Last night Elihu had a hard time getting to sleep, in spite of having just weathered a full weekend. Bleary-eyed, he panicked slightly at the thought of school starting up again the very next morning. “Wait, was that a whole weekend just now? Are you sure tomorrow’s a school day?” he asked me, with a genuinely puzzled look on his face. He shook his head. “Honestly, that felt like five minutes just now. I guess it’s just because we did a lot”. He waited for a moment and sighed. “It just feels like we really need another day. You know what I mean?” He was right. Not only the weekend, but the past several weeks had been full. In his words, we’d experienced “a lot of life” recently. Indeed. Death, too. We lost our friend Cecil a few weeks back, but no matter, things just kept on going. Projects and homework and teaching and all manner of life’s tasks have filled the space in between then and now (plus a rare night out in downtown Albany to see comedian Steven Wright – a really big deal for us), and today we find ourselves looking to Halloween, this coming Friday, as the informal conclusion to a full fall.
Here’s a photographic digest of the past few weeks…
These colors, from just a few weeks ago, are now gone. So much changes in such little time in this season of transition.
I hung these guys in the small woods across from our house, and it’s made Elihu’s long walk down the driveway after he gets off of the bus a little spooky. He lobbied for me to take them down, but I’ve waited long enough to pull out the scary decorations. Up they’ll stay. (They continue to give me a start now and again; either when shutting the birds in at night or casually looking out of the window, even when I first come down the driveway, my mind off in another place.)
These are our hungry birds up in the burning bush. The bugs aren’t as plentiful now, so they’re eating the berries off of whatever they can.
The view is modest, and certainly doesn’t come off very impressive in this shot, but in person it’s nice to see Saratoga Lake again now that the leaves are off the trees.
Neighbor boys Ryan and Brandon came over for a visit, and Elihu led them on a quest to find all the gourds that emerged from our compost pile.
Big sister Ava helps count the take.
The children’s father Chad pats our favorite resident roo, Bald Mountain. (Chad saved our rooster last summer after a nasty raccoon attack. Baldy had run through the woods and towards the light of their front door in a heroic effort to find safety. Covered in blood, Baldy perched on Chad’s lap as he drove the rooster back home on his four-wheeler. We were out so didn’t know – it’s such a blessing to have neighbors like this when bad things happen. It’s a profoundly good feeling to know someone’s got your back.)
The young brothers are more than a little freaked out at the skeletons, so we had the boys introduce themselves.
They didn’t turn out to be terribly edible, but they’re pretty. And they were a fun surprise.
This wasp’s nest was also something of a surprise; it hung from our cellar door and grew from the size of a fist to this giant ball in about a week’s time. It’s gorgeous up close, with its delicately spun paper in layer upon layer. Glad to have this specimen to examine up close. (That’s a 30 pound pumpkin next to it, just for a little better perspective on its size.)
Here too was another surprise from the skies. Mom found it near her house, likely it had flown into a window and broken its neck. For years she’s adamantly professed her hatred for Starlings, but had now changed her mind. When I asked her why, she told me it was because she hadn’t known before how beautiful they were. ! I did’t bother to tell her I thought that was a pretty lame reason.
Elihu must always admire the wing.
I admire the interesting claw; three sickle-shaped claws face one direction with the fourth claw facing the other way.
This new gal reminds us a lot of our dear late hen, Madeline, whom we lost earlier this year, so we’ve ended up just calling this one “Madeline Two”. We might be onto round two of many previously used hen names. I suppose it’s just as well when they end up in the freezer eventually.
Thumbs Up is molting now. So are many of the wild birds. They’re getting ready to grow in a brand-new, more robust set of feathers for the long winter ahead. Up close they can look pretty bedraggled and pathetic while mid-molt.
A close up of the pin feathers coming in on her neck. They feel like plastic are made of basically the same stuff as your nails.
Elihu joins George and Peter as they play music for Waldorf’s annual Autumn Festival.
Then Elihu helps turn the hand crank as Vermont farmer Fred DePaul demonstrates some sheep shearing techniques. (Fred used to do work for our octogenarian friend Martha Carver many years ago.)
Here Fred shows how yarn is made from wool.
Look!! It’s Phoenix! A former classmate and much-missed friend, we haven’t seen him in months. This is a happy reunion.
Our friend Ken came to stay for a visit! Here he shows Elihu how he begins to paint a small landscape.
It’s interesting for us non-painters to see the whole process.
Elihu can’t see any color at all, but he can see values and can understand what Ken is doing and why.
There’s usually a lot of laughing going on when Ken visits.
And guess what? This visit Ken brought his eleven year old son! Our kids were yapping nonstop and getting along from the moment they met.
The boys roamed around the property in pursuit of the chickens.
At home with the flock already.
Mom came over to see our progress on Elihu’s Halloween costume. Here she shows him a photo of him on his first Halloween at the age of six months. He went as Dom Delouise as chef – and this year I’m going as the chef, he as my creation. Full circle.
Ken and mom always enjoy a visit.
Here we are, at our local costume contest!
The middle school girls think his costume is awesome.
And finally, after years of not even placing (??), Elihu wins for most original costume. Yay!
We ran into two ninth graders from Waldorf!
And we ran into this creepy guy outside on the way to the haunted hayride.
On we go to our last stop, a party our friends hold every year. Elihu’s gone to it nearly all of his life.
Here’s our hostess, Bairbre McCarthy, as Sherlock Holmes.
Finally, the plate of spaghetti helps himself to a little snack as host Hank, as Robin Hood, chats with Grandma.
Another kid Elihu’s age. Cute costume!
A little fly buzzes around the table, and in Elihu’s own words “Ahh! This is going to bring my rating down to three stars!” (Elihu was a spider when he was this tiny guy’s size, and I had gone as Little Miss Muffet, you know, as in ‘the spider who sat down beside her.’)
Goodbye, and thank you! We had a great time as always!
When Elihu I and got home a couple hours later – look what Ken had done!
The next morning we’re off to do a little creating of our own as Elihu’s classmates begin to make their costumes for the school Halloween parade.
The students are required to go as something from their studies; the boys are going as Roman soldiers. They’re going to hide behind their shields.
This is what we’re going for… Not enough time or material for all the details, but we’ll get as close as we’re able.
And here’s the final result a few hours later. Good thing I had some paint leftover after doing my kitchen hallway. It was the perfect color red!
Back at home Elihu keeps on creating and builds the tallest tower yet from his Keva blocks – sixteen stories, all the way to the ceiling…
…a view from the inside looking up.
We love our adventures, but in the end, we both really enjoy staying home more than anything else. Here Elihu is surrounded by his very favorite things; his bass, some paper airplanes, and those silly Pokemon cards. After a full fall schedule, there’s no place like home.