> jumping into life.


Wednesday was the last day of summer. We knew it at the time, but Thursday made it clear. Today the sky is full of rain and chill and I wish already that we had a woodstove.

There might be more heat and sun left for us this year, but fall has brushed off her skirts and stepped up to the stage. The first leaves are turning, the pumpkins are orange, the melons are doomed.

We're circling in on our plans for next year. We bought a baby tractor last week - a BCS, ten years old, but in good shape and for a steal - along with tiller, brush hog, mower and snowblowing attachments. We've got an arrangement set up to use an acre of land just down the road, and we're trying to figure out the best way to prepare it - a farmer friend of ours suggested a moldboard plow, which surprised me, as I thought they'd mostly fallen out of favor. But he's a good farmer on similar soil, so maybe he's right. We're going to solicit a few other opinions before we get going, but the pasture needs to be mowed firstly no matter what (but the mower needs to be fixed up a bit before that).

We've been a little overwhelmed of late with trying to sort out all the pieces we need for next year, and this year's garden has been a bit neglected as a result. The onions and winter squash need to be pulled soon, and we need to find somewhere to keep them. Ditto potatoes. I meant to plant fall peas, but now I think it's too late. The straw we mulched the pathways with was full of poison parsnip seeds. The fall carrots never really germinated and we never really noticed. Late blight finally got us, and we spent much of Wednesday pulling out tomatoes. But altogether I think we did a fine job this season, and while I'm not exactly looking forward to the frost, I might be just a little bit relieved that fall is here, even though it means I have to hunt through all the closets to find my wool hat.


Things chickens like:
Japanese beetles
dust baths
standing on things
making chicken noises
playing keep-away
Colorado potato beetles
rusty nails
broken glass
pieces of baling twine
excavating the lawn
the nest box in the middle
anything another chicken has

Things chickens do not like:
cucumber beetles
cucumber skins
being caught
three-striped potato beetles
tall grass
the electric fence
the nest box on the far left
hot weather
Things I like about chickens:
chickens catching grasshoppers
chickens trying to catch flies
chicken stampede
chicken noises
chickens snoring at night
feeding chickens cornbread

Things I do not like about chickens:
Sometimes they die.
Sometimes I can't remember if the fence is on or not and I have to get up out of bed and go check.
Plus, it's always on when that happens.


(O, what.
What now?
What next?)

Comes summer,
finally, astride her
horse of light and heat.
Comes heat.

(But still we know nothing of the future.)

Comes the filling
of my plea.

But still I cannot string
even these words together
to make song.

(So, what?
What now?
What next?)

Comes heat, pulling from us
all our energy and wet.

(But what will we do?)

Comes summer, sudden,
brimming with fruit,
turning us squint-eyed and sweaty,
and just in time.

But the answers come alone
if at all. (If at all.)


It was June all through July,
and now August is wearing September,
it seems. There has not been one night
too hot to sleep through.
Not one day that demanded a jump in the pond.

And winter's coming.