It’s somehow Wednesday already, a vacation day for me because I have a little bidness to take care of later on this afternoon, and maybe I simply needed a day for myself. There’s nothing left for me to say about missing our annual travel down South that I haven’t already said, so I’ll leave it alone. But like most of us, I think, I’m feeling a bit careworn, what with everything.
On Sunday I made spicy black bean soup for my workday lunches this week, the perfect salve for the cold snap up in these parts that has lingered for several days now. First frost came early, just four days ago, so each night we’ve diligently covered our tomato plants out on the back deck, and hope the remaining fruit will have a little time to start ripening in these next few warm days. Then we’ll harvest it and be done with growing for another season. The gigantic potted geranium next to them is still covered in blooms, but will come inside shortly and take up its winter spot in a sunny, south-facing window atop the mudroom window seat, along with another red flowering potted plant next to it, whose name escapes me. That window seat, which is shaped like an ell, hides radiators beneath its hinged top, and has turned out to be a superlative spot for any kind of plant that needs to overwinter.
As long as one of us remembers to water them, a chore that more often than not lands in The Chef’s lap. Anybody who knows me well also knows I tend to kill things, so anyway the plants are better off in his care.
Earlier on Sunday some Bennington friends included me in a bike ride that took us far into the bucolic countryside that is Southern Vermont. We rode a fifteen-mile loop on an absolutely glorious, sunny late summer afternoon (give me those last couple days of summer, if you please), before fall officially elbowed its way in as of yesterday. Everybody gets excited about the foliage in New England, and this year’s leaf season already looks promising. It’s one of the things that drives tourism up this way, like skiing does in the winter and sugaring in the spring, but I imagine the situation we’re navigating now will leave us with rawther emptier pockets.
I’m sorry I didn’t think to snap any photos during my ride. Next time.
Thankfully, the foliage does not care about tourism or pandemics, and so we can still enjoy it while it lasts. We’ll have several more weeks of color yet before the trees are mere skeletons, and then I’ll pull my turtleneck sweater up over my nose, squint through the cold, short, dark days, and hope for an early spring.
Our wood came late last week, just in time, turns out. The Chef made us several beautiful fires over the weekend, which knocks the chill off the entire downstairs in our quaint New Englander, and thus puts a dent into our oil bill. But I’ve already flipped on the heat in this house several times, because I love me my creature comforts and refuse to be a miser where heat is concerned. The Chef understands this truth, if he occasionally grumbles about it.
A week earlier, when it was still seasonably warm outside, Scout-the-Goldapeake-Retriever’s new wading pool finally arrived. Oh, yes! He’ll love having a wading pool all to himself, chirped the ladies at the doggie camp. But Scoutie, a dog who is always drawn to water when he’s at the end of a leash, has a mind of his own, as you can see.
Also, gate building has been going on. Our battered old driveway gate has long needed replacing, and once again The Chef has demonstrated he is a Renaissance man, ever rising to the occasion. Behold, before-and-after gates:
The nifty little box thingummie on top is a contraption of The Chef’s invention that keeps the gate from wobbling around in the wind and thus prevents damage to the hardware. Clever.
Meanwhile, today. I had the luxury of sleeping in, a little, this morning, and then Scout-the-Goldapeake-Retriever and I enjoyed a brisk run through town to start our day. Reminded me a little of the rhythm of my former life, when it’s possible I took for granted this forgiving kind of schedule, that allowed for morning runs, and a leisurely breakfast, and time to write, before getting down to the business of earning a living. And should the universe be paying attention, this is in no way, shape, or form a complaint about the way I roll now: I love my work life, and life at home, and wish only that I could see some of the people I love and miss.
It’s time to be patient, still. I’ve been thinking about my faraway friends, some virtual friends who survived a wildfire in the Pacific Northwest with the clothing on their backs, their animals mercifully safe and intact, but everything else gone; dear friends down in Alabama who survived Hurricane Sally but now face a massive cleanup effort before order is once again restored in their world; and still other dear friends who are yanking up a gigantic tap root as I did eight years ago and moving across several state lines to begin their own new chapter.
Eight years ago, today. That is when The Chef and I became a Thing. What a delicious adventure.
Live well and be well, friends.