~the first snow day! Only about two inches, but that doesn't matter. It was enough to delight and entertain - the little babe, the dogs, and me. (The chickens, not so much.)
~relief from a mysterious back pain. It may have come from wrestling with a 60 pound futon mattress in our Airbnb rental, or from hiking with the 35 pound (little) babe on my back every day, or from many other not very exciting reasons, but it was painful enough to keep me up at night and to break out the rarely used expired bottle of Tylenol from the depths of the medicine cabinet. And then as suddenly as it appeared, it seems to have gone.
~a lovely day with family talking about wedding plans, trying on my bridesmaid dress, and seeing the little babe twirl in several fancy frilly flower girl frocks. I think both she and I were in satin and sequin shock, but it was for a good cause - Malley, we love you and are very excited!
~my industrious little red hens who are providing us with two or three eggs per day! And for the fact that big bad Buffy has taken a little break from her egg pecking habit.
My basil plants bit the dust about two months ago, but we have still been eating fresh pesto. Just today, after two decent frosts, I came in from the garden with a colander of green goodness.
Carrots, sage, and even two little stray onions - Fall onions instead of Spring onions. Even when the carrots themselves look like this...
all is not lost. Just chop off those little babies and toss them to the chickens. Throw the tops, sage leaves, and green onion tops into the food processor with a big glug of olive oil, a couple shakes of salt and pepper, several chunks of parm or pecorino and if you have them, a handful of walnuts. Puree until smooth and put it on whatever your heart desires. Pasta, grits, scrambled eggs, pizza - we've done it all. Instead of the onion tops, I normally throw in a tablespoon of minced garlic. As the little babe was eating her carrot top pesto pasta, she told me that she thought it was made with basil. Awesome! A simple way to get my toddler to eat more veggies.
I'm not a fan of random photo dumps, but despite the fact that I've been absent from this space for a week, I haven't had time for taking many photos. My husband and I have been working on our first Airbnb rental and we had a deadline to meet. It has been several stressful months of hard work for my husband, completing remodeling the entire house. I contributed ideas, painting, cleaning, and decorating, things that can be done with one eye and ear on the little babe. We are in the process of completing the second bedroom and doing a bit more decorating to fill it in a bit, but it is ready to rent! We had our first guests on Saturday night and everything went well, so now we're ready for more. If you're interested, here is the link to The Bright and Cheery Cottage. I am jealous of the kitchen - it is much nicer than my own! And now for my random photos.
Plenty of Pennsylvania Longneck Squash - this is only half of the harvest. Muffins, cakes, fritters, cookies, soup, smoothies - we're not orange yet!
Fresh ginger - not quite as much as I'd like, but oh well, it was a first year "let's see if it actually grows." It grew a little. Enough for one quart of fresh gingerade and then I added the strained ginger pieces to applesauce - very yummy.
Pretty afternoon light and natural Autumn decorations. Leaves have been dipped in beeswax and strung into a garland, acorns are gathered on every walk, and I've been told our grapevine wreath is too bare, so we're on the lookout for some vines with berries.
For the past two weeks we have been under aerial assault. We were sitting at the kitchen table when we first heard the loud "bang, bang". We are used to a few evergreen cones falling on the skylights, but after the first couple of drops, the barrage continued for the next half hour and then resumed at various periods over the coming days. Once, when I stepped outside to see if I could catch the perpetrator, I saw a squirrel up in the tippy top of the Norway spruce. We have both red and gray squirrels and I could not tell which it was. The yard under the trees was scattered with the long cylindrical cones - perfect ankle turners! We have several trees that line the road, so that had been covered in cones also. In the front of our house, along the road, we have several large cherry logs and smaller miscellaneous logs waiting until my husband has the time to deal with them. When I looked out the front window on Monday afternoon, I saw a large pile of cones in the middle of the logs and the road was clear. My first thought was that my husband had piled them up as a trick for the little babe. When he said that it wasn't him, I then thought that one of the neighbors had got tired of driving over the crunching obstacle course and had tossed them back into our yard. My husband thought that was unlikely, pointing out the fact that there were cones shoved in several smaller holes within the pile, and so he turned to Google to do some investigative research. Apparently, the stash piling culprit is a squirrel, and according to this article, probably a red squirrel.
I noticed that the oak trees in our neighborhood have produced an extremely large amount of nuts also - they are backed up in one person's sloped driveway like downed logs in a stream. So maybe we should pay attention to the signs and get our supplies stocked up for winter. Darn, does that mean more knitting?
"Squirrels gathering nuts in a flurry/Will cause snow to gather in a hurry."
~a successful harvest. Earlier in the season, when the groundhogs were climbing the cattle panels, the rabbits were eating the emerging leaves on the ground, and the chipmunks were stealing the 2nd and 3rd round replacement seeds, I was hoping that we would get just one squash or pumpkin. Luckily, we got more than one! We have a little pie pumpkin on the top of every fence post surrounding the garden, ten butternut squash, three red kuri squash, several little mystery green squash, and about ten longneck squash which we have not harvested yet.
~yummy seasonal food. Applesauce Honey cake made in my new bundt pan, purchased in an antique store in Maine. I don't know if it is a true antique, but I think it is beautiful anyway and it made a perfect cake! The applesauce was made from four different types of apples, foraged from roadside trees in Maine.
~the pretty colors still found in the garden. The calendula and marigolds are still going strong and now there are randomly placed red and yellow leaves that land among the flowers.
I was bent over grabbing an egg from what used to be the duckling hut, now it is the egg laying spot for the chickens. As I thanked the ladies for the intact small terracotta egg that I found (intact being the most important part, because later in the morning I would find two more eggs, one of which was pecked open and being furiously ingested by two hens), I heard the first honking of the season. I smiled and looked up into the clear blue sky, waiting for the v-shaped flock to appear from behind the spruce trees. A flock of eighteen Canada geese, with the rising sun shining from underneath onto their broad bellies, turning them brilliant white. They were flying quickly and disappeared within seconds, but their appearance, along with the Autumn like cool morning, signals the end of Summer and beginning of Autumn that will occur next week. While I am still in bare feet and shorts, I have been wearing my shawl in the house and this morning my husband made coffee while wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Even the hot blooded little babe declared that it was cold and that she needed a sweater with pockets, after I told her that it was a tad early for mittens. For the past several days, my lattes have been hot instead of iced, and while I am sad to rip the tired basil out of the garden and to see the tomato bounty come to an end, I am ready for Fall.