Fall has arrived. This year in our part of Vermont the tree leaves have suddenly turned brilliant, some maples are so red they hurt your eyes. The woods around our house is like an impressionist’s canvas. A week ago we were starting to think that there would be little color but thankfully we were wrong, it is one of the finest displays ever.
The past few nights the thermometer dropped into the thirties and we even had frost, not a killing one but frost nonetheless and the advancing cold is hurrying us along with our chores. I had been piling up brush and other wood debris in the small field behind our house for over a year and the time was ripe to burn it. I got permission from our town fire marshal Wednesday morning and by noon had a rip-roaring blaze going that continued all day. By evening the pile had been reduced to a scorching hot mound of coals with thick white smoke pouring out of it from soggy pine logs still smouldering underneath. That went on all night and the next day. In fact, it’s still emitting small threads of smoke like a dormant volcano. The smoke was so thick that it penetrated the house even with tightly closed windows. My mistake, I should never have left the pile go so long before burning it.
Walkabout, our sailboat, was hauled by the yard this week and now is on her stands waiting to be winterized. She had been in water since we launched last November down in Grenada and her hull was thick with barnacles and weeds. No wonder we couldn’t win a race. So now she will get a long winter’s break and some needed maintenance.
Jeanne got her wish and we have a new house-cat. Pet angel Kristi Koch brought us a one year old black female feline two weeks ago, much to my wife’s delight, and it’s taken that long for the little thing to get used to us and come out from hiding under a bed all day. Kristi, bless her, takes in kittens and older cats for rehabilitation and socialization and this was one of those “damaged” animals. This one shows signs of mental healing, perhaps, and may make a decent pet, eventually. She, the cat, has six toes on each front paw, handy for walking on snow. I called her “Digit” but Jeanne says “Lulu” is better.
Our family lost Betty Dougherty Tiemann who quietly passed away this week from old age. She was my mother’s younger sister, the third of four girls who grew up in New Jersey. Aunt Betty was a nurse, taking up the profession at an age when most people would be looking forward to retirement, and sticking with it for the rest of her working life. She was our ‘no nonsense’ aunt and very much loved.