Harvest Time Bounty

As fall magnifies its presence in our little neck of the mountains, my husband and I have been exploring the beauty and bounty of the season.

???????????????????????????????We recently visited an organic farm apple orchard to pick apples for applesauce and spiced apples.

Of course, we could have simply harvested from the crab apple tree in our front yard, which is loaded with tiny crab apples.crab apple

We didn’t for lots of reasons.

  1. The fruit is quite tart.
  2. Coring the tiny apples would have been nearly impossible.
  3. The mule deer love to eat the tiny apples.

And, besides, plucking the apples from the plentiful harvest at the organic farm was a great adventure.???????????????????????????????

I came away with a bag full of juicy Honey Crisp apples.

When we weighed-in to pay, we had half a bushel.

???????????????????????????????Confident we had enough for applesauce and spiced apples, we headed home to make our applesauce.

I have to tell you resisting the luscious apples was hard. So hard in fact that when we finally began to peel and prepare fruit for applesauce. The pot was hardly full.apples in pot

We ended up with only four pints.??????????????????????


You won’t hear me complaining because the stewed apples I made for breakfast and the apple and peanut butter we enjoyed for lunches were soooo good.

And, I’m not discouraged about so few jars of applesauce, but I am rationing.

How about you? Are you enjoying fall’s harvest?

Exploring Their New Home – Miller Farm Friday

By Guest Blogger Chicken Wrangler Sara

We moved the chicks out into the chicken yard several weeks ago. We’ve gotten past the “gathering chicks” stage where they must be retrieved from under the coop each night and put into the coop. Now they are beginning to explore their new world.

One day I looked out and saw them sitting on the fence between the big and little chicken yards.new home1

They were eating the leaves off the tree. The problem was that they are slightly uncoordinated and would fall onto the wrong side of the fence – in with the big chickens.  This was very distressing and I have spent an inordinate amount of time returning chickens to the right side of the fence.

new home2Today when I was unloading chicken feed I saw them using a piece of bamboo as a ramp.

I’m not exactly sure from whence the bamboo came. I suspect it came over the fence from the neighbor’s yard.  In any case, the chickens were climbing up it to get to the top of that fence.new home3

Much to my relief, the chick arrived safely back in the chicken yard. We have had to retrieve chickens from between the chain link and wood fence and it is no easy task.

Then there was the chicken in the tree:

new home4

It reminded me of taking my children to the park when they were young. Matt climbed on everything he could find especially if it was taller than him.

Alas, the mother in me came out and just as I had removed Matt from high places before he could jump, I moved the bamboo so the chickens could no longer climb on it.

A little bit of danger is fine, but so far I have managed to keep all 22 chicks alive and I don’t want to ruin my record.

Change – One Word Wednesday

change_altimeter_small_0In last Monday’s blog, I talked about the changing seasons. Winter gives way to spring, spring to summer; summer to fall and then we’re back to winter again.

There’s something comforting in the constancy of seasonal changes. We accept the change is coming, and we welcome each season for what it offers.

Why then do we perceive the small and major life changes we face with stress and fear and worry?

Life is not static, but a flow of change, never staying the same. It’s messy, chaotic, painful, sad, dirty …, and never perfect.

Bad things happen. So do good things. The sad truth is we cannot control every aspect of our lives.

We accept seasonal changes. We should also accept changes in life.

Consider this quote:


Unfortunately, instead of accepting change we react with anger, frustration, and stress. We allow change to steal our peacefulness.

Let me propose three ways to handle change.

Laugh –  Laugh even when whatever change has thrown your way is not funny. You’ll find a certain amount of detachment which can lead to acceptance.

Breathe – When things change and anger or frustration seeps in, take a deep breath. Breathing allows you to calm down and think more rationally.

Pray or Meditate – Try the Serenity Prayer, attributed to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous.

This counted cross-stitch of The Serenity Prayer hangs in my office. Whenever the winds of change blow my way, I find reading those words helps.

serenity prayer

No matter what happens in your world today, smile, breathe, and accept  whatever change may bring.

Bye, bye Summer

Summers Lease 2Today is the Fall Equinox and signals the official end of summer.

I know you thought Labor Day ushered out summer or the first day of school ended the carefree days of summer. Not so. Those are the traditional end of summer.

What is the fall equinox?

According to Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt, a 19th century poet who lived in Ireland with her American Counsel husband:

It is the summer’s great last heat,
It is the fall’s first chill: They meet.

According to Weather.com, “Meteorologically speaking, autumn began on Sept. 1, but the autumnal equinox marks the astronomical start to the fall season.”

Being a wordsmith, I like the dictionary definition for equinox: The twice yearly times when the lengths of day and night are equal. At equinox, the sun is directly over the Earth ‘s equator.

I’ve never clocked the hours on the day an equinox occurs, but I do know that after the date marked on my calendar daylight changes. The days start to get shorter than the nights.

To me the fall equinox means we say farewell to the scent of sunscreen and welcome the smell of wood burning in the fireplace. Temperatures begin to drop and leaves change color.

The signs of change are all around us. What signs of fall are you seeing?

In my neck of the woods, leaves started turning early. Some say that means a long, cold winter. That’s okay with me.

While I’ll miss summer, I can’t deny I’m  looking forward to a cup of green tea besides a crackling fire and huddling beneath a quilt to read.

Are you looking forward to the change of season or do you agree with Edie Melson’s quote that summer is too short?

What Day is It? – Miller Farm Friday

By Guest Blogger Chicken Wrangler Sara

We bought a new mattress last week. After 17 years we thought it was about time.  It was delivered on Saturday.

Perhaps that explains my confusion.

I slept fine on the new mattress until sometime after midnight when I awoke with a start and thought, “I didn’t put my swim bag out.”

Monday-Friday mornings I swim at 5:30 a.m. before my body can wake up and realize what is going on. I normally put my swimsuit and shoes in the bathroom and my swim bag in the living room the night before so I can leave without making any noise. This morning was going to be tricky.

When my alarm went off at 5 a.m., I quietly got my swim bag from the closet and then tried to locate my shoes in the dark.

I have two pair of Crocs – one red and one turquoise. I have been known to appear at the breakfast table wearing one of each.  Since I was not going to eat breakfast before I swam, I wanted to make sure my shoes matched each other.

crocsRemembering my probability and statistics course, I grabbed three crocs knowing that two would match.

I headed into the bathroom where I found a dress hanging in front of my swimsuit.  I moved it and began to put on my suit.

I thought, “What did I fix for Sunday lunch? I don’t remember Sunday lunch?”

Then it dawned on me it was Sunday – not Monday. That was why my swim bag was in the closet and my clothes were hanging in front of my suit.

The change of having a new mattress had messed up my internal calendar.

So I jumped into the shower and got dressed for church, leaving my shoes and my suit in the bathroom. When I went back into the bathroom that afternoon, my shoes were still there.

What amazed me was that neither my husband nor son said anything about the three shoes. I guess they have grown so accustomed to my idiosyncrasies that they hardly notice.

Beauty – One Word Wednesday

Edie Melson’s graphic of Thoreau’s quote about heaven under our feet fits perfectly with today’s word – Beauty.

Heaven quote

Recently my husband and I have been out and about traveling to farmer’s markets and orchards to buy fruits and vegetables to store for the coming winter. ???????????????????????????????

As we’ve wandered the back roads to organic farms, we have seen beauty everywhere — truly heaven beneath our feet.

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Wouldn’t you agree God’s handiwork testifies to what incredible sights we’ll find in heaven?



An Unexpected (and Uninvited) Summer Visitor

This summer has been a revolving door of visitors at our house and we’ve loved it!

We’ve seen folks we haven’t seen in thirty years and caught up. Plus we’ve gotten to spend time with family. 

There has been, however, a surprise and frequent visitor recently. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s that time of year in the forest. Black bears, who are actually brown or cinnamon colored, are feeding up for the long winter hibernation.  

A bear’s natural wariness to find food overrides his fear of humans and his nose is one hundred times more sensitive than ours.

Bird and hummingbird feeders provide as much as twelve hundred calories so the bears prowl around looking for easy food.  We do our part to keep the bears wild by bearproofing our house, which means we take our bird feeders in at night.  

Only, our visitor came mid-morning! 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn his first visit, Buddy Bear, as my sister named him, emptied our homemade feeder, and ignored the hummingbird feeder hanging ten feet above his head according to the bearproofing pamphlet instructions. It was too high for him to reach. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinished, Buddy sat a spell before he moseyed off. 

bear away2Buddy returned for a second sniff and, finding none, wandered off again.bear away

Next day he came again. This time sniffing no food, he sauntered up to the rock outcropping above our house. We watched him from the large dining room window.  He watched us. We wondered if he thought we were in a people zoo.

Eventually he traveled on. But Buddy returned a third day.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinding the feeder gone. He decided to take a rest up next to the house.

bear firecrackerThat was when my husband decided that Buddy was becoming too friendly and used one of our forest ranger provided firecrackers.

The loud bang sent Buddy scurrying away.

A fourth time, he ambled by, pausing mid-way up the hill and looking down, but kept going as if remembering the firecracker. (Bears are very smart and have great memories.) 

We’re hoping that the firecracker did its job. If you look closely, you’ll noticed that Buddy has tags on both his ears.

He’d been a very bad boy. A bear is tagged and relocated from an area where he’s done some damage or been a threat to humans.

Bears only get two chances. Third time the animal is destroyed.  

We don’t want that to happen. They lived in this place first and we’re willing to share unless the visitor is very, very bad.

Btw, we never use firecrackers on our human house guests — even if they are very, very bad.