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To quote an earlier post:

I do think I've gotten better, over time, at carrying departed loved ones with me. It's always seemed to me that life (in a larger sense than just this earth existence) is a lot like traveling on a bus. You may be looking out one window, but the person seated next to you could be looking out a different window and seeing a completely different scene. Or he might have a headset on, and be listening to something you can't hear. You're in different worlds--different states of consciousness--and you can't really communicate. But you're still sitting next to each other, and you can always reach out and give that person a hug.

This is Annie, Susan's daughter. Sue (Bardsmaid) passed away last Tuesday, the 29th. She was surrounded by family and Love.

I wanted to post something earlier but I couldn't find the right words, then I found this quote from her while scrolling through past entires. I think they're perfect. Please reach out and give her a hug. She'll hug you right back, I guarantee it.


Big. Really big.

The duo above popped up in my neighbor's lawn overnight. The reason I noticed? I glanced out the kitchen window this morning and spotted it immediately, because it's huge. The cap of the larger one is a good 8" across--the size of a respectable pancake. Of course, I had to run over and get pictures. The little one is huddled underneath as if its bigger mate were a convenient umbrella. Really glad I was able to capture this.

Winter sneaking in

This picture seems to capture the very best of a day where we never quite made it to 40 degrees (about 4 C). Fog shrouded the river area and never dissipated, including at the Delta Ponds shown here, but the birds I saw (ducks, a group of geese, two snowy egrets, two huge great blue herons and a kingfisher) seemed oblivious of the kind of weather that makes humans shiver.

Cozy time

Most of the trees around here are bare now, though the flowering cherry leaves around the neighborhood are hanging on in bright colors that make them look lit up. Our walnut tree is also taking its time; the leaves have just turned yellow, a color that adds a touch of warmth to the otherwise cold and rainy backyard. I'd forgotten just how much I enjoy being able to look out from the living room and watch a flock of chickens grazing, or making their way from place to place. There's something homey and comforting about it, to say nothing of the really flavorful eggs we're getting these days.

Most of all, though, with the occasional daytime darkness from storm clouds and the early dusk, the picture above suits my sense of the season. It's time to gather by the fire, as Jack has here, sitting close to the heat with his eyes closed, luxuriating in the cozy warmth.


Watching TV coverage of the election and seeing all those people waiting in lines, and all the equipment and volunteers needed inside the polling places, made me really glad I live in a state where all voting is done by mail. Ballots were sent out about two weeks ago, and we could either mail them back in or choose to deposit them in a neighborhood voting drop box. Ours is about three blocks away. Easy. No lines here.

Falling leaves

I had the opportunity to take a walk up a forest road this afternoon. Far from 'civilization', all you could hear was the rush of water in the creek.In the silence, if you stopped moving and simply stood, you could watch leaves gently falling, unfastened from the branches where they've spent the last six months or so and drifting down through the air, sometimes twirling or momentarily catching the sun.

Most of the time we tend to be so busy rushing around within our pre-programmed agendas that leaves in the act of falling are something we don't even notice, much less stop to consider. But I can tell you that it's one of those beautiful small gems of an experience, like sitting in the luxury of the sun's warmth on a particularly cold morning. Try it if you get the chance.

We've got girls!

The most striking of our three salmon Faverolles

For the past year, we haven't had our own chickens because we've been getting eggs from Aaron and Jenny's girls. But their flock has been going through a slow molt (losing old feathers, getting new ones) for a while now, and they've only been producing a couple of eggs a day. So I've been having to buy store eggs, and they just aren't inspiring at all. They have little flavor, and when you crack them into a frying pan, they spread out like water, indicating that they're really not fresh. Finally I started thinking about getting some girls of our own again, hopefully ones that have just started laying (which, given the growing popularity of backyard birds, is actually something you can find here these days). I'd checked a few craigslist ads, but hadn't seen anything inspiring until I was moved to check again yesterday and found just what I was hoping for: four large-breed birds who have just begun laying, for sale as a group rather than individually. Perfect. So we picked them up last night, when they were drowsy and easier to handle, and today was their first day in the yard. Within a few days or a week, they should be adjusted and start producing what our kids have always referred to as "real eggs". I can't wait.

ETA Saturday afternoon: We have our first egg! The Buff Orpington seemed to be missing, and after some searching around the yard I found her in the nesting box, sitting on a warm egg.

See another chicken...Collapse )

Fall color

Fall color along the Long Tom River on Highway 36. If you like yellow, this is the place--and time--to go, as Ben and I did yesterday.

Gleaning time

Con helping fill a basket with hazelnuts

The other day a friend invited us to come glean in her hazelnut orchard, about 20 miles south of town. She said their harvesting equipment had broken down after its first pass through the orchard, and for whatever reason, they haven't been able to go through again. So Ben, Jenny and the kids and I went out this morning and searched through the fallen leaves for nuts. And there were lots. Actually, it was rather shocking to see clusters of nuts in the husk that were in one piece, since all we ever get from the hazelnut tree at the back of the yard is treacherously sharp, broken nut litter covering the ground, which is what the squirrels toss down when they raid the tree every year. But these were beautiful, big nuts and a good time was had by all.

A little bit more...Collapse )