Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Last Roses of Summer

Last Roses of Summer
Climbing Yellow Rose

When I first moved into my house I planted rose bushes everywhere. I love them, but having to neglect them because of years of looking after my grandfather and not being home has decimated the population. Most of them have died back to the root stock, and there are some odd little briars here and there on the property. But this rose was lucky; I planted it on the warm south side of the house and it has bloomed cheerfully for years. There is a bit of color there all summer; if I ever manage to do roses again they will all be on the south side of the house.

It has been unusually warm this month; hard to believe that tomorrow is the first day of fall. It hasn't been hot, but there has been none of the crispness in the air that I think of when I think of autumn days. But there are signs of the changing seasons. I drove to my mother's in the late afternoon and surprised a large flock of doves spread across the road and field above the house. There's a hunting season for doves here but no one does any hunting, as far as I know. The mourning doves are almost tame and stay close to the house, decorating the power line that strings across the field from my neighbor's place. There's a wild aster blooming in the creek ditch that is a pale blue. It only shows in the fall, unlike the summer blooming variety, which is white. Grasshoppers accompany my walks to the bunny house, darting across my path. And the light is changing in the early mornings. Hard to define the difference but there is a golden red glow in the early mornings that I don't see at daybreak in the summer.

There's a bowl of quince on my kitchen table, another sign of fall. I've never done anything with this knobby, heavy fruit but tomorrow or Friday I'm thinking about trying to make quince butter. I found a recipe in an old cookbook; they say the color of quince is beautiful! Wonder if you can dye with it?

I worked on the computer most of the last two days, trying to catch up on getting some stuff out there to sell. The SO went to an auction Saturday and came back with some interesting bottles; I put some of them up on the web site yesterday. It's a long process; I have to take pictures and run them through a photo program to convert them to a smaller size for the web site. Then I make a description that will comment on any flaws and still make the item seem attractive enough to purchase!

Greenberry's Maple Shade
Greenberry's Maple Shade

After a morning of computer work, I was ready to get out into the sunshine and shear a couple of bunnies. Maple is from my first line of German crosses; she is a fawn and only about 69% German. She is also one of the oldest rabbits here at four and a half years. Maple has a lovely coat with a satiny sheen that I love to spin. I'm retiring her from motherhood; she only had two bunnies this spring and just one of them survived. I put some bunnies from another litter in with her and she raised them easily. But the small litter feels like a sign to let her retire and just enjoy life and grow wool.

I also sheared Maple's daughter, Amber. Amber is kind of a hard luck bunny. She was left over from a litter and I didn't intend to keep her because her ear dropped. But she has a richly colored satiny coat and is a fantastic mother; she raised a litter of eight this summer and didn't loose an ounce of condition. But she pulled out ALL her wool for her nest; there must have been half a pound. A lot of that wool didn't come back; she has a totally bare streak all the way down her back. I went ahead and sheared her when she was due, hoping that it will come in evenly next time.

Just as I was finishing with the rabbits a dark cloud came up and we had a terrific storm with high winds, heavy rains and lots of thunder. It only lasted about 20 minutes but it kept raining off and on all evening. It was the first real rain we've had since the first of the month and we needed it. This morning is cooler, probably because of the rain and there's some mist hanging over the pond and creek.

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