Fall is a time for maintenance. Just as the trees of our property are winding down, closing their factory doors one dropped-leaf at a time, so are we getting things in order to go dormant for the winter. Juggled into the daily sorting through boxes of stuff that held us together in apartment living over the summer was the slightly more unpleasant task of purging unused items from our home closets and attic spaces.This took some time — and patience — and aside from the stemware staged on the dining table which awaits glass shelving in the new kitchen, all is either put away or staged to go away. The best news is the pile of stuff that’s getting passed on is very, very big.
The fact that autumn is our favorite season is the driving force behind a desire to home-school. Traditionally, it’s the school district calendar that dictates when families get time off together, and I’m sorry but summer in Texas sucks for us outdoor types. The on-line school is fully operational now, the kinks of which having been worked out little-by-little; it could not be going better. With a digital classroom that is easy to pack up and take with us, it goes where we go, at our convenience. Lesson plans are worked with such efficiency that leftover time can be spent in the garden, doing chores or home projects, or just visiting the museum or nature center before the siblings get home. What I didn’t quite expect was how close my oldest son and I have become in the process.
Cooler temps and the lower humidity of fall make for better time outdoors with family and friends. The kids are riding their bikes after school and birding regularly (be sure to click the link for Angie’s birding journal), outside chores are more bearable in the mornings and late afternoon, and edibles thrive in the cooler temps and regular rains without much thought or care on my part. We’re back to visiting Bubba’s every week for our food, the kids feeding his chickens and turkeys while Mom and Bubba pick greens and talk about gardening and the world. I think I missed this time the most.
Fall is about camping, thunderstorms, snuggling in a sleeping bag, hanging out melting marshmallows on an open kettle-fire. It’s about making leaf piles and wrecking them. It’s about making Leafmen out of cedar needles. As we recall stories of our past and reminisce the memories of people no longer with us, exchange hugs and laughter and wishes and dreams in the fire’s glow, we grow with and nurture each other with every moment. I would go so far to say that fall feeds my soul.
Fall feeds the soil, too. I’m mowing again, not for the grass so much as for the regular smattering of leaves from the dozens of tree specimens on our property. I mulch-mow the leaves right back onto the trees’ root structure, which I know they love (if they were to “love”). Even though I continue to neglect the mono-culture turf, ours is the only one without brown patch on the block. It is lush, green, and disease free without supplemental watering or fertilizing, my little prize for giving up micro-managing altogether. Eggplant — the sole yard crop producing at the moment — continues to ripen on the vine to be enjoyed weekly baked with a bit of olive oil. It is one of my all-time favorite fruits; surprisingly, every one of the 6 plants survived the summer of neglect while we were away. Oh, yes, and I continue to steal bags of trash to the garden’s delight.
With the counter tops made right last week, and defective windows replaced in this one, the bulk of the construction project is officially over. Today, it rained like it never rained before with temps dropping into the 40’s at last, and only the brick layer’s clean-up out back and sheet-rocking inside left to do. Never mind that the brick debris pile nearly dammed and flooded the family room this morning. Digging trenches in the driving rain while being drenched with cold water is quite invigorating, I find.
This fall — like all the others before it, definitely feels good. Even if it is mostly over by now.
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It’s nice to be back to blogging again!