Autumn 2012: Day Seven (Part II)

My laptop wasn’t cooperating.  Here are the close-ups.

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Sumac

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Blackberries

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Maple leaves

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Autumn 2012: Day Seven

Sorry I’m late with this one.  To make up for it, I took some close ups of the sumac and maple leaves.  Enjoy!

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Autumn 2012: Day Six

While digging in the compost pile today, I uncovered a toad that had buried itself for the winter.  I was moving compost to the garden beds, so I moved the toad to a bed that I wasn’t going to plant this fall.  Lots of nice, soft soil to dig into.  Good luck, Toad!

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The colors are really starting to show now.  The most colorful trees are the maples.

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Autumn 2012: Day Five

Gray and rainy today.  Of course, it always rains the day after they grade the roads.  That way we can create new ruts in the mud.

Baking bread today using a recipe from my friend, Donna Wellman.  Donna passed away from ovarian cancer a few years ago, but whenever I make this bread, I think of her.  She was very opinionated, and we didn’t always agree, but there was always something interesting going on around her.  I knew her through the local spinners and weavers guild, and she collected and repaired spinning and knitting machines.  She had an angora rabbit that she named Al Gore because he came from Tennessee, and she knew a lot about what is currently called Slow Food.  Her bread recipe is simple to make and always turns out for me.

Donna’s Bread

2 C, warm water

11/2 T. yeast

1/2 T. salt

1/4 C. sugar (I use turbinado or raw sugar)

2 T. olive oil

4 C. unbleached flour

1 C. whole wheat flour or multi-grain cereal

Mix water and yeast with a whisk.  Add sugar and whole wheat flour (if using cereal, add one cup of the white flour).  Mix together and let sit in a warm place for ten or fifteen minutes.  Then add oil and salt and stir.  Begin mixing in the rest of the flour, then knead for twenty minutes (I use my Kitchen Aide mixer for this part, so it is really easy).

Turn dough into greased bowl, cover and let rise for an hour or so until doubled in bulk.  Punch down and let rise again.  Divide dough in half, shape into loaves, and put into greased pans (you can also shape the dough into rounds and bake on sheets). Cover and let rise again.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Bake 35-40 minutes.  When bread is done, it will make a hollow sound when you tap on the bottom of the loaf.  Remove from pans and let cool as long as you can stand it.

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The bright orange bush is a staghorn sumac and the things that look like gray footballs on legs are guinea fowl.

Autumn 2012: Day Four

Lots of activity around here today.  The log truck is picking up the logs from the neighbor’s property across the road, and it is also grading day.  In the summer, the dirt road through the ravine near the house turns to a washboard and one or twice a season, the township brings a big machine by to scrape the top layer off of the road.  Both of these activities are very noisy and the dogs are bouncing off the walls with all the excitement.  Strangers, big machines, AND noise!  Quiet country life?  Not today!

I took the photos this morning because it was threatening rain.  I think the colors show up a bit better.

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Autumn 2012: Day Three

I’m already behind!  Well, that’s how it goes in the autumn. It’s a lovely time of the year, but when you live in the country, you can’t escape that feeling of winter looking over your shoulder.  

I found someone to sharpen my saw.  Last year I decided to purchase a one-person (woman in this case) cross-cut saw.  I take a picture for you, but it’s in the shop at the moment!  I heat with wood, and I wanted to cut some of my own fuel, but I am not comfortable with using a chain saw.  They are dangerous, noisy, and smelly.  For centuries, until the mid-1900s, cross-cut saws were the tool of choice for cutting trees for firewood.  It takes a lot longer (and I don’t cut ALL of my own wood), but I like being able to hear the forest sounds around me, and it’s really good exercise.

Not much change in the leaves yet, but it is coming!

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Autumn 2012: Day Two

It’s 54 F (12 C) at the moment and overcast.  This has been the first really chilly weekend of the fall.  Good thing I brought in a couple days worth of firewood before yesterday’s rain.  Carrot cupcakes are in the oven and I will frost them with cream cheese frosting before going to a harvest ritual to celebrate the autumn equinox this evening.

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Autumn 2012: Day One

Autumn is my favorite time of the year, so I have decided to chronicle Fall 2012 and blog about it.  I will be taking photos of my yard and surroundings from the same vantage point every day until the leaves fall.  Hope you enjoy it!

Day One:  It’s been very rainy and windy today, but we had a brief break in the weather, so I headed out for a walk with the dogs and my camera.  Good thing, too, because half an hour later the rain was back, and later in the evening we had marble-sized hail.  Thankfully, my windshield survived!

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Eau de Goat

It seems like something is missing around here and I recently figured out what it was.  It is late September and there is not even a whiff of buck stench around here.  Usually by this time of the year, goat breeding season is coming up and the buck is putting on his eau de cologne.  Most people can smell it as soon as they pull in the driveway and can’t make it to the barn before naseua sets in.  But in July, I sent the sheep and goats to a friend’s house, so this autumn all I will smell is wood smoke and fallen leaves. 

Something in my life had to give.  I am halfway through a low-residency graduate program (I am working on a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland), and I couldn’t keep up with school, my daughter, the garden, the house, and the livestock.  The livestock had to go.

I do miss them sometimes, but I don’t miss breeding season.  Last fall my friends Michael and Sinnerjee stopped by, Michael to hunt and Sinnerjee to hang out.  I took Sinnerjee to the barn and introduced him to the animals.  He thought they were all cute, but he loved the buck.  He reached up to pet him, and I tried to warn him.  “Don’t touch his head, ” I said.  “The doe is coming into season and he is very smelly right now.  You’ll never get that off your hands if you touch him.”

“That’s okay,” Sinnerjee said. “I love that smell.  It’s the essence of Nature.”  I had forgotten that Sinnerjee is a devote of Pan, so it makes sense that goat stench appeals to him.  No matter.  I won’t miss it a bit.

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