Sunday, October 7, 2012

a week on the ridge

Sunset and moon rise.
There was something in the air on Sunday that whispered "Change" into my ear, a feeling of urgency.

The locals tell me this has been the best color in years. It certainly has been the best since we've been on the ridge.
I spent so much time taking photos Monday morning that I was eating my breakfast at 10:15 when I heard a horse and buggy in my driveway. Lovina had stopped by to deliver 4 large quarts of raspberries. I was supposed to pick them up later in the day at their farm but their plans had changed and with no phone to let me know, dropped them off on their way out for the day. Those raspberries went right into the freezer for enjoying this winter.
About an hour later Dave called and asked if he could buy some eggs. I love this farm life!
I spent a good deal of time writing thank you notes and getting several birthday cards and gifts ready to mail. It felt so good to give myself unhurried time to get this done. Then a trip to the post office and since the library is directly across the street, a nice stop there as well.

The bounty for another batch of sauce. Jerome and I had been talking about how important it is to be fully conscious of the season and the surroundings here when I'm outdoors working. Tuesday morning the labor was most satisfying.

From picking to canning, the process takes all day. For the first time this season, I had one lid that did not ping. I guess one out of over 100 isn't bad. In addition to the ripe tomatoes, I collected 4 flat newspaper lined boxes of tomatoes slightly ripe and put them in the basement to ripen in their own time in the days ahead.
I planted tulip and grape hyacinth bulbs. We'll see if the critters leave them alone long enough for them to root.
And since we've had no rain at all for over a month now, I gave each orchard tree a good long drink, moving the hose every 45-60 minutes throughout the day. 
Tricked the chickens into going into their house early so I could attend the UFO night of my new quilt guild. I couldn't be away after dusk without having them locked up safely inside. There is a quilt show here in town on Saturday the 13th and I've got a wall hanging that I'm entering. I stopped at the meeting just long enough to find out what info they needed for their booklet and where and when to drop it off for the show. I'm a bit nervous about exposing my work to the public. Many of you have done so and I take courage from you.
I'm entering this wall hanging. It is hand pieced and hand quilted. The blocks are Storm at Sea.

A warning of cooler nights to come.

Oh, and I had to replant many of the bulbs this morning. Just the shallow planted grape hyacinths, thankfully. Not the deeper tulips.
I had been preparing for Terri's arrival and had left much of the house cleaning to the last minute so the house would be in good order just as she arrived. Wouldn't you know, we had a very unusual power outage for most of the morning and I couldn't use the vacuum or draw water for washing the kitchen floor. Oh well, she's my sister and she loves me and my messes. Grrr.
Terri arrived about 2:00 and we had a quick bite then took a color drive to Lansing, Iowa.
Stopped in Lansing Furniture and the town's crazy discount stores, where I bought this postcard.

Started the day with exercise! When I returned from Illinois recently, I had set up the east bedroom with an old tv and VCR so I could play my old VHS exercise tapes. I also added my weights, stretch bands, and other "gear" to the space. There's nothing else in that room, so I don't have to worry about bumping into things when I swing my arms and legs about. The room has lovely morning sunlight and beautiful views.
Then breakfast of my extraordinary hens' eggs. Then we were ready for our day, Terri had a mission of finding pumpkins.

The large green Cinderella pumpkin and the minis are from my garden. The traditional carver you see here I bought at the Valley Market in Coon Valley. Terri bought a trunk full there and then a few more up the road, including a pretty blue/green/grey that was produced by crossing a Ghost pumpkin with a Cinderella. We had a lovely chat with the farmer who raised it on his farm, the property you see first as you drive down into the valley. A beautiful spot.

After shopping for pumpkins, antiques, and more, Terri and I called our brother David in Colorado to wish him happy birthday. Years ago he built this shadow box for me and I had to tell him again just how much I love it and how it has become an integral part of the farmhouse.

Next we changed out of our jeans and attended the opening of the new exhibit at VIVA the art gallery in town. Each month the gallery hosts a guest artist and highlights one of the member artists. The guest this month is the husband of one of my new fiber arts friends. His work is photography. It was marvelous to see so many attend the opening. I had the good fortune to meet Jack and tour his studio this past August at his breathtakingly beautiful ridgetop property when his wife Brenda hosted the fiber arts group there.

We ended the day with a foot soak and a movie: Mum's the Word. Maggie Smith, Rowan Atkinson, and Patrick Swayze.  We got so into the film that our foot baths turned chilly without our noticing!
Such a chilly morning. We both slept a bit late under our cozy blankets. Once I got up, though, I had to break down and turn on the furnace for the first time this season. Lovely to get the chill out of the house!  And we were about to do our stretching and exercises and needed it a bit warmer. Terri has been attending Pilates and Yoga for ages and knows her stuff. She's a great coach and keeps reminding me to breathe!
We harvested 4 large boxes of tomatoes for her to take back to the city. They were in all stages of ripeness and included every variety I grew, from the tiny Sweet 100s to the enormous Brandywine. The weather had gotten cold and windy and with frost predicted for the next couple of nights, the tomatoes wouldn't last much longer.
So far, Terri's visits last only about 48 hours and we find ways to pack them FULL. This visit was no exception.

Had to get the ear coverings out today before venturing outside. Chickens didn't seem to mind the cold, grey morning.
After farmers' market I decided to stop in the resale shops in town. I found this adorable lamp for less than $10.
It will need a shade, but I have ideas for creating one.
My neighbors' house was one of several on the Wisconsin solar house tour yesterday. Kathy had invited me to stop by and keep her company for part of the day. Kelvin had also booked a class at his home knowing there wouldn't be a lot of traffic for the tour, and since Kathy had heard his lecture before was eager for me to give her reason not to be in the class again. As it happens, a couple did arrive while Kelvin was teaching and so I joined her as she took them through the house and outside to the panels. It was most interesting to get to know a bit more about their most unusual home.
Once back at my century old house, I decided I better cover the raspberries against the predicted deep frost. The skies were deep grey and the winds kept tugging the cover away from my chilly fingers.

I've just stepped outside to let the chickens out and to examine last night's frost damage. I'm glad I took the trouble to cover the raspberries. Here they are under their tent and they'll stay that way for a while.

But that's the end of the tomatoes and beans and moonvine. Spinach, lettuce, kale, beets all look fine. I bought my garlic yesterday. That'll be a job for this week.
Later today I'll be attending the annual brunch meeting for the members of the food co-op in town. It's being held at the Rooted Spoon and should be delicious and interesting.
A week in my life. Thanks for reviewing it with me.


  1. Beautiful header and photographs and a hectic yet fulfilling week for you! I hope you enjoyed your brunch meeting and wish you another interesting and productive week.

  2. Tis the season for all these fun activities! Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful photos, Sharon!