we got the garlic in the other day, finally. we planted it in the bed that used to have strawberries.... a bed that, it turns out, the voles love. Ollie cat is hopefully helping out a bit in that department, and it's possible that garlic is a vole deterrent. but still. as I pushed those babies into the soil for their winter sleep, there were several times my hand slipped into a suspiciously deep hole and I wondered if I was just sending them to their doom. we did grow a whopping (for a backyard garden, anyway) 9 pounds of garlic this year. more than enough to use for seed and have plenty to see us through the year. fingers crossed the ones now in the bed do not become vole snacks, because I'd love to keep the garlic train rolling.
I'm still working my way through the flower bulb order I recently received. every spring I smile as the daffodils bloom and the irises rocket towards the sky and I think "tulips. this will be the year I plant tulips." and then I forget. not this year, nope. I ordered lots of tulips, and a few alliums and crocuses, from EcoTulips. they were a pleasure to deal with and I'll definitely order from them again. Claire and I planted a few dozen the other day before my palm started to protest, and I'm hoping to get the rest in the ground tomorrow morning when my mom comes for a visit. it has already been decided that the visit will also have to leave room for cutting paper snowflakes and listening to carols though, so we'll see.
I made a proper batch of turmeric tea a couple days ago. or turmeric milk, I suppose. by proper all I really mean is that it was loaded with fresh turmeric and that it was delicious. there was no recipe involved. to 1.5 cups of milk I added a finger-sized piece each of fresh ginger and turmeric (grated), the seeds of 5 or 6 cardamom pods, a few cloves, a large pinch of cinnamon bark chips, and a pinch of nutmeg. I simmered that for a bit, strained, sweetened a touch with honey, and very much enjoyed. yum, yum.
it's very brown outside these days. I can't say that I mind. I like the way the big white oaks unload ridiculous amounts of leaves all over our street. the way the leaves sound and look when the wind lifts them and when they crunch underfoot. I call Ollie in and I can hear him coming from far away, little cat paws on rivers of leaves creating a giant sound in the night. a couple weeks ago we dipped many, many leaves in beeswax and we'll enjoy those for a while, even if they are beginning to fade a bit. Claire is ready to replace them all and fill the windows with snowflakes, but I'm buying time and holding her off just a bit longer. there will be plenty of time for that. (I haven't yet admitted to her that I myself am about ready to start playing the Celtic Christmas pandora station....... again, plenty of time for that) November has been good to us so far. the garden is holding on (we are pulling carrots now and then, and a few peas, and picking greens regularly), and we've had lots of fun with friends thanks to last minute (and not) dinner invitations going out and coming in, impromptu play dates, and an effort to just make it happen. partly because papa was away for a week and we were consciously trying to fill some of that time with greatness, and partly because I am trying to really commit to spending more time with the folks I love. and if it's happening over tea and in front of a cozy wood stove, even better.
gluten-free apple cider doughnuts. YUM. we made them twice in a week and now I kind of always want them. or at least I expect that serving dish there to be full of them.
gifted fresh ginger and several huge heads of cabbage brought down from NJ when nana came. it's good to have a farmer in the family. she also brought a huge basket of apples and we've been enjoying applesauce by huge spoonfuls these days.
a final batch of canning for the year (this was from a couple weeks ago)~ some pickled peppers, spiced pears, and pear chutney. more fermented carrots and kombucha brewing in the background.
we got the cider bottled last week! now, we wait for bubbles.
I decanted several tinctures these past few days, and have had quite a lot of fun setting up trades for some of the extra with friends~ body butter, fire cider, some essential oil blends, possibly a handmade stamp, and some added minutes to a massage (which I am getting in exchange for some photography) are coming my way. such fun, this swapping. I'd get by just on bartering, if I could!
also in the kitchen, as of late...... venison jerky and lots of soup. and also a fair amount of frozen pizzas, to be completely honest.
once I finally got her to let go of worrying if everything she wrote was spelled correctly, she was liberated a bit from her self-imposed pressure of perfection and now writes all sorts of things all the time. recently she made a list of classes (backwards, of course) that she would be teaching:
"once upon a time there was a fairy. she had a crystal."
"then she had a baby. she had another crystal!"
"she grew and grew and grew until she was a grownup and she also had a child"
("mama, this part is a coloring book for you")
she has decided it is already snowflake time. at least they are autumn-colored snowflakes.
a little person she stitched freehand when given a needle, embroidery thread, and felt.
a goodbye love note for her nana, at the end of her last visit~
and her latest thing...... listening to audio books for hours (we've gone from Little House books to Sarah, Plain and Tall, to the Penderwicks and now Peter Pan) while surrounded by all sorts of art supplies. she listens and draws and cuts and glues. fun, fun, fun.
:: reflections in the wood stove
:: going through old things, this set of boxes I've hauled around since college. lots of photos and random bits, my first car keys, an unused dissection set from biology class.... and everything smells like incense and memories
:: sweet Oliver (Ollie), who meows in 3 or 4 syllables, almost always. me-yow-ow-ow.
:: looking up at the sourwoods in the driveway (they've been my favorites this year, along with the brilliantly golden hickories)
:: our dining room, from the couch. the glass server sadly empty of cider doughnuts.
:: stopped in town, waiting for the train
:: favorite photo prints, a new poster, seaweed from Maine, odds and ends, an old favorite poster
we hiked up lookout mountain the other morning, the three of us. we took the longer route around and down, and it was good to be out in the woods together. there were moments when she was on his back, or shoulders. moments when I held her hand and skipped with her down the trail in a sneaky attempt to keep her moving. the leaf litter was so thick in places that you could slide on top of it like you were skating, and it looked like a river of leaves. I was often in the back, stopping every so often to look up and take it all in. to add to my growing collection of colorful treasures in my hand. I'm much like a little child this time of year, exclaiming over and over to everyone "look! just look! it's so beautiful! do you see that red? that yellow? wow!". I get happily overwhelmed by the colors and smells and, well, the feels, of fall.
our hike was five days ago, a vibrant and perfectly blue and crisp fall morning. and now I'm looking out the window at a world shrouded in grey, misty softness. most of the trees have lost most of their leaves at this point, and our street is covered with the leaves of the large white oaks. the shock-and-awe part of the season is coming to a close, making way for this other half of fall. the softer, more subtle half that helps us slip into the coming season. for the longest time, I wasn't much a fan of winter. maybe because it meant my favorite time of year was coming to a close, maybe because of the shift in the light, which seemed abrupt and cruel when we moved the clocks around. maybe because of the cold and the slushy grey. well, now that is different. mostly. now I appreciate being able to see the bones of the mountains and the skeletons of the trees once the leaves have fallen to their terrestrial resting place. I have come to embrace the earlier dark, and the way it calls us to come in and settle down sooner, giving us an excuse to pause, to slow down, to tend to ourselves and take the rest we need. to make big pots of soup to share with friends over long dinners.
but. we aren't quite there yet. there is plenty of fall still to enjoy, of course.
and then there will be winter. to also enjoy.