Monday, October 28, 2013

Pictures of a (legendary?) fall

I bought a little secondhand espresso machine over the weekend.

I'm going to save money. It's been bad for the budget, Dutch Bros. moving to town, and the girls' dance classes six days a week and the lack of sleep and all.

I grit my teeth and choose contentment, sticking fingers in ears to deny a negative word. La la la I can't hear you. Because I'm mature like that.
Not long after, not so very much later, forced smiles relax into reality. I see the beauty directly in front of me.
 Oh, Jane. Your portrait does not do you justice.
 The man whose sign proclaims irrigation automation. His name is Greene. And that makes me smile bigger.
We stomp down the leaves after they've fallen. Our grass is so green here! Even in a drought year we didn't use the irrigation system in the front lawn at all. (Apologies to Mr. Greene.) Then the leaves head for the compost mountain.
 Sal and Laura and I get a lot of time to appreciate the bajillion of covered bridges around here while the big girls are at dance. I (used to) carry a Dutch Bros. mocha while we played. Covered Bridge Capitol they say. There's a plaque and a sign and everything.
The hens don't venture out until the mist leaves the hillside. See that little, itty bitty hop vine there? So much for covering the henhouse in one season. I also planted lavender. But Jane thinks lavender and geraniums are for her. Breakfast lunch and dinner. Baaaaad sheep.
Shades of grey. Rated G.
 (Have not read those books. I just think I'm funny. Don't mind me; acting ridiculous cheers me up when I have to make my own mochas.)

 I have a soft spot for pumpkins on ladders. Funnily enough some of my ladders I pulled out of burn piles and trash heaps. Repeatedly. A-hem. Then the cucumbers climb them all summer before the autumn squash take up residence. We also use old dry-rotted wooden ladders for roosting rungs in the chicken yard and henhouse. I have seen some clever people make rustic - shabby? farmchic? steampunk? what is this steampunk? - bookcases. I can never. never. never have enough bookcases. But I also like to stay married so the wooden ladders stay outside.
 We are building a library, which will decidedly NOT have rustic ladder shelving, up in the attic. Got a little sidetracked by plumbing disasters between the pump and the house. And again between the pump and the barn. Then most recently by some cottage-style built-in beds for the teen girls. Oh and we can't forget the stair rail, the upstairs bath reno, the tiny back yard studio remodel. Multitasking makes for a lot of projects nearly there. And the library is the furthest from "there."
 We never have enough photos of Madeleine and Sarah anymore.
And I thought I might bore you with sunflower pictures this summer -- I took hundreds! We cut down dozens and dozens to dry but left a few for the birds, who flit around and weigh the blossoms down while they have an October snack. I walk as quietly as I can but they don't stay for a portrait. Sort of like my teenagers.

Can you tell I'm overcaffeinated? The unintended side effect of frugality, my friends.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


 Things these weeks have seemed a little fuzzy and out of focus.

But then I decided my "forgettyhead" self (5-year-old Laura's word for me, thankyouverymuch), otherwise known as scatterbrained and/or distracted easily by the light through a forgotten red chard plant, can also be described as creative and spontaneous.
 Madeleine went to her first school dance and looked ah-mazing. Her group of friends is a blessing and I know this word is somewhat overused but I really, truly mean it: each of those girls and guys makes me giddy with gratitude that we get to know them and watch them move through their own teen years. Because really, it's healing to know that friendship and loyalty survive the texting-crazed generation.

I rewrote a bit of my own biography in my head, watching my daughter walk confidently in heels and a little black dress. Where do they get these pieces of themselves so apparently foreign to nature or nurture? The confidence, I'm telling you, it kills me.
 You know what else slays me?

Foggy October mornings. Six dentist appointments in one week. Being out of loose tea. Sudden urges to tear up carpet during history class at the home school table.

You know, the unexamined life would probably benefit me a little.
 Is that out of focus or just dreamy? Still deciding. Which reminds me, this week brings three doctor appointments and a new optometrist appointment in addition to the twelve dance classes, two singing lessons (rescheduled and I can't remember why), one flute and one piano lesson. Last week was the dentist. I'm pretty sure. You can't overestimate my forgettyhead.

In theory I love this time of year.
The true New Year of academics, this autumn time. Also not the time to be out of soothing herbal tea.