Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thoughts on autumn

It is autumn now. It's only September 16, but the rain has started and, though there might be a few more sunny and/or warm days around the corner, the summer is - for the most part, anyway - over.

What will I miss most? Keeping my window open all the time, for one thing. I like to hear the quiet noises from the garden: the birds chirping, the hummingbird flying past the house, the ducks talking to each other, a breeze in the Japanese maple outside my room. I had to close my window yesterday morning as the "quiet garden noises" coming in - while I was trying to sleep - were the neighbor's twin boys yelling about getting ready for school and remembering their lunches. Not exactly peaceful.

I'll also miss my plants. Over half of them go underground for the winter - not that you can blame them with all the rain and cold we get during the nine month rainy season here in the Pacific Northwest. I talk to them when they first come up in the spring, and then all summer long so I miss each one of them when they're hibernating. (And, out of all of the gardens on our unfarm, mine is always the most lush and beautiful. Coincidence? I think not. Talking to plants - in an encouraging way - helps.) Along with my plants, I'll miss sitting in my garden, smelling the honeysuckle and watching the bees.

And the third thing I'll miss? The bats. I love watching the bats flying over the field at dusk. We don't have a lot of bats here, but the few we do have are definitely worth watching. We have a bat house up in one of our trees - it's been there several years but we have yet to have a bat move in. Bats, it seems, don't work through a realtor. Although, a couple summers ago, we did have a nuthatch work laboriously all summer to chip a hole in the front of the bat house, only to discover - once the hole was big enough - that the bottom of the house was not solid. He looked so disappointed when he had to abandon his home after all his hard work.

The rain today was a mixed bag, as far as the animals were concerned. The chickens dislike the rain. They'll tolerate light rain but get positively disheartened when it really pours. They stand under the eaves of the house, with their feathers all fluff up, staring out at the rain with miserable expressions on their faces. The ducks, on the other hand, love the rain. They love playing in it, swimming in it, and searching out new mud puddles created by it.

Updates from the unfarm: the grapes are finally ready, and well worth the wait. Harvesting them was a bit of a challenge, though, trying to keep them away from both the rabbits and the ducks - both of whom were determined to eat as many as possible. Minna laid an egg this morning, but didn't quite know what to do with it so as soon as breakfast was ready she left it behind without so much as a backward glance. Mynxy cat has taken to licking my toothbrush. She is a very strange little thing sometimes. TJ has thrown his litter box into the middle of his cage and is moping (it appears) in the corner. Kita is feeling much more frisky after getting his hair cut again, and Buddy has been on somewhat better behaviour lately during our walks. But he is sure to be unhappy today as he HATES walking in the rain. He actually thinks that once it starts raining, going outside for anything (even to go to the bathroom) is optional. We continue to insist that it is NOT optional, and that he will not get a treat for running outside and simply pretending to go to the bathroom - a trick he constantly tries to pull every rainy season.

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