Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall Chores

We went shopping today and I bought six pairs of socks. When I got home, I found there was no room for them. So I spent part of the evening organizing my sock drawer. Threw out the old ones with holes and some I never wear because they creep down into my shoes. Can't even remember what I did yesterday. The excitement of fitting all my socks into the drawer has completely blotted it out.

It was cold enough last night for all the blankets. Blanket layering is an essential skill in late summer/early fall in Idaho. One day it might be 92F, with the overnight low around 70F, and the next day it could be 78F with the low around 55F. We leave our windows open at night as long as the season allows. So we have a cotton blanket, with a wool blanket over it, and a quilt over that. It lets us adjust according to the temperature. Last night we actually pulled them all up instead of folding down the warmer ones. The next step is to add another thicker blanket or change the blanket combo altogether. The forecast says we'll have temps in the high 70's and 80's all week, but the lows are down in the 40's! That's quite a range. Typical Fall in SW Idaho though. By Halloween we'll be getting frost at night. Fall and Spring don't last long here.

I still have tomatoes coming along. We'll have sunny days for a few weeks yet, so I might get a lot of them to ripen. The raspberries have slowed down a lot, but I can still find enough each morning to put on our breakfast cereal. I have about six parsnips in the ground, waiting for the first frost. It's supposed to improve the taste, so I'm going to try it this year.

The pumpkins are coming along. I'm hoping to have at least six full-size ones. There are lots more, but they may not have enough time to mature. I've never grown them before, so I'll just have to see how they work out. This is a small pumpkin variety, Pump-ke-mon, white with orange stripes. They have turned out to be pretty resistant to our rampant squash beetles. I've sprayed with insect-killing soap, but it just slows them down a bit. There are beetles crawling around, but they haven't managed to damage the vines enough to kill the plant. I hope the pumpkins are ok. They seem to be.

This coming Saturday morning we're appearing as pioneers at the Museum Comes to Life event at the History Museum. They have re-enactors from all different periods set up on the lawn. They do skill demonstrations and try to involve the public in various activities. It's a fun day.

Then at noon we take off our pioneer clothes, drive over to the Fairgrounds, and put on our Scottish dress for the Highland Games. We'll dance at 3:30, shop at the vendor tents, eat fun food, and help in the booth. Hopefully our dance performance will go well and we'll get a few new dancers out of it. That evening we have a family birthday to go to. I plan to be sleeping in on Sunday!!

Oh, now I remember one thing I did yesterday. Fight off the ant invasion. We have a lot of ants outside. And now with the colder weather a lot of them are looking for food and shelter INside. We've been killing ants all week. It's a real pain. I'd like to get the outside of the house sprayed, but we haven't looked into it yet.

Anyway, that's my exciting week. There are many days when I can't think of anything to write about in this blog - hence the long gaps - and then there are those days when it just about writes itself ;-).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Falling Oak Leaves

The oak tree outside our bedroom window already has some yellow leaves. I just noticed this morning that there are more and more leaves on the back deck. When the heck did that start happening!? It's only mid-September! I don't mind the (slightly) cooler weather, but I'm not liking the shorter days this year. It always takes me a long time to get used to it being dark at 6:30 am, when we usually get up. I hate getting up in the dark. Once the days get this short I can't tell the time anymore by just barely opening my eyes to look outside and then fall back asleep. I have to reach over, pick up the alarm clock, and make my eyes focus to see the time. By then I'm awake.

This Summer I got myself into the habit of getting up about 6:30 and going out to walk/jog with the dog. It was nice because there aren't many cars out that early, it's cool and quiet. I went about a mile, trying to jog most of it and walk when I had to. Not a huge distance, but it built up my stamina for TAC summer school. And I liked it enough that I kept doing it afterwards. But once school starts up again there's more traffic. Then the days shorten so much that it's still pitch black at 6:30. So I had to stop doing it. But I can't just not exercise. I'm not willing to give in to the creeping weight gain that can so easily happen once you get into middle age.

So today I got up and went to the Rec Center with hubby. I walked/jogged a mile on the indoor track, and then we did some weights in the weight room. I don't really like weights, they're pretty boring. But it's a way of keeping my arms and shoulders toned, so I'll keep at it. Ken does more than me. I do the machines I like, and then stretch. That'll probably help me get ready to go back to Aikido, too. I haven't been since mid-July for various reasons. I'm hoping to go next week.

Last week I had a mini-spree on Amazon, finding some new SF/Fantasy authors to try. I tend to read more in the Fall and Winter, so it's a nice feeling to have a good pile of books I'm looking forward to.
I just discovered the first book in Jane Lindskold's new series, 'Thirteen Orphans'. Zipped through it, and now I'm waiting for the next one, 'Nine Gates', to come out in paperback.
I also got 'Path of Fate' by Diana Pharaoh Francis, 'Black Ships' by Jo Graham, and 'The Serpent Garden' by Judith Merkle Riley. They all sound like good reads, but I'm particularly interested in 'Black Ships'. I seem to be on a Troy kick lately. I just finished 'Lavinia' by Ursula Le Guin, about the Roman wife of Aeneas. She's just barely mentioned in the epic poem, so this is Le Guin's effort at fleshing out the character. 'Black Ships' is about a slave girl from fallen Troy who becomes a seer, and joins Aeneas on his quest.

I'm currently reading 'Georgiana' by Amanda Foreman, the book that the movie "Duchess" was based on. It's way better than the movie, as usual. I also have Michael Pollan's 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' in the pile. So it'll be a good winter for reading.