Most of my life I have thought of autumn as synonymous with melancholy and the sadness of good things coming to an end. This summer was grand but it’s over and the leaves that provided so much shade from the hot summer sun drift to the earth to become yesterday.

I can easily indulge myself in reflective sadness and write sullen poetry. But before I could let out a saccharin sigh, all the BBQs we attended morphed into bonfires and instead of the lights going out, someone turned up the music and put more food on the table.

It seems that fall in all its glory is not a time of turning inward, saying farewell and writing poems about the shifting autumn sunlight setting low through my windowpane and the muted color of fall leaves reminding me of aged color photographs. Instead October’s a time to celebrate a brand new season and renew gratitude for where we all live. Never at any time or any place in our lives have we been so rich with this many great friends.

There is something to the quality of people that are here. Just because they may live a half a mile or more from their neighbor doesn’t mean they’re antisocial, on the contrary, they are more engaging than most. We know more of our neighbors that are several miles around us now than we ever did of those who lived right next door and across the street from us in California.

Getting together is part of the culture here, from those that have always been here to those who who’ve come later. People here are open and not afraid to walk up and say hello. Like how one neighbor described to us of a time he went to a BBQ and some one he never met walked up to him ready to shake hands and said, “I’m fixin to tell yu who I am!”.

At night while crossing the bridge down at the river I’ll often see a gigging party along the bank all outfitted with a generator, lights, stove to cook up their evenings catch that they’ll enjoy while sitting by a roaring fire. More fires, more camaraderie, whether deer camp, fish camp whatever, just pile up some wood there and lighter up!

I finally met up with some moonshine like I knew I would, 190 proof of no upscale taste.  I will dispel the myth that moonshine smokes when you pop the cork, it does not, neither does it burn like acid going down but the taste is why you throw it back and don’t sip it. It’s not nasty tasting, it’s just something you don’t want to savor long, like I said, you throw it back. I had 2 ½ shots and felt pretty “durn” smooth shortly thereafter. 2 more shots and I’m sure I would have created more regrets in my life that I simply don’t need anymore of. We had a good time but I’m one who really doesn’t need any alcohol or drugs to untie the knot to allow me to get up and dance and act like a fool, I can do that just fine on my own. But, I needed to try it just to see and say so.

Since I planted my tomatoes in containers this last year, I was able to pull the best one into the garage at night in hope of having fresh tomatoes into December or until I fail to bring it in one night.

 The rest of my garden is a sad and ghostly lot with dead corn stalks leaning on one another, vines withered and brown still wrapped on their poles and tomatoes all bent forward pulling on the twine holding them to the fence like dead men that were executed by a firing squad. When we get enough rain to soften the ground I’ll go in with a pitchfork and dig up the potatoes and yams buried somewhere in that graveyard.

Our walnut tree is loaded with nuts this year and with the winds of October, the walnuts have already started to lose their grip and come raining down. When one falls it hits another that hits another and so on until a ½ bushel comes cascading down giving a steady drum roll on the ground. Throw in a few chickens to the mix and you’ll understand how the story of Chicken Little was created. Chickens are such drama queens that come unglued at the slightest note. Have a nut fall on their noggins and indeed the sky is falling.

Our chickens have been producing at 100% capacity, 14 eggs from 14 hens a day. For what we don’t eat, we sell or trade. One neighbor we trade homemade bread for eggs, another for the use of their trash bin and she also takes the rest into town for us to sell at the Senior Center which helps pay the feed bill.

The bug tally this year was 2 tick bites and several ankles full on chiggers. I still think tick bites are worse than chiggers but most don’t agree. If you’re curious you’ll need to come on out next summer and see for yourself but I’m sure the experience is not something that will inspire poetry.

Fall is and always will be my favorite time of year and now with this new page in our lives turned there have been new reasons added. And though we’ve come to a place we’ve never been before, these new definitions fit like we were born and raised here. Yet in a way we were, after all, we are Americans too.

Published in: on November 7, 2010 at 6:45 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m so glad you no longer see fall as a time for melancholy! It’s too neat a time to be negative about it. I LOVE hayrides, bonfires, hot cider, wearing coats and gloves and scarves, smelling the fallen leaves–and I love seeing the naked earth again. I love the bluffs, exposed in all their glory, and the bleached-white trunks of the sycamores–someone said they’re like aspens on steroids–and how the green of the pines and cedars is so intense next to the fading color of the red oaks. Fall just doesn’t last long enough.

    Now, about those drama queens of yours…indulge them a little, won’t you? They are doing their part–your egg numbers are something to write home about! Just think how you’d feel if a solid-wood basketball landed on your head…that’s about like walnuts raining down on the girls in the henhouse. No fun!

    And thanks for the white-shirt advice: I’m going to take it! Only color from now on…

  2. Beautiful tribute to autumn! As a child of October, this was always a time of great anticipation and reward for me, fueled as a teen by greatest of times on the gridiron. As for here (Southern California) and now, we, too, are in new surroundings, blessed as never before with contentment and comfort. Out here? My beloved San Francisco Giants won the World Series. The Golden State being boxed into brown-out brightened by seeing Pelosi’s balloon popped. Must always remember Who is on the throne, and Thy will be done. Back to yesteryear, bloodsuckers borrowed from the Mill Pond (Long Pine, Nebraska) rival ticks and chiggers in superficial shock effect, ‘though painless.

    • Hi Terry,
      Yes you are a blessed man, even in CA.
      There is so much to be thankful for and when you take notice of the small things too, you soon find both pockets are full. We’re heading through Nebraska in a few days to visit our son in Utah for Thanksgiving
      Glad you Giants won too.
      Take care my friend, gregg

  3. Lovely! Our daughter became a gardener for the first time this summer, so I think I’ll forward this post to her. Her writing style is different than yours (she writes for a living), and she’s pretty busy, but every once in a while I send her one of your posts because they express a quality I think she’d enjoy. And this one does.
    Nice to be filled in on moonshine drinking etiquette, should that knowledge ever come in handy.
    Luv the Chicken Little walnut tree story. I can almost hear the nuts falling and the hens cackling.

    • Hi Sandy,
      Thanks for passing my blog on! I get people signing up that I don’t know or know how they found it so it’s nice to hear how one of the dots got connected. I hope she enjoys my ramblings.
      The coyotes killed my rooster and 3 hens so I’ve declared war and am doing my best to protect the 11 remaining widows. Probably November material though so I’ll leave it there.
      I’m glad you’re one of my readers. thank you!

      Your cousin, gregg

  4. It’s sooo great living w/ someone who has the ability to express in words our life here! Love, you Babe. Keep up your passion!

  5. Greetings! I just read your blog posts from the first entry to the last, and thoroughly enjoyed each one. My old friend Dwaine Turner alerted me to your blog during a recent visit. I moved to Willow Springs from Placerville CA, back in ’78. My dad’s family have been here in the Ozarks since 1885, and my mom’s family in Placerville since 1850. All that is on my website if you’re interested. I’ve enjoyed our virtual visit and would enjoy reveiving your email, Shannon

  6. I too, once had brown hair.


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