Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin Protection Program Graduates

In case we've forgotten,

The fill dirt bin pumpkins:

Found a place to grow, and did.

The road super thought they were perfect for 
Trick and Treat in the Village.

Then one was taken!
And the road super removed the remaining two
To a safe location.
His Pumpkin Protection Program.

Until tonight.
October 31st.
Beggar's Night - Trick or Treat

Meet the two fill dirt pumpkins.
One on the stump, one on the top step.
Together with some cousins from an inferior patch.
The road super carver said 
Never has he carved such thick walled pumpkins.

A warm rain on the Trick or Treaters

And on the road super, and his Cracker Jacks and Orange Crush treats.

Such impressive pumpkins
Their seeds will grow next year
In dirt worth growing in.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Emily's Job

Emily has been employed for wages since she was thirteen years old. Leaving her five dollar an hour stocking job at the corner candy story was a concern when she moved here, but relieved by receipt of an allowance. I once overheard her say to Hamilton, "Remember, we get a regular allowance now." No idea what concerned him; nice his little sister knew the answer.

I took the two of them around to all the local employers last February. They put in applications at the nursery and all the restaurants. The only employer skipped was Heritage Farms; we just missed on connecting. Hamilton, Emily and Laura spent most of the summer in volunteer jobs. 

Toward the end of summer, leaving her library job, Emily asked how near we were to Heritage Farms, and could we just go by. This time we got lucky and caught Carol coming out her kitchen door. She and Emily went back in the farmhouse for an interview. Emily came out with a stack of employment papers to fill out and return. She was hired.

Miss Emily spent the last six weeks at hard physical labor, just another one of the local youngsters. The farm's first fall event is Pumpkin Pandemonium. The crew cleared the hayride trail. They built a corn maze.

Not all October weekends have been warm and sunny. Emily has spent shifts in the rain. "It's OK, Gramma. We worked in the barn today."

The barn with the fireplace to keep warm. I believe I have not mentioned the portable toilets. But at nine in the morning of cold Saturdays and Sundays, she was off up the path to the barn, in her sturdy work boots.

Pumpkin Pandemonium with rows and rows of pumpkins for children to select and parents to carry away. I took these pictures when I arrived at closing time and the grounds were clearing.

The last day she worked Pumpkin Pandemonium the farm closed early. Rain. Emily hustled down the path when she saw her carriage in the parking area. And didn't lose a boot on the way.

Next weekend they will take down and store all the pumpkin event trappings and start the preparations for Christmas trees. She's already walked all the "cut your own" fields, tagging trees ready to cut. She loves it. I can't imagine using a portable toilet in sub freezing weather. Gumption and a good pair of boots can take you a long way.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Honorable pumpkins of the bench:

From a recent trip to the orchard,
three gentlemen await.

After supper, 
transported to the center of operations.

And the evening grew more and more cold.

Laura making a start.

"I can help. I can help."

Much warmer in here.
The cat is bored and gone.

Not bad.

Really good!




The end.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nature asks nothing of us

I believe it will be my camera ripped from my cold, dead hand. Another beautiful day and I thought I'd just collect some more autumn pictures that didn't include a rant about my government.

I did not go back to Everett, the little crossroads where I took this picture two or three weeks ago. I used it in my header for a bit, but could not make the whole picture fit, so here it is again. I like the farm house peeking under the trees, the barn and outbuilding in the center and the trees predominating.

There are so many pictures and so many ways to organize them. Shuffling them between folders I noticed some places must be especial favorites of mine. 

Summer Fall Winter Spring, for want of a better caption.

The pond is on the golf course I pass daily, going to work, and this corner is a favorite. In the winter I see deer, in the spring, Canada geese. And golfers, three seasons of the year. When I turn the corner and drive along another side of the golf course I often see golfers, carts parked under the hemlocks, looking in the ditch for lost balls. The golf course is also a cautionary tale. The owner died unexpectedly, at an unreasonably young age (fifties), and intestate. No matter how young or how little you own your biggest gift to heirs is a tidy exit.

I took this picture last winter, to look at the bones of trees. Here is is again today, from the other direction, still looking over its road.

The rest of my round trip, down Quick road and back up Truxell. And remember, all our roads had first names. Quick road had the Quick family farm with acres and acres of orchards.

A farm pond. This pond is much bigger than the usual "dry hydrant" ponds around the township. These provide water for the fire department tankers in an emergency. This pond is so large it has a pump station. Sort of picturesque, but not really. See what I leave out!

And back up Truxell, past the golf course. Charles Truxell was a township trustee in the fifties and sixties. The last picture is an exercise I call "getting under the wire." I like taking pictures without the ubiquitous phone poles and wires, unless they add some dimension. In the farm pond picture they indicate a winding road beyond the fence. In this picture the wire is a distraction. Had I climbed the hill to put the wire behind me, there only would be a lens full of leaves. 

Like my new header. I pulled up this page to start typing, and see this is post 500. I'll be darned. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Seen in passing

Things Laura saw:

In the garden.

In the side yard, on the way to the compost pile.

Things I saw:

I cannot remember the last lady bug;
Possibly fifteen or twenty years ago.

They have been replaced by those nasty, non-indigenous
yellow Asian beetles.

But there she was, on a plant we cannot identify, yet,
that we rescued and replanted last spring.

A blossom on the rosemary.
In the middle of October.

A moth on the garage wall.

A dragon fly, hoping to warm its wings enough to fly.
Not like the one I chased around the garden last summer
and couldn't catch.

A wooly bear caterpillar. To the light, grasshopper, to the light!
Probably more interested in getting under the leaves.

We had several dead branches cut from the oak tree.
A piece of lichen on a piece of bark
knocked from a falling branch.

Library patrons look and smile as I take these sidewalk pictures.
There are oak leaves and there are dyed images of oak leaves.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Plays a Sharpie well, too

I checked Emily’s band grade. It’s still one hundred.

Not bad, considering her flute has been riding in the trunk of our carpooling father's car between the end of last Friday night’s game and the end of Wednesday night band practice.

Emily thought she put it in her band uniform bag. A search Monday morning, to no avail.

Grandma would never have known, except one of those dratted siblings spilled the beans.

Grandma was amused. At supper Monday I asked “How did band practice go today?”

Emily glanced around. “Fine.”

“What did you play?”

“………………..a Sharpie.”


“A Sharpie. I fingered along on a Sharpie.”

Ginny, the flute, came home with Emily Wednesday night, after band practice. There had been hope of getting it sooner, but all Emily’s attempts to get other folks involved fizzled.

So, Emily sat in the band room with possibly the best high school marching band director in Ohio on Monday, on Tuesday and on Wednesday, playing a Sharpie. She marched the routines Wednesday night, from six to nine, with the band director looking down from twenty feet in the air, playing a Sharpie. Her band grade is still one hundred.

“So, how do you play a Sharpie,” I asked at supper.

“I hold it high and finger it well.”

“It helps she’s short,” Hamilton added.

“Maybe they think you’re a piccolo,” from Laura.

“What color is your Sharpie?” I asked.


“Well, that explains everything.”

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Whose job is this

My husband, when I was married, liked to fish.  He’d go off with Warren, who was married to my high school friend Judy.  They came home with strings of blue gills and small mouth bass.  I wouldn’t clean them, but I was happy to cook up a fried potato and fish night for the four of us, after Jim and Warren had a freezer full.  I recall the two of them bursting into our apartment one night to show off their take to the pinochle club.

They fished often at the Holden Arboretum.  Judy and I went occasionally, and played with Beth along the many lake shores.  That’s where Beth learned she couldn’t walk on water.  She had no realization the surface would not be solid and walked straight in. 

The guys only kept fish six inches long or better.  The rest went back in.  However, they had a “secret pond” somewhere on the grounds and used the little fish to stock it.  I do wonder how that came out.

Shelly was two, going on three when we bought the house in Mentor.  The Arboretum was even closer, just down the road in Kirtland and Jim fished often in the evenings and weekends.

He had a lot of fishing equipment in the front closet, and, to my complete dismay, kept live bait in our refrigerator. Little wiggly things in flimsy Styrofoam containers lived in a condiment shelf in the door of the refrigerator.

One night I accidently flipped a container into the open vegetable drawer and before I could retrieve it the lid flew off and little wiggly things invaded the salad.

“Shelly,” I said sweetly and calmly to my toddler.  “Come here.”  She did.  “Please pick up those pretty little wormies and put them back in the container.”

Shelly looked over the crisper edge.  “Pick them up yourself.” 

Two, going on three

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Birds du jour

Weather west of the Mississippi is heartlessly rolling over us.
It's cold.
Without gloves or hat I took the camera and tripod out
to discover useful things about photographing these birds.
Today's results, in the order they came out of the camera:

A chickadee, taking away a seed from the ground.

A tufted titmouse. There were several of these today.
They were very, very wary.

A finch, eyeing me from above.

Another chickadee, on Laura's favorite feeder.
The feeder was presented free, a nice gesture after we made their day at the bird store.
Laura could select from red, green or blue.
She took the blue bird feeder.
She says bluebird feeder.

The titmouse. I'm too close, he left.

My wonderful little flying pigs.
They look like so many piglets. I count eight.
Finches, that is.

Three more flying pigs, waiting a turn.

I heard doves, and an obnoxious blue jay sat in a tree across the street, crying danger, danger, danger most of the hour I sat and froze. It certainly did not add to the titmouse's comfort level.

I expect we also will have several varieties of woodpecker, juncos, nuthatches, cardinals. Already I've also watched fat chipmunks and squirrels filling their cheeks with seeds from the ground. I believe we have a going enterprise here.

We fed the birds for several years, long ago, but quit because our indoor/outdoor cats took advantage, as they would. Now only old Purrl is an outdoor cat, a mighty stiff legged old cat who brings home the occasional mouse, and is no longer a terror to the increasingly fat chipmunks hurrying about on chipmunk business.

Only the robin worm feeder is a disappointment. I'll have Laura put the worms in the compost pile and we'll begin again with orange slices, to see if there are any takers. And, for tomorrow I have a story about worms and Laura's  mother.