Over the Fence Chat for September 30th to October 6th, 2001

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I woke up early this morning and went to the kitchen to start my morning coffee as is my habit on those few mornings that I am home. The themometer read a chilly 40 degrees, no frost here yet, but the promise is in the air along with the smell of woodsmoke, the honking of flocks of Canadian geese overhead and the dance of falling leaves. My little tortoise shell Molly kitten was curled up in an empty concrete planter on my porch with one of her butterscotch brothers - a perfect little yin and yang; dark and light. Dumplin' the rooster was warming himself up to a full crow; and little Bun was sitting up grooming herself in a patch of sunlight just now touching her pen.

I wrapped myself up in a warm robe and took my coffee to the front porch glider; so many beautiful sights to enjoy from there. The neighbors have picked their corn across the way, and I can see back into their woods - the walnuts have lost many of their pale green leaves but the maples are turning golden and orange, the cottonwood is pale yellow and the ash trees are turning dark red, along with the sumac, all bright against the dark geen of the oaks. Hearing the geese as they fly in low overhead from their overnight spot on the lake to glean the neighbors corn, the rustling of the cottonwood leaves, and the hens announcing the arrival of another egg. So many wonderful things to smell; the sharp tang of black walnuts in the east side yard, woodsmoke from Uncle Ivan's cabin, field boxes of apples stacked on the porch awaiting the peeler, the coffee in my cup. Feeling the warm, purring kitten in my lap, kneading my robe; the cold wet nose of the jealous dog, the crunching leaves underfoot as I walk to the garden, kitten tucked securely in my pocket. Knowing that when I returned to the house, there would be more coffee in the pot and plenty of oatmeal to dress with cream and brown sugar. So many things to be grateful for.

Later today, the men will be out by the shed working on the combine - the air will be full of the sounds of engine running, tools clanging and the occasional blue words. The kitchen will smell of vegetable soup simmering, bread rising and apple crisp baking in the oven. The windows will be open and sheets and dresses will be flapping in the breeze out on the clothesline. I'll get the last of the ripe tomatoes picked; and then walk down to Uncle Ivan's garden to pick bell peppers to put in my spagetti sauce. I'll take the long way 'round and stop in the persimmon grove - no, not to eat, as they are far too bitter here until after a frost; but to pick out some seeds from fallen ones so we can crack them open and fortell the coming winter weather.

May you all have a beautiful day.

-- Anonymous, September 30, 2001


Your beautiful words leave me breathless! Thank you Polly. A nice slice of autumn. Welcome back.

-- Anonymous, September 30, 2001

I think you need to publish this one, Polly! What absolutely gorgeous writing! '

How lovely to have you back; you were sorely missed.


-- Anonymous, September 30, 2001

Yes Polly, you sure know how to use words. Welcome back........how was Sharon??

We have been spared frost here so far, but the colors are appearing all around and we are blessed with the visits of many migrating birds. My neice gets married next weekend so I will be gone for a few days; traveling with my daughter and her family to the wedding. I leave early Thursday and get back Sunday night. Granddaughter is the flower girl and grandson the ring bearer. Looking forward to some time away and time with family. Gary is staying behind to supervise the care of the animals. His arm is still in a sling and he is not to use it at all for another month.

Today is a beautiful day to be outside and that is were I am off to now. Hope everyone has a great week.

-- Anonymous, September 30, 2001

Polly, that was just too beautiful. Thank you! Will you please send that into a magazine! I'm gonna print it out and tuck it inside one of my books to come across some day when I am read grazing. so beautiful!

-- Anonymous, September 30, 2001

P.s. Polly how Do you tell the winter by the seed of a persimmon?

-- Anonymous, September 30, 2001

Polly...That was an exceptionally well-written post! Very descriptive. It was like I could envision the scene as I was reading it!! But how come the ash trees here turn vivid yellow and yours turn red??

Still have not had a killing frost here in downeast Maine. Temps at night have been near 40....great "snuggle" weather :-)! Days are nice...in the 60's. Just cool enough to inspire us to work on the firewood and clean up the garden. We've turned under part of the garden, but I refuse to pull up the tomato plants til the very last minute!! The pigs are enjoying the last of the corn and the squash as we've had our fill! Couple more weeks...and we'll be getting that corn and squash back in the form of fresh pork!!

Brought home our boat for the winter. Time to get it winterized and ready for the snow. Boy...it's like cleaning out an extra house or a summer camp!! I didn't realize just how much "stuff" we'd accumulated on a little 21 ft. cabin cruiser. Took a whole day to empty it out! Kinda sad, though. Spent many nice peaceful nights on that boat last summer with DH! BUT...it's still sitting in our front yard...guess we could go out and sit on it:-)!!

Hubby just sold one of his drag cars today. Another sad moment! He built a 1957 drag car back in 1998 and raced it locally and in Canada for a couple of years. Was points champion!! The car looked like "Chistine" from the Stephen King book! It took DH 18 months to restore. But he's ready to move on to a new project...a 1941 Willys drag car...powered by Dodge also. Guess sometimes the "boys" never grow up!!! Also, one of our customers has brought in a 1937 Chrysler Airflow Imperial for hubby to restore. Cool looking car!!!

Life is winding down here in my part of the world...am looking forward to winter, snow and all! Love building snow caves with my granddaughter! Then there are the wonderfully warm and comfortable nights reading or doing cross-stitch beside the woodstove!

Have a good week, everyone!

-- Anonymous, September 30, 2001

Polly: Mercy that was beautiful!! Gosh we have people who can express themselves around here. Thank you.....Kirk

Marcia I really like your husband!!!

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

My oh, my Polly that was so pretty. I totally agree that you should publish it somewhere and I think you should be a writer! I just read them this morning and after fussing with my children over what they should wear and how their hair should be, for this is school picture day, your words made that all go away and what a nice start to our week. See you soon. Phyllis

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

Polly, I believe we're all in agreement here that you are a fabulous writer!! Have you ever thought of publishing anything??

Kirk, Do you like the drag racing thing about my hubby or the boating thing? I'm definitely more of an Elvis fan than he is :-)!!

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

Oh Marcia, how I envy your love of winter!! I've never had any luck programming myself to love it; I barely tolerate it. It's so dark, the days so short, endless snow shoveling and dogs tracking in the house with their wet feet and I hate being cold and driving on icey roads (now I have a teenager on the road too) and the barren trees and the claustrophobia and no garden to putz in and I hafta put a silly little sweater on my pug every time she needs to go outside cuz she refuses to go outside otherwise and tinkles on my floor and I can't put the noisy cockatiel outside when he gets obnoxious and I hafta clean the catbox more often cuz he doesnt like winter either and whine whine whine did I mention the cold and the darkness??

Well I can hear you now! Why the ding dong do you live there then? Cuz there aint no better place, that's why! And cuz my Lotus insists the music industry is burgeoning here, and this is where she wants to be, and I don't want to be far from my children. So there.

I think I'd be ok iffen I had a greenhouse. Well actually, of all the frustrating things, I do have a greenhouse, a great big 30 x 60 ft greenhouse, back at the farm on the ground, in pieces. Does me not much good. Was gonna build a nice little greenhouse onto this house this Fall but cant afford it cuz we have to sell the farm first!

Ok, I'm done now. Thanks for listening. As if you had a choice. I'll go to my room.

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

Polly,I like your post too! It is a beautiful time of year!

We've been so busy this weekend. We've been sorting and cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. My father has rearranged his house and decided to part with one of their bedroom sets. So they decided to give it to us! Hurray!!! It's far nicer than the hand me down furniture we've been using since we married. But it did serve us well and will continue to serve as we gave our furniture to someone alse just getting started. So anyway after we took all this furniture apart and loaded it up and got it all where it was supposed to be, we totally cleaned out our upstairs bedrooms. What a job! But so nice when it's finished! I got all the kids clothes switched and figured out what fits who too. It seems we'll have to buy new socks for everyone as I guess the sock monster got hold of them over the summer never to be seen again. My daughter's pants have turned into high waters over the summer. So that's something else we'll be shopping for. It's a nice feeling to be so organized!

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

Hello everyone!! Taking a small break inbetween loads of clothes. Yesterday my husband and I was taking down limbs out of trees some are the size of trees. Hope it gets very cold here in Florida so we can sell all of this wood, we have almost 6 cords of wood not split from limbs only!!! and we aren't finished yet.We had low to mid 50's yesterday and today would love some of your 40's. Hope ya'll have a wonderful week.Take care!!! Sandy

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

Saturday was a good day. I decided to dedicate all the money I collected at my vendor booth to the ASPCA Animal Disaster Relief Fund. People were very generous, I made $130. The workshop that I taught was scheduled for the same time as the auction so I only had one student, but I did the class anyway. It will be good practice for the future. Attendance was down a bit from last year but we still had about 340 people show up during the course of the day.

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

Well, EM, winter isn't really my FAVORITE season, but I love the change. I know I'd get bored with summer year 'round!! Can't make the seasons stop changing...right? So I make the best of them. There's beauty in each one of them. And I definitely prefer the winters here in Maine compared to where we used to live on Cape Cod. The winters seemed colder there because of the dampness (would chill ya to the bone!). Here there is a dry cold...much more comfortable!

I know what you mean, though, 'bout teenagers and icy roads! When my son was a teen, he'd drive in any weather conditions. But he's 28 now and I STILL worry 'bout him driving in bad weather!! Here the roads are usually cleared in a day or so...we just hunker down and wait it out.

Your 30x60 greenhouse must have been beautiful. So sad it's gone. You gotta build another!! I'd love to have one if I could talk hubby into it :-)!! Too expensive for us right now also.

Look on the bright side of winter...should never have a problem with killer bees up north!!! That's ALL the reason I need to live up here :-)!

So...come out of your room, tell the pug to stop being a "wuss", and maybe put a winter coat on the cockateil so you can take him outside. Enjoy winter!!

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

Marcia I think a lot of guys really wish they could restore old cars!! Thats something to do in the winter. If I ever get my "rock pile" finished I can do a garage and fill it with rusty things!!

Hey maybe Earthmother should restore an old "Woodie". Nice way to pass a winter......Kirk

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

No! Don't put the cockatiel outside in the winter even with a coat! I think you were joking, Marcia, but that kind of thing scares me. They can't take that kind of weather, especially since they haven't gotten acclimated to it.

I don't love winter either. I really dislike the transition weather, where it's freezing rain and sleet kind of stuff. Around here, travelling at Thanksgiving is often more dangerous than at Christmas! I kinda like December and January, but then I'm SICK of winter and would like it to go away. Usually, it stays on into the beginning of March, some years even longer. Then there was 1996 -- I was up north then, it was April 15th, there was still 2 feet of snow on the ground still, and it was snowing AGAIN! The weather finally broke about 5 days later, but my brother reported patches of snow in the shady woods areas until JUNE! That kind of winter I can do without.

Marcia, you commented on the color of the ash leaves. The ash where I used to live does turn a beautiful golden color, but where I live now, the ash is turning a bronzey-red. Must just be different varities or something like that.

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

Joy, Where did you used to live that the leaves of the ash turned yellow instead of red? My favorite leaves for change in the fall are the poplar, also called quaking aspen in other parts of the country. They make that wonderful rustling sound as they blow in the slightest breeze. If you close your eyes you can really hear them "speak". Then they turn a soft yellow color.

Of course, Joy, I was kidding 'bout the cocketeil :-)!! It sure would be cute, though!

Hey Kirk! Hubby has a 1937 Chyrsler Airflow in his garage now. Supposed to be a precursor to the Chrysler Imperial. This car has been parked in a barn here in Maine since 1957. It's almost MINT condition!! Unfortunately it belongs to one of our customers who wants Harry to restore it. Had the motor turning over today...lots of compression there, but needs some oiling and working over to free everything up. Can't wait to hear it "purring"!!!

Aunty EM...have you come out of your room yet??!!

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

Thanks for the kind words. I just write what I see and what I feel.

Tren, you split the seeds open and look at the cotyledon. It will look like either a spoon, knife or fork. You'll have to crack several to get the idea of what you're looking at. Different folks say the different shapes fortell different things; all I can tell you is what we say. Lots of spoons = lots of snow to scoop. Lots of knives = bitter cold; lots of ice to cut. Lots of forks = lots of changing weather.

Marcia, I checked with Pop and the Audubon Tree book; yup, it's an ash. Don't know why ours are red and yours are yellow, unless it's a different type of ash. I did have a piece I wrote published in the May/June issue of Countryside; but I haven't felt like writing anything for a while.

Sharon is just fine, hopefully she will be heading this direction this month; maybe even for our weenie roast on the 13th. Phyllis and Cass and families are coming too, so it will be a fun time. Anyone else wanna come? E-mail for directions.

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

Polly...sure wish we all lived closer!!!!

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

Marcia, the two ash trees that I am talking about are only about 2.5 miles apart. And, in fact, after I posted that, I was talking with the neighbors here, and none of us are sure that this ash has turned quite the same colors before. I notice there are whole sections that are gold and then these other ones that are bronze-red. Maybe the different weather conditions during the growing season have something to do with it? I did see another ash in the neighborhood turning the same bronze-red, and still others that were gold. [shrug] Man, we have got some really pretty red leaves on maples this year -- one of our better color years, so far.

I was away for the weekend, out at a retreat in the country -- about 75 miles east of home. We had EXCELLENT weather, and quite a good time. I was going to stay at the camp (sort of camping, except with permanent tents), but I was having so much trouble sleeping (allergies clogging me up), I decided I would disturb the whole camp, so I got a motel room. Wise decision. I think I would have been a mess otherwise. All my clothes smell of woodsmoke, and every time I get a whiff, I wish the weekend wasn't over. Oh well, probably will get together again next year!

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

Hi all, just checking in. Worked day 3 at my new job today. It was wild...two people (out of four up front, one of which is me) called in sick. Of course, as you can imagine, Monday a.m. at a vet clinic is just hell on wheels...everyone bringing in their "emergencies" that waited over the weekend, etc. It was interesting, but I haven't worked this hard since I first started out in retail a long time ago (I mean, physically hard...except for my "unpaid" homesteader's job!) I came home and picked and put up beans. My brain is now full of beans, too. My legs feel like they are full of lead!

The weather continues to be beautiful! For dinner tonight, I picked two huge ears of corn and just ate *them* with a little butter.

I bought a 1950s formica topped table (with chrome legs) at an antique store this weekend...couldn't afford it in a way, but I really like it and it fits well in the bunkhouse. The bunkhouse is becoming like a sanctuary to me.

That's it for tonight. Wish I could get to Polly's! Take care, all!

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2001

Dear Polly,

Thanks for that beautiful "verbal picture". I almost felt I was there with you.

Had a "girl's weekend" at camp this past weekend. My friend, Patti and I went up on Friday and came back on Sunday. Spent the weekend playing Yatzee and Phase 10 and just talking endlessly. Took time out from game playing to make the yardsale circuit on Saturday and got lots of great bargains and never spent more than $3.00 at any one place. Enjoyed spending long hours of nothing but girl talk with my dear friend. She moved away a few years ago, so I don't get to see her very often so we spent lots of time catching up.

Starting today, I've got to finish harvesting the garden before the frost which is predicted by the weekend. Still have tomatoes, broccoli and stringbeans to do then I should be finished. Thought I'd try drying some tomatoes. Tried that a few years ago but they didn't turn out too good. After reading some of the old posts about drying I thought I'd try them again. The things I learn here!!!!

It's great to touch base with everyone here. Thanks for everything.

Wishing you enough.

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2001

I had to do some research on Maine's trees (for my own info). This is what I found out....

Forest Trees of Maine - The Ashes Address:http://www.scarborough.k12.me.us/high/projects/trees/ash.htm

And I'm experimenting with Cut, Copy & Paste here also. Could someone tell me if I did it correctly? If I'm being a pain in the B..., just ignore me!!!!

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2001

If you mean did the URL work, yes, it did!

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2001

Wow! I did it right. That's way cool!! Thanks, Joy!

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2001

Anyone been over to the CS forum and checked out the "separation of church and state" post lately? Earthmama has been posting some thoughts (maybe others from here, too. I didn't read all of them.) I think she might need some company.

I've sworn off writing responses to political and religious stuff over there but hey, it's really tempting.

Just fyi...

-- Anonymous, October 04, 2001

I've been reading it too. I think EM is doing pretty well, plus there are others who are chiming in. But if you want help, EM, give us a holler!

Going to freeze tonight or tomorrow, so I have to drag in my tender plants -- off to do that now.

-- Anonymous, October 05, 2001

It's going to be darn cold here tonight too. I finally cut down the tomatoes and am salvaging what I can out of it all. At least I found someone who'll take a lot of the green tomatoes and do something with them so I don't have to feel pressured to do something creative with them this time around. I still have all those dill pickled ones and lots of green tomato mincemeat (which is actually very good, but how much of it can one person eat? Especially one chronically dieting?).

Last of the zucchini, pulled the last of the carrots for the critters, the peppers, and blanketed the hardier crops to make it through the cold snap. Saw a lot of mice frisking in the garden tonight, so the traps have to go out.

I also saw a BIG Fisher crossing the road tonight, almost didn't see it, it was so black, but this was the largest one I've ever seen. And only about 2 1/2 miles from home.

All the leaves are turning colour here and starting to fall off the trees, so I'm collecting them up as fast as I can and putting them into the compost bins in the hopes of fine compost for the garden next spring or so. I'd like to find some of those BIG bags and store just leaves in them to make leaf mold.

I've had root canal, two crown preps,and two large filling redrills done this week (changed dentists. Guess this explains why.), and this morning the back yard got all ripped up and a new septic tank installed. At least this one is supposed to be 'good for life' and the drain field is operating at 97%, so with luck and proper care, I shouldn't have to be worrying too much about that from here on in.

-- Anonymous, October 06, 2001

Well we're all off to the farm this morning to paint the inside of the house. Moving all the furniture out uncovered all kinds of nasty spots and stains on the walls, and we have lots of nail holes to patch, plus the notches the chinchillas chewed in the wall by their cage!

I can't believe the difference in the leaf color between the country and the city! Its a couple weeks further along out at the farm. Just gettin started good here in town. There are two incredible sugar maples across the lake right outside my window here from the computer room. Absolutely luminous!

Bummer your Brandywine's didnt turn out,Polly. I had such good luck with them for four years; I heard someone else say theirs didnt turn out good this year? Too much rain or somesuch?

Have a wonderful day everyone!


-- Anonymous, October 06, 2001

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