Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for September 2018

Our feature photo this month is of an orb weaver spider found inhabiting the northwest border of the farm.  Although not as large or colorful as the resident orb weaver from 2017,  I was quite taken with the intricate design on this one.

Our 2018 resident orb weaver, sporting some striking markings.

Rather camera shy, she fled into the arbor vitae and this photo was the best one I was able to take of her.  A very brief rain and wind squall took down her web.  We hope she was safely ensconced in the arbor vitae until she can rebuild.

On the other hand, our 2017 orb weaver in the garden was quite willing to be photographed from many angles, and was featured in our August 2017 post, where she is presenting her best pose.

Our orb weaver from 2017, a bit larger and more colorful.

News from the farm

The month of September has passed, along with summer’s intensive heat.  Even on an aberrant late September day in the low 90s, the sun coming in at a much lower angle is much more pleasant in mid afternoon.  Although still fairly dry, rain has come in small amounts in the form of misting rain or brief squalls.  Not enough precipitation has fallen to soak the hard, sun-baked clay soil, only just enough to wet flower, leaf and stem, with promises of more to come.

After a brief storm, roses were beaded and heavy with raindrops.

The leaves seem more intensively colorful this year, showing a bit more orange and gold among the usual paler yellows and crumpled browns.  Perhaps it is all my perception, wishing this year’s work on all fronts to be completed as soon as possible, so I may rest, dormant until spring might awaken me in all its floral abundance and sense of wonder at the annual renewal of life.  Dormancy is never an option here, though; life only slows down, temporarily.   Yet I would hold onto this transitional time of year, savor all its sights, scents and sounds.  The unique sense of clarity in autumn’s low angled light,  the touch of warm sunshine and cooler air on the skin, the colorful cloudscapes at the bookends of the day are all unique to the transitional seasons here, although autumn wields a special magic all her own in this season of falling leaves and bounty from garden, orchard and vineyard.

Developing apple in progress!

Cascade table grapes behind bird netting. They are providing good eating!

Suffolk Red table grapes behind bird netting. Ready to harvest any time now.

A good supply of plums have been dried and stashed away for the winter months. There are days when I feel much in common with some of the little fellows in the order Rodentia during the late summer and autumn months of food preservation and storage.  In the old doublewide “farmhouse” that stood on the same site as our present home, wild mice bunking in for the winter would bring in hazelnuts and store them in my boots, which were kept in the back extension. For good reasons, we nicknamed that house “The Mouse Hotel”.  At night, stray hazelnuts energetically rolled down the inner walls, sounding much like bowling balls fired down an alley, the final crash at the bottom reminiscent of a multiple pin strike.  I sometimes wondered if the mice up in the ceiling were gleefully squeaking, “Strike!”  Perhaps the old house should have been named “Murine Lanes”.  Fortunately there are no signs of mice in the new home, now 6 years old, and the youngest cats, now 5 years old, are content to be the lead investigators regarding any anomalous noises.

The Boys of Salmon Brook Farms, Mr. Lucio (left), Mr. Nano (center) and Mr. Marcus (right), keeping vigil in the old house. That house did have bigger windows, which they enjoyed very much. The only cat from that time period to ever catch a house mouse was Abby, who has been blind in one eye since before we acquired her. Nothing escaped her one good eye. She will be 17 years old next spring.

Our pinot noir grapes are almost ready to press for wine now, and other tasks will wait while grapes are harvested, crushed and the grape must (juice) inoculated with Epernay II yeast.   Our goal is to make a rosé wine as good or better than our 2017 vintage.

A small number of pinot noir grapes from our 2017 harvest, enough to squeeze juice to fill a 16 qt sock pot for inoculation.

2017 harvest and crush – all done by hand for small test batches.

Rick, our Quality Control person, personally testing two different batches at lunch last year.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

Resident feline correspondent and head of the local correspondents desk Mr. Nano has agreed to let correspondent Miss Nod present September’s report.   She has been gathering news from the various window stations, and keeping a journal, from which she would like to share a few selected entries, which she feels would give readers the sense of wonder she experiences here.  The farm photographer agreed to assist her.  Without further ado, Miss Nod will present her report.

Feline correspondent Miss Nod, conducting an eye to eye interview.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

 It was a beautiful late summer evening, passing all too quickly, as they all do. It was a bit warmer today, which enlivened the stridulators’ evening symphony. A light veil of thin clouds gathered in the west, catching the last glimmer of deepening rose on their undersides, was noted past sundown. The last bit of light disappeared from view around 8:30 PM, the sun headed ever westward. Somewhere in the world, dawn is always breaking.

Sunrise on the farm, September 17, 2018.

Friday, September 7, 2018

In the predawn hours, I noted the constellation Orion near the horizon in east. Towards sunrise, the silhouette of the waning crescent moon hung low in the eastern sky, as the first rays from below the horizon lit up the underside of morning clouds, a beautiful scene to hold in mind’s eye.

A variety of cloud forms noted today, from long, sweeping cirrus mares’ tails to cirrocumulus and altocumulus along with a lower trail of smoky, dusty pall that crept in on September 6th.

A beautiful sundown tonight.   One must be quick with the camera at the bookends of the day, when lighting changes rapidly. Nature waits for no one.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

56 degrees and mostly overcast at daybreak, with a narrow blue rift in the bank of clouds to the south. I watched the doe and fawn for a while this morning, grazing out at the edge of the hazelnut grove. The fawn was running high speed circles and figure 8s for the sheer joy of it, the strong legs and spirited heart of youth at work on a cool morning. The doe would join her offspring now and then, but only racing a few strides before returning to foraging. Mother had her own priorities.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Clouds crept in overnight, allowing a warmer morning today at 55 degrees. A light misting rain fell at daybreak. Not enough to soak the ground, just enough to caress the earth and tired vegetation with promises of more to come later. The ceiling soon fractured into heavy cumulus clouds. The cumulus grew fat and woolly during the day, feeding on the aerial river of moisture coming up the Willamette Valley. Stark white to pendulous and grey, these wanderers headed north, sometimes straying over the Cascade foothills to the east.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A cool, relatively cloudless evening in progress, with a growing, thin crescent moon above, a clear silhouette of the dark side present forming the illusion of an eye trained out into the greater Universe. The temperature is already in the low 50s and dropping. It will be cold in the morning unless a new blanket of clouds buffers the fields and garden from the night’s chill.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

41 degrees before sunrise under mostly clear skies, which are now filling in quickly. The rapidly changing cloud forms are fascinating to watch, especially at the bookends of the day when light levels change rapidly. A few cirrus here and there become long rows of cirrocumulus, looking like corduroy patterns in the sky.

Sundown on the 17th of September. The photographer missed the sunrise clouds on September 15th.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Down in the low 40s this morning at sunrise under mostly clear skies. The season of thick morning mists that stratify, curl and wind among the hills is here. Eventually they rise along with the climbing sun, and drift away over the mountains.

The mists of dawn on September 17th. Soon they will rise and drift away as cloud.

A mostly clear evening in progress, with a waxing gibbous moon overhead shining down upon the nightly stridulators still singing out the end of summer.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I watched a most beautiful end of day present itself, complete with the rising purple veil of night in the east, a golden gibbous moon overhead, and the fading glow of the sun to the west, which had just gone below the horizon. The summer stridulators are still performing nightly in this fine transitional weather.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

It is 58 degrees at 9:19 PM under a fractured night sky, and a gibbous golden moon peering out from behind the galleons sailing by.

Shadows and light from earlier in the day on September 22nd.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Young ladybugs were found in the greenhouse, under a strawberry leaf, sitting among the remnants of the egg cases. The nymphs had metamorphosed into tiny adults. They had been feeding off of aphids, some still visible on the underside of the leaf along the mid rib.

Click on photo to enlarge. The photographer returned the ladybugs to the greenhouse after documentation.

Sunday, September 23, 2018 – Autumnal Equinox

45 degrees and mostly cloudy at daybreak, the official first day of the fall season. A daily pattern can be seen now of mists that stratify and rise with the sun, coalescing into ragged clouds that wander away to the north or east over the Cascades. We soon had an autumnal blue sky with patches of cloud, and light breezes stirring about the farm.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A chilly 37 degrees under clear skies before sunrise. The purple veil of night rolled away to the west, accompanied by the bright, full moon majestically set upon it. Mists stratify and wind around the hills, thick in the low areas, but soon rising and drifting away. I particularly enjoy these times when night is caught running westward while the brightening new day draws near the eastern horizon. One leaving, one arriving, different colors and moods.

A closer view of sundown on September 17th.

A warmer, summer-like day, rising into the low 80, with a few scant cirrus clouds. The sun is still quite warm, although not so intense. I have been watching its progress south along the eastern ridge at sunrise, and south along the far hills at sunset. A mostly clear night in progress. A deer took off down the driveway after dark.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

It was not quite 44 degrees under clear skies just before sunrise. A waning gibbous moon hangs higher and higher in the western sky each morning, an apparent retrograde movement of the orbiting body to the observer. Mostly clear skies and as warm as a summer day at 87 today, although the sun was not as intense, being at a lower angle at this time of year. The air has a slight nip to it by sundown, even after a warm day. A time to observe pink contrails forming in the western sky, and the rapidly changing colors of any clouds present as the sun continues to sink below the horizon. They eventually fade to lavender, then grey, as night overtakes them.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

A brief thunderstorm dropped 5 minutes of rain, cooling things off and making creating one of the most beautiful and colorful cloudscapes towards sundown.

We wish our readers a pleasant evening ahead, and safe travels to all wherever their destination in life may lead them.

-Resident Feline Correspondent Nod, reporting for Salmon Brook Farms

Wishing our readers safe travels to wherever their destination in life may lead them.


Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

A couple of musicians I know from the Corvallis Folklore Society, Kurt Smith and Dick Thies, performing at the Corvallis Wednesday Market on September 26th.

Kurt Smith and Dick Thies at the Corvallis Wednesday Farmers Market on September 26, 2018. A thoroughly enjoyable show, and great sign on Kurt’s wagon.

September was a relatively quiet one musically, as most of my time was involved in projects here and working extra time.  I am looking forward to October!

If you are in the area and wish to see me play live, please visit the Performance Schedule page in the ring menu at the top of this post.

For those readers who are new or catching up, do visit the Salmon Brook Farms YouTube channel. Our first Tiny Farm Concerts one song music video was posted at the end of March, 2017. I am 15 years older and a good bit more grey since my first and only CD was released back in 2003, but still in the saddle. It has been an interesting ride, with more to come!

For those who have missed previous posts and wish to view the channel content, here are links to the previous two videos.  There will be more videos when I can get back to this project.

The Orchard, our distributor, has placed some of our music from the Keepsake CD on YouTube. Anyone wishing to see the entire track listing and stories behind the songs should visit my personal page under MUSIC in the menu at the top of this post. Depending on what country you live in, the music placed on YouTube by The Orchard may be blocked. Readers can also access some songs from the CD via the old IUMA archive site.

In the meantime, in your area, wherever you may be, please do all you can to help keep your own local music alive. Go out and see someone you don’t know, host a house concert, download songs or buy CDs. Or even just stop for a minute to hear someone at a Farmers’ Market. Live, local musicians provide a wealth of talent most people will never hear about in this age of iPods, Internet and TV.

Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms

Our butterfly bush revived and went through a second bloom after the weather became cooler.


91 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for September 2018

  1. You dry the plums? How?
    Ah, Lavinia, as usual I’ll be reading this post over and over.
    Meanwhile may I say once again how beautifully you write?
    “The unique sense of clarity in autumn’s low angled light, the touch of warm sunshine and cooler air on the skin, the colorful cloudscapes at the bookends of the day are all unique to the transitional seasons here, although autumn wields a special magic all her own in this season of falling leaves and bounty from garden, orchard and vineyard.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • As always, thank you for stopping by, Cynthia, and thank you so much for the kind comment on the writing! I am honored you enjoy these posts. I learned the joy of creative writing from my 10th grade English teacher, which surprised me, as I didn’t think he liked me. I worked hard, and after the final exam, he told me I was his only bright and shining star. His class and that one comment planted a seed which has finally started to grow after all these years.

      The plums are collected in 2 qt buckets and kept refrigerated until I can get to them. They are washed and quartered being of the larger purple Italian prune plum type. Exactly which varietal, we do not know. The flesh is light greenish, turning gold when fully ripe. I prefer them when they are on the cusp of turning gold, as they are still firm enough to slice cleanly, and have just a little bit of tartness to delineate the flavors. The quartered plums are soaked in our roughly 2 qt metal bowls in a solution of water and 1 heaping tsp of vitamin C crystals for about 15 minutes. I lay the slices skin down on trays of a Nesco American Harvest brand fruit dryer set on 145 degrees, about 10 degrees hotter than they suggest, for about 22 hrs, as I run 2 fruit dryers simultaneously with 8 trays each. I then shut off the dryers and let the fruit cool down for a good 6 hrs, and bag them up into 1 qt Ziploc bags. Fruit on the bottom of the dryer dries more slowly than fruit at the top, right under the fan and heater. One could switch the trays around during the 22 hrs, but I don’t bother. I eat any reject strips that still seem too moist. Quality control. 🙂 Shake bags daily for about a week to help normalize the moisture in the dried strips.

      Much love to you and the family. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, and for the kind comments, Becky! I enjoy painting pictures with words as much as good photographs. The cats are very lucky to be here, and we are lucky to belong to them, too. We are a family. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Seems so beautiful and also should be so delicious too all your fruits… This is wonderful monthly report from your farm, I always love to hear from you dear Lavinia and you know, your cats fascinating me, they are all so lovely, Thank you dear, have a wonderful October, Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, dear Nia! Thank you for stopping by from your beautiful Turkish homeland, and thank you so much for the kind comments. The cats and crew here all send you and your family our love. ❤ Have a beautiful October as well, and I look forward to reading more about your dear cats. Wish we could send you some of the fruit that is coming in now. We have plenty to share. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Andy and Dougy would have enjoyed the old house! They have to settle for the occasional fly that sneaks in when I bring in the groceries or a cricket of two that show up from somewhere. Such is the life of kitty boys in town!

    As always, I thoroughly enjoyed your monthly update and look forward to Rick’s evaluation of tthe 2018 vintage! Fresh grapes from the vineyard (or garden) is one thing I miss where I live. One variety I grew was sickeningly sweet when ripe, but a delicious tartness when picked, night-chilled, on a mid- to late August morning. I always ate them before they were fully ripe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you and the boys, Doug!Andy and Dougie would have loved that old house. Frogs came up out of the shower stall, mice in the walls and ceiling, and a big “something” just under the floor that got in early one morning in the wee hours and made noises that sounded like “Gaaaarrrrr…sneeeeeeee!”. I never saw it, but the cats followed the noise under the floor around until it disappeared somewhere.

      I like the eating grapes on the tarter side myself. Wish I could give you some. We had a good grape year here, and LOTS of extra grapes to give friends.

      Wish us luck with the 2018 vintage. I am hoping the weather holds. Some light rain at night would be good, with sunny days, but I know I am asking a lot from the weatherman. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Herman says:

    Hi Lavinia! Always enjoy your posts and looking forward to read what’s going on at the beautiful Farm. And of course, it’s interesting to read the latest news from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms.
    I would love to take a walk in the garden and try out all the delicious fruits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you and Mr. Bowie, Herman! I love walking and eating my way through garden, vineyard and orchard here. I was once told that the best way to eat a tomato is out in the field with the seeds running down one’s face.
      Mr. Nano would like Mr. Bowie to know that the garden and blueberry patch have been under attack from voles. The Boys of Salmon Brook Farms are calling for help from their Belgian brother. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you Derrick! Little Miss Nod is beaming ear to ear. 🙂

      It’s been a strange weather year here, and I am beginning to say that about every year lately. A long extended fall season will be good for getting in whatever else we can from the garden, as many plantings went in late, and will help with a building project and general repairs going on here. What I have seen in past years when this happens is that the boom is lowered in early December with really cold weather down in the 20s. That tends to shock tree, shrub, vine and other perennials which have not sufficiently hardened off yet. We’ll see what happens here.

      All the best to you and Jackie. I’ll catch up again with you soon.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you and the Animal Couriers crew, Annie! I love spiders. Those mice in the walls were busy little people! I opened a drawer in the back extension of the house once, and found a mother mouse with all her babies attached and feeding. Helpless, she looked up at me with those little black eyes. I took the whole drawer out and put it in the shed, giving her a chance to find a new apartment.


  5. Magnificent farmland, with dedicated people and animals in residence, who could possibly ask for more. But on top of all that you get to eat and drink what comes off the land! You two are living the dream!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you stop by, GP! Wish us luck on this year’s vintage. “Living the dream” is hard work, but I stop and think about those first hand accounts you post of WWII in the Pacific, things my own father might have seen and experienced, and I realize I have nothing to complain about at all. We are lucky to be here, thanks to their hard work and sacrifices. Keep those stories coming, GP!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gosh, those grapes look scrumptious, Lavinia! I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying some crisp autumn weather. We’re trapped in a summertime pattern with temperature expected to hit 90 by the end of the week. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Jill! I wish we could send you some of our grapes, as there is plenty to share! I am sorry to hear the hot summer weather patterns are still with you. I hope October will be kinder to you soon. Thank you so much for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by from Scotland, and thank you for the kind comments, Mr. Tootlepedal! It was an exceptional grape year. We should be pressing grapes soon, possibly this weekend. I am hoping the weather holds long enough to harvest.


    • Thank you for stopping by from Montana Outdoors, and thank you for the kind comments, Montucky! I have always loved orb weaver spiders, and usually have at least one hanging about somewhere on the farm each year. The cats are sharp as tacks, and good observers. Miss Nod sends her sincere gratitude. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ms. Nod is very observant, and poetic, in her writing. This part–“I particularly enjoy these times when night is caught running westward while the brightening new day draws near the eastern horizon”–reminds me of a line I love from the folksong “Johnny Stewart, Drover”:
    Dawn will surely find another day
    Sun still chasing moon, never caught her . . .

    Autumn looks so gorgeous in your part of the world but it sounds like a busy, tiring time, too. We’re well on our way into fall, too–apples, Canada geese migrating, brightly sugar maples.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Kerry! Thanks for stopping by from Love Those “Hands at Home”, and for the kind comments! Miss Nod is blushing, and thanks you for your comment, 🙂 That is a great line from that song. I’ve never heard it, and will look it up. There must be a cover of it on YouTube, somewhere.

      Autumn is busy, and tiring. Apples and Canada geese here, but wish we had the colors you do back east! I miss that. Our native trees are mostly yellows and gold, not the flaming reds and oranges.

      A friend is spinning yarn from cat hair I saved for her. When she has finished, I will include that in a future post.

      All the best to you and your family in this season of plenty, Kerry! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Garden In A City, and thank you for the kind comment, Jason! The darker grapes are like clusters of amethyst jewels, the lighter ones like rose quartz and peridot. Those birds sure do love them, including those fat little California quail I caught filching grapes in the non-netted sections of vineyard yesterday. Red-footed, they took off for the woods. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Autumn’s low-angled light is wonderful, isn’t it! I am sure all the feline members of the household love it. It seems that all is as it should be at Salmon Brook Farm. I am glad of that and wish you happy harvesting. The story of the mice and the hazelnuts is so funny. I have lots of hazelnuts but no mice, fortunately. I think Jack would not like mice in his house.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful, Lavinia, just beautiful! I hope you are saving these posts because I am sure you could publish ‘A Year at Salmonbrook Farms’ illustrated by your gorgeous photos. I loved the mice story! Until we had new garage doors fitted we regularly had mice and rats in the garage. My elder daughter got the horrors when she put her boots on and found stored food and rat poison inside them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Andrea, and thank you so much for stopping by from Harvesting Hecate and for the kind comments. Autumn here in western Oregon is quite different from my native New England, but has it own rhythms and innate beauty. Little Nod is a sharp kitty, and very observant. 🙂

      Slowing down a little, perhaps, in late November. I’m looking forward to that. 🙂

      All the best to you, Andrea! I am behind catching up on other blogs, and will visit you soon. Your own writing is very beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Small predators like your spider offer a dazzling show in close-up shots. I remember admiring a spider observed with a binocular magnifying glass. Or again animalcules observed in a drop of water under a microscope. Nature is beautiful in all dimensions.
    I admire your grape harvest. You speak of Epernay II yeast.. Epernay is a center of the area of champagne . My oldest son who is an ingeneer has his office in Epernay.
    I observed your apple . It is not attacked by bugs at the opposite of the ours. we loose many of them .but we have enough with th erest.
    You know certainly that South France ( department of Aude ) has been awfully flooded. . And I know the damages of the hurricanes Florence and Michael in Notrth America;; Weather becomes weird.
    All of my friendship to both you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, dear Michel! Thank you for stopping by from your blog FauquetMichel on WordPress. Yes, Nature is beautiful in all dimensions! ❤

      Epernay II yeast seems to work well on our pinot noir for making wine. The company who makes it, Red Star, has changed the name of the yeast recently to Cote des Blancs, but I like the old name, and use that. Probably some patent infringement issue.

      We have bugs in many of the apples, too, but that one made a nice photo. 🙂

      Yes, the weather here has been very strange, too. We are getting a long, extended autumn season, and I am afraid we will get extreme cold come December. I have seen that happen some years. Tree and shrub, and vine, get confused, not having had time to adapt and slowly "harden" off. Too much rain at harvest time is bad too.

      I have been detached from the news for a while here, and I wish everyone in the south of France good luck. I am sorry to hear about all the severe flooding.

      I am behind in catching up on everyone's blogs, and will be by your blog shortly, my dear friend.

      Love and friendship to you, Janine and the family. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. As to those orb spiders… we had several this year. One built a wed every night over our sliding-glass door. It attached several strands to the door, which allowed the wed to collapse when we opened the door, and stretch out again when we closed it. Another built a web on our tractor’s wheel…. poor planning. The third took up residence inside, near our wood stove (not in service yet). We had lots of fruit flies from harvesting paw paws (ready to eat about 15 minutes after we brought them in). We do not know where the spider went… maybe it will come out again when we get cool enough to light up that wood stove. – Oscar
    P.S. we are exchanging Fall for Spring in Peru this year. Pic’s to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by from HermitsDoor, Oscar, and thank you for the observations on your spiders! The poor little dears sometimes pick the wrong place to build a web.

      It has been many years since I have eaten a wild paw paw. I don’t know if they will grow in this climate, but not sure why they wouldn’t. You have piqued my interest in finding one and planting it here.

      Will keep a look out for your photos of spring in Peru. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paw paws have had a revival as a specialty food in the Appalachian region. They do not keep (as I suggested) but that makes them more of a hot item for the foodies at the farmer’s markets, if the growers can pick them and transport them in time.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Lavinia, A little late to the party, sorry to say – just crazy-busy. Thank you, as always, for your beautiful photos. I particularly love sunrise and that misty sunset on the 17th. Also love the mice tales (tails?) I could regale you with quite a few of my own from my last house – 1742/1810 and stone. Basically, the whole house was a mouse hole! I had a humane mouse trap …. I never knew mice could have such vastly different personalities. 🐭 (though mine were field mice – so cute!) Have a great evening. Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jeanne, thank you for stopping by from Still A Dreamer, and for the kind comments. Mice are little characters, aren’t they? Our mice were wild mice, although I am not sure which, or how many different species, they belonged to. 🙂 Here is a link to ODFW’s mice, rats, moles and voles page.

      There is no such thing as “late” here. I am always happy to have visitors whenever they are able to stop by. It is always good to see you, whenever that may be. 🙂

      All the best to you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Lavinia, I feel the same – visitors always welcome. They were little brown, white chested field mice – like this (sorry for it being an exterminator’s site – ) The humane trap is a clear, green plastic “house” so you can see one inside. Weather permitting, I would drive them out to somewhere among the many, many acres of fields surrounding where I lived and release them, away from homes, with a small food stash to tide them over until they got settled. If it was too cold, I had a “safe house” until they could be released. In that humane trap, you could really see their personalities – I am very fond of them, though I’m happy to not have to live with them. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. There are wonderful orb weavers everywhere, it seems. I was lucky enough to find some of the “writing spiders” who decorate their webs with those wonderful, zig-zaggy patterns, and I was completely entranced. Yours is especially colorful. But of all the stories you told here, the one about the mother mouse and her babies touched me most of all. I could see those little black eyes looking up at you — bless you for giving the little family another chance at life, in a place better for both of you!

    The table grapes are so beautiful — as is that apple! Our fruits are done now, but it appears we’ll have a good pecan crop this year, thanks to plentiful rain. Unfortunately, many farmers will lose crops such as cotton because of those rains. It’s hard to see people who were just on the verge of a wonderful crop lose it all at the last minute.

    Your description of autumn changes is delightful, as is your correspondent’s. We finally have broken the heat and humidity here, and it seems that any possibility of hurricanes is over now; the water temperatures are down to about 70F. We’re still quite green, but it may only be that our autumn will be late this year. Many times early November is our loveliest time, but at this point all I’m hoping for is some sunshine. We’ve had week after week of cloudy skies, and no one’s really happy about it.

    I have to add how much I enjoyed the photo of the “boys” in their window. What delightful chaos they must create from time to time. I’m convinced cat chaos increases exponentially — for every kitty added, the confusion level goes up ten times!

    I so enjoyed reading this. Here’s to a successful wine pressing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from The Task at Hand,and for all the wonderful, kind comments, Linda! It is always good to see you. 🙂

      The mother mouse with all her babies attached was so helpless. I did what I felt was the right thing, taking her and her family to a new place. There was room for all of us, just not under the same roof.

      Pecans are one of my favorite nuts! I am glad you will have a good harvest, but also feel for the cotton farmers who will lose their crops due to all the rain you are getting. We are having a long, extended autumn here, with days in the 70s, although it is dropping into the high 30s at night. I am wondering if December will bring a sudden drop into the 20s and teens, as has happened some years where autumn has been long, and mild.

      The boys in that photo are much older now. Lucio is 13 years old, Nano is somewhere around 12, and Marcus is 11. They still get into much mischief, and with the six other girl cats, there is plenty of chaos around here.

      I have heard those writing spiders also go by the moniker of “zipper spiders”. They are all fascinating creatures and I am happy to share space with them.

      I have two fermentation experiments going so far this year, with the possibility of one more if the weather holds. We have plenty of grapes. The last run came in at 23 brix, and I would expect another run would come in close to 24 brix.

      Again, thank you so much for stopping by! All the best to you, Linda. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The orb spider is just beautiful and your writing is always exquisite. You must be very busy this time of the year, harvesting all the fruits of your labor. I love all the pictures especially the grapes. I enjoy reading Correspondent Miss Nod’s journal about the weather, the sunrises and the sunsets and the clouds. Where I live now, I enjoy the beauty of sunsets every day, the different colors and the formation of the clouds. I can visualize what you are seeing. My house is facing west with a wide expanse of a lake so I have a clear view of the sunsets with their myriad of hues at the end of the day from my dining room window. Nothing beats the beauty of nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mademoiselle Nod practices face-to-face interviews but also knows how to describe the sky from the clouds, the glow of the setting sun to the constellations..
    The cats reporters have also discovered a tiny specie of ladyburg . ( to report to the society of entomology),.
    Your blog is a poem , Lavinia
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      • Michel, your gardens, your family and stories of life in rural France are all treasures to me, no less important than what I have here. I am grateful you have shared your life, and what is important to you, with all your readers.

        Love to you and your family, ❤


  16. We had frost in the early morning those last days and only the leeks and parsley and some aromatic plants resist yet .We have just picked the medlars which need a little frost yo be ripened.
    I thank you , Lavinia, for your comment and cannot wait your future entry iat the end of November or in December
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Michel! I had to look up medlar fruit. They sound like our persimmons in that they need a frost to ripen. It is always a race with the rainy autumn weather, but this year has been dry enough, and frosty enough, to get good fruit from that tree.

      Love to you, Janine and the family, ❤


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