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October has so many charms.  It’s colour being a favorite of mine. Red leaves, bright wooly hats, yellow squash, blue skies, orange fires, full moons, pink cheeks, green moss… The red leaves outside our front window remind us of all the things we need to do before the branches are bare and the frosts come. And slowly, it would seem, that we are getting there.  As to, “where” this “there” is, I am not exactly sure, but it has something to do with seeing the plans on paper become the view from the window.

More soil has arrived and there has been much shoveling and wheel-barrowing and raking as of late.

New muscles are developing and work gloves are wearing out, but better the gloves than us.

We seem to be holding our own though, so long as we keep eating and sleeping, and believe me, we do lots of both when the tools are down.  Speaking of eating, our garlic has now been planted.  Each bulb has been carefully placed deep down in rich manured soil, following the good suggestions made by a pony-tailed farmer, in a tattered gardening magazine.

Family came to stay for the long weekend.  They came to see us and this beautiful land we now call home. They came to help, to cook and to remind us what really counts, as far as this human experience is concerned. I would have to say they were successful in all departments.

For two days we raised glasses and we gave thanks.  A long list of blessings were noted, appreciated and given their due respect.  Mark and the boys built a proper Boy-Scout fire pit, and when the night came, we sat around the wood-smoky blaze, under a nearly-full moon, and we laughed.  We laughed and we laughed.  And there is something about the combination of these things, sitting on fir stumps, below a country sky, beside a warm fire, in good company, that warms me as much as the hot flames do. There is something about confessions made around roaring flames that make even the most frustrating/embarrassing/bumbling humanness seem perfect and hilarious (don’t you agree?). And even the next day, sitting here with cups of tea, while the rains come down, we are still glowing.

Gus too has been having his share of fun.  He has been running and leaping and peeing and doing all the things dogs do on long autumn weekends.

He played until his legs would no longer carry him.  He peed along the borders of his new property, until he had no pee left. He barked at the moon and the night-time deer. He galloped like a stallion with his excellent dog friend called Bear, and every moment I looked over at him I thought, “yep, what more is there really? Country air and companionship…”

Inside, the fire keeps us warm.  The walls are still patched with plaster and unfinished drywall. The boxes not nearly unpacked, but the winds cannot come in, and the smells from the kitchen are rich and spicy. Amber and frankincense resins are sizzling on the wood stove (a thoughtful gift from my visiting sister) and a sweetness permeates the house.  It smells like a faraway exotic land~like deserts stretching under endless sun and colorful fabrics worn by beautiful ladies and camels.  As for me, I don’t have a camel, but I do have a white dog and a colorful basket, and together we go about the property harvesting the autumn colors outside our door-step.  We gather red berries and yellow and orange leaves to make windowsill bouquets.  Well, perhaps I should clarify, and say that I do the harvesting- Gus, he runs along beside me, peeing on every tree he finds (and there are a lot of trees).

And so, I will sign off now.  Time to get back to work.  Here is wishing you a beautiful day of autumn delights and splendid color, wherever you are, gathering whatever you are gathering.