Last week for three days I took on the task of sweeping leaves off the porches, the deck leading to the lake, and the bridge over the spillway. Piles of leaves fell in batches every night.
I was pleased to see three tall stems of goldenrod full of their golden flowers swaying in the wind behind the fence of the perennial garden. Prairie fields that remain wild are full of wildflowers -- blue, white and gold.
The past week the weather could not have been more beautiful. With the cool nights Harry and Wilhelmina, the cats, choose to stay out all night and chase little critters.
Two weeks into fall and the weather changed. After a long drought with cracks in the ground looking like a road map and the grass crunching like potato chips, the rains came on three occasions. It was more than welcomed.
Outside the kitchen window the wild cherry trees grow with leaves of red, the harbingers of fall. Our trees are freckled with green and red in a variety of shades.
The well ran dry. Actually, the 40-year-old pump just quit. Sam called the well man and asked if it might be still under warranty. Of course, Sam was joking.
Years ago, a neighbor fashioned a loop and hook from a metal coat hanger and affixed it to our gate. The coat hanger has long since rusted. Routinely over the summer, a bag appeared attached to the hanger filled with the best tomatoes you have ever put in your mouth.
Things have settled into some kind of normal around here. Sheltering has been going on six months now, allowing us to develop new routines. Routines that put some framework into our days but are also extremely flexible.
It seemed a long time since we'd seen rain falling across the fields or raindrops dimpling the surface of the lakes. Watching the hurricanes and tropical storms develop we were hoping we might get a slow gentle rain while not causing harm anywhere else. The misting started last Tuesday.
It was daunting standing inside one of the yellow box stores and looking for a light bulb. It used to be so easy -- choose a 40, 60 or 100-watt bulb that looked like a light bulb and not like a curlicue. Not so anymore.
Years back the homestead needed foundation work. Living in the Prairie where ground-shifting is a regular occurrence, foundation work is not unusual. Since the contractors would be moving dirt around the perimeter of the house, I needed to salvage as many shrubs, flowers and plants as possible.
Last week I received a Wall Street Journal article written by Ellen Byron from a friend. The article reported an increase in sales of calendars and personal planners, day-timers, notebooks and other means of keeping a schedule.
Finally, a much-needed rain. The ground is deep with cracks, wide as a quarter. Until recently the trees were lush with leaves, the grass was healthy and flowers were blooming, nurtured by morning dew and evening rains.
The longer we stay home sheltering the more I start feeling like a farm girl. If there had to be a sheltering time, spring and summer seasons were good choices. The grass gets mowed more often, the fields get bushhogged regularly.
Truly, for all the troubles we've had as a country and community, there's still a beautiful world out there. While sheltering at home we've built flower beds and tended to them better than ever because we've had time on our hands and dirt under our fingernails.
From the breakfast table I could see Harry, the boy cat, peering through the picket fence into the perennial garden. You would think by now whenever Harry is transfixed on something, I would check it out.
The day passed hardly without my notice when on June 14, I opened a devotional reading titled "Rallying to the Flag." The American flag that reigned over my mailbox had been whipped to smithereens by the wind.
Out came the bicycles, having been in storage for about six to eight years. Sam aired up the tires and checked over the bikes' mechanics. They were maybe a little dusty and a little rusty. We wiped them down and decided to take a short spin.
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