Surprised By September

I am always surprised by September. I always feel as if I’ve barely gotten used to the idea of summer when suddenly the temperatures are cooling, the leaves are beginning to change, the harvest is winding down, and thoughts of winter preparation start to surface.

To be honest, I’m probably surprised by the arrival of every season.

This morning the skies looked pretty clear, but dark, ragged clouds with a tinge of green moved in quickly. We had a bit of rain and lightning. It wasn’t as bad as it was closer to the Lake Michigan coast, but it did knock out our Internet for about 6 hours.

We had a storm in early August that dumped such heavy rain on us that it eroded gullies at the edge of our driveway. EJ ordered a load of crushed cement to be brought in and he spent a weekend or two filling in the gullies. When we first moved here six years ago, our driveway was extremely eroded with gullies that were several feet wide and deep. It took us a couple years of shoveling gravel and dirt, building rock dams, and planting vegetation to fix it. This was the first more serious erosion we’ve had to deal with since then. The rain eroded the edge of the driveway where there are no dams or vegetation to slow the rush of rain water.

Right after the August storm, I was very surprised to see a bald-headed Blue Jay at our bird feeder. I can only think that he had somehow lost his feathers in the storm. He looked very pathetic. He visited the feeder often and I tried to get a photo of him but he was skittish and I couldn’t focus my camera on him before he had grabbed a seed and was gone. The last time I saw him, his head was looking more normal.

I was surprised to see another bald-headed bird in between storms this morning. This one was a bald eagle. He landed at the top of a tree overlooking our property. He stayed for quite a while before taking off. He flew so fast that with just a couple flaps of his wings, he had flown across our property and disappeared into the trees.

We’ve had new visitors to our bird feeder at night: Opossums. They climb right up into the tray and calmly munch away even though I am only a couple feet away on the other side of the window shining a flashlight on them. I think of them as ROUS: Rodents of Usual Size from The Princess Bride. I have grown fond of them over the years, especially because they eat lots of ticks. I hate ticks.

I haven’t seen the raccoon family lately, but I suspect that they are not visiting the bird feeder because they are probably the critters who have been eating the corn in our garden. We haven’t gotten to enjoy any of our corn because they eat them before they are fully ripe. EJ is thinking that he probably shouldn’t even try to plant corn anymore, although I wondered if we could plant corn as a decoy to keep them from other crops. Critters have gotten a few of EJs pumpkins as well, but we have had a good crop of green beans, peas, and cucumbers. I’ve been freezing the beans and peas.

Kimchee

Years ago when I was a teenager, my Korean sister-in-law used to make Kimchee (also spelled Kimchi) for us when she and my brother visited. Kimchee is a fermented Korean food. It is definitely not for people who do not like spicy-hot food. When I told EJ about it after we married, he occasionally bought some for me, now and then, over the years. Once when he bought some from an Asian market, the owner tried to talk him out of buying it because it would be much too hot for us, but EJ insisted that we knew what it was and he wanted to buy it. We have always wanted to learn to make Kimchee ourselves and we finally learned how a week or two ago. We started with cucumbers because we have so many from our garden, but we’d also like to make it with cabbage. I’ve made it several times now. Yum.

My herbs have been growing well and I’ve been busy drying them. I also ordered some ginger roots and dried them in our dehydrator and then I ground them with my small electric coffee grinder–until the grinder’s blade broke. Bummer.

My foot, which I injured in late July when I fell exiting the chicken coop, is healing. One of my readers suggested that I buy a medical orthopedic walker boot for ankle and foot injuries. I bought one and it has helped a lot. (Thank you, Sandyslens!) My foot is not completely healed, but it is MUCH better than it was. Sometimes I can almost walk like normal, with only a little limp, although my ankle feels weak and it starts to ache if I am on it too long. I tried to wear my normal shoes a week or so ago, but I’m not quite THAT healed. I wear my medical boot in the house or out to the garden. I wear EJ’s winter boots when I go to the mucky chicken coop because I don’t want my medical boot to get yucky.

I put some heavy paving bricks in front of the coop door last week so the chickens can no longer dig holes that I fall into.

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