Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Looking out



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.

28 comments:

  1. That's a beautiful colour that tree. But your whole front yard sounds lovely!

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  2. I had to google goat heads ... I couldn't figure out why you have to vacuum because of goat heads haha... Of course, should have know, it's a plant ! And a plant I have never seen in my life, I must admit !
    Strange olive tree as well - the olive trees I know (those in the south of Europe) don't change colour in fall !
    I've learnt a lot thanks to your glimpse out of your window :-) !

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  3. thanks for sharing, Jennifer! Beautifully written! :)
    I also love the 2 photos contrasting with each other!
    Hope your little bears managed to settle down in the end!
    Ingrid xx
    http://myfunkycrochet.blogspot.be

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  4. This was so soothing to read Jennifer. Sometimes it's just wonderful to just sit and stare - and there's something about the rain which adds to the hypnotic effect. One thing that worries me though - goat heads??! I'm not sure what they are but the thought of hundreds of goats heads wafting through my front door is a bit scary! Hope you managed to bake something good x Jane

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  5. Thank you for this lovely post. Most of us haven't taken the time to just sit and look. I admit, my life has been so crazy for so many months that I haven't taken the time to "smell the roses"! Baking on a cool fall day does sound good. We have a rainy one here today.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  6. We have similar weather just now. It might be colder, I don't know. It is now not beautifully autumnal but dreich and windy.... ah well. I spend a lot of time inside just now, mostly cleaning up after the puppy.... no goats heads here thankfully. Somehow I lack the inner calm to enjoy gazing out of the window. I really enjoyed this post, and Leanne's too. x

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  7. No goat heads here either - far too cold and wet!
    Being a nosy type, I do like reading about what others see from their windows. I often sit and gaze out of ours at our little yard, the trees and the hills beyond.
    Leaves keep finding their way indoors here too. I quite like it - it's a seasonal thing - but I don't like picking them up!
    I think you should try the plum jam with your turkey, by the way :)
    Sarah x

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  8. I enjoyed Leanne's post about the views from her window and it was lovely to read about the views from your window too. Sarah x

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  9. If one looks out their window long enough, they will surely spot beauty and life before them. I, too, have learned to look out, forward, and to the sky, for infinite inspiration and peace.

    Have fun baking!!

    Poppy

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  10. Never heard of goat heads, except the ones on actual goats. I've learnt something here today. We have lots of ridiculous arguments about nothing too. Maybe the next time everyone is sent upstairs I'll look out of the window for a while. I love the idea of the scent of lavender and sage blowing in on the breeze, how wonderful. Your garden sounds quite lovely at this time of year. And plums with your special meal is a great idea, it certainly won't be a waste. CJ xx

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  11. The only things that blows in on our breeze are oak leaves :)

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  12. What a fun post! I really enjoyed seeing out your windows and hearing about what you were seeing.

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  13. Ahhh Jennifer, I am smiling at you as I type and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the resulting post from your "looking out your window" exercise :-) I am cheering you on to victory in your battle with the goat heads, and in re-directing the small bears into more conciliatory, productive pursuits! xx

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  14. Hi Jennifer.. I like this post.. I did a similar one on my last post - just kind of looking around my house and outside.. We ran errands today in a terrible rainstorm.. I'm glad to be home. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  15. What a great exercise I enjoyed seeing out of your window. No goats heads here...

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  16. What a lovely wistful post - when the weather is bad looking through the window is a soothing occupation.

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  17. What a lovely post. I like to look out and see what I can see when it's raining, it's quite soothing somehow.

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  18. Lovely post Jennifer, sometimes it's nice to just sit and look!
    V x

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  19. Never heard of goat heads - they look nasty! I also love looking out at and listening to the rain. We've had a lot of it during the past week but today is beautiful. I took the opportunity to go for a walk.

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  20. Hey Jennifer,
    Yay! You stared too! I really felt as if I was there staring out with you. And I did chuckle at your kids having a bit of time out. I do that a lot lately. Olly sits on the stairs wailing "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"
    Leanne xx

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  21. Oh, how I love the rain! Especially when the cloud are really thick and it's dark so lamps can be lit in the house...so cozy! My absolute favorite jelly is wild plum. The plums grew wild in Oklahoma where my momma is from, and there was always plum jelly in the pantry. She brought me some plums she had canned when they moved here, and I made some myself. I sure miss it. Plum jelly is hard to find here. Seems like all they sell around here is plum jam. Anyway, I enjoyed hearing about your rainy day!

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  22. I love the contrast between your two photographs. And I love 'little plum jam'. In the English village where I grew up they were originally grown for vegetable dye in the 1800s but we still had one of the trees in our garden in the 1970s. My mother made a wonderful jam from the fruit and - yes it was fab on toast and on meat (roast lamb especially)

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  23. From one of the blissfully uninitiated, ouch, those things look nasty!

    And from another pluviophile, an autumn garden on a grey, rainy day can be so beautiful, can't it.

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  24. Love your photos, and I loved this post. Especially the part where you described your neighbours! Those goat heads look unfriendly I have to say. I need to sweep our drive and path - we had a lot of high winds this week and there are leaves everywhere. x

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  25. I really enjoyed this post. It's nice to look out.-Your photos are lovely. :) Rainy days are so relaxing.

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  26. ouch I never want to meet a goat head x

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  27. This is such a lovely post, Jennifer! It's wonderful that you are actually getting "Fall" weather and color. I seldom see rain when looking out my window, but I do see an extremely intense blue sky -- even more so at this time of year. I don't believe we have those "goat heads," which is kind of surprising. Anything with a thorn seems to thrive here! We do have a be beautiful "Red Push Ash" tree that becomes a fireball red, usually in January -- Fall color is just a tad slow around here!

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  28. I loved this post Jennifer. We have a bit of time out time here too on occasion. Sometimes I think I should send myself to my room! In exasperation at the level of leaves in our garden (and not a tree that belongs to us!!) and on our (gravel) driveway we're daydreaming of a leaf blower here!

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