Posted tagged ‘gourds’

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

September 22, 2014

Summer is busy packing. Gone are days on the deck, the flowers in the front garden, movie nights, hotdogs and burgers on the grill and the bright, warm sun. Fall is impatiently waiting in the wings for its big arrival tonight. Colorful leaves, crisp mornings, mums, pumpkins in all sizes and shapes, gourds and bales of hay are waiting their turn. Warm days and cool nights are already here. At 10:29 tonight fall is official.

My windows are open as summer is leaving with a flourish. It will be in the mid 70’s today. The day is lovely and smells of flowers.

When I was a kid, the start of school was the start of the year for me. It meant the end of carefree days, bike riding, bare feet and playing outside after dark. New rules applied. The street light turning on meant the end of playing outside for the day. Homework had to be done, and we were forced to go to bed early. Mornings started all too soon. Breakfast was first, then getting dressed for school then leaving with book bag and lunch in hand.

The school day never changed. We had the same subjects at the same time except art and music which were random and not every day. In music we learned songs like My Grandfather’s Clock. In art we used colored pencils or crayons. We made cards for our parents for every holiday. I loved art but I was horrible. I never moved beyond stick figures. In music I couldn’t carry a tune, but I enjoyed singing. The academics were my strongest suit.

Even when I was young, I thought fall was the prettiest season. Front steps had pumpkins and sometimes sheaves of hay. The red and yellow leaves were glorious. On Saturdays we could smell the burning leaves and see the smoke from so many fires billow and curl into the air. Fall was a feast for the senses.

“Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”

October 5, 2013

The Cape Times gave me a chuckle this morning. The Sox beat the Rays 12 to 2, but the headlines on the Times sports page announced Breakthrough for Sandwich who beat Falmouth in football. The Sox were relegated to the bottom of that first page.

It rained yesterday and must have rained again in the early morning as the streets were still wet when I woke up. I’m not complaining as we haven’t had rain in a while. Today will also be chillier, in the 60’s. Again, I’m not complaining. This is, after all, October.

The houses around are all decorated for fall. Corn stalks stand next to front doors, pumpkins are on steps, a few stuffed Draculas sit waiting for victims and colorful gourds fill baskets. My neighbors across the street always put out a scarecrow and some pumpkins. My front step has a basket with gourds and I have hung out my fall flag, the one with apples. This is such a pretty time of the year.

Today syfy is presenting scary monsters like the boogeyman. My sister always thought he lived under her bed. Lots of kids did. If he wasn’t under the bed, everyone knew he was hiding in the closet. The boogeyman only came out at night. Things just aren’t scary in the light of day. If I hear a noise and the dog barks, I throw caution to the wind in the daytime and throw open the front door to see what might be going on, something which made Gracie bark. At night I proceed far more slowly. I turn the outside light on and look out the windows at the top of the door. Gracie is usually right behind waiting for that door to open. She’s as curious as I am. When I open the door, we never see anything.

I remember one night when Maggie, another Boxer of mine, jumped out of bed, stood at the top of the stairs and barked her scariest, deepest bark. I jumped out of bed and turned the hall light on and was ready to go downstairs. Just as I did that, Maggie turned around and jumped on the bed. She had scared the bejesus out of me but there she was unconcerned and back to sleep. I wondered if maybe a fox or a coyote had walked by the house. I never thought about the boogeyman.

“In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.”

September 24, 2013

The time has come for the storm door. I have been keeping the back door closed because of the cold so Gracie rings her bells to go out. I trudge to the kitchen, open the door and wait so I can close the door when Gracie comes back inside. No question about it, the screen door is done for the season.

The game Sunday was wonderful. It was perfect fall baseball weather with lots of sun and a cooling breeze. My friends and I were not seated together so I made random comments aloud prompted by good fielding and a couple of home runs. The lady beside me was mute: she didn’t choose to chat. The guy on the other side tolerated my blithering. He had driven down from Maine, but it took him less time than it had taken us. The traffic was so slow going off cape it took us nearly an hour to get to the bridge. That game was the last one at home for the regular season. The Sox will be in Colorado for the next two games, and my family, wearing their Red Sox garb, will be  cheering them on. I’ll watch on TV.

Today Gracie and I will go to the dump then to the farm stand. I’d like some gourds for the basket on the front steps. A small pumpkin is already there, but I love all the different colors and shapes of the gourds. I have some gourds I brought back from Ghana. Some were used when taking a bucket bath while others are ornamental with wood burned or etched designs. I never saw them growing nor did I see any in the market before the outsides had rotted or been removed. Women fill the gourds with rice then stand and let the rice fall in a cascade from the gourd into a pan. The hope is the small stones in the rice will pop out of the pan and be removed during the process. It is not always successful. Stones in cooked rice are pretty common. Broken teeth are too.

The birds are back in huge numbers. It seems I have been forgiven for my lapse of a day without seed. The thistle feeder had three goldfinches on it; none of them were wearing bright yellow. I think the finches are starting to sport their winter color or rather their lack of color. It is time to start bracing ourselves for the season of drab: one of leafless trees, desolate gardens, early darkness and clothes of muted colors.

The good thing is I have recovered.

“She calls it “stick season,” this slow disrobing of summer, leaf by leaf, till the bores of tall trees rattle and scrape in the wind.”

September 20, 2011

The day is cloudy with the possibility of rain. When I woke up, the house was only 62°, and I was darn cold. Obviously Fern and Gracie were too as both of them were leaning against me in bed. I warmed up the house so I can take a shower when I finish here, but it still feels damp and chilly.

Life has gone back to the mundane. I’ve started my daily list of chores and was busy yesterday with the trash, the litter and the dump. Today I have wash. Just over a week ago I was a world traveler. Today I am a washerwoman.

The time is close to shutting down the deck for the year. I’m already lamenting. It was my morning spot for coffee and the papers and my afternoon spot for my books and an occasional nap on the lounge. When the sun was shining, the breeze blowing and the leaves rustling there was no more pleasant place to be. Now I’m sitting here in the den wearing my winter slippers and a sweatshirt and seeing a dreary day through the window.

I am sorry at the close of summer but here on the cape fall is the nicest time of the year. The tourists are gone except for those on buses as this is the bus tour season. The riders are always old, at least far older than I. The women walk together as do the men. They are the generation that sat the women in the back seat when couples went out to dinner so manly talk could be made up front.

Because we barely have a spring, we are rewarded with a long autumn with cool but beautifully sunny days: today, of course, being an exception. I love taking long rides down cape this time of year. The leaves are mostly red but they are striking. The farm stands are filled with mums and gourds and apples. I always stop. I can’t resist.