Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Home from England! And Lots to Share

Home at last, and getting ourselves sorted. What a trip we had! I have about 800 photos to sort and will be sharing the best of them here in the coming month. There is so much to tell, so much to remember. It was, I think, the trip of a lifetime and I am so very glad we went.

Now it is back to life as usual. We picked up my computer which was getting files from my old one transferred while we were gone, got groceries and gas on the way home. It was awesome to be greeted by our happy dogs and cats, who all looked quite contented and well fed thanks to the good care by our neighbors while we were away. The gardens are pitiful from the lack of rain; apparently it was very dry while we were gone. Larry found a few cucumbers and some nice tomatoes though, and there are a few other things hanging on. Hoping for rain this week. Everything is so dry.

I got our suitcases unpacked and started on the mammoth pile of laundry, sorted out the mail that our kind carrier had held and delivered yesterday. Then we watched some Doc Martin, laughing when we could identify the places we'd seen in Port Isaac, where the show was filmed. Bed felt so good; I was glad we'd changed the sheets before we left. We'd also left the house in pretty good order so coming home was not stressful. Instead, it was relaxing to know there was nothing pressing waiting for us to do.

Here are a few teaser pics for this morning. I'll be writing more and posting more because this blog is the best place I have for capturing those memories.

Nice to be back with you, friends!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pumpkins! And That Fall Feeling

Larry planted pumpkins in the rich dirt of the old chicken yard, and they have been trying to take over the earth, I swear. Yesterday he harvested them and got a right wagonload. This is minus a half dozen already given away.

I posted a lot of pumpkin recipes a few years ago. Go here to find lots of ways to use up pumpkins!

I am loving the fall feeling in the air, even though the temperatures are not giving up. It's still too hot but mornings and evenings are cool, and the moon has been gorgeous. Leaves are drifting down, some of them because it's time, others because of the dry weather we've had the past two weeks. The gardens are slowly dying back although we are still getting some vegetables for the table. I hope it can hold on til frost.

This morning the air was so clear as we took our walk out to the church and back. We got home, had an enormous breakfast and then took our coffee out on the swing. We have a lot to do today, but it's nice to take a slow start. Tonight I'm storytelling in Beckley, WV at the beautiful Tamarack Arts Center.

Loving these days and these times.

Have a great day, my friends.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Little Apple Tree

There is a little apple tree in the woods close to the house.You can just see it off to the top right in the above photo from 2010. It is twisted and runty and usually has lots of watersprouts. It is not a pretty tree.

I remember when it was a baby when I first moved here, just a littel spike of a thing, I left it alone because it was not likely to make anything of itself anyway.

The little tree is in the center of this photo, hard to see, when it was in bloom, This was taken about 4 years ago,
 I've never actually taken a photo of it by itself.

My first clotheslines were ropes stretched between the trees in these woods. The little apple tree was too small to be a support but it wasn't in the way. It had its first blooms five years after I first found it. There were no apples on it, though, not that year.

Years passed. I divorced and remarried, had another son. I went off to work and to college. My sons grew up and moved out into lives of their own. Grandchildren arrived and grew up. The little tree was still there, and every spring I enjoyed its blooms. But there were no apples.The bigger trees, the oaks and the persimmons and the ash and hickory, overshadowed it and made it grow twisty. It looked odd but it bloomed and that was enough for me.

Until this year. This year it had about a dozen apples. Two or three were BIG! But most were small and runty. I picked them anyway, and this morning I used some of them to make apple pancakes.

Oh. My. Goodness. Those apples were delicious! Spicy, sweet-tart, full-bodied flavor and just the right texture.

Forty years of waiting. And finally an imperfect crop. But the little tree is still a favorite of mine, twisty and funny looking as it is. Maybe it will give us more apples one day, maybe not. It doesn't matter to me. I'm happy with it as it is.

This tree reminds me of the Aesop's fable of the farmer and his apple tree.

A peasant had growing in his garden an apple tree which bore no fruit at all. It served only as a place for crickets, grasshoppers and sparrows to get out of the heat. The little creatures often sat chirping in the tree's branches.

Disappointed that the tree produced no fruit, the man decided to cut it down.

"Please don't destroy our tree," the grasshoppers said. "Where will we sit and chirp if there is no tree here?"

"Please don't cut this tree," begged the birds. "We sit in its branches and sing to you every day. Would you not miss our songs?"

"Please leave the tree alone," said the crickets. "We rest on its bark and make our music to lighten your work. Where will we go if you cut the tree?"

"No," said the man. "The tree gives me nothing. Why should I keep it in my garden? At least its wood will warm me in my fires this winter."

The man picked up his axe and gave a mighty swing. He quickly discovered that other creatures were living in the hollow center of the tree: honeybees! The large swarm buzzed angrily as it protected its large store of honey.

"Aha!" said the man. "This tree is worth keeping after all. Who knew that it contained such treasure?" He picked up his axe and left the tree standing, and its inhabitants continued to sing, chirp and buzz.

My little tree doesn't hide such treasure. Or perhaps it does, in the sweetness and scent of its blooms, and in the unexpected pleasure of a surprise harvest.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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