Zen’s short Stories: “Patches”. along with harvest canning and more..

Well, once again, Sunday rolls around and our ISP is puking all over the place, crashing both my comps: good times.

,We have a recently returned Hummingbird boy; Patches, that is excited about coming back up from Gotham and the Hummie Brownstone where all the family: Hum gather for the winter… with the few exceptions, that hang out with Ma; my better half, and I till it just gets too miserable.

Patches

Ma and I were out under the cover of the porch when the hummers came flying in, having heard us talking.

Lass swoops in;

Da! Hey! I haven’t talked to you in minutes!”

” Hey Lass, whatcha been up to?”

Ohhh hanging with the new kid.”

DA! Hi Hi Hi! I am sooo happy to be away from the Hummie House. It’s so friggin crazy!”

I spun around to see who was talking to me, only to see empty air.

A voice from behind me started back in again.

What are we looking at? Huh? Huh? Huh?”

I spun around again, once more to see who was chatting at me… and once again I see open air…

Lass sitting on the fence was grinning..which is seldom a good thing.

What the…”

Da! You are sooo slow!

This time, I spun in the other direction, only to see a smaller male Anna hummer, grinning at me.

Oops! Busted. Hey Da. Man I really like it up here when everyone else is gone… Only Lass and Hollywood chase me now.”

I look over to Lass who simply shrugged one shoulder and nodded.

Well… Someone has to chase him around, we’d all get bored if we didn’t.”

Patches nodded , beaming at me.

Everyone moved to town cause it got cold, but Hollywood said Lass was still up here so we both came back and it is Niiiiiceeeee.”

The weather had warmed up considerably for the last several days, making it one of the nicest Falls we have had in ages. Temps even in the mid 60s , I had all the bedroom windows open bringing a light cool breeze through out the house.

Patches was flying around and around me trying to stay right behind my back while chattered away about how much fun it was with all his siblings down in Gotham… The kid was so excited, I thought he was going to explode in one wee ball of feathers.

Hollywood flew in only to see Patches talking up a storm, cartwheeled in the air with a wince and flew off.

Lass giggled , letting her mirth drop away as Patches spun, midair to look at her. Again, shrugging, she just smiled at him.

So… What are we up to today?” He asked me as he spun around again.

Ummm… Well, I have stuff to do in the house…”

He pouted, peering at me. His right eye slowly squeezing shut .

Uhhh , well, I have to take out the trash and go through the freezer in the shop.”

Lass nodded to me behind Patches , encouragingly .

Shop is outside. COOL! Let’s go!” He said over his shoulder as he flew off.

Lass smiled at me, “ Yeeeaaahhhh… He even wears me out. He’ll get bored and head off to chase bugs if we just go do one of the chores.”

I shrugged, walked into the house picking up the veggie trimmings and the trash bag then headed out the door, Patches hovering in front of the window to the main entry.

HI!”

Hey Patches. You ready?”
Yup Yup!!”.

With that, Patches flew wide circles around me as I made my way to the pit. Lass sitting on top of the apple tree giggling. I lay the trimmings on top of the compost pile while Patches supervised . Making my way back to the Entry, I grabbed the trash bag heading out to the dumpster at the entry to the property….Patches and Lass in tow. Patches, of course, beat me to the dumpster, flying ever higher in smaller and smaller circles before diving back down to look in the dumpster as I raise the lid..

It smells in there.”

Well, that’s cause that’s where trash goes.

Yeh, but , it stinks.”

Most likely.” I said as I began the walk back.. One again Patches chattering away to me, then Lass, then any bird that flew by.

Lass , over head, flew around from tree to tree, then off to the house and back, making a show of how slow I walk. I rolled my eyes at her.

By the time we got back to the house and I open the shop door, I saw that only Lass flew in with me. I look to her questioningly .

She nodded. “ Bugs.”

Hummie version of Squirrel?”

She nodded again, flying over to watch me open the freezer. She whistled. “ Wow, that’s a lot of veggies and fruit.”

Yup. I still need to take out the tomatoes now that the last have ripened in the window and help Ma make up a batch of pasta sauce to can.”

Still….”

Well and yes, I have a bunch of fruit juices to make up and can as well. Harvest is finally complete with just the last of the canning. Ma and I decided that we would make mostly juice as we drink way more juice than we use jams and such.”

Lass nodded. ” Hummie would be mad if he thought you were using his sugar, so that makes sense.”

I laughed. “ Well, yes, and that too.”

Once I went through the couple top layers of the freezer, making sure I had an idea of what all needed to be worked on, we headed back to the house. I had cans of Turkey stock to put in storage and rotate jarred good once again.

Lass followed me quietly, zipping past me to wait for me by the house. I stepped in to the morning room where I had all the canned stock, Lass looking through the window at me. I boxed the stock , making my way back out, only to have Lass following me again, flying through the shop door, waiting on me.

Between Lass and I, we got the new stock put away and the older stock rotated out to come into the house for use. With the weather sites calling for a drop in temps and a chance at our first snow, I wanted everything in that needed to be.

I walked back out to the porch area, Lass showing up moments later as she heard the door close. We watched as Patches flew by overhead, chasing after Hollywood, chattering at him, though they flew by too quickly to understand what he was asking about.

Lass took off, spinning on a wing to fly over the top of the house to join in on the fun.

One last look about, I saw the elk herd over on a near rise, their tan coats almost golden in the afternoon sun. One of our hawks flew close to the ground hunting. A scream from a Red Tail hawk far above as he circled ,calling to his mate. Barely a breeze came across the sunny mountain top as our deer broke over the rise of the berm. I just stood smiling as the girls made their way towards the house, watching me.

Where’s Mom?” one of our girls asked as she stepped into the yard.

I frown at her,” Hi to you too.”

She cocked her head. “ Yes , Yes,.. Hi Da.. Where’s Ma? I have boy troubles.”

Umm finding them or getting rid of them?”

Ha…….Ha……. Where’s Mom?”

Alllllrighty then.. I’ll go get her.”

I stepped into the house, Ma was at her spinning wheel, one of her spiders laying on it’s belly on the arm of the couch, legs sprawled to the sides, her chin on her hands of her front legs as she studied Ma’s work. ” Seems you have a doe with boy problems…and an attitude.. She wants to speak with you.”

The little spider look up to me, frowning. ” Ma is busy..Shhh.”

Wellllll Strike number two…..Anyway, she is standing in the yard making grumpy faces at me through the window.

Ma look up from her spinning, winding off her work as she stood. The small spider glaring at me.. I shrugged and walked off.

Ma step out through the door , and sat down on her porch swing. “ What’s up?”

Our Girl, step up to the porch, along the deck steps. “ MMmmmooooomMM.. He keeps bugging me! I told him I would tell Da, but he said Da said the freezer was already full soooo nooooow what do I do.”

Well.. Tell him that Da just went through the freezer and made room so if he doesn’t behave either he’ll go in the freezer, or, he gets to raise the kids…”

The doe giggled, “ I think the second chose would scare him more right now. Maybe I’ll have the kids follow him around for a few days.”

One of our bucks came sniffing over the top of the hill. Ma eyed him. Our Girl turn around seeing Ma looking. She whispered into the ears of a couple of the kids hanging with her. Together they took off like the wind, bounding up the hill then nuzzling and rubbing against the buck .

Unable to shoo them off, the buck began backing up, until the kids had herded him up and back of the berm, leaping and circling around him till he finally began to trot off.

Ma and Our Girl watched from the deck area as the kids pranced back over the top and towards the house, grinning from ear to ear.

We told him that our mama said he was going to babysit us beings he is always around and that we loooooovvvveee him…. Then he ran away.”

The girls, laughing, went back about their own business.

Final Thoughts

Well, sure enough, temps are beginning to dip towards freezing once again with snow in the forecast. Not much, just for lookin at, but.. it seldom follows forecasts… Maybe it’ll warm to the 60s again , maybe we’ll get a foot of snow followed by freezing fog. Zen Mountain refuses to follow what happens in the valleys and hills surrounding us, always has. The one thing we know for sure is; tomorrow will have weather.

Pasta sauce is cooking away in one of the big roaster ovens and should be ready for me to can tomorrow.

No idea how much we’ll get out of this batch, hopefully a dozen quarts or so. It’s a 22 quart bath and fairly full today.

Ma is working on knitting baubles for the Christmas tree. She has one done in a test, soon as it is tested then it is on to new ones. We are both excited. It is always fun to put home made decorations around. Not the least of which due to the cheesy crap everyone sells now. One way and another I have “lost” the bulk of my I guess they would be called ” vintage” decorations that I have had since a kid that others felt I wouldn’t notice coming up missing. Making our own brings some of that back in our own way..no glitter allowed.

MA has also started spinning up some of her grey shetland fiber to make four ply socks. We have to put together a video for some of the gals she ” hangs with” on Fridays to show them , I guess how she does it? That she does it? ” Anyway so we will work on that.. We don’t make a lot of videos as anyone that knows us…er.. knows… So we don’t pump them out in an afternoon… Sides, there are segments that I’ll have to sit down and put together then see if Ma needs to narrated , and the fact that she doesn’t like being on camera to begin with, but all in all, it’ll be fun.. It just has to be fit into everything else she and I do, between her job and all the dumb crap I do and her other knitting and spinning projects.

Fortunately I do the canning so Ma doesn’t have to deal with that and I do the juices, so Ma doesn’t have to deal with that either. By the end of the day, generally closer to 10 hours rather than the eight she signed up for, dealing with horrible people nonstop, she is pretty wiped out and early to bed to get up long before the sun rises to work on other projects before work… The days go by and weekends are so short. Holidays are no break for Ma.. just more work and people getting nastier , which is hard to believe.

Time in front of the fire and behind the wheel helps Ma to relax and finish off the eve with some knitting. IN the mornings, once they wake, the kids come in to visit Ma before work as well. Our Hummers always doing their best to get their Mama time in.

Lass, as always is concerned when I am not out with Ma any time she goes out and will go from window to window, looking for me.. and generally chattering at me to come out and visit too.

The coyote kids still aren’t coming up during the day a lot as of yet, they have other areas to hunt this time of year though they’ll be coming in soon. Each eve and morning, you can hear them down towards the den area , singing up a storm, just to keep in touch.

Our does and their kids stay pretty close yet, up until the snows start getting deep then they’ll head to the low lands like most all the kids will.

With the exception of the tractor,and, for the moment, the sami..which is just me charging the battery again, we are pretty much as ready for winter as we can be. We could easily continue with rain and some mix for a while yet.. there is no such thing as a normal Fall up here. Sixties or single digits, rain, snow, ice, freezing fog.. They are all normal about now and heading in.

But.. today..Today is chilly, definitely a winter breeze coming in, not anything like what was predicted though we had some good gusts last night, but for now, the sun is out and skies are clear, the hummies are flitting about, the elk in the hills, the deer in the yard, coyotes in the den, wolves should be coming in soon , we should start seeing more eagles and less of the CawCaw kids, song birds have changed over to the winter crew and today is

Just another day on Zen Mountain.

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