Posted in Fall, gardening, Uncategorized

Harvest of plenty


We grew pumpkins for the first time this year.  Granddaughter enjoyed going into the garden with Papa to watch their progress as they grew and slowly changed from green to that familiar orange we associate with harvest time. 

She especially was tickled to see her name emerge on one of the chosen pumpkins. Years ago when our own three were children, dear friends of ours always had a back yard garden. The year they planted pumpkins, they invited us over to their home to show us a “magical” trick.

They helped each one of our children choose their own not nearly ripe pumpkin. Then our friends instructed our kiddos to scratch their names into the green pumpkins with a nail. 

When it came time for harvest, we sifted through the pumpkin vines finding those bright orange orbs ready to be turned into jack-o-lanterns. But the magic had happened! What a surprise!

It was easy for our children to find their own pumpkins again because each one of them found their name very visible and noticeable right on the pumpkin where the previous scratching had formed brown scars.

We showed this “magic” trick to our granddaughter this year. How delighted she was to find her pumpkin with her name boldly engraved on it.

Sometimes the harvest is plentiful in other ways than just physically.  During my 30 Days of Thanks Giving, I’m remembering that and pausing to give thanks.

“A basic law: the more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale


Posted in Fall

Still waiting…

blogIMG_6142The season of autumn is taking its good ol’ time getting here. Like, did it take the longest way, the scenic route, the road less traveled?

Maybe I’m impatient but as I sit here writing this post, I’m dressed in summer attire – shorts and a tank top – (in October!) and I’ve been decked in this garb since 6:45 this morning. October mornings should be chilly and brisk, not clammy and warm.

As much as I want to shove summer’s temperatures and humidity far, far away and relegate it to the “been there, done that” list for the year, summer still wants to hang out with me. Why??

What part of no doesn’t that season understand? Apparently, summer didn’t get the memo that Mama is tired of it and is waiting not so patiently and with wringing of hands for the cooler, crisper, crunchy leaves, nutty aroma of fall.

I mean how I can enjoy jaunts to the apple farm/pumpkin patch/fall festival events with my family and our two adorable little grandchildren like we tried last weekend when it’s close to 90°?!?

Usually by now, our deciduous trees have juiced up their color-turning capabilities and are flaunting their leaves turned golden, scarlet, amber, and russet.  But as I gaze outside our windows, I still see green, green, green everywhere.   

Several maple trees adorn our two and a half acre yard here at Mama’s Empty Nest, and in the fall, they become the loveliest orange-red. But absolutely nothing has transpired yet.

On my early morning walk with my friend, we noticed a couple trees with a hint or two of some color changing. But we also noticed some trees possessing a branch of colored leaves were already dropping those to the ground. No! That’s not supposed to happen yet!

We’re wondering if we will have a fall season at all. Will it just turn blustery cold and we’ll jump-start into winter?

If you believe the old tale about wooly bear caterpillar colors predicting the severity of winter weather, that might be true.  According to legend, more rusty brown segments on Wooly foretell a mild winter. But the more black segments little Wooly has, we’re in for severe winter weather.

So far, I’ve noticed a few totally black woolies and a few with brown middles and black on both ends. So I guess it’s a toss-up. 

I won’t mind winter weather, but I’m not ready for that yet. Just let me enjoy my favorite season of the year first –  beautiful, invigorating, refreshingly crisp autumn.

It’s time for change. It’s time to move on. It’s time for fall to take its rightful place. Didja hear that, summer??

“…and all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” ~ Oscar Wilde



Posted in Fall

Lesson from the leaf ballet

blogDSCN9966It’s fall – the glorious season of dancing leaves.

Here the days can be sun-kissed and balmy, yet when darkness descends, the air turns chill and sometimes downright frosty.

Colorful hues of red, orange, and yellow clothe the wooded hillsides and a distinct nutty fragrance permeates the air.

Autumn or fall, whichever you choose to name it, is my very favorite season of the year.

Just the other day, I visited my sister at her house and we nestled ourselves at her kitchen table to chat.  A large window allows sunlight to warm that part of her kitchen and also gives a wide-spread view of her back yard, which is surrounded by woods on all sides.

As we conversed, I faced the window and felt as though I were seated in a theater watching a first-rate performance – The Leaf Ballet.  As various colored leaves steadily fell from the trees bordering my sister’s yard, a gentle wind gust lifted each leaf into the air.

Buoyed by the breeze, the leaf would flit and flutter, glide and swirl, dancing here then there.  It would rise upwards and float along, then suddenly plummet towards earth, twirling and whirling all the way.

It proved difficult to just watch one leaf as there was an entire troupe of dancers performing across the back yard stage, an ongoing production of pirouettes and glissades.  Of course, the end result will be bare-branched trees which have shed their brilliant costumes and a multitude of leaves enveloping the yard.

And that presents a problem.  What to do with them all?  Some folks rake, load the leaf piles into garbage bags and dispose of them; others rake them up and burn them.  Some use the discarded leaves in their compost piles.  While others resort to another method.

On my way to my sister’s home that day, I noticed a man with a leaf blower sending blasts of fallen leaves to the side of the road in front of his house.  He definitely had a multitude of fallen leaves coating his yard.  The ballet was nearly over there.  His solution was to just push them aside with the leaf blower – send them to the outskirts of his yard, including the country road in front of his house.

The drawback to this idea soon became apparent.  In front of me was a behemoth  dump truck traveling fairly fast.  When the truck passed by the piles of leaves that man had relegated to the side of the road, it created a whirlwind effect and all of those tired ballet dancers jumped back up again into the air for an encore with renewed vigor and danced with all of their might…right back into the man’s yard.

As I passed by, I couldn’t help but notice his disturbed and exasperated face, and I thought, “Really? What did he expect would happen?”  It seemed pretty foolish to me to be blowing all the leaves towards the road when traffic would just be sending it back to you.

And then it occurred to me.  Isn’t that what we do with many of life’s problems?  We blow them away hoping they will stay away.  We push them aside.  Try to burden someone else with them.  Relegate them to the side of the road and turn our backs.

But problems are just like those dancing leaves.  One blast can resurrect them again.  They can get blown right back in our faces.

That’s why it’s best to just face our problems head on and deal with them.   Not just blow them off, but figure out a solution that works best.

No wonder fall is my favorite season.  Even the ballet of leaves teaches me a valuable lesson.

“Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.”  ~ Henry Ford