Ahhh, there’s nothing like the autumn colors in Tennessee. Last year the house was still being renovated when the leaves turned, so we had to drive out to the farm to enjoy the colors. This year I was able to just walk out to the pastures. Here are a few pictures I snapped over the weekend.
Playing disc golf out in the pastures is a great way to enjoy the fall scenery and weather. My work buddy Jim Taylor (who hosted what my daughter Alana dubbed “The best Thanksgiving ever!” last year) drove down on Saturday with four of his kids to join us for several rounds. Jim rarely plays, never practices, and doesn’t even own a set of discs … so of course he tied me on our last round of the day.
Okay, this part of the land doesn’t look so wonderful at the moment. A crew came by last week and told us they’re required to cut all foliage 20 feet back from the electric wires that cross over one of our pastures.
They’re not leaving this mess for us to clean up, fortunately. I asked what they do with all the downed branches, and the foreman told me they chip ’em up and haul ’em away. Well, it so happens Chareva was planning to create a wood-chip garden next spring. She was inspired by the documentary Back To Eden, which explains how a wood-chip garden smothers weeds, soaks up water, forms new topsoil, etc. We’ve even talked about buying a wood chipper for the project.
So she asked the foreman if perhaps they could haul the wood chips to our back pasture instead of out to some dump. No problem, he replied, you’d actually be doing me a favor, making it an easier job. Well in that case, she asked, how about bringing us a few loads of wood chips from the other nearby areas you’re clearing? No problem, he replied. So our wood-chip garden project just got a whole lot easier.
Now that autumn is here we’ve had some chilly nights, perfect for a fireplace or wood-burning stove. The last time Chareva’s parents visited, they brought us an old wood-burning stove they weren’t using anymore. A couple of weeks ago, Chareva hired a local company called Sweeps & Ladders to install the stove in our dining room. I applauded her choice of contractors because Tommy Nelms, the owner, is a firefighter with the Franklin Fire Department. You can bet he made sure the charming brick hearth he constructed for the stove is fire-safe. The bricks are actually an inch in front of the wall, with vents at the top and bottom to provide air flow and avoid transferring heat to the drywall.
Last winter we experienced a power outage and had no way to cook or heat the house until I ran out to buy a kerosene heater. Now that our fireplace is working and the wood-burning stove is installed, we’re a little better prepared. When Chareva’s brother and father got the stove going for the first time on Friday night, it put out so much heat that we ended up opening a window to cool down the room a bit.
Autumn is my favorite time of the year. All within 2 ½ months, we have Chareva’s birthday, Halloween, Sara’s birthday, my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now that we live in the sticks, I’ll also be celebrating the end of the bug season. I haven’t seen a tick in a few weeks now, but one bug decided to give me a going-away present.
As I was standing in our kitchen, I felt something land on my neck. I swatted at it, thinking it was probably a mosquito. As soon as my hand touched it, I knew it was too big to be a mosquito. My hand-swat launched whatever it was into a wall, which it struck hard before falling behind a short bookcase full of cookbooks. A few seconds later I was aware of a sharp little pain in my neck.
What the heck was that thing? I wondered.
So I got out a flashlight and looked behind the bookcase. There was a wasp crawling in the gap between the bookcase and the wall. (I have a bit of a history with wasps, which I’ve recounted on my other blog.) I grabbed a board we use as a barrier to keep the dogs out of our living room and slammed it behind the bookcase, flattening the little winged demon.
Later I noticed an open window in Chareva’s office. I turns out Alana had opened that window to have an important conversation with the dogs as they romped in the back yard. I explained to Alana that Daddy really, really doesn’t like being stung by wasps and would prefer she not invite them into the house anymore by leaving windows wide open. She agreed to honor the request.
I only swelled up a little bit, and the sting wasn’t nearly as painful as other wasp stings I’ve had the misfortune to experience. I think the wasp probably started to sting me just as I was in mid-swat, then got slapped away before the stinger could penetrate very far. I hope the first frost comes soon and the wasps go away until next summer.