From their snug cottage, Ada and Tasha peered out their front door and with imploring eyes and plaintive bleats, they asked "Why? Why is water, our arch nemesis, falling and blowing and making our wonderland a wetter land? Why?"
Here is what the local weather is doing today: Some rain and highs in the low sixties, with wind.
Now, I am going to spare you the ALL CAPS exclamations, emoticons, and a GIF animation of me squealing, but please note that there is a high level of joyful anticipation and pleasure in this weather shift. This is it. This is our weather, our oh-my-gosh-batten-down-the-hatches-where-is-my-coat? weather! And we are not going to be dissuaded from calling it a "storm," and we won't tolerate anyone suggesting that 62 degrees Fahrenheit is "warm." Understand: We are celebrating and embracing our moment of seasonal, fall weather, and blusteriness. And it is good. (Please read that with a solemn and earnest tone in mind, thank you.)
I will find a deciduous tree!
I will spice and heat cider!
I will crochet... something!
I will wear thick socks!
I will give the goats extra oats, and let the hens have scratch!
I will bake something!
I will light a candle, hum a Christmas carol, think about making tamales, or bourbon pecan cake, and I will make up a good excuse to be outside during some part of the downpour, so I can enjoy the chill and exhilarating rush of nature... nature reminding me that life is change, and everything has its season, and there is profound beauty in the wind, the smell of wet earth, the feel of energy in the air.
You see, this is our fall color. Lemon yellow. Citrus green. And while today may feel, finally, refreshingly cool and genuinely seasonal, we may very well return to 80 or 90 degree days, again. We may feel tempted to swim the week before Thanksgiving, or have to run the fan to sleep at night.
Across the street, in a neighbor's yard, a tree is turning color. I gaze at it, and if I don't look left, or right, I can imagine I am in a forest, that these colors are all around me, that a fire is burning in our woodland home, and geese are stopping for a bit before they move south. It could snow. I am enjoying this, very much.
We enjoyed a delicious watermelon from our garden, and noticed that our carrots and some spinach are sprouting. Maria and I agreed to plant a few seeds at a time, then plant more carrots and spinach so we can enjoy a staggered harvest.
She and I sat together collecting the pole beans we planted last June. They look like candy breath mints! I saved the best ones and let her play with the "duds."
She likes to gather garden findings and make tiny houses, with tiny residents. The "dud" beans made good kitchen props, and she called them potatoes. That day was September 21.
One of her potatoes sprouted! She'll be so delighted. I put a trellis in the bed, and went ahead and planted some more beans. Wrong season, but then again our seasons in Southern California are weird. So, we'll see what becomes of this little experiment. I figure I may be tempting loads of cold days and rain, in which case we'll be happy to enjoy a good winter!
Now, if I had started a garden journal when we planted our watermelon, I would have had a better idea of when to harvest our watermelon. This one was wonderful, but the one we picked at the end of August was awful! It looked ready, but the poor thing was white and utterly tasteless. Three more watermelons are waiting to be harvested. We may need friends to come help us feast on those.
We can all thank Fred Cohen, again, for these beautiful photographs. Our Nigerian Dwarf lady goats were not as cooperative as the chickens. The chickens posed so nicely for Fred, but the goats were too interested in the taste of Fred's shirt, pants, and shoes, and they wanted to be sure he could get _extremely close-up shots_ so they came in nice and close. Goats are masters of close-up.
I love these two pictures of my dears. They never do mean any harm, and their most insistent request, after food, is for a nice brushing. Tasha, especially, transforms under the loving strokes of a brushing.
Tasha Tudor Goat
We are expecting the first rain of the season, and the first rain for our new paddock and coop combo. We had one, hardly-counts, sprinkle during summer, and I am happy to say the goats instinctively knew to dash into their cottage. I honestly never see them go in, otherwise. Chickens never do seem to mind rain, but cold and wet hens cannot be happy, especially at night, so I need to tweak a few things for the cottages... a little winterizing.
Besides immortalizing our chickens and goats, Fred came to see the Hummers. And what he shared is a wonderful gift. I watch our hummingbirds, and they are enchanting to see, but I realize I have not really seen them. They flit, they flurry, they move around in a dazzling whirr of colors... that magical display of structural colors. Thanks to Fred's pictures, I can really see how beautiful those little birds are.
I think these first two images, of the same bird, nicely illustrate that a hummingbird's feathers are not pigmented. Where we see "red" or "green," it is not the color of the feather, but the reflection of light on microscopic structural features of the feather's surface. Alex, has explained this to me, but it's so cool to see it in these pictures.
See it? He turned his head, and it is like little lights turning on or off, we see more, or less color! Amazing!
"The camera captures light, our minds capture images."