The first Signs of Fall….probably

Because what would make this crazy season complete if not for yet another change literally over night. With temps in the triple digits and nights in the low 80s, something very unusual for up here, winds came in to clear out the smoke once again along with cooler weather.

In less than forty eight hours we went from AC running through the night to staring longingly at the wood stove in the morning. Tonight we are looking at a forecast of 44F. Days of upper nineties and above 100 have turned back to the normal, any other year, 70s.

Although my sense of smell was burnt out from working with chemicals ages ago, even I can taste the ” Fall” in the air.

ON any other year, I would be watching our apple trees, deciding any day now when I would start picking our Winesaps… ON any other year, we would be guarding our other apple trees from squirrels and tossing the wind tossed apples over the fence for the deer.

This year has been one of the weirdest we have had up here in ages.

IN late winter, Spring came a calling… Long enough that our trees all started budding.. Buds , in some cases even began to open here and there….. And then Mother Nature snapped her fingers and once again Winter came back with teens and snow. With one last hurrah , Winter parted with our last rain fall. March began the season of drought and wild fires, rather than the normal August.

Winds have been all but nonstop .. and with wildfire season starting before the Spring wildflowers began to bloom, smoke has slowly, or quickly, filled the valleys and our hills any time we had a calm. The fires have, at least for now, been staying farther away from us this year than last when they licked at the edges of our property multiple times, and yet, folks we know have , this year, had fires at their door step.

With the Crazy ending of Winter, we lost every single fruit bud on tree and bush save a few stubborn pears the size of prunes. So no apples to harvest during the next several weeks for us.

We finally have started, as in Just started, harvesting tomatoes for pasta sauce, and hot peppers for drying mostly.

The silly constant change in temps this year along with the extended high temperatures ..not to mention no rain for months did a heck of a number on our herbs. I am hoping to maybe harvest and dry some sage and such before end of season once again, but we will see.

Our trees are all losing their leaves from so much wind and the 100 degree weather. I can not put out the kind of water it would take to make anything lush up here at any time , let alone during this stuff.

It has been so dry, it makes me uncomfortable to do anything outdoors, and like the tractor, no matter what I do , it doesn’t seem to help.

BUT!

Ha! Once again, we will get through it. It is Zen Mountain, things are what they are and every day is a new day.

We keep a good abundance of canned goods…because this is NOT my first rodeo…. Last year not having any canning lids available didn’t help things. making this the second year in a row that we can’t do very much canning, but we will roll with it, even if it is irritating. We most likely WILL run out of zucchini pickles as every single attempt I made to replant was followed by a wind storm, followed by a heat wave.. followed by a wind storm..etc razing the gardens to a smooth hard dirt surface. You have no idea just how upsetting it is to hear of everyone’s gardens going crazy and people complaining that they can’t keep up when we are looking at gardens of the Apocalypses..

On a good year, we JUST get enough fruits and veggies to can for the entire year.

Our one spot, that is nearly a total Zero Scape is Hummie’s Garden. It is fairly lush and overgrown . A walkway between the house and shop with a path that leads to “Lil Eden” which definitely does not fit the name this year. Hummie’s Garden has stayed green with me only watering her once this year as I watch it but pass on to the areas that are not showing any green as I try to keep things alive. if just.

Forecasters tell us that all of this weather will change in September as patterns go back to normal… I have been up here for around three decades and am still trying to figure out what would be normal up here.. Summers can be rainy and chill , with weeks of dry and windy on end, Springs can be warm and wet or cold and snowy. Fall can be harsh dry and hot or when the rainy season comes in. Winters have been all the way down to -35F and all the way up to 60sF. We have had snows that come in at night to wake to three or four feet of new snow. We have had snows that pretty much continue for weeks on end , new snow coming in at close to two new feet of snow a day, and we have had winters where the snows melt off the road ways every weekend with the sun coming out, making it beautiful and a Hallmark moment…. So.. What, exactly is normal?….I am hoping for one of those normal 70s-60s during the day, 50s at night and rains finally coming in on a weekly basis again, bring back that ” Kansas” mud I hate so much where walking from the house to the outbuildings I gain three inches just from the goo caked to the bottoms of my shoes…. The hopefully those snows that fall hard and then clear and fall hard again , rather than the constant non stop, or the worse, doesn’t snow but once every couple weeks… As much as being snowed in sounds like fun when you want to ditch school, it absolutely sucks when you have to worry about emergencies . Ma and I have had too many of those during the winter and with the tractor STILL and continually down no matter how hard or little I work on it, I like the idea of the deep snow on the SIDES of our path out and not filling it in to the point I can not break out… Hey if I am gonna dream…..

With the taste of Fall in the air, I think about would be harvests, and glorious rain . Before we know it, elk will bugle then the bucks will be chasing the does around the property then the holidays start springing up, then the snow I usually love to hate will come in…. We still need to get wood to heat the place, no word back from the guy we get it from , though I am well aware he can’t do anything at present… It would be nice for him to at least let us know that we are on the list.

Soon I will be prepping freezers for winter stores along with the shelves for WHEN we are snowed in…and not the least; when we want something for dinner but the thought of breaking the ice off the truck, pushing snow for a mile, yes, uphill, then travelling down into the valley on our curvy backroads, just for a couple tomatoes…….. We are far from the areas where anyone will deliver to our door. Even UPS and Fed Ex throw a fit when they come in.

Before one thinks that I am wallowing , nah…. I do get burnt out on this crap about now, as does Ma. Drought and wildfires suck. period. Winds get old when they are so loud that you can’t hardly talk over them, inside.. in any room. and they last for weeks on end… only to have smoke fill in when they stop for a day or two.

But all things change, no matter what we think of the changes. Such is life. People whining over perceived insults, not even to themselves but towards people they imagine .. and most ” insults are all brought up in their twisted little shriveled brains simply from having too much time as they poke at their phone and have to wait minutes for hot food delivered to their door. Or, heaven forbid , they have to wear a mask… They would rather bitch and complain about their ” rights” while they could easily be causing all of this to just go on and on and on. Pull up your big girl panties and shut the hell up and do what is the right thing to do. These people; and there are millions of them are making other countries laugh at the USA… That is where all your little snivelings are going. No one is impressed.

IN any case, we take one day at a time. hope our well holds up, as we are on the summit of a freakin stone hill, I try to keep trees and bushes alive, if just. We watch the kids come and go from the watering hole and hope for rain to come soon. At least it looks like we are out of the 100F weather now, so that is something. Maybe we will be lucky and temps won’t drop so fast that we wont get our fall harvest. I am many weeks out yet from getting hot peppers ready to pick. Ma just blanched and peeled another couple freezer bags of tomatoes. We have a ways to go before we’ll have enough for sauce for the year. We have what taters we will have getting ready to pull very soon, again, not imagining tons of spuds with the hot dry windy weather we have had. and hopefully I can cut and dry some more herbs before it is all said and done. I doubt I will be able to cut the thyme again. I am glad I got a nice bunch this Spring. We never get a lot of Oregano. I may get more Winter Savory, but didn’t see any of the Summer savory the other day . Not sure about anything else.

But..as I sit here, listening to the wind howl and look out at the tan wilds out my window, I have to just grin , knowing that

this is just another day on Zen Mountain

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