I’m sitting here sipping hot tea on a chilly, rainy, autumn afternoon as I watch the birds feast from the birdfeeders just outside the window. Hannah Joy is dozing next to me. She is the cuddlest dog ever. I’m feeling very cozy.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had sunny days with deep blue skies as well as days of rain, rain, rain. Maybe I say this every year, but this autumn has seemed especially beautiful: The yellow, orange, and red leaves are so vibrant that the very air turns golden. I feel as if I am living in Lothlorien, the forest in Middle Earth where the elves live. Here are some photos I’ve taken of our enchanted forest. None of these images are enhanced.

We’ve had some blustery days that have ripped the leaves off the trees in a golden rain. We still have a lot of leaves on the trees, but they are getting a little sparser. The days are also getting a little chiller. I’m still wearing a jacket, but any cooler and I may switch to a coat.

Muddy chicken yard with a pallet walkway for the cats

Last week it rained every day. It rained so much that the chicken yard became extremely muddy. The mud slurps and sucks at my boots as if it is a monster trying to eat me. The cats obviously didn’t like walking in the mud so I made a walkway for them across the mud with pallet pieces. I can tell that they are very appreciative of it. With the rain today, the mud has gotten even deeper.

Last weekend we harvested the last of the garden crops and then we let the chickens in. We keep them out of the garden from planting to harvest season, but we let them in the rest of the year. During the cold snowy winters, they tend to stay snuggly in the coop, but right now they are enjoying wandering through the garden, eating the leftovers. It’s pleasant looking out the window and watching them wander among the fallen leaves.

Some of our canned goods

As I wrote in my last post, our little grocery store has a canned goods sale every autumn. We’ve been participating in it for the last two years–ever since we learned about it. I always contact the store on Facebook at the end of September or early October to ask when the sale begins because I’m never quite sure of the exact date. This year they told me that they weren’t going to have the sale because they weren’t quite sure if they could fulfill the orders during this unbelievably crazy year. We thought, “Ok. It’s disappointing, but understandable” and we were willing to just accept it. But later they contacted me and told me that they’d special order the canned goods that we wanted and give us a price break on it. It took them two tries to fulfill our order, but we were able to get all the canned goods we wanted for the year. What a unexpected and awesome blessing!

EJ has been switched over to working on the mill instead of the lathe at work. As he has explained it to me, lathes spin the material a person is working on, with a cutting tool that stays stationary. Milling machines spin the cutting blade while the material remains still. Of course, he knows how to do both–it’s all part of machining. He said he is enjoying the work. I am always happy to hear that.

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