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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Autumn cycles begin

There is fog along the river in the mornings now, geese are honking their way over the pass, pumpkins are turning bright orange, and the cornstalks are falling all over like tiddlywinks.

I'm not sure what that's about with the corn; in the past it has meant the arrival of raccoons but the ripe ears have not been molested (except by us).

I have been carrying a cloth shoulder bag on walks and doing a bit of foraging. There are apples and plums along the fencerows, but I'm looking for things for tea: crimson clover, blackberry leaves, chickory, dandelion, thistledown, oregon grapes, and rose hips. I add these to the mint, which has gone to flower but is still very good. The tea comes out a golden color and has a meditative quality.

An annual event, the pulling up of bean roots, letting the vines die, and collecting all the uneaten green beans and scarlet runners for seed, heralds the fall season. As it is often raining here by this time, we have formed the habit of moving the beanpods indoors and shelling them over time as their green turns to brown. To prevent them molding, we hold them in a washing tray made of two-by-fours and hardware cloth, for better air circulation.

Currently the potting shed/greenhouse is also home to the Excelsior dryer, which has found employment all summer. At the moment it's waiting for a load of tomatoes.

 The Gravenstein apples are done and it's the Roxbury Russet's turn. More apple butter and apple juice on the way.

This tree toppled over years ago and leans on a crutch made from an eight-by-ten post.

I use a fruitpicker to go after the few apples that are out of reach but also fill it up with apples from lower parts of the tree and dump it into the wheelbarrow so as not to have to walk back and forth as much, or trundle around the barrow trying to keep it near me.

The day begins and ends with a little bit of zazen in the zendo. Birds that are gathering to head south like to hang out around the zendo and sometimes quail run across the roof. It's a good place to ripen oneself.


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