wreath I hung on the front door, and it looks out of place. The big maple tree is still dressed in green with hardly a hint of switching to autumn gold. Remember how we plowed through colored leaves at Halloween? I can still smell them. Well, they have 25 days to turn color and begin to fall. We’ll see . . .
As you may recall, water stood in the fields last spring, keeping our farmer from his planting. The fields were fallow all summer, and I thought that was a little depressing. It was fun having access to the fields for hiking and 4-wheeling, but I missed watching the grain ripen and come to fruition in harvest.