Wednesday, October 22, 2014
My friend Leanne had to stay home the other day, waiting for her car to be returned after repairs, and she spent some time looking out the window. She wrote a fascinating post about what she saw, in her own garden and beyond. At the end, she asked what we saw out the window at our own houses. Since I stay home a lot (as you know), and often spend my time gazing out the windows, I thought this seemed like a good exercise for me too.
On Monday, I stayed indoors all afternoon because it was raining. The clouds were threatening for much of the day but the sky really darkened after lunch and then it rained on and off into the evening. Monday is our all-homeschool day. We went to the feed store and the library in the morning. I made quesadillas for our lunch. We listened to our audiobook after that. There was a lot of arguing between the small Bears in the afternoon; among other topics, they were fighting over correct abbreviations for names of things (smart kids, dumb argument). They fought quite badly, actually, and were sent to their rooms for awhile. Everyone needed a break. I took the opportunity to sit with my tea in the living room to watch the rain fall and observe my front yard, inspired by Leanne.
In my front yard, there are mostly low-water plantings, in addition to our plum trees down by the street. We have Russian sage, yarrow, winter jasmine, Spanish broom, lavender, rosemary, thyme and other plants whose names I don't know. That yellow tree in the above photos is a small olive tree that is planted in a little raised bed at the side of the yard. I love that tree. We have a lovely view of it from inside the living room. It's almost at its fall-color peak, and it casts a golden glow in the living room on sunny days. The olives are tiny and hard, not edible as far as I know, and we occasionally find them on the ground. It's a good climbing tree because the trunk branches into multiple slender parts, easy to brace against for a quick upward scramble. Not that I climb it myself, you understand.
The plum trees are just starting to change color, but they don't really change much; the leaves just get darker, more of a rusty brown than the burgundy of summer. I was so proud of those trees this past spring and summer, when we harvested a good eight or ten pounds of tiny plums. I made jam and the Bear made lots of fruit leather. We're eating the jam now, it's popular around here. The flavor, and the little bits of plum-skin throughout, remind me of cranberry sauce and I'm considering serving a jar of jam with our turkey on Thanksgiving instead of my usual cranberries. I can't decide whether this would be fantastically resourceful or profligately wasteful.
Across the street...oh, across the street. I like to think the best of people, I really do. But I'm worried about that place. The upkeep is sliding. There are four generations living there. The great-grandpa died a couple of years ago. He kept the yard looking neat. His survivors have not carried on the torch. It's all looking a bit shabby now. But they did decorate quite spectacularly for Halloween. I would have preferred to see a good weeding...
I love watching the rain fall in the yard. We don't get a lot of rain here, but everything looks better in the rain and I look forward to it. Everything smells better too. The doorbell rang (it was the UPS guy) and when I opened the door, a little breeze blew in, bringing the scent of wetted lavender and sage. I need to sweep the front entrance; the leaves are falling onto the walkway and covering the doormat. They blow into the house when I open the front door, or get tracked inside on our shoes, sticking to the rug in the foyer. If I don't sweep outside, I have to vacuum inside more often. It's one of those constants of life, isn't it? I have to vacuum a lot anyway because of the goat heads. Do you have those where you live? Goat heads, I shake my fist at you!
I can't leave them in their rooms forever, and they won't want to look at the window for very long with me, so I need to plan some sort of activity for the afternoon. I know - we'll bake something. Who doesn't love baking on a cool, rainy fall afternoon? Even the most cantankerous, weather-limited little people love to bake. I leave my big bay window and retrieve my children from their rooms: back to it. I'm glad I had a chance to concentrate on the details of what I see when I look out the front window.
Edited to include a link to information about goat heads, for the blissfully uninitiated.